The water system in a caravan or motorhome does require maintenance and cleaning from time to time. I’ve previously written posts about why a tap may stop working and how to sterilise the water system. In each of those posts, I briefly discuss the different types of water pumps used in caravans and motorhomes. However, in those posts, I didn’t really discuss water filters. Such as the different types of water filter and if you really need them. So caravan and motorhome water filters is the topic of today’s post. Some caravans and motorhomes come with water filtration units built in which just require a change of filter. However, there are also aftermarket and retro water filter kits. You can install these kits into your caravan or motorhome if you want to improve the water quality.
There is a wide range of caravan water filters on the market, but which ones do you need?: Image – Amazon
Caravan water filters are for the benefit of your water pump and for the benefit of the user. In other words, water filters are to stop particles such as small stones/grit and other dirt getting into the pump and causing damage. Water filters are also for users to benefit, by improving the safety and taste of the water.
While I have on occasion discussed caravan water filters with our guests in the past, I also learnt a lot from my own projects. For instance, I’m going to be installing a rainwater harvesting system at my home. Therefore I wanted to explore what it would take to filter and sterilise that water for human consumption. That taught me a lot about filters and some of that knowledge is applicable to the types of water filters fitted to caravans and motorhomes. If you have the time to read this whole post great, if not please use the links in the Table of Contents below to jump to a particular section. Enjoy 🙂
Caravan and Motorhome Water Filters Introduction
Where possible I generally like to start my posts with a ‘good’ video. It saves me the effort of typing 🙂 , secondly its just a much quicker way of absorbing information. In the video below John from Practical Caravan gives a good quick general presentation on the topic of caravan water filters. That will provide you with a good foundation to understand the different types of caravan water filter I’m going to discuss in more detail below:
OnBoard and Submersible Water Pumps/Filters
So as John references in the video there are two types of water pumps fitted to caravan and motorhomes, submersible pumps and onboard (diaphragm) pumps. A submersible water pump literally drops into your Aquaroll. With an onboard diaphragm pump, a pipe goes into your Aquaroll with what would appear to be a small pump, however its actually just a filter. As John states in the video, onboard diaphragm pumps do not want grit to get inside them, it can damage and even tear the rubber diagram. This will lead to a loss of pressure and even potential water leaks.
The Whale Watermaster is a typical example of an onboard diaphragm water pump. Found on some premium caravans and many motorhomes: Image – Amazon
Before you can work out what type of caravan water filter you need/want to buy you first have to work out what type of water pump you have. As John states in the video, most caravans will have a submersible water pump. This will either be made by Truma or Whale. Truma submersible water pumps normally come with the caravan from the factory. However, if your caravan is second hand the previous owner may have swapped to a Whale submersible pump.
Most of our guests with caravans are currently using the Truma Ultraflow submersible water pump: Image – Amazon
There are some caravans with onboard diaphragm pumps, they are generally more powerful/expensive than submersible pumps. Hence, they are normally only found on premium caravans, again unless a previous owner chose to complete an upgrade. Most motorhome water systems feature onboard diagram pumps, the reason being most motorhomes have onboard water tanks.
On-Board Diagraphm Water Filters
So if your caravan or motorhome has an onboard diaphragm water pump such as the Whale Watermaster as seen in the image above you need a particulate water filter. This will be fitted as the end of the flexible water pipe that goes into the Aquaroll. If your caravan or motorhome is fitted with the Whale Watermaster onboard water pump you will need to use the Whale WF3000 Aquasmart Water Filter as see in the image below:
Whale WF3000 Aquasmart Water Filter
If you have an onboard diaphragm Whale Watermaster pump you need to fit the WF3000 water filter on the end of the pipe that goes into your Aquaroll: Image – Amazon
The WF3000 Aquasmart water filter from Whale is whats called a carbon filter. It contains whats called ‘activated carbon’, another way to describe what that actually means is it contains charcoal. Yes, that’s right, the stuff you use on a BBQ. I have an activated carbon filter at home that’s made from coconut husks. I have no idea why, it must make pretty good activated carbon. Anyway, how activated carbon works as a water filter is it contains lots and lots of tiny microscopic pockets. As the water passes through the activated carbon, these pockets capture particulates (dirt) and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). That makes the water safe to drink, taste better and it also keeps the pump happy.
How Long does the Whale WF3000 Aquasmart Water Filter Last?
Well, if we go back to my activated carbon pocket analogy, eventually with enough water passing over the filter and enough contaminates those pockets become full. Hence, the water passes through the water filter, but its not actually doing any filtering. If you have a look again at the image of the Whale WF3000 Aquasmart water filter it states:
“Replace filter after 30 days to ensure fresh tasting water and to avoid pump damage.” – Whale Pumps
Now, its important to read that sentence in context. Its 30 days of use, not just every 30 days. Hence, you’re not going to be purchasing twelve WF3000 water filters a year. Also, the 3000 in WF3000 stands for the number of litres of water the filter can process before its fully saturated with contaminates. Therefore, a brimmed Aquaroll holds 40 litres of water. Hence, the WF3000 water filter can process 75 full Aquarolls of water.
However, trying to keep track of how many full Aqurolls you have used before the filter needs replacing can be a tricky challenge. Therefore, some caravanners just choose to change their WF3000 water filter based on set dates depending on their usage. Its rare that would actually be 30 days unless obviously, you have used the caravan constantly for 30 days. However, even then 75 full Aquarolls over 30 days is 2.5 full Aquarolls a day. On average I would estimate most of our caravanners would use 1 or maybe 2 full Aquarolls a day. However, many of our guests take full advantage of our fully serviced pitches with mains water hook up. So really they have no idea how much water they are using.
Whale WF1530 and WF1230 Aqua Source Carbon Water Filters
So as mentioned previously by John in the video and myself in the text above, onboard diagram pumps are usually fitted to motorhomes. Motorhomes also generally have an onboard water tank. Well, to filter the water coming from that onboard tank Whale also offer the WF1530 and WF1230 Aqua Souce Carbon water filters. They use activated carbon just in the same manner as the WF3000 water filter. However, they have pipe fittings on either end of the water filter. Hence the WF1530 is an ‘inline’ water filter, generally fitted under the tap in the kitchen of your caravan or motorhome.
The WF1530 and WF1230 are inline carbon water filters which are typically fitted under the sink in your caravan or motorhome: Image – Amazon
Now, the WF1530 is suitable for 15mm water pipes, they also have the WF1230 which is suitable for 12mm water pipes. So before you purchase an inline water filter make sure you know what diameter of water pipe you have going to your kitchen tap.
Submersible Pump Water Filters
Many caravans don’t actually have any form of water filtration. Many caravanners don’t drink the water that comes through the taps on their caravan. Its the reason why on our fully serviced pitches I included two taps. One for the permanent water connection to the Aquaroll, and the second tap to fill up drinking water containers. However, some caravans do have a water filter fitted, and its in the form of the Truma Ultraflow as seen in the image below. However, if you don’t have this filter housing currently on your caravan can purchase this housing as a retrofit.
If your caravan is not already fitted with the Truma Ultraflow filter housing you can purchase it as a retrofit: Image – Amazon
I have found a video from Truma on how they advise users to operate and maintain the Truma Ultraflow filter kit. Its very similar to the advice of Whale and their activated carbon filters, with a recommendation of a 30-day replacement schedule. Again, take that with a ‘pinch of salt’ based on your usage.
So what sort of cartridge water filters can you get for the Truma Ultraflow? Well, there is a couple, there are the ‘official’ water filter cartridges from Truma, and there are also some aftermarket cartridges. Its always a bit risky with aftermarket products. Sometimes you get a great product that’s a good value for money, other times it doesn’t fit properly etc.
Official Truma Ultraflow/Crystal II Carbon Filters
Where it can get a little bit confusing is before the Truma Ultraflow housing there was the Crystal II Filter Housing System. Now, if you have the Crystal II filter housing the carbon cartridge water filters are a little different. They do exactly the same job. But you need to make sure you purchase the right water filter cartridges for your caravan. As is often the case, the easiest way to make sure is to remove your current water filter from the caravan and compare it to the images below:
If you have the more modern Truma Ultraflow housing your replacement filter will look like the image above: Image – Amazon
If your caravan is fitted with the older Truma Crystal II filter housing your caravan water filter should look like the image above: Image – Amazon
Filtapac Reusable Water Filter Cartridge
So, with the official Truma water filters fitted into the Truma Crystal filter housing, there is quite a large plastic housing which is also thrown away. Now, that’s not exactly environmentally responsible. So Filtapac started to offer a reusable filter cartridge where you can purchase replacement pouches of activated carbon. The cost of the Filtapac reusable water filter housing is cheaper than the official Truma water filter cartridges. Then from that point forward the replacement activated carbon pouches are significantly cheaper than a new official Truma Crystal II water filter.
If your caravan has the older Truma Crystal II water filter housing you could consider the Filtapac reusable water filter cartridge: Image – Amazon
Now, its important to note, you cannot use this Filtapac replacement water filter cartridge with the newer Truma Ultraflow housing. It does make you wonder if Truma changed from the Crystal II to the Ultraflow as they were losing revenue on filter replacements. Anyway, at some point, I’m sure Filtapac will end up producing their own version of the Ultrafow carbon water filter.
Conclusions on Water Filters for Caravans and Motorhomes
It is important to note that none of the activated carbon water filters referenced above will remove bacteria from the water. Now, in almost all scenarios caravanners and motorhomes are using mains water. Mains water contains a small amount of chlorine (0.5 mg/l or less) as a disinfectant. Therefore, you shouldn’t really be experiencing issues with bacteria. If you were contemplating using water from a none mains water source and you wanted to kill bacteria in the water, besides boiling all the water you would need to fit an inline UV filter. However, every caravanner and motorhome user should have a tub of Puriclean which they use at least once a season to thoroughly clean and sterilise their Aquarol and water system.
I hope you found the above information on caravan water filters useful and you found the information you were looking for. I also hope you consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common in the near future. 🙂
Generally no, unless you are going for some sort of ‘premium’ offering, during caravan servicing the water system and filters will not be changed.
Yes, this is a problem several of our guests have experienced. You can get solid pipe ‘guides’ which the flexible pipe is fed through before it goes into the Aquaroll. Therefore the WF3000 water filter cannot float out of the water to the top of the Aquaroll.
Yes, if you fit a large aftermarket water filter which your water pump was not designed for this can lead to problems with water pressure. Water has to be forced through a filter, hence it creates resistance. Therefore the pump needs to be powerful enough to push the water through the filter. If you do wish to install an aftermarket water filter you do need to be careful that you are no putting too much load on the water pump.