Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Water Filters in The Palms

We have a triple water filtering system in The Palms.

FIRST FILTER   Since starting out, we had a whole house filter.  I didn't know it was there until I had the solar installed, and Ron asked me when was the last time I changed the filter.  I said, "What filter?" and was really happy to find out that he had found an installed, whole house filter.  He ordered new filters for me, and put one into the plastic holder. 

So, fast forward to the present, and I needed to change that filter.  I've been thinking about it for about a week, and a few times I tried to unscrew the plastic housing that contains the water filter cartridge, but as hard as I tried - with all the muscle I could muster - it would not budge.  

I decided to tackle the problem on Saturday while I was parked in the Catholic Church parking lot in Grants, and by hook or by crook, I was determined I was going to change that filter!  To get to it, I had to remove the drawers that are under my closet.

The three drawer openings are 12" x 12 " and the depth of the interior is 24". 

Can you see the filter?  It's in the top left opening, on the backwall.

By the way, in case you were wondering, that black cover is for my Power Center where all the breakers and fuses are hidden.  Their wires come out the back and go to all the electrical stuff.

The exterior fill areas for the fresh water tank and the city water are both there on that outside wall. This area contains my converter, inverter, filtering system, and water pump, all fastened to the floor, as well as myriad wires coming to and from those electrical units and hoses coming to and from the fresh water tank (under the couch) out to the kitchen and bathroom.  Lots of stuff in that little area.

And I do mean little area.  I had to get into the opening for the top drawer in front of the filter.  One foot by one foot square.  I am a little bigger than one foot wide.  Thank goodness. :)

So... I turned off the water, ran the water from all the faucets to make sure no more was in the pipes.  Then I had to reach all the way in, getting my arms, head, shoulders, and chest past the lower wooden drawer holder, and reach all way to the screws holding the filter to the wall.  Four of them.  In the dim light.  And unscrew them.  Then unscrewing the IN hose and the OUT hose.

The problem was, in addition to the small area, I had to first get my arms over my head, put them in, then my head, etc.  I had to go all the way in, past my chest, or my hands wouldn't reach the screws.  But - by putting that much of my body into the space, my head was too close, and I couldn't see the screws clearly, with or without my glasses. Quite a conundrum.  

Whew!  I finally got them all unscrewed and the hoses un-attached and carefully lifted the dripping filter with it's housing and metal top out and carried it to the sink.  (You understand, the best plan isn't to remove the entire unit from the wall or from the water pipes, but simply to unscrew it.  Next time, don't let a strong man screw it in for you.  In fact, for me, the next time I switch out the cartridge, I won't have any problem just unscrewing the plastic housing, because I screwed it in.)

This metal plate attaches the unit to the outside wall, to keep it securely in place.

New filter cartridge, plastic filter holder and plastic top with in and out attachments - metal top plate to attach to wall removed.

Even with the container out and on the counter, I could not unscrew it to get the cartridge out.  I removed the metal plate to see if something underneath was holding it tight.  Nope. I tried everything I could think of.  I even nudged the edges with a hammer, nothing.  Ran a sharp knife around the edge.  Nothing.  Pushed and pulled the top.  Nothing.  Finally I got out my silicon spray and sprayed a tiny bit all around the edge where it's screwed in, and tried again to unscrew it, and it worked. YEAAA!  I took out the old cartridge and threw it away in the trash.  Next I had to completely clean the cartridge holder and it's top, getting all the gunk out as well as make sure I washed off any silicon spray.

The instructions say to wash the plastic housing with dish soap and water, then rinse it out well.  Of course, my water was turned off, so I used some baby wipes and wet some paper towels with water from my Brita, then dried it, inside and out;  I did that three times. Then I put in the new cartridge, screwed the top on, screwed the metal plate on the top, and re-entered the tiny 1 x 1 foot cave.

Here is where all the fun really started.

It took forever, with me slowly inching my way in and trying to hold the screw, which I couldn't see because of the angle, through the hole in the metal plate with the tip of the screw in the hole in the wall.  I'd drop the screw, then have to inch my way out, and find it in all the wires and hoses.  With the four screws, I can't tell you how many times I did that.  I had a towel under that area to catch any water that might drip, and I stretched it out to catch the screws, because I was tired of trying to find them in the wires, pipes and sawdust on the floor.  I was sweating bullets.  (I know, I know, ladies don't sweat.  I was glistening bullets.)  I actually started praying.  I was in the parking lot of a church, so - even though I believe in God and know He's here with all of us - I was in front of his house!  He had to hear me.

Little by little I got the first three in, and the fourth screw just wouldn't line up, or I'd drop it, etc.  I was determined I was going to finish this job right, and not leave it attached with only three screws.

Actually what I finally did was hold the last screw in pliers in my left hand, squeeze in, put it through the metal hole and it was already lined up to the last hole in the wall, and I carefully put my magnetic screwdriver on the screw and sllloooowly turned it.  Honestly, the job shouldn't be that hard.  So I was done.  It took forever, and it was blazing hot in The Palms, but I was done.

Taaaaa-Daaaaa!  Nice and Clean.  And it doesn't leak. :)

...and boy, did I need a shower.  Isn't it nice that we have showers that are always nearby?  I removed my clothes hamper thingie, a box of stuff, and Katie's food from the shower, flipped on the hot water heater switch, set the timer for 10 minutes and closed all the shades.  By the time I was ready, the water was hot and I had one of the best showers ever.  Washed my hair, shaved my legs, the whole routine.  Got out, dried off the shower floor, walls and door, put the things stored in the shower back, got dressed, etc.  Katie was doing a little barking, but I figured people had walked by while I was in the shower.

When I opened the shades, lo and behold, there was a parking lot full of cars all around me, with people heading over the the church.  Some were looking my way, checking out The Palms.  I had forgotten about Saturday Evening Mass.  They very nicely gave me lots of room to get out, so I got behind the wheel and moved The Palms to another parking lot in town in case more churchgoers arrived and needed the spaces.

I'm so glad that job is done!!!

SECOND FILTER   This is MUCH easier.  I have a water filter cartridge that I attach to the end of my hose that plugs into water faucets, and the other end of the hose goes into the fresh water tank opening on the outside wall the The Palms.  Easy Peasy.

When it's time, just throw it away and attached a new one.  A link to these filters at Amazon is on right sidebar.

THIRD FILTER   This one really made the difference.  Even with the other two filters, which gave me good water, this one gave me good tasting water.  I know they say that in their ads, but I really wasn't expecting a difference in the taste.  I don't know why it is, but cold water coming from this Brita Pitcher really tastes better.  I don't drink nearly enough during the day, and I've been drinking a lot more water since I got it, so it's working for me.  And I even pour Katie's water  into her bowl from my Brita.

Yes, Gayle, Jim, Debbie and Jimbo - that IS the same bottle of wine from our dinner.  I'm such a slow drinker!

I don't use ice any more since I keep the pitcher in the fridge door and it's always cold. Here are some photos that show it's size, and how slim it is:

It's about as narrow as my water bottle.

There are lots of Brita options, I did the research and chose this one because of it's size.  It fits really well in the door of my fridge.  I wasn't sure I would like it, but now I wouldn't be without one.  I put a link on the right side panel in case you want to check them out.  Hummm, I paid $16, but I see they are on sale right now as I write this.  Well, it's worth it at either price.  :)

Three filters might be a little overkill, but I don't worry about my drinking water at all, and I don't spend money on bottles of water or have plastic bottles to toss in the trash any more.  And I've gotten back the space they took up in my fridge (with the extras stored in the shower).  And that's just more than you all wanted to know about my water filtering systems.  But it's posted now, and I have a record for the future of what I have - with photos.  And if you're visiting me and I offer you a glass of "house water,"  you'll know it's going to be cold and delicious!  :)

Beautiful frosty glass of water photo courtesy of dreamstime.com

We're heading back to Bluwater Lake State Park tomorrow morning - this time the required six days out of the park, after camping for 14 days, has gone by like a flash.  I got lots of things done, and for the next two weeks, I'm going to relax.  Except for one project, which I'll post about after it's done.

From me and Katie, have a nice Tuesday, everyone - and have a nice, clear, cool glass of water!  :)


  1. They make a filter wrench that make unscrewing the bottom housing so much easier. I surprised your unit didn't come with one, but they are available at most hardware stores or on amazon.

  2. Grrrrr. I hate it when men (bless 'em) tighten stuff. They almost always overdo it!!! It's enough to drive one mad. I always try to remember to tell them NOT to do that, but often forget.

    Thanks for the filter tutorial.

    The Palms is looking as gorgeous as ever. Ditto Katie!

  3. What a job! You are SO resourceful and competent!! funny, you taking a shower & parishoners showing up for service! And the REST of the story....

  4. Way to go girl!! I have not strength in my hands so I even have trouble with Jim's cup if he puts the lid on too tight. He knows better now. We have four 2 1/2 gallon containers that we fill with the water from Walmart or wherever. Here in Helena the best is 25 cents a gallon at the natural food store. Then we keep a jug in the fridge so the water is always cold. I love water. Only thing I drink.

  5. What an ordeal! I always wonder why people do construct this so impossible. Must be because they don't care, they never actually live in campers. The main thing is the filter is there, no matter where.
    Well, you did a good job! Nice to be able to enjoy a good cold glass of water! Way better than all the "light" crap.

  6. I was going to tell you about the special plastic wrench made just for those filters, but someone beat me to it. Available at CampingWorld or Amazon. Too bad we weren't closer I have 3!!!

  7. You go girl! Not so sure I would have stuck with that job, but you did and now you have fresh, clean, cool water! And so does Katie!

  8. I'm SURE I would have given up when I got 3 screws in!! You are much more competent than I will ever be!

  9. Determined. Good job on the filter change. I have the same Brita pitcher

  10. Wow, that's quite the small space. I would likely have given up ... with only scraped knuckles and blue air to show for it.

    Good work! The water looks absolutely refreshing in the glass.

  11. You are just so handy - and determined! Glad you got the job done. You've got me thinking about Brita again. Even though our rig is pretty new, I never like the taste of water from the tank or even from the water hook-up. We use those blue inline filters but it doesn't seem to make the water all that fresh. Maybe I'll try a Brita. Would be better than all the bottled water we carry.

  12. good job on the filter change! what a job it was!

  13. Im so happy to see you say you are NOT using the water bottles, I wish everyone would NOT use them. I am like you I use my own water. Hope you get that wrench so next time it wont be so hard, and those little rubber Jar Opener Gripper things may help too.

  14. Bet that wine doesn't taste so good after all this time! When was that, April or May? We've lost track of time.

  15. Oh Barbara, Now that's a story I can definitely relate to !! I've had to get things done (by myself) in a very small space - trying to squeeze my head and shoulders in first etc. etc. Dropping screws - swearing LOL

    My rig also has one of those filters but I've never changed it because I never use it. I do drink TONS of water but never from the tap.

  16. Like said in an earlier comment, there should have been a small plastic wrench that came with the water filter that makes it easier to change the filter itself. Sounds like it was quite an adventure changing that thing.

  17. That bottle of wine would only last a day or two in my rig. You might need to run it through a filter.

  18. Ouch! That task sounds like a handful! However, when it comes to unscrewing the screws, I leave it all to my hubby and I’ll do the cleaning. And when I’m done, he definitely knows what to do! Haha! That’s our “routine” since I’m afraid it would leak if I do the screwing and the water won’t be safe to drink if he does the cleaning.

    Collene @QH2OInc.com

  19. Don't you find it weird that water is supposed to be tasteless, but we still have certain preferences on which filtered or bottled water we drink? Heh. Anyway, we actually have a whole house filter as well, so I feel your pain whenever the need to change filters arises. We also get drinking water delivered, but your review on Brita is making me think of getting one too. -Paul @ American Pure Spring Water

  20. That must’ve been a handful! But it’s good that you were able to get things done in the end. At the very least, you don’t have to worry about leaky filters. And you’re quite sure that the water you’ll be drinking is safe and clean. Good job!

    Verna Griffin @ Axeon Water Technologies


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