The GO Outdoors Guide To Water Filters and Waste Disposal
Part of caravanning is the need to transport water, both fresh and waste. By choosing the right water pump and disposal units you can ensure this process if safe and simple, so you have more time having fun.
Water pumps are used to transport water from a water storage unit into your caravan for use for drinking and general consumption as well as use within an on board shower.
(Most caravans have separate units for the toilet water, but check your caravan manual first, or talk to an instore GO Outdoors expert if you are unsure as to what pump to buy.)
Dropped straight into your water tank or butt, pumps have direct access to the water, whilst another end is plugged in to the pump socket on the side of the caravan.
- Pumps can be manual or electric and should be efficient at eliminating air locking for easy pumping of any kind of water, from fresh to salt.
Motorised pumps work by a microswitch, which is activated when someone inside the caravan turns on a tamp.
- Some pumps operate via a switch that senses the drop in pressure when the tap is turned on and turns the motor to create water flow.
There are a number of different sizes of pumps, generally related to the volume of water they can move.
- A simple system to be sued with a single tap would only require a small pump .
- Generally, small pumps can transport around 8 litres of water per minute.
- A water pump system which is used to move both hot and cold water, such as for a shower would require a pump with faster water transporting speeds which can move more water- such as around 11 litres per minute.
- More powerful showers will require a faster pump system than 11 litres per minute.
The pump attaches to a filter.
The purpose of a filter is to purify water effectively so that it tastes better and is safe for consumption.
- Filters typically utilize silverised carbon in the inner liners as this helps minimize bacterial growth.
Filters need changing with each season, and some are disposable to make changing it simpler.
- A season is around 4500 litres.
- Travel filters can also be purchased for small caravans or solo travellers.
- These are small filters that slot onto a counter or come with mounting clips for wall mounting.
Click here to see our filters
When you need to carry large amounts of water, a water carrier with inbuilt wheels is the best way of transporting it.
- A water carrier is a container, usually created from Polyethylene, with inbuilt wheels and a holding system so you can wheel it with ease
- A water carrier comes with a filler tube as well as a tap connector so the water carrier can be filled with water on the caravan site and the rolled back to the caravan.
- Carrying is designed to be easy thanks to both the inbuilt wheels, which allows it to roll with ease, as well as handle and stand combination so it can be propped up when not in use.
- Another option for carrying water is a jerry can, or water bottle, which has less capacity and involves being lifted and carried more frequently.
- Both are suitable dependent on the amount of people in the caravan and the duration of time spent away.
Some caravans come with an onboard water tank, which holds a substantial amount of water, or can be topped up using a hose during your stay.
- With an onboard tank, you will need to spend time emptying before heading out on the road, as well as emptying your toilet, so you don’t have excess nose weight or heavy loads to transport.
Waste water is disposed of using a waste collection unit which is placed underneath your caravan.
Most have additional space left on top for a cassette system to be attached with bungee cords so that entire waste system can be emptied at one go.
Water can be supplied to the caravan through a number of means;
1. Hook up to a mains water source using a mains hook up pump.
2. Connect to a Aquaroll or water butt.
An Aquaroll is a water container, that through the use of a handle, has the ability to roll, making transportation easier.
To provide a powered water source inside the caravan a pump will be needed. Powerful showers and taps may require more power, here the flow may be boosted with an in-line pump or a super pump, which are much bigger and very expensive, but are capable of much higher pressures and are more reliable.
To power a single tap, a submersible pump must be inserted into a water butt or Aquaroll, to deliver at least 8l/m To power a mixer tap or shower, 11l/m is required.
The more expensive the pump, the higher the pressure. Higher pressures are needed to lift water vertically – pumps operating at around 8l/m will only lift water about 1m high.
They are powered by 12v and can be easily damaged if turned on when not fully submersed although spare parts are readily available.
Waste water is the water that goes down the drain from either a sink or shower. It is NOT the contents of a toilet.
It can either be propped up vertically to fill it to the top, or slotted horizontally underneath the caravan and part-filled to provide a lighter load.
Waste water is transported in either a wastemaster or a black waste water carrier. A waste master has both wheels, making it easier to transport and is shaped to allow toilet waste tanks to be supported on top when transporting.
A Porta Potti is a transportable toilet used in caravans and in campsites where own sanitation is necessary.
There are two tanks on a Porta Potti separated by a trap. To use, open the trap!
This tank is on top at the back of the toilet and is filled with either water or pink flush fluid.
This fluid washes away waste into the waste tank by either a hand or battery operated pump.
The bottom tank should be filled with a blue (toxic but more effective) or green(eco-friendly) fluid. This helps breakdown waste and clean the tank.
To prevent clogs or coagulation quick dissolving toilet paper is strongly recommended!
After using the toilet, pump the pink fluid to wash the waste down (make sure the tank divider is open, so the waste can flow down into the bottom tank).
When full, close the tank divider, and take the removable bottom tank to the disposal tank.
How do I use a Porta Potti?
- The toilet must be loaded with flush fluid (pink) and tank fluid (blue or green). Dosages are indicated on the bottles.
- Blue fluid is toxic (contains formaldehyde), and better at neutralising bacteria and odours, however, many campsites do not allow its use as it can damage the surrounding vegetation.
- Use blue if the toilet is not going to be used often. Do not dispose of blue fluid into the mains water supply! Green fluid encourages bacteria to naturally break down waste proteins, but is less effective an antibacterial. Use green if your campsite requires it.
- After using the toilet, pump the pink fluid to wash the waste down (make sure the tank divider is open, so the waste can flow down into the bottom tank).
- When full, close the tank divider, and take the removable bottom tank to the disposal tank.
- To dispose of waste, unfold the spout, press the release button and pour. Depress the release button before folding the spout again to prevent splash-back!
• Remember to sanitise the tank regularly with tank freshener.
How do the different models of Porta Potti differ?
- Larger bottom tanks last longer before requiring emptying, but many are too big for storage in smaller caravans.
- Level indicators remove the need for having to open the tank to find out how full it is!
- A battery operated flush is a real luxury, but there is no manual alternative if the batteries run out!