Initially we simply didn't consider anything but drinking from the on-board tank in the Autoquest. However, at one re-enactment event we attended the supply was from a pipe that was used infrequently so had been sterilised and (though the water was safe) there were off-flavours. As a result we started carrying a separate 5 litre jerry can for drinking water. Later, though, we went to a motorhome show that used a bowser supply and that meant that the separate container was not totally successful. To solve the problem we bought a water filter jug and all drinking water goes through that. Initially we had a basic jug and that served us well for a few years but eventually became scratched so we replaced it with a Brita Maxtra jug and that is even better.
We did consider a Nature Pure system but it would not have been possible to fit one in the Autoquest. Unfortunately the same is the case in the Burstner; the only available place to fit a filter is in the cupboard under the sink but the shelf arrangement means that there is insufficient depth to install the unit vertically. On enquiry we found that the new Nature Pure QC can be mounted horizontally but that still leaves a problem in connecting the water pipes as the supplied connector hoses will not fit the existing hoses and the use of multiple different attachments would lead to potential multiple points of failure. We don't consider it a problem as we only use water from potable sources in the UK.
During the warmer months, when we use the van more often so there are only a few days between trips, we might not bother to drain the fresh water tank. When the weather is colder, though, we drain the fresh water system each time we return home, opening all the taps and not forgetting the hot water dump valve(s) (we had a single, manual, valve on the Autoquest but have both manual and automatic on the Burstner). A tip I picked up from Don Madge is to take off the shower head and blow down the hose to empty it of water before leaving it laid on the shower tray to allow any residual water to drain. It is also a good idea to run the pump momentarily with the taps open to clear the system and to operate the toilet flush if it takes its water from the main tank.
Reading some forum posts, it appears that some people use a clothes peg or clamp to stop the automatic dump valve operating when the temperature drops. That is their choice but it would invalidate any warranty (and cause an expensive repair) if the hot water tank were to freeze. When we are camping in frosty conditions we leave the water heater on low. We've found it doesn't use much gas and it certainly avoids problems, with the bonus that I don't have to wait to have a hot shower in the morning.
Our Autoquest came with a submersible pump which could be plugged into an external socket next to the water inlet for use with some sort of water carrier - we bought a 25 litre jerry can (and, later on, a light folding trolley to make it easier to carry when full). We bought a 2 metre length of clear food grade hose to fit onto the pump (as it didn't have any hose) but subsequently realised that it is more economical to buy a longer length and cut to size (the hose only has a life of a year or two). I attached a connector to the hose so that it can be plugged on to the Heosafe connection (see below) for more or less hands free filling
The water inlet on the Autoquest was on the off side, which meant the van could be moved close to our external tap at home and be topped up through a 5 metre hose. The inlet on the Burstner is on the near side which means that such an arrangement does not work so I bought a 15 metre cassette hose which will reach from the tap to the inlet when the van is in its normal parking position. I also bought a Heosafe water connection so that I could plug the hose on securely. I found that it was difficult to wind the hose back onto the cassette but somebody then told me they had solved that problem by shortening it; I cut the hose to a length which means it will still reach from tap to inlet, the removed piece being kept separately in the van for use on site if need be. I found that the way the internal filler pipe curved meant that water coming through the Heosafe connection rebounded so cut a short piece of the clear hose to fit onto the connection - that curves with the internal pipe so directs the water into the tank (it subsequently turned out that I had bought a vented Heosafe connector by mistake thinking our tank didn't have an overflow - but it works fine so no matter).
I keep a variety of tap and hose connectors in the van to deal with the various types of tap found on site.
Whilst away in the van in July 2013 I saw an expandable hose (clone of an X Hose) on sale at Fleetwood market. The price of the originals had put me off as there have been reports of the hoses starting to leak before they are very old. However, the market price of £20 for a 50 foot hose meant it was worth a punt. We used it for about 2 and a half years with no ill effects from it not being food grade but it then started to kink and be toublesome so I threw it away and went back to the cassette hose.
I mentioned above the jerry can and trolley. Part way through 2015, Aldi had some aquarolls at a good price so I bought one. Its capacity is 40 litres so less trips to the tap and it rolls along easier than the trolley.
One thing to watch out for on site is cleanliness of the water tap. Some people think nothing of washing out a toilet cassette using a drinking water tap. Using a kitchen wipe and then rinsing the tap with running water should deal with any contamination.
Gauges in some vans which (supposedly) show how much water is left in a tank are notoriously inaccurate. In the Autoquest the tank pump was mounted higher than it should be so there would still be a significant amount of water in the tank when the taps ran dry. We soon got used to how much water we used and, thus, how long a full tank would last and how often we would need to top up. If in doubt take the cap off the tank and have a look how much water is left.
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Last updated: 5 June 2016