RV Water Filter ESSENTIAL RV Water Filter System
The Essential whole RV water filter system is a quality, robust system. It does a great job at removing sediment, cysts, chlorine taste and water, chemicals, and hard metals like lead and mercury.
Whether you are camping, on an adventure, or on a remote, off-the-grid exploration in your RV, making sure you have access to clean and fresh drinking water is important. However, the quality of water you get as you travel about tends to vary from one campground to another. It’s entirely possible that you’ll encounter low-quality and contaminated water more frequently in your travels, especially if you are a full-time RVer.
For this reason, installing a water filtration unit in your RV is essential whether you are a part-timer or full-time RVer. An RV water filter will eliminate sediment and harmful contaminants from your water supply allowing you to have clean, safe drinking water whenever you want. It also saves you lots of money that you would otherwise spend on expensive and wasteful bottled water.
A whole RV water filtration system is the best option because, like a whole house filter system, it will filter all the water entering your RV fresh water tank, unlike partial filtration systems (such as under sink and countertop water filter systems) that only treat some of the water, like either for drinking or cooking.
In this article, we’ll look at the Essential whole RV water filter system, a 2-stage RV water filter system from RV Water Filter Store which is an American company that has been producing RV water filter systems for over 20 years now (since 1992).
It’s their best-selling system and this is mainly due to its effective filtration media, great build quality, and ease of use. Many people seem impressed with its overall performance and we also had a chance to test it, so today we’ll share our views about it as well as what other users think about it so that you get to know what you can expect from it. Let’s jump right into the review.
The Essential whole RV water filter system utilizes two filtration stages that comprise a sediment filter and a modified carbon block filter. Despite having just these two filtration media, the unit is highly effective at removing different kinds of contaminants from the water and even performs much better than similar 2-stage RV filtration systems from other brands in the market.
The sediment filter makes the first stage of filtration and it does a great job of removing sediments and other non-dissolved solids from the water. It’s able to trap all sediments down to 1 micron which clears out even the smallest particles including silt, sand, and dirt.
The modified carbon block filter takes up the second stage. It’s a special carbon block filter that is manufactured using RV Water Filter Store’s proprietary Fibredyne technology that involves attaching powdered activated carbon plus lead adsorbent material onto a synthetic fiber matrix that’s cellulose-free. This creates a unique carbon block filter media that have higher contaminant reduction efficiency than standard/traditional carbon block media.
It offers two times the chlorine taste and odor reduction compared to standard carbon filters. It clears out nearly all the chlorine taste and odor from the water as well as other chemical contaminants including pesticides and volatile organic compounds.
Although it has no KDF, the addition of the lead absorbing material in this media also gives it some KDF filter properties as it’s able to effectively reduce mercury and lead (through 2000 gallons) from the water.
The media as well as a 0.5-micron rating and as such, it’s able to trap up to 99.95% of Cryptosporidium and Giardia cysts, which are one of the most common pathogens found in water in the US. Standard KDF/GAC filters are not able to remove cysts.
Moreover, while it’s not bacteriostatic like KDF, this modified carbon filter is not prone to stagnation – the synthetic fibers help minimize bacteria growth, so there’s no bacteria development within the cartridge or canister.
Generally, this is an effective RV filtration system that’s capable of delivering safe and clean drinking water. It’s vastly superior to standard two-stage water filters in the market. We actually noted a significant difference in the taste of the water and many other users also reported noticing the same difference. Our water was fresh and tasted cleaner, and even looked clearer.
You should keep in mind though that this doesn’t filter out bacteria, viruses, or protozoa as the pores (0.5 microns in size) are a bit large. It can only effectively remove cysts, so if you suspect that your water supply has microbial contamination (salmonella, E. coli, or other pathogenic bacteria), then you’ll need to get an RO system or UV filter to get rid of them.
Like many other users, we didn’t experience any drop in water pressure after installing this filter system or even at any time when it was in use. The mixture of powdered activated carbon and synthetic fibers improves the flow compared to solid carbon block filters. The system is able to generate around 5 to 6 gallons of filtered water per minute at 60 PSI which is better than a CBC-KDF filter system.
You can basically expect no compromise in the water pressure if you usually connect your RV to a water source that comes through a garden hose. You’ll get generous water flow throughout the RV.
Design and Build Quality
The whole filter system is made with mostly quality materials. It feels very solid and durable. The mounting bracket into which the canisters screw is a robust metal and the canisters themselves equally feel very sturdy. They are made of thick, rugged plastic that’s meant to withstand outdoor conditions.
The hose fittings are also heavy-duty and made of lead-free brass. They are more durable than plastic fittings and much more suited for outdoor conditions. The fact that they are metal was a big advantage as the connection remained always secure once you tighten them. We didn’t experience or find any reports of the hoses leaking or causing any sort of issue.
However, a few users did mention noticing a slight blemish on one of their canisters’ threads on one side but it wasn’t a serious problem as they reported it still installed and worked great.
In terms of size, the whole unit is quite compact, measuring just 12 x 6 x 15 inches. It doesn’t take up much space which makes it perfect for any RV or tiny home setup. It’s not heavy either – it weighs just slightly over 6 pounds.
Parts and Assembly
The Essential whole RV water filter system assembles easily. It comes professionally packaged to prevent any of the parts from getting damaged during shipping. Upon opening it we were very pleased to see that there were only a few parts that needed assembling.
The unit is an inline water filter system hence it hooks to an outside water source at a campground and your RV’s main water entry point so that it can filter every drop of water supply entering the vehicle and into your freshwater tank.
The assembly includes just three main parts, two cartridges, two canisters for the cartridges, and the base/bracket into which the canisters screw. The process is pretty simple.
You first install the o-rings in the canisters – on the interior ledge of each canister (they don’t need any additional lubrication). Once the o-rings are in place, the next step is to insert the respective filters.
You first insert the RV-SED1 filter into the center of one of the canisters (with the gasket right at the top) and then screw the filter into the base/bracket (at the water input point) until hand tight – you need to screw in the canister by hand in order to prevent cross-threading.
Once the sediment filter is in place, you just repeat the same process to install the modified carbon filter and canister on the second slot. You ensure the or-ring sits correctly inside the remaining canister and then insert the F1PB modified carbon block filter cartridge into it (in the center) and screw the canister into the base until tight.
When both canisters are attached to the base, you use the provided wrench to tighten them again to ensure a secured connection and prevent leaks. With the unit properly assembled, the next thing is to attach it to the external water source, and to do this you’ll need two hoses.
The unit comes with ¾” garden hose fittings for the inlet and outlet hose connections – the ports on the heads are actually ¾” NPT pipe thread, so you can use typical garden hoses (the inlet is female and the outlet is male).
One of the hoses connects to the external water source and the inlet/female fitting on the canister assembly while the other connects to the outlet fitting on the other side and then to your RV. You have to flush the filters first before connecting the loose end of the second hose to your RV. You turn on the water source and let the water flow through the system for some time like say 10 minutes (the exact time isn’t actually specified in the instructions).
Once the flush is complete, you complete the connection by turning off the water source and then attaching the loose end of the second hose to your RV. From there, you just turn your water source back on in order to pressurize the system and then check for leaks.
The process is basically very simple which makes setting up the system a breeze, even for beginners. From start to finish, it took roughly 15 minutes including the 10-minute flush. No additional tools are required apart from the canister wrench.
The instruction manual is relatively clear although the part on where to place the o-rings isn’t really explicit because I had to get two new o-rings as I had placed them in the wrong position and stretched them.
The unit also leaked a little between the canisters, but after retightening them the leaks stopped. There were a few users who as well reported experiencing leaks on their hose attachments. It’s not really a widespread problem and we equally didn’t have such an issue but even so, you may need to get a white water thread tape to help stop the leaks in case your hose connections might not be that tight or secured.
The unit sits on the ground. There’s no base or anything to hold it which makes it a real pain to deal with as it kept tipping over every time. However, the company sells a metal blue cage that serves as housing for the whole system such that it can stand up on the ground outside without ever falling. It‘s the perfect solution, but if you have external RV storage, then it’s even much better as you can just mount and conceal the unit within a compartment.
Care and Maintenance
This RV Water Filter Store’s system is able to clean up to 100,000 gallons of water, more than other regular 2-stage filters. You’ll be able to use the filters on the road longer and with fewer replacements, although this will mainly depend on the number of contaminants in the water you’ll be filtering as well as the number of gallons. If it’s very pure water and you don’t travel out a lot, they might last you a year when using them full-time when you are on the road.
However, if you are on the road a lot and often filter very bad water that contains lots of sediment and minerals or chemicals, then you are likely to only get 3 months of use.
Generally, the average lifespan you can get from the sediment filter is about 3 months if the level of sediment in the water is relatively high while for the carbon filter, it can last about 6 months – there’s basically a wide variation depending on the quality of the source water.
The other parts of the system are quite robust and can last a decade or even more with outside use. The only time you can’t use them is during freezing temperatures as the canisters can burst just like water pipes. Basically, the more you keep them out of extreme temperatures and direct sunlight the better.
The system is able to work in any orientation because both filters are solid, not granulated, so even if you place it on the blue cage and it tips over, it will still continue filtering the water without skipping a beat. The unit doesn’t need a lot of cleaning either. A simple wiping of the canisters with a soft cloth dipped in warm soapy water will get rid of any dust or dirt.
Storing the filters when not in use is equally easy. You just dump out the water inside the canisters and then allow the filters to dry upon which you put them back into the canisters for use later when you are on the road again. If you’ll be out in freezing weather, you dry the filters and then store them in a freezer bag and place it in a non-freezing room. You don’t have to seal it but you have to ensure the filters are free of dust and dirt.
The package includes the two filter cartridges, two 10 x 2.5 inches canisters with hose fittings, the base where the canisters screw in, and one canister wrench.
The Essential whole RV water filter system is a quality, robust system. It does a great job at removing sediment, cysts, chlorine taste and water, chemicals, and hard metals like lead and mercury. Its filtration performance is far much better than the standard two-stage RV filters available in the market. You get clean water that’s fresh and free of any chemical or metallic taste.
It’s generally a suitable option if you are looking for a whole RV filter system for filtering water that has no microbial contaminants like bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. You can still use it in conjunction with an RO or UV system as a pre-filter in case you suspect your water has microbial contaminants. It’s a versatile inline filter system that you can use on your RV, boat, houseboat, or even at home.
We found it typically easy to install and it doesn’t require tons of maintenance. Moreover, many people were very pleased with the customer service provided by the company. Most reported that once you contact them, they respond fast and answer all questions no matter how detailed, plus they also offer replacement parts in case you get a defective one.
Things we like
- Offers impressive filtration capability with 2-stage filter
- Has the ability to remove unpleasant odors and tastes
- Can get rid of almost all heavy metals, chlorine and sediments
- Made of heavy-duty and durable construction
- Installation and replacement is pretty simple
- Stable water flow with a maximum operating pressure rating of 75 psi
- Comes with affordable price and fast customer service
Things we don't like
- Unable to remove bacteria, viruses larger than 0.5 microns
- Some customers have experienced leaks on hose attachments
- No base to keep the device steady
Historical Price Chart
This is one-year-history price chart of the RV Water Filter ESSENTIAL Water Filter.
Note: This price chart is provided for reference purpose only.