How to: Add water filter to your garden hose (no more water spots!)

Discussion in 'Facts and How To's' started by DrWebster, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. DrWebster

    DrWebster Guest

    So I like to keep my car clean. Every weekend during the summer I give my car a wash on my driveway, using my garden hose. Problem is, I don't have softened water, so after I do the final rinse, unless I quickly towel-dry the car, I end up with water spots on the paint. I was at Home Depot today and came up with a quick, cheap solution that should reduce or eliminate water spots.

    Remember the Mr. Clean AutoDry? It's this huge spray nozzle contraption you hook onto your hose and has two settings: "spray" and "spotless wash". The "spray" mode is just the regular water coming through the hose, while the "spotless wash" is a low-pressure mist you're supposed to do your final rinse with that claims you don't have to hand-dry the car afterwards. I tried one of these, and it didn't work half-bad, but they never caught on and are somewhat expensive, when you factor in the frequent filter refills. What this how-to shows is, basically, making your own AutoDry that filters all the water coming out of your hose (not just during the final rinse) and only costs about $35.

    Parts you'll need (easily found at Home Depot):

    1. GE SmartWater shower filter
    2. 3/4" female to 1/2" male threaded brass fitting (Watts part A-677)
    3. 1/2" female to 3/4" female threaded brass fitting (Watts part A-660)
    4. 3/4" male to 3/4" male threaded brass coupler (Watts part A-680)


    1. Large adjustable wrench (or channel locks)
    2. Teflon plumber's tape

    Here are pictures of the parts:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    1. Detach your garden hose from the spigot.
    2. Wrap the threaded end of the spigot with Teflon tape (two layers is good) and screw in the 3/4" female to 1/2" male fitting. Use your wrench to make sure it's tight (leaks are bad).
    3. Wrap some Teflon tape around the 1/2" fitting end and screw in the water filter (there's a rubber O-ring in the filter's connector, so you don't need to thread it on there very tight).
    4. Wrap some Teflon tape around one end of the 3/4" to 3/4" coupler, and screw it into the 1/2" female to 3/4" female adapter.
    5. Wrap some Teflon tape around the 1/2" male outlet on the filter, and screw in the assembly from step 4.
    6. Hook your garden hose up to the newly-adapted outlet on the filter.

    That's it! My hose spigot is in my garage since I live in a townhome, so I had to be very careful to try to avoid leaks, but the Teflon tape helps a lot. The shower filter only has 1/2" inputs and outputs, hence the need to use adapters so it'll work with standard 3/4" garden hose fittings. The filter itself only cost $22, and the adapters were about $13. You might think that the volume and pressure of the water going through the hose would be less after adding the filter, but I haven't really noticed a difference.

    GE says that the filter element should last around 6 months with regular shower use. Unless you're bored, chances are you wash your car at most once a week. I'd estimate that the filter element should last at least 2 years if you wash your car once a week, 6 months out of the year (this is Minnesota, after all). And since the filter elements only cost $10 each, that means you're only paying $5 a year to not have to hand-dry your car. That sounds like a deal to me.

    Here's the final product:

  2. JohnnyT

    JohnnyT New Member

    NICE!!! How'd it turn out using it? I was skeptical about the AutoDry, do you really not have to dry your car with towels using this filter?
  3. JustROLLIN

    JustROLLIN Guest

    Very nice. I love people who support the mother ship.

    (I work for GE)
  4. mazdamn02

    mazdamn02 Guest

    Excellent work sir, I reckon I may try this gadget out...
  5. Big Nate

    Big Nate Chaos Engineer

    Great idea. I did almost the same thing on other hoses i have used. Only they cost me a lot more.
  6. dmention7

    dmention7 Hater

    Nice. I'd like to rock a softener at some point since minneapolis water seems to have a fair amount of iron in it, but for $10 this would probably be a good short term solution.
  7. DrWebster

    DrWebster Guest

    You don't happen to work in the GE building off of Clearwater in Minnetonka, do you?

    YSOSLO is the word, beotch

    I like this idea a lot, however I use my hose for watering plants in my yard a lot too. I wonder if there's some sort of product out there that would allow me to flip a lever to bypass this filter and use it only when I want to. Any ideas?
  9. dmention7

    dmention7 Hater

    Well, it's a bit convoluted, but you could get two of those Y-adapters that have a valve on both of the outputs, and 3 short lengths of garden hose. Hook one y-adapter to the spigot, and then hook one of the outlets to one of the outlets of the second y-adapter. Then hook up the filter inline between the other two outlets of the adapters.... viola! You have a bypass!

    Or, just use one y-adapter and hook the filter to one of the outlets, then get some quick disconnects and switch your hose between the filtered and unfiltered outlets.
  10. DrWebster

    DrWebster Guest

    I can't see any reason why you wouldn't be able to water the plants with the filter in place. Think of the filter as more of a Brita for your garden hose than a mini water softener. If anything, your plants should do better with the filtered water than with unfiltered.

    In other news, I just finished washing the car and have a little more info to report. The filter works great, but with two caveats:

    1. Use the finest spray pattern your hose offers during the final rinse. A mist would be optimal. I found that I got some minor waterspotting where large drops were allowed to dry, but where I used a fine mist, the paint dried spotless.

    2. It helps to reduce waterspotting if the car dries in the shade, or if you have a good coat of wax on the car. It seems that drying quickly is more likely to leave waterspots. I also got waterspotting on my windows, but this is likely because large beads of water were left on them and the glass was pretty hot from the sun.
  11. WhiteSpy9

    WhiteSpy9 Guest

    bleed the paint
  12. JustROLLIN

    JustROLLIN Guest

    Negative. I work at the one off 494 and Eden Prairie Center Dr.
  13. zero cool

    zero cool New Member

    I went to HD today and bought the parts to do this. But i found a cheaper way.

    You still need the Watts A-677 But instead of Buying

    3. 1/2" female to 3/4" female threaded brass fitting (Watts part A-660)
    4. 3/4" male to 3/4" male threaded brass coupler (Watts part A-680)

    You can just use a Watts A-870 3/4" Male to 1/2" Female adapter
  14. Workdawg

    Workdawg NARWHAL

    I went and got this stuff on saturday and my hose was leaking like crazy once I hooked it all up. Took me a while to figure it out. Turns out the A-870 is pipe threaded, not hose threaded. While the thread is very similar, it's not exactly the same, caused it to leak for me. The hose I've got has the rotating end with the rubber washer, and it was leaking because I couldn't tighten it all the way down to the washer because the threads were off.
  15. money612

    money612 Sponsor

    nice... but is there enough water pressure?? i know some of those filters reduce the pressure in the water spray?
  16. Workdawg

    Workdawg NARWHAL

    I haven't tested mine yet, but DrWebster said he didn't notice any significant change.
  17. ZoomZoom Diva

    ZoomZoom Diva New Member

  18. minnesnowta

    minnesnowta New Member

    I picked up the parts at HD yesterday and washed my car this morning (at like 5 am, couldn't sleep). I did notice that the pressure was a little weaker with the filter than without, but barely. If I had to guess, I'd say the pressure is about 80-90% of the hose when it is unfiltered, which is completely fine. I live in an apartment with an underground garage w/ a carwash bay, so I plan on attaching/removing the filter every time I wash my car which wasn't much of a hassle at all...maybe an extra minute (had to use a wrench to tighten the filter to the spigot).

    My car is air-drying now so I'll report back later today with how well it worked!

    Anyway, thanks for posting this how-to, I have the Mr. Clean auto-dry system and those filters were killing the wallet!

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