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Water Softener - Is it needed?


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Oliver Owners,

It was mentioned to us when picking up our Oliver that we might want to consider purchasing a portable water softener for use with the trailer.   We arrived on pickup day with a water filter but never considered the need for a water softener before.  Not sure if others on this forum have had issues with hard water  but our orientation rep indicated that they had several trailers in the shop for decalcification while we were there.    Upon returning home I purchased an inexpensive kit to measure the hardness of our water here at home and was surprised to find we were on the upper end of the scale.   Hence, we went ahead and purchased a portable water softener to use while traveling.   I have listed what we purchased below but there are several other options out there to consider.   We have found it easy to use, simple to regenerate with table salt, hooks inline easily when attaching the trailer to a water supply and have even used it when washing the trailer to reduce water spotting.   Something you might want to consider if you find yourself frequently hooking up to hard water supplies at the campgrounds you visit.   

 

image.png.0b6487ea6ab4b92f4604ae12b9dfa8e9.png On The Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener

 

Please note that when you use a water softener, a little bit of soap goes a long way when washing hands, hair, dishes, etc.   

Edited by QuestionMark
typo
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2020 Oliver Legacy Elite I  *  Hull #664

Located SE Texas Region

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I know that the Lonestar Oliver has a water softener/filter system and I'm certain that there are several others too.

Yours looks like a good small unit.

Bill

Edited by topgun2
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We've never had one, but others have found great benefits.

We load our trailer with collected rainwater, when we leave home. So, no softener needed there. 

Along the way, we are picky about where we take on water. We also primarily work from the tank, not city connections.  

I think if we traveled more out west, I'd look at a softener.  Yours looks good .

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2 hours ago, topgun2 said:

I know that the Lonestar Oliver has a water softener/filter system and I'm certain that there are several others too.

Yours looks like a good small unit.

Bill

Bill is correct, we’ve been using a water softener for several years.  We originally bought a 16K grain from ABCWaters on Amazon.  I have since downsized to a 3.2K grain softener, also from ABCWaters.  The small one is lightweight and fits nicely in the basement standing up.  I kept the 16K grain softener to wash cars and to wash the Oliver.  We have softened water at home, so it is nice to have the same in the trailer.  The small one stays charged for a long trip (4-6 weeks) and is easily recharged with at container of Morton table salt.  Amazon has a decent selection of portable softeners.  I wouldn’t go bigger than 8K grain, they tend to get heavy!  Mike

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  • 9 months later...

I too have this question about the need (or not) for a water softener in an Oliver and am somewhat surprised at the overall lack of discussion on the topic. We recently got a whole house water softener and already see the benefits on our skin. Presumably it will help maintain our home plumbing and appliances as well. Could a few more Ollie owners please chime in on whether or not a small water softener is worth the few hundred dollars or not? Trying to be properly prepared before we take delivery. For the record, we do intend to travel quite a bit out west where the water is known to be particularly hard. Has anyone had plumbing issues with the Oliver and wish in hindsight they had used a softener? Or is it a hassle that's not really worth it? Thank you.

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I don’t see the need for one for the trailer, I treat the system with 50/50 mix of vinegar every few years. All the taps remain free flowing and clean. I do wipe down the sinks after they get wet to prevent spotting.

I had one at my last house and enjoyed it, I would like to self-install one in this one. I had the builder rough in the plumbing there and also install a 120 outlet close by. I hate spots on the cars. Can anyone recommend a good brand/ model for a household of two adults? Thanks.

John Davies
Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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My Ollie is primarily used out west.  Over the previous 3 summer seasons, the water flow from the faucets had steadily decreased.  I checked all fittings for air intake leakage (Pump Cavitation) and water loss, water pump screen, and even inspected the pump impeller  pump head.  The impact of using well and spring water was the obvious source of my self-inflicted water flow problem.  When the boondock draw rate for a 5-gallon container time increased to over 7 minutes, I knew that I had waited a bit too long to effectively address the issue. 

So at the beginning of my 2021 Summer Tour, I purchased two large Costco jugs of Vinegar and executed the OTT recommended decalcification process.  With some modifications, it worked very well.  Basically, our faucets/showers water flow "grade" went from a "D-" to a "B+".   For MY situation, my waiting three years to de-calcify was too long.  As a short-term solution, I have added the de-calcification process to my required maintenance effort at the beginning of each odd year.  Long term, a water softener is on the horizon.  BTW, they are not cheap....

In the meantime, my future summer improvement priorities for my Ollie are:

A.  Lithium Conversion in 2022  (Thanks to Overland for the tip: "...I see that Battleborn have their standard 100Ah battery on sale for $799 right now, which is the best price I've seen since I bought mine in '17".  I just purchased three of them.  🙂

B.  Houghton Conversion in 2023

C.  Water Softener in 2024

 

 
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   I'm interested in a "portable water softener" for our new Oliver LEII... partly because we have (and like) very soft water at home... and am thinking the Truma Aqua system might be happier with soft water.

  So... any links for portable systems that you have found work and fit inside the Ollie would be appreciated.

 

Hull # 1000 something

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5 hours ago, Geronimo John said:

even inspected the pump impeller.

This is the second mention of an impeller in the fresh water pump in the last 2 weeks.  What kind of pump are you using because my 2017 LE2 OE Shurflo 4008-101-A65 is a diaphragm pump and I have never seen an impeller while servicing it?

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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1 hour ago, mossemi said:

This is the second mention of an impeller in the fresh water pump in the last 2 weeks.  What kind of pump are you using because my 2017 LE2 OE Shurflo 4008-101-A65 is a diaphragm pump and I never seen an impeller while servicing it?

 

 

Mossey:  You are absolutely correct.  Correct term is Pump Head, not impeller.  My error.  Thanks for the correction.

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17 hours ago, Geronimo John said:

Mossey:  You are absolutely correct.  Correct term is Pump Head, not impeller.  My error.  Thanks for the correction.

I wasn’t trying to correct you or JD, I was just confused.  I thought maybe you guys had different pumps than I had.  
Thanks for clearing it up for me,

Mossey

 

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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6 hours ago, Dave and Kimberly said:

   I'm interested in a "portable water softener" for our new Oliver LEII... partly because we have (and like) very soft water at home... and am thinking the Truma Aqua system might be happier with soft water.

  So... any links for portable systems that you have found work and fit inside the Ollie would be appreciated.

 

We’ve been using a water softener with our Oliver for about 4 years.  My post above from Dec 2020 has details.  You can find a selection of portable RV softeners on Amazon, where we got both of ours.  Softened water may not be for everyone, but we’re used to softened water at home and it’s nice to have the same experience while traveling.  Mike

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Thanks Mike!   I'll keep looking for that one.   I did several searches and couldn't find the 3.2k grain ABCWaters...   There were a few others (On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 grain, 22" high) that might fit in the basement?  I'll check with Oliver University and determine the size that will fit and keep looking.   A water softener isn't something I had considered much till I read these posts.   We will be picking our Ollie up on 4/29/22.    

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4 hours ago, Dave and Kimberly said:

Thanks Mike!   I'll keep looking for that one.   I did several searches and couldn't find the 3.2k grain ABCWaters...   There were a few others (On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 grain, 22" high) that might fit in the basement?  I'll check with Oliver University and determine the size that will fit and keep looking.   A water softener isn't something I had considered much till I read these posts.   We will be picking our Ollie up on 4/29/22.    

The 16K grain softener I used for a couple of years did not fit in the basement and it was very heavy.  An 8K grain would be more manageable, although I’m not sure it would fit in the basement.  I checked Amazon and they have our small softener HERE.  It’s lightweight, fits in the basement standing up and lasts an entire 6 to 8 week trip.  It’s easy to recharge with table salt, and only takes 30 minutes or so.  Mike

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1 hour ago, Mike and Carol said:

The 16K grain softener I used for a couple of years did not fit in the basement and it was very heavy.  An 8K grain would be more manageable, although I’m not sure it would fit in the basement.  I checked Amazon and they have our small softener HERE.  It’s lightweight, fits in the basement standing up and lasts an entire 6 to 8 week trip.  It’s easy to recharge with table salt, and only takes 30 minutes or so.  Mike

Thanks for posting the one that has worked well over time.  Some operational questions:

  • Do you use the water softener only when using city water fill?  Or have you plumbed it into the fresh water system.  If so, where did you insert it?  
  • Can this unit be used on our "draft hose" for the boondock water upload port?  Or does it have too much flow restriction to do so?
  • Do you have yours hard-mounted, or simply in storage for water onboarding purposes?
  • How do you winter proof it?

Thanks again,

 

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9 minutes ago, Geronimo John said:

Thanks for posting the one that has worked well over time.  Some operational questions:

  • Do you use the water softener only when using city water fill?  Or have you plumbed it into the fresh water system.  If so, where did you insert it?  
  • Can this unit be used on our "draft hose" for the boondock water upload port?  Or does it have too much flow restriction to do so?
  • Do you have yours hard-mounted, or simply in storage for water onboarding purposes?
  • How do you winter proof it?

Thanks again,

 

When filling our fresh tank at home I use our larger unit.  I also use it when washing the trailer.  When we are out and at a campsite with a water hookup I use our smaller unit when filling the fresh tank.  If we’ve been camping with no hookups and fill at a dump station or other location I use the softener if there isn’t anyone waiting.  If we’re in a hurry I just use a blue Camco filter and fill.  The water softener doesn’t restrict flow in any noticeable way.

I’ve never used the boondock water upload port.

My small unit is stored in the basement when traveling and set up next to our Culligan filter next to the trailer when we have water hookups.

I don’t do anything to winter proof it.  When we had the rare single digit cold snap last winter, I had our trailer in the driveway with lots of heat going, to include the basement where we store our little softener.   Mike

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14 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

The 16K grain softener I used for a couple of years did not fit in the basement and it was very heavy.  An 8K grain would be more manageable, although I’m not sure it would fit in the basement.  I checked Amazon and they have our small softener HERE.  It’s lightweight, fits in the basement standing up and lasts an entire 6 to 8 week trip.  It’s easy to recharge with table salt, and only takes 30 minutes or so.  Mike

   It's ordered!   Thanks again Mike!

 

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On 9/25/2021 at 10:24 AM, John E Davies said:

Can anyone recommend a good brand/ model for a household of two adults?

I am using Culligan installed by previous owner and it seems to work pretty well. I think it's "Culligan High Efficiency 1-Inch Water Softener". It tracks water usage and regens as needed. All I need to do is to add salt once in a while.

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1 hour ago, sak said:

I am using Culligan installed by previous owner and it seems to work pretty well. I think it's "Culligan High Efficiency 1-Inch Water Softener". It tracks water usage and regens as needed. All I need to do is to add salt once in a while.

Sak, that's at your home, not the Ollie, right? 

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5 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

Sak, that's at your home, not the Ollie, right? 

Yes, that is at my house. I think that what JD was asking, for home use, not for trailers. Apologies if I misunderstood.

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Yes, I think that's what jd was asking. We've been talking about both types of softeners, rv and home in this thread. My question was more fore future readers.

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