Are RV Water Hoses Just a Gimmick?

Are RV Water Hoses Just a Gimmick?

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Any mass-marketed lifestyle is full of hucksters hawking gimmicky items that are considered a “necessity.” Anyone who has purchased an electric corkscrew knows what I’m talking about. The RV lifestyle is no stranger to plastic junk that is supposed to make life easier on the road, and all kinds of everyday items that companies slap the letters RV in front of and charge a bit extra for.

It’s with that in mind that many people are leery about the white hoses that are supposed to be safe to drink from. “I always drank from a garden hose when I was a kid, and I turned out fine,” a lot of comments go. So are drinking-water-safe hoses important, or even any different from an old-fashioned green garden hose?

It turns out they are. Quite different. A 2016 study found that over half of common garden hoses had higher than safe levels of lead, along with other contaminants such as bromine and phthalates. Some with incredibly high levels. Garden hoses are often made from recycled materials and have little to no regulations around them. The plasticizers used to make them are often banned in children’s toys and food-safe plastic products.

The health and safety certification organization NSF tests and certifies potable (or drinking water safe) hoses for public use. These hoses are usually sold in big box stores and at RV dealers in white or blue colors so that they aren’t confused with common garden hoses. You can get green garden hoses that are certified safe, but there’s another benefit to the color difference. You should have a second hose, that is not white or blue, that you can use to rinse out your dump hose and your tanks. Keeping your drinking hose and your cleaning hose in separate bins keeps cross-contamination from happening. And never use the hose at the dump station to fill your fresh water tank. Often people run those all the way through their dump hose to clean it out.

You can get green garden hoses that are certified safe, but there’s another benefit to the color difference. You should have a second hose, that is not white or blue, that you can use to rinse out your dump hose and your tanks. Keeping your drinking hose and your cleaning hose in separate bins keeps cross-contamination from happening. And never use the hose at the dump station to fill your fresh water tank. Often people run those all the way through their dump hose to clean it out.

Water doesn’t stay in your hose for very long, so contamination from lead and other chemicals is probably limited, but really there isn’t any price difference between drinking-safe hoses and those that aren’t tested, so it’s inexpensive peace of mind to just buy the white hose. And your water will taste a lot better.

About author

Jason Epperson

Jason travels the country full-time with his wife Abigail, and three children in a converted school bus.

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