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Old 07-08-2016, 07:26 AM   #1
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Has anyone added whole-house reverse osmosis to the Melbourne?

Wife and I are about to begin new ventures as we ready to purchase a class-c Sprinter, lease our home, and drive into a year of travel as we search for a new homestead. While we feel confident about our class-c MB Sprinter decision, we have not yet decided which make. We are persuaded toward a 2016/17 single slide unit with the diner, closet, and queen bed on the port side. However, I wish to add a few things to the motorhome which I believe will greatly enhance our boondocking comfort. While most of the things I wish to add are quiet simple, three items concern me because of available space or necessary coach modification, these are: 1) 300 watts roof-mount photo-voltaic, 2) whole-house reverse osmosis for freshwater, and 3) shore AC power surge protection.

Here I would like ask if anyone has added whole-house reverse osmosis to their class-c Sprinter? If so, how did you accomplish this and where did you install the filters? Any suggestions about how to best proceed?
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Old 07-08-2016, 08:02 AM   #2
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Whole house RO? Isn't that a bit much?


I could see doing it for drinking water at the kitchen sink with a sediment/taste/odor filer for the whole RV.
You'll be working the pump pretty hard to deliver enough water for a shower.
And you'll need a path for the wastewater.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:06 AM   #3
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Thank you for the comment. I suppose I should have clarified my question. I understand how RO systems work and the various economy ratios associated with booster pumps, filter configuration, tank fill time, and brine waste. I have read many discussions debating the pro and con of doing whole house installs it is a very active debate with many points on both sides. I apologize for starting that debate here that was not my intent. Rather, I was hoping to focus on the ability or inability to accomplish a neat and tidy physical install into a Sprinter class-c.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:15 AM   #4
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boondocking and RO systems don't really work well in my opinion,
-you waste water (could always try to use that water for toilet)
-takes a lot of work/power from the water pump (making a gallon of water might make the pump work for an hour)
-takes a lot of room under the sink/cabinet


I would just install a carbon filter and DI filter
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FollowTheSun View Post
Thank you for the comment. I suppose I should have clarified my question. I understand how RO systems work and the various economy ratios associated with booster pumps, filter configuration, tank fill time, and brine waste. I have read many discussions debating the pro and con of doing whole house installs it is a very active debate with many points on both sides. I apologize for starting that debate here that was not my intent. Rather, I was hoping to focus on the ability or inability to accomplish a neat and tidy physical install into a Sprinter class-c.
No offense. No debate.

RO is just too inefficient for portable applications.

Pick up a human-powered RO drinking water kit at a backpacking supply store. Then try it out.

Since potable water is plentiful in North America. And drinking water is even more widely available (though rather expensive), why waste precious battery power on RO filtration.

We boondock for up to 5 days at a time. The FW tank is filled near where we camp and I chlorinate the water to keep it safe for washing. I bring five 1 gallon bottles of drinking water that are filled at home. I refill the drinking water from known safe sources if needed.
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mike837go View Post
RO is just too inefficient for portable applications.
Pick up a human-powered RO drinking water kit at a backpacking supply store. Then try it out.
Since potable water is plentiful in North America. And drinking water is even more widely available (though rather expensive), why waste precious battery power on RO filtration.
We boondock for up to 5 days at a time. The FW tank is filled near where we camp and I chlorinate the water to keep it safe for washing. I bring five 1 gallon bottles of drinking water that are filled at home. I refill the drinking water from known safe sources if needed.
I really appreciate everybody's help with this discussion. Although I am inexperienced with motorhome living, I do have some experience camping and using RO. I actually use a portable battery-powered (booster pump) RO system on my mountain property, with both particle and carbon pre-filtering because of turbidity, mineral content and high pH. At this camp, using three 150 gpd RO filters, I can fill a 50 gallons reserve tank from spring water in about 4 hours. At this property I am not concerned about the 100-gallon brine dump because I let it flow back into the stream. Although high magnesium content makes the water taste sweet (over consumption will cause diarrhea), I use Kirk's soap for bathing because the high pH and mineral prevent other soaps from sudsing. The RO removes the mineral and reduces the pH significantly.
However, I didn't really want to get into the specific design details or the merit argument, as the initial concern is whether there is even space for such system in a Sprinter coach. No RO can be installed if there is no space for it. I suspect there is room, but thought to ask here about that.
The system design I am considering for my motorhome is a modification of a system I previously assembled and use successfully. It would include two stage pre-filtering, a booster pump, and two 150 gpd RO membranes. Total operational system weight will be about 30 pounds, 5 pounds of which is already in the coach. This system, when in use, will produces about 13 gallons of fresh water / 22 gallons brine water per hour. The RO system weighs about 15 pounds more than alternative ideas, such as using only a two stage pre-filter. However the RO system weighs about five pounds less than a two-stage system with a portable water softer. Another alternative is to carry bottled water for drinking and cooking, but this idea truly adds a lot of extra weight and seriously impairs otherwise needed storage space. The plumbing design I hope to install allows me to bypass the RO membrane when filling with good shore water, and use the membranes when filling with not-so-good water. In my case, I don't see the RO weight as a deciding issue for installing or not. In fact, I think overall, adding RO will reduce my travel/camp weight by eliminating the need for other water, such as bottled.
The deciding issue of me, is determining if there is a safe place to install the components without degrading other useful storage space, while understanding that periodic filter access is necessary. Portable systems are not conducive to this scheme because they must be stored in otherwise valuable storage space and be protected against damage. Excess brine production remains a concern which requires continued study.
Although an RO system could be used to filter stream/lake water, doing so would probably add an additional pump, hose and another particle filter. I also think adding such water while boondocking is impractical for several other reasons, such as waste tank management. I do, however, think this concept would make a fascinating study, and the discussion would probably produce many useful ideas. But that discussion is far more complicated than my initial question.
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