When you’re traveling and living in an RV, having a fresh water supply onboard is a real gift. But how long does an RV water filter last?
Ensuring that you have plenty of clean potable water that’s safe to drink is important. Safe water for drinking, showering, cooking, and washing dishes requires a water filter that removes sediments and also removes contaminants. An inline water filter (or any type of water filter) is easy to obtain. Today we’re looking into RV water filters and how long they tend to supply clean drinking water to your RV.
What Is an RV Water Filter?
A water filter cleans the water from your fresh water tank or city water source. The object is to give you safe drinking water and better-tasting water as well. As water flows through the filter, sediment and contaminants are removed before they reach your faucet.
Our post on the simple truth about how RV water filters work offers far more information on water filters in general. But today we’re especially interested in how long an RV water filter lasts.
How Often Should I Change My RV Water Filter?
We all want to know that our water filter is doing its job. Knowing when to change it is key. Unfortunately, there’s no set answer to the question of how often to change a water filter. There are a number of factors that come into play.
First, of course, is how often you use the filter. How much do you use your RV? Are you using a whole-house filter or are you only filtering water at your kitchen sink? Is one person using the water in the RV or are there five RVers onboard? How much do you dry camp? (Us boondockers tend to be very sparing with water use, so we run a lower total volume of it through our filters.)
One of the most important factors that determine the lifespan of your water filter is the quality of the water flowing through it. If you’re traveling around connecting to water sources at a wide variety of campgrounds, water quality can vary considerably.
When poor quality water flows through a filter, there are likely more contaminants to filter out. The more sediment and contaminants a filter removes, the more frequently you’ll have to change the filter. On the other hand, high-quality water will present fewer contaminants for the filter to trap, so it will last longer.
So, the answer to how long an RV water filter lasts or how often you should change your water filter really depends on how, and how much, it’s being used. But certainly, if you notice the flow rate slowing, that’s a good indication that a new filter is well past due! Or if you’re an occasional RVer, hitting the road on summer weekends to get away for some R&R, a good-quality water filter will likely last you for the whole season.
Can You Clean an RV Water Filter?
Some types of water filters can be cleaned but certainly not all. For example, some ceramic filters are capable of being scrubbed and cleaned with a brush or scouring pad. With this system, however, a carbon block is usually added for additional filtration and purification. The ceramic part can be cleaned, but the carbon block filter would simply be replaced.
- Please note if you have a new style pull-out faucet with a sprayer a countertop filter will not work. You will need an under sink system
- Removes 99.99% of pathogenic organisms (including E. Coli Giardia Cryptosporidium etc) Reduces chlorine chloramine lead arsenic VOCs and more
On the other hand, a solid carbon block filter is not a filter you would clean. When a carbon block filter has done all the filtering it can, it’s time to replace it.
- SUPERIOR WATER FILTRATION proprietary solid carbon block filters contaminants down to ONE MICRON. That’s 70 times smaller than a human hair! Other...
- ELIMINATES the unpleasant sulfur taste and odor from campground water. Reduces Bad Taste, Odors, Chlorine, and Sediment from your drinking water and...
The same is true of the typical inline water filters used by many RVers. Once these stop filtering well, they’re simply discarded and replaced. Both this filter and the previous one are generally placed inline in your city water hose, between the city water source and the RV.
- Safe Water Matters: GAC (Granular Activated Carbon) filtration greatly reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine, and sediment.; Large Capacity Filtration:...
- Multiple Uses: Can be attached to any standard gardening or water hose to provide healthier drinking water and cleaner water overall. Great for RVs,...
Sediment filters work like a sieve to remove particles. While some sediment filters can be cleaned, in our humble opinion the cost of replacing them with new ones is worth the peace of mind that comes with a brand new filter. Sediment filters also don’t improve the taste or smell of poor-quality water. Instead, they’re designed to remove sediments such as sand, dirt, silt, and rust particles to keep them from affecting components of your RV’s water system, like the water pump.
A popular type of water filter that uses activated carbon is the gravity-fed Berkey filter which sits right on your countertop. You simply add water to the Berkey and its activated carbon filter purifies the water before you drink it. With this unit, the activated carbon filters can be cleaned, dried, and reused, but once clogged with sediment or particles they need to be replaced.
This “Travel Berkey” comes with two purification elements. Together they’re capable of filtering up to 6,000 gallons of water.
- POTABLE WATER IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS- Black Berkey Elements remove or dramatically reduce over 200+ typical contaminants that could be present in...
- ENJOY GREAT-TASTING TAP WATER EVERY DAY- The Travel Berkey System can be used at the campground, RV park, off-grid shelter to transform questionable...
Is an RV Water Filter Worth It?
Absolutely! We certainly wouldn’t be without ours.
Remember, when you travel and obtain water from various sources, you can never be sure of the water quality. There’s a good reason why most RVers prefer to have some type of water filter onboard, especially if they intend to drink the water, as opposed to just washing with it.
Some campgrounds have water sources with very old plumbing. And when you fill your fresh water tank from a spigot at a state park, city park, gas station, or any other unknown source, you really have no idea what the quality of the water is.
So, yes…an RV water filter is absolutely worth having. Even if you don’t RV frequently, or drink the water, a simple inline filter should work nicely to remove sediment and help protect components of your RV’s plumbing system. And they won’t break the bank.
What Is the Best RV Water Filter?
Here again, the answer to this question really depends on how use your RV. If you camp for a few weekends and maybe a week or two in the summer, the small inline water filters (like the Clear2O or Camco TastePure above) are likely all that you need.
But what if you RV more often… and want to drink the water on your RV? (Plus help save storage space, money, and the planet by reducing the waste of single-use plastics?) Our favorite way to assure that our water is safe to drink is, by far, our Acuva UV-LED water purification system. Not only does it eliminate bacteria and viruses, but the advanced pre-filter also removes lead, heavy metals, chlorine, mercury, and other contaminants.
Our Acuva system is compact and easy for any modestly-competent DIY RVer to install. The 2-liter-per-minute flow rate is plenty for filling drinking water glasses and bottles. And since it’s only needed for drinking water, that’s perfect.
At first glance, the Acuva system may appear to be on the pricey side, but the initial cost is easily offset by the fact that it’s designed to purify 120,000 liters of water throughout the lifespan of the system. That’s an awful lot of bottled water to buy, haul, and store (not to mention the immense amount of plastic saved).
We’ve lived in an RV full-time for nearly 20 years, and take our water safety seriously. So we looked very seriously into the filtration capacity of the Acuva system to make sure we were getting the level of purity we want from our water. We even made a video about it, which you can watch here:
We also have a video of the Acuva installation process, which is an easy DIY project. See the process laid out step-by-step here:
For anyone interested in the Acuva Water Purifying System, you can buy it with an RVGEEKS discount code right here:
Ditch the bottled water! Major cities sanitize their drinking water using ultraviolet light, and now you can, too. Acuva’s UV-LED system makes water safe to drink, using a fraction of the space...Show More
Ditch the bottled water! Major cities sanitize their drinking water using ultraviolet light, and now you can, too. Acuva’s UV-LED system makes water safe to drink, using a fraction of the space and power… perfect for RVs.
Check out our Acuva installation video here
Get 10% off any Acuva system when shopping online at Acuva's website and using the discount code listed here.Show Less
Do You Use an RV Water Filter?
Drop us a comment and let us know what system you use and how it has worked out for you. If you’d like, please share how frequently you use your RV and how often your filter requires replacement.
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Friday 15th of July 2022
Hi guys. Thanks, as always, for your great content. We've been FTing for about 8 months. We use a Clear2O in-line filter at the CG's spigot and then filter our tap water through a ProPur pitcher for drinking. But we are loathe to use our refrigerators ice maker, and brushing our teeth in the rear bathroom means either bringing a cup of filtered water back there each time (I know, first world problems....) or using water directly from the bathroom faucets. As big proponents of Acuva, what are your thoughts about their Arrow 5 whole-house system for FTers? Is that overkill, in your opinion, or would 2 or 3 strategically placed single units work better? One concern I have with the whole-house solution is that all of the filtering takes place before the water hits the fresh tank. We've been "stuck" in the DFW area longer than we had originally planned and with sitting through weeks of 100+* weather, my wife is convinced that if we simply cut open the fresh tank and added some veggies, we'd have soup! In less graphic terms, how likely is it to loose the benefits of all that filtration if it all occurs on the far side of the fresh tank? Thanks for your input!
Thursday 21st of July 2022
Hi Jim. The Arrow 5 is a really nice unit, designed to provide higher flow and output. The decision for whether the single Arrow 5 or several smaller, point-of-use units is the better choice may come down to a couple of factors that are likely dependent on the specifics of your floorplan and plumbing. A couple of thoughts we'd have (in no particular order) are:Even the 5L/minute flow of the Arrow 5 may not be enough flow if multiple faucets are in use at the same time. Not likely an issue when boondocking, but when hooked up at an RV park, placing the Arrow so far upstream (toward the city water inlet) will mean that you'll always be limited to that flow. Using a single unit to sanitize all water entering the coach is also likely overkill, since you don't really need sanitized water for washing dishes, flushing the toilet, or even showering. We wouldn't recommend sanitizing the water BEFORE storing it in the fresh water tank. If the fresh water system were entirely a closed system, where nothing else could be introduced to the tank of sanitized water, we'd say it would likely be OK. But since there's other openings for air movement into/out of the tank, etc, it's NOT entirely sealed. So running water through the Acuve pre-filter (which removes chlorine) would leave the water in the tank completely unprotected from anything being introduced through other openings (it's why we don't recommend using any carbon-based filters when filling the fresh tank, since that leaves the water un-chlorinated and more likely to "grow stuff"... dechlorinate at point-of-use to provide better drinking water, but leave the opportunity for a city water supply to have chlorine in it to protect the water in the tank. If you decide the single-unit approach is the best for your use, we'd suggest inspecting your plumbing system carefully to see if there's a point downstream of the water pump where you could install the Arrow 5 so it can sanitize the water coming from the tank AND city water. Might not be possible, depending on your RV's plumbing. Or, just use one or two smaller units at the needed points of use and regularly (once every 6 months or so) sanitize your fresh water tank. We full-timed for about 10 years before we had our first Acuva, drinking from our fresh water tank and whatever city water source we were connected to without problem for all that time, simply by keeping the fresh tank sanitized on that schedule. Living in North America, we do have the luxury of GENERALLY having access to good, clean, fresh water. Though we DO love our Acuva, and generally only drink water that's been processed through it, we're 100% fine using non-Acuva water for all other tasks, including brushing our teeth... and, again, have never had a problem.
Hope this helps!
Friday 8th of July 2022
I created a dual-filter system. I use a Camco in-line filter just off my pressure reducer at the tap as a pre-filter/sediment filter, to keep the hoses clean, then thru a whole-house Douton ceramic "candle" filter before entering the rig. This way any water, either from the on-board tank or when on city water, is filtered as best as possible.
Sunday 10th of July 2022
Friday 8th of July 2022
I installed the Acuva Eco NX silver with the Smart faucet and the advanced pre-filter. I bought it online with the RVGeek discount code on the Acuva website. I am very satisfied. Full time. Always good tasting water to drink and no more heavy bottles refill. I have had it for a year. not sure when to replace the filter, it says 4000 gallons. Too bad they did not include some little water meter to add up as I use it. Thank You for all your videos on the subject and your help when I installed ☺️. I also use an outdoors Clearo2 inline water filter when I am hooked up or I fill the fresh water tank.
Sunday 10th of July 2022
Hey Julie! Great to hear from you... hope your travels are going well! Glad to hear the Acuva is working so well for you. On the filter, we've been going with the every-other-year plan, figuring that the balance of full-time use, but only using it for drinking water, means we're not using the 4,000 gallon useful life in only a year. But replacing every other year makes sure we're not leaving it in TOO long and risking having it be a source of contamination. So far so good! 😉
Friday 8th of July 2022
Interesting article! We also have the Acuva, and it is great. Thanks!
Sunday 10th of July 2022
Thanks, Pat! Bottoms up!