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Information About:
Choosing A Filter Cartridge

For this discussion, we are assuming that you have, or will be getting, a standard canister system. These systems are the most versatile, in that there is the widest choice of cartridges available. Here we discuss the range of products available, and when and where each would be best used. These comments also apply to other types of filtration systems, although the range of choices available for them is more limited. Let's start by explaining some of the terminology used with filters:

    Microns - Sediment filters are rated by the size of particles they remove, in microns.  One micron is one one-thousandth of a millimeter.  Most micron ratings are "nominal", meaning approximate.  If the micron rating is "absolute" it is exact.
  • NSF Class - The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) rates filters on their ability to remove chlorine from water. Class I filters are the best, Class II not quite as good, and so on.
  • Life - Most cartridges will eventually become plugged up. This heading indicates the number of months of service you should get under typical conditions.
  • Flow Rate - Filters, by their nature, impede water flow. This heading indicates flow rate, in gallons per minute, under typical conditions. Your actual flow may vary.
  • Material - This heading indicates the type of material that the filter medium is made of. See our section Information About Water Filtration to learn more about these materials.

Recommendations for Choosing Filter Cartridges
Selecting the best cartridge(s) for your filter system depends on your needs, desires, lifestyle, and budget. We will try to help you make the best choice based on our years of on-the-road experience and in numerous discussions with our customers.    

One-Canister Systems

A single canister system is useful for catching sediment and even some taste and odor problems as well. 

  • The PR-5 , RV-SED5 , or RV-SED1 are your best choices for sediment only.

  • The F5 is a top performer for removing sediment and taste & odor.  The F1 and F1pb add cyst coverage with both, and lead and heavy metals with the F1pb.  The higher the level of combination cartridge, the more valuable it may be to consider a second canister to make it a dual system protected by a less expensive sediment cartridge.

Two-Canister Systems

A dual canister system allows a high level of taste & odor that can also reduce chemicals, pesticides, lead and heavy metals, and even cysts, giardia and cryptosporidium. 

  • The well known system for full-timers we have always offered, uses the  RV-SED1   in the first canister followed by a CBC-10 However, in recent years, the RV-SED1 in the first canister followed by a F1 or a F1pb has surpassed the CBC-10 due to better flow and their resistance to stagnation.

  • For part-timers,  the RV-SED1   in the first canister followed by a CBC-KDF is good as the KDF will prevent bacteria growth during period of no use.  Once used, this specific combo is best stored with the water left in the canisters because of the KDF carbon block staying in good shape and preventing possible  premature plugging.  The RV-SED1 or SED5 and any of the F-series modified carbon fiber blocks are naturally resistant to stagnation during storage, without any special storage requirements, and a higher flow rate will be enjoyed.

  • For those who want the longest lasting carbon filter, whether full or part-time, the RV-SED5   in the first canister followed by a RV-KDF-GAC carbon cartridge is best.

  • Our most popular systems use our F-series cartridges for the carbon cartridge.  These will offer the fastest flow and the longest life.  They are made from fiber and are naturally resistant to the stagnation issue.  A basic dual will provide the RV-SED5 followed by an F5 cartridge.  The very popular cyst rated system will use the RV-SED1 followed by the F1 cyst rated modified carbon fiber block. If you go with the cyst rated system + Lead and Heavy metals , you would select the RV-SED1/F1pb combo.

Three-Canister Systems

The first canister should be the RV-SED5 , the second canister should contain the RV-SED1 cartridge, while the third contains a taste & odor cartridge as per the recommendations above.

If minerals and scale buildup are your concern, you could incorporate an RV-PH cartridge in the third canister after selecting the cartridges for the first and second canisters from the above recommendations for Two-Canister Systems.  

If iron is the problem, we have the Iron Removal System , which can be used to help remove totally dissolved iron.

If you have a unique situation, please contact us and we will be happy to give you our recommendation.

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