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Is Using a Garden Hose for RV Drinking Water Safe?

Published on April 5th, 2023 by Rene Agredano
This post was updated on November 21st, 2023

A hose is a hose … or is it? Before you’re tempted to save a buck by connecting a garden hose to your RV freshwater tank, stop and read this article. There are good reasons why RV supply stores want to sell you a real RV freshwater hose instead.

What’s the Difference Between a Garden Hose and RV Drinking Water Hoses?

On the surface you might think that all water hoses are the same. And RV drinking water hoses cost at least twice as much as a garden hose. If you’ve ever wondered if putting an “RV water hose” label onto a hose is just a marketing ploy, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, the truth is, RV drinking water hoses are not just a gimmick.

The important differences between a garden hose and an RV water hose can mean the difference between putting poison into your body or staying healthy.

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Connecting a garden hose for RV drinking water purposes puts you at great risk of health issues now and in the future. Is your life worth saving a few pennies? What about your loved ones? Don’t answer until you review the chart below comparing garden hose materials with RV drinking water hose material.

Garden Hose

  • Often made from unregulated e-waste materials
  • Usually contain unregulated amounts of lead, BPA, and phthalates
  • Another toxic “plasticizer” used to make garden hoses includes polyvinyl chloride, a substance connected to various cancers and health problems.
  • Other harmful substances include organotin and antimony
  • Brass fittings transfer lead into water
  • Water tastes terrible when taken from a garden hose

RV Drinking Water Hose

  • Must meet a set of federal standards
  • Drinking water hoses must comply with the 2014 Federal Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Materials can withstand UV breakdown and chemical leakage into water.
  • RV drinking water hose materials don’t have BPA or phthalate toxins
  • A “DWS” Drinking Water Safe hose is NSF certified and FDA approved.
  • Water tastes better.

Still not convinced? Maybe the experts from the Healthy Stuff research center can change your mind. “Gardening hoses appear to be a dumping ground for highly contaminated e-waste. Over one-third [38%] of the hoses have the fingerprint of recycled e-waste being used,” said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director, “Products designed to handle water should never have e-waste material used as filler just to save a dime.”

The only surefire way to know your hose is safe is if it does NOT have the California Prop. 65 warning that says “this product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm.” Buy an RV water hose without that warning and you can prevent health problems. For extra safety, add a high quality RV water filter system for a higher level of protection.

What to Look for in an RV Water Hose

It’s just not safe to use a garden hose for your RV water supply. Don’t fill your freshwater tank with it, and don’t connect a garden hose to an RV water hookup either. Now it’s time to consider what to look for in an RV hose.

Choose a white or blue drinking water hose.

These colors make them easy to tell apart from an ordinary garden hose. Carry a short hose length and a longer one in your RV.

Camco TastePURE Drinking Water Hoose
Camco TastePURE 50-Foot Premium Drinking Water Hose
Camco TastePURE Drinking Water Hose
Camco 10ft TastePURE Drinking Water Hose to fill jugs of water.

Each hose serves a distinct purpose. We carry one well-marked 10-foot hose to fill jugs of water if we need to do it from a campground spigot. And the 50-foot blue hose is our RV drinking water supply line. The two never come in contact with one another.

Short on Space? Try a Lightweight RV Drinking Water Hose.

These hoses are relatively new on the market. If your RV storage space is limited, the Aqua Pro or Aqua Joe lightweight RV water hoses can be a good option. Both manufacturers make them with BPA-free, drinking water safe materials.

Aqua Pro lightweight RV water hose

Aqua Pro RV Drinking Water Hose 
Aqua Joe lightweight RV water hose
Aqua Joe AJFJH50-58-PRO FiberJacket Non-Expanding Kink-Free Garden, RV, Marine and Camper Hose

Avoid cheap RV drinking water hoses.

In my experience, a cheap RV water hose is exactly that: cheap! I’ve tried low-cost standard RV drinking water hoses, and cheap flexible hoses. Neither one lasted more than a year. Inexpensive RV water hoses may not cost a lot of money up front, but they don’t last long either. However, if you only RV occasionally, a low-cost hose might be a reasonable option.

If you are a full-time RVer or plan to become one, invest in a better quality drinking water hose. They’re just like RV sewer hoses, and other must-have full-time RV supplies. You get what you pay for.

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