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Hard Water

We had our first RV encounter with hard water in New Mexico in 2004.
We regret having put hard water into our water tanks: fresh and hot. 
There was Reverse Osmosis water at the RV park, but only in gallon bottles.
It took several tank flushings with vinegar water to get the carbonate out of the fresh water tank.
It also took several cleanings of the water screen upstream of the water pump to get it cleaned.

The standard, expensive ($350) solution is to install a RO (Reverse Osmosis) system in the RV.

There is, however, a low-cost solution for RVers:

A $20 filter cartridge used    s l o w l y   (about 0.5 gallon per minute) refill the freshwater tank once or twice
You must use it slowly to get the full filtering affect.
If you put the water thru the filter at full pressure, say 2 gallons per minute) it will not be fully filtered  added Jun 2008.
This soft water costs about 50 cents per day, but eliminates the rotting of the RV water system. It even removed the sulfur flavor from the water.

RV Water Filter Store Special Cartridges for Std Canisters

2- Water deionization DI process explained

http://www.water-filters-purifiers-softeners.com/a/ppf/id/1170/155320+WS-20/shopexd.asp

We also replaced the hot water heater anode (50% consumed) and washed out the heater.
     Apparently the major reason for hot water heater failure in 4-7 years is hard water.

Bought test kit for water hardness Jan 2005 - similar to litmus paper.
www.instawares.com $17 including shipping

Click on map of Hard Water in the US