Jerry Work
September 25, 2022

Modernizing Your Bus Conversion’s Water System (Part 2 of 3)

Editor’s Note:  In the first part of his article, Jerry recommended starting with a new freshwater hose because of the harmful bacteria and viruses that could be in our existing freshwater system in our bus. Part 2 of this article will discuss filter systems that will remove any harmful bacteria and other bad things that may try to enter our buses’ water system. 

From this point forward you want to have all water coming from any hose bib flow first into one of the 3-stage filtration systems featured here, then optionally into a water softener (for the times you travel in hard water areas), and from there into your bus conversions fresh water tank.

As noted in the prior article, I can recommend a couple of 3-stage filtration systems.  The first one, optimized for small size, lightweight, and compact storage is sold by BluTec and is available from the BluTec website, the MobileMustHave website, and Amazon.  It features solid stainless-steel construction (frame, filter canisters, fittings, quick disconnects, braided stainless steel inter-connect hoses) and uses 5” long filters.  

Three housing types are available.  I selected the one from MobileMustHave that is open with square tube legs that can either be hung on a wall or left free-standing because it is narrow enough to mount inside my water bay while allowing the bay door to close without hitting it.  The other two available housings are wider and would not fit inside my water bay, but they may fit inside yours.

With the BluTec filter set mounted in the water bay, a 25-foot braided stainless-steel hose runs from the inlet side of the 3-stage water filter set down through a port in the floor and out to the pressure regulator screwed to the hose bib.  If we are traveling where the water is soft enough not to require the water softener, a braided stainless-steel hose with quick disconnects runs from the outlet side of the 3-stage filter set through a water meter (so I can keep track of how much water has passed through the filters) and then connects directly to the plumbing lines in my coach.  

A water meter keeps track of how many gallons of water have passed through my Water Softener.
Adjustable pressure regulator.

When we are in hard water areas (like we are at our winter home RV Resort in Arizona), the outlet from the water filter set quick-connects to a hose running through that floor port and out to the inlet side of the water softener.  The outlet side of the water softener quickly connects to the line running to the plumbing lines in my coach.  

When the water softener is in use there are three braided stainless-steel hoses running through the floor port since you want the water going into the water softener to have already passed through all three filters.  When the water softener is not in use, it stores in a nearby storage bay held to a bulkhead wall by Velcro straps and only the hose bib connected inlet line goes through the floor port.

Braided water hose with stainless steel quick-connect fittings on each end.

The other recommended 3-stage filter is made by Clearsource and it is available directly from Clearsource itself, from several RV supply houses, and from Amazon. It uses 10” long filters so it is significantly larger, taller, and heavier, optimized for longer filter life, and higher water flow rates, and claims superior filtration technology than BluTec offers.  

Larger Clearsource filter system alongside BluTec smaller more compact filter system.

This unit is too wide to mount inside my water bay so sits on the ground just outside.  While the filters are twice the size of the BluTec filters, the Clearsource filter housing uses much larger filter canisters and spaces them further apart, so the 3-stage filter system is easily three times the size of the BluTec unit.  The picture at the beginning of this article shows the difference so be sure you have room to store the Clearsource unit before making that choice.

My total water filter and softening hookup.
The BluTec Water Softener sits outside my water bay.

Clearsource also offers a really slick insulated and heated case to protect these filters from the elements and from freezing.  That case also makes it way easier to lug around the heavy Clearsource filter set that weighs 30 pounds dry (much more than that full of water) and is 25” wide, 9” front to back, and 18” tall. 

The BluTec filter unit is small enough and light enough even full of water for you to easily move it around or store it without any case.  And the stainless-steel construction is largely immune to the elements.  It can freeze in cold weather, damaging it, so either mount it inside like I do, insulate it, or heat it for winter use.

With either filter set, the inlet water hose mounts to the inlet side of the filter set and runs over to the hose bib and water pressure regulator.  The outlet side connects directly to your RV water plumbing or optionally to the inlet side of a water softener if you are in a hard water area.  More on that in Part 3 of this article.

Both units seem to do a great job of cleaning up even dirty or contaminated water.  Both say you can draw water right out of a lake or stream and, after flowing through their three-filter set, the water would be drinkable.  I don’t intend to do that, but it is reassuring knowing that if it can clean up lake or stream water to drinking standards it surely will clean up any hose bib water no matter what the source.  

As mentioned above, the Clearsource unit claims superior filtration of really small particles over what they claim the BluTec unit can achieve.  They show a clever video (see below) using ink that they say has particles smaller than common water contaminants.  Flowing through their 3-stage filter, the water coming out is clear of those ink particles.  

When the same ink water is passed through the BluTec three-stage filter, they say the ink particles pass right through and the outlet water still looks dark.  BluTec says their raw water filter will do something similar.  For use in cleaning up potable water from a hose bib, I think both will do an admirable job and will be far better than whatever you have been using in your RV. 

You can watch the Clearsource video here. 

Editor’s Note:  In the third and final installment of this article series Jerry teaches us about the process of water softening and the things you should avoid when setting up your water filters. 

Article written by Jerry Work

Jerry Work spent his professional career in technology management, first as the founder and CEO of two moderate-sized computer software companies and then as the Associate Laboratory Director for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), one of the DOE multi-program laboratories. At PNNL, in addition to overall Laboratory management, he oversaw the laboratory’s work in the energy, transportation, medical and information technologies.

After retirement, he and his wife Sharon purchased a Beaver Patriot motorhome and began a cold turkey four years of full-timing which they enjoyed greatly. They then purchased a 1907 former Masonic Temple in rural Southern Oregon, restored the building and remodeled it into his studio and gallery on the first floor and living quarters on the second floor. There he designs and handcrafts fine furniture. He is well known for his many articles and tutorials about how to get the most from Festool and other-high end woodworking products.

They purchased the first of what became two fully restored GMC motorhomes, those iconic and swoopy front-wheel drive units from the 1970’s. They found the second of their two GMC’s in an air-conditioned building in Naples, FL, with just 11,000 miles on the clock following a ground-up restoration in 1984. Both of those motorhomes found their way from Mexico to Alaska and from the West to the East coast. He wrote extensively about his experiences with GMC’s and gave many a presentation at GMC club events over the years.

A few years ago they decided to go back out on the road again for longer periods of time than they could support in the GMC motorhomes so purchased a low mileage 1997 40 foot Country Coach Prevost bus conversion which is now home for more than six months out of the year. Visitors always welcome no matter where in their travels is their motto.

You can reach Jerry Work by email at:

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