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Old 15-01-2014, 01:26   #1
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To filter or Not to filter...

Howdy cruisers!

Quick question for the willing:

I'm revamping my entire fresh water system from the tanks to the fixtures.

I've read some differing opinions on this forum regarding filtering the water from my new stainless tanks.

Since I'm re-plumbing everything, I have the opportunity to install a water filter somewhere in the line. I'm interested in the simple, non-UV, no need for reverse osmosis - and I don't want to waste the power on it.

West marine has one for 30 bucks, home depot for 20, on up to 500 if you want to spend it.

1) By default shouldn't every boat just have a filter between the tank lift tube and the main water pump - thereby helping to keep all your fixtures in clean water?

2) If not the above approach, then I would just install one filter on the circuit that will have a foot pump of fresh into the galley sink and the ice maker tee-ed in as well. Will that idea work?

Finally, it seems that many of you operate without the filter for a variety of reasons. The most concerning is due to filter contamination from lack of use, winterizing, etc. I'm not trying to drink solely from my tanks, I prefer bottled. But, I am installing a watermaker, will be offshore sailing, and like ice in my cocktails.

So, the better the better; and if a filter will get me there and you know how it works - I'm here for the benefit!

Thanks all and happy sailing
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Old 15-01-2014, 03:33   #2
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

Its all personal preference. I don't use filters, and my 30 year old fibreglass tanks still provide me with clean water.
The tap water in Australia is perfectly fine for drinking without filtration. The tanks are sealed, other than the vent, so the water doesn't get contaminated from just sitting there. IMO its only the message that is pushed by filter manufacturers and bottled water companies that convince people to avoid tap water. Amazing how they can take something that is free and make a buck out of it.

If I was cruising in developing countries with non drinkable water, a filter isn't going to make it drinkable anyway.
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Old 15-01-2014, 03:46   #3
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

Filtering water from your tanks, at the least to your galley sink, is a very wise decision in my opinion. A pristine water tank is almost non existent on most boats. I agree that a fresh water RO system is not only a waste of energy but a huge a waste of water. Water filtration systems are fairly inexpensive and do not have to be "Marine" grade. You are, after all, simply filtering fresh water. Home Depot, Lowes etc. have perfectly reasonable systems that will work fine. I like the GE filtration systems that simply have twist on filters using a separate faucet. You can get all different levels of filtration with these. It takes all of 20 seconds to twist one off and twist a new one on each season.
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Old 15-01-2014, 03:52   #4
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

Hi, Marpessa

There is really no single answer for Your question.
It depends heavily on Your intended cruising area.
For example there are lot of places, where the perfectly drinkable water is in use, but it is or springwater, or sometime mountain creekwater, just UV treated. It has a high mineral content, and causes - sometime quite quickly - a mineral built-up in the system. Not good for taps, appliances, pumps, freshwater heads and so on.
For this a filtration system is good thing, but should include the quite fine, and very easy accesible and serviceable, mechanical pre-filter fitted between the deck intake and tank, just to keep out the bigger particles. It is slowing the proces of filling the tanks consiederably, but it is worthy to slow down any possible mineral built-up in the tanks.

Best regards

Tomasz
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Old 15-01-2014, 03:54   #5
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
Filtering water from your tanks, at the least to your galley sink, is a very wise decision in my opinion. A pristine water tank is almost non existent on most boats. I agree that a fresh water RO system is not only a waste of energy but a huge a waste of water. Water filtration systems are fairly inexpensive and do not have to be "Marine" grade. You are, after all, simply filtering fresh water. Home Depot, Lowes etc. have perfectly reasonable systems that will work fine. I like the GE filtration systems that simply have twist on filters using a separate faucet. You can get all different levels of filtration with these. It takes all of 20 seconds to twist one off and twist a new one on each season.

+1 on this
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Old 15-01-2014, 04:10   #6
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

Filters aren't going to reduce the calcium, magnesium and other minerals that cause buildup in pipes. You'll need a water softener for that.
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Old 15-01-2014, 04:24   #7
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

I added a Culligan inline water filter to one designated tap... we use that water for making coffee or pasta and rice. We drink from a separate bottle which is filtered water we bring aboard. Our water tanks are 28 yrs old and get some chlorox each spring, but the water is only used for cleaning and showering. It looks and smells fine. I simply don't trust it.
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Old 15-01-2014, 05:03   #8
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

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Filters aren't going to reduce the calcium, magnesium and other minerals that cause buildup in pipes. You'll need a water softener for that.
Yes, You are right, and in some areas water softaner is not a bad idea. I thought not solution, but thin residue rather - like quartz. Quite often a problem in eastern Med for example. With calcium dissolved in water leads to rapid, strong and hard buildup. Generally it is advisable to have a mechanical filter before the softener in the installation.
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Old 15-01-2014, 05:25   #9
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

I would not rule out a UV filter, simply as a precaution. You can turn it on when you are drawing drinking water if you are worried about the power consumption. An activated charcoal filter will get most of the bad stuff. I have a cartridge filter on my pipes that does clog, it is under the cabin sole making it a pain to get to, I am going to move it and reengineer with a UV added in. Before all that, I am renewing all the piping, and applying an intense amount of chorine, and then flushing continously for a long time to make sure I've gotten everything out of the tanks, that I don't like.
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Old 15-01-2014, 05:38   #10
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

Before we left for the eastern Caribbean, I installed two filters. One was an RV type filter like the GE mentioned earlier. I used the cheapest filters, with no activated carbon. It was located between the tank and the freshwater pump, and it's purpose was to simply remove any particulates. The second filter was a Seagull filter. It was pricey, but it is EPA certified to remove organic compounds as well as water-borne organisms that can cause disease. It was located at the galley faucet, and we used it for any water that we actually ingested. We never had any tummy-trouble with that setup, and frankly some of the water we took on was from possibly dicey sources (rainwater from rooftops, for example).

If you cruise exclusively where the water is trustworthy, I'd go with the canister (GE-type) filter alone, but use a filter with activated charcoal to remove tastes and smells (chlorine and organics), as well as particulates. Note: they will not remove any biological organisms.
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Old 15-01-2014, 05:48   #11
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

Rain water is mostly pure, and if I catch it on my boat, I don't worry about micro organisms. I am far more concerned with water coming from the land side of things. I remember when you could just go by the taste of the water. Some of the worst water we got was from San Diego. I like the Seagull filter idea, thanks, I'll be looking into that one. Friends of mine that traveled extensively in Mexico and south America, kept a bottle of Tabasco sauce on them and put some on their food and in the water where ever they went, they claimed it killed anything that might harm you. I don't know about that, but it makes a good story.
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Old 15-01-2014, 08:46   #12
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marpessa View Post
----

I'm interested in the simple, non-UV, no need for reverse osmosis - and I don't want to waste the power on it.----

----But, I am installing a watermaker, will be offshore sailing, and like ice in my cocktails. ----
If you 're installing a water maker then you're installing reverse osmosis.
Seems like all you'd need would be a simple charcoal filter for drinking water.
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Old 15-01-2014, 09:05   #13
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

I installed a 3M filter in our boat. I don't recall if it was before or after the pump, but it filters all faucets in the boat. It is the WV-B2 and is specifically made/marketed for RV/Marine applications. Even with good water available, we still get mold that grows in our tanks.

They claim:
99.99% of common water-borne bacteria, mold pores, algae, and parasitic protozoan cysts
Chlorine taste & odor
Sediment including dirt, rust, sand & silt


A little over $200 and our water tastes like bottled. I don't know that I want to test the bacteria and cyst removal in a developing country, but I like it.

Here is a link to the data sheet: 3M Filters
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Old 15-01-2014, 09:37   #14
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

I'd advise a 1 micron filter with charcoal for your drinking and cooking water. The Seagull worked well for us.
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Old 15-01-2014, 09:42   #15
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Re: To filter or Not to filter...

I installed a fresh water filter between the foot pump and its separate faucet at my galley sink. I first tried filtering the pressurized water going to the main tap but if you have a good quality filter that gets most of the nasty stuff out, it decreases the flow rate to the point where I found it annoying. Besides, I didn't think it was that important to wash dishes in filtered water. So, I moved the filter to the faucet supplied by the foot pump so you have to pump your own drinking water or water used for cooking. Once again, the flow rate was decreased, but since you're usually only using less than about a quart at a time, I thought it was a better solution than filtering all the water would have been. Another benefit was that since I'm filtering only drinking water, which is a small percentage of the total water used, the filters life is extended.
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