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francie1229

Full timer - Sanitizing fresh water tank

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We are full time.  Prior to starting out 3 years ago the fresh water tank and faucets were sanitized with bleach.  Periodically we have sanitized the fresh water tank with bleach, but not run the bleach solution through the faucets. The idea being that we are continuously running water through all the faucets, so there is no opportunity for mold, mildew or bacteria to reside.  Should we be running the bleach solution through the faucets anyway? 

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francie1229,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

If used frequently, no need to sanitize the whole system-- no different than a sticks and bricks house.

The main "got-ya" is continually using shore water, allowing the water in the on-board tank to sit and sit and sit......

If that happens, then, yes the tank needs to be drained and the whole system sanitized.

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Thanks very much for your reply.  We keep the fresh water tank drained when we are sitting in one spot and using shore water all the time.  We sanitize the tank prior to moving again, because we figure there was probably a bit of water that did not drain.  Hate to put the bleach solution though the whole water system if not really necessary, trying to figure that out?

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For the last 20 or so years I have been using hydrogen peroxide.  With an empty tank fill with 1 pt and about 15 gallons of water.  Run the pump and turn on each faucet hot and cold including the kitchen sink rinser.  Fill the tank to the desired capacity and just begin using the system.  Some time ago I had a discussion with an engineer in charge of the water quality at a chemical plant and he said they use hydrogen peroxide on a regular basis.  I had something growing in my kitchen sink rinser line and full strength bleach wouldn't kill it.  Used hydrogen peroxide and the problem was cured.

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I just had a thought after reading Brett's comment. Like he mentioned, we never sanitize our house plumbing, even if we leave the house for weeks at a time to go on the road. Our fresh water system at home is fed by our own well. Periodically we are required to bring a sample to the county offices to have it tested for contamination. If the sample tests good, we do nothing more. In the nearly 20 years we've lived here, taking the samples is all we've ever had to do since everything tests good.

Seems like that would be the gold standard for our RVs as well. Not very expensive to have a water sample tested, and certainly not very difficult. Rather than guessing on the proper formula for sanitizing our systems just get them tested and be armed with facts.

If you live in an area where homes have wells, the information on getting a water sample tested should be readily available. If there are no wells in your area, then you might have to dig a bit to find which office at the county (or, town, village, etc) handles such things.

This is now on my list for spring prep, so I'll report back once I've done mine.

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Welcome!

I do the same as DD69.  I also run a pint down my water hose..it's on a reel, so it's the only time I stretch it all the way out.   Hold it up and pour, then kink it and attache to water faucet...run for a minute and turn off water & let sit for 10 minutes, then put hose away! :)  

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I sanitized the system before each summer trip of 3-4 months.

I drain the fresh water tank, remove the water filter, and pour Clorox bleach into the hose. (Using Mfg Ratio)
Connect the hose to the water faucet and fill the tank.
Run the faucets in all the areas until a faint odor of Clorox bleach is noticed.
Let it sit for 4 hours or more.
Drain the tank, refill and drain once more (gets rid of  Clorox bleach taste.)
Put the filter back in and fill the tank to whatever capacity you wish.

Tip: if you have a short hose, hook it to the water faucet and after putting Clorox bleach in the other hose you can keep the Clorox bleach from draining by holding up both ends of the hoses and connecting.

 

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Hmmmm!  Clorox Bleach or HP 3%?  One waste a lot of water, one does not.  Both do the same job.  One is harmful to your skin and lungs over time and don't use it as a mouth wash!  HP 3% is good for brushing your teeth/mouth wash & still does the same as Clorox Bleach!  Your call.

Now the OP has his own choice to make!

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I've been reading about this online since the thread started. Seems like there is a great variance in the amount of chlorine or hydrogen peroxide that is required to adequately sanitize a water supply. I remember when Milwaukee was dealing with the crypto situation in the 90s, and there were specific guidelines to follow to properly sanitize. Does anyone know of a reliable agency source (NIH, CDC, etc) for the ratios being used in this application?

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1 hour ago, manholt said:

Joe.  HP is $.99 cents a Quart, $3 per year is not expensive!

When I read how much was needed to sanitize the tank it was 1/2 full of water it was almost $50.00

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No Sir.  1 pint = 15 gal.  There's 4 pints in a quart...I put 1 1/2 quart, in my fresh tank, each year!  It's only 50/50 for mouth wash after you brush your teeth at full strength,  I use Colgate & Listerine, but it's nice to know if HP is all you got. :ph34r::lol: 

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So a 100 gallon tank 6.6 bottles of HP? If that’s the case I’m only out $12.00 assuming I fill the tank, if I do 1/2 tank roughly 4 bottles would be more than adequate.

This is the regular bottles you purchase at the dollar store or Walmart right?

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On 3/23/2019 at 8:48 AM, richard5933 said:

I've been reading about this online since the thread started. Seems like there is a great variance in the amount of chlorine or hydrogen peroxide that is required to adequately sanitize a water supply. I remember when Milwaukee was dealing with the crypto situation in the 90s, and there were specific guidelines to follow to properly sanitize. Does anyone know of a reliable agency source (NIH, CDC, etc) for the ratios being used in this application?

According to this CDC webpage, a concentration of 7.5% hydrogen peroxide( sold as a premixed solution) is required for complete sanitizing. It is about 1/2  way down the page. 

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On 3/23/2019 at 12:59 PM, jleamont said:

So a 100 gallon tank 6.6 bottles of HP? If that’s the case I’m only out $12.00 assuming I fill the tank, if I do 1/2 tank roughly 4 bottles would be more than adequate.

This is the regular bottles you purchase at the dollar store or Walmart right?

Only partially filling your fresh water tank will not expose  the entire tank interior to any liquid sterilization method or chemical.

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44 minutes ago, RayIN said:

According to this CDC webpage, a concentration of 7.5% hydrogen peroxide( sold as a premixed solution) is required for complete sanitizing. It is about 1/2  way down the page. 

Unless I'm misreading this page, they're talking about using the HP in concentrations of 3% - 7.5% on solid surfaces. If so, then how can the stuff from the box stores which is only 3% be effective in a fresh water system, especially when diluted in the amount of water we're talking about here?

I'll sleep (and drink) better doing our usual routine and then confirming everything with a simple water test at the county office.

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That was the point of my  posting the link, I agree with you Richard, and think I'll stick with my method. I use Sodium Dichlor powder instead of liquid bleach, it leaves no after-taste, stores easily, and is very effective. One tsp treats 100G water to sanitize the entire fresh water system. I bought a 1lb pouch of Sodium Dichlor powder 8  years ago and still have half of it remaining, it should be stored in an air and water tight container.

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23 minutes ago, RayIN said:

That was the point of my  posting the link, I agree with you Richard, and think I'll stick with my method. I use Sodium Dichlor powder instead of liquid bleach, it leaves no after-taste, stores easily, and is very effective. One tsp treats 100G water to sanitize the entire fresh water system. I bought a 1lb pouch of Sodium Dichlor powder 8  years ago and still have half of it remaining, it should be stored in an air and water tight container.

Great - thanks for the clarification. Seems like we're on the same page.

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Do most of you use the fresh water tank to supply the coach or do you use city water. We never drink from city water or fresh water tank but use bottled water from store. 

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1 minute ago, rfsod48 said:

Do most of you use the fresh water tank to supply the coach or do you use city water. We never drink from city water or fresh water tank but use bottled water from store. 

Roland, 50/50 for us. We also never drink from either source, bottled water for us and pets as well. Learned that the hard way :wacko:

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We use the onboard tank exclusively for all needs - bathing, cooking, drinking. We've got a whole-house filter to remove sediment, and a drinking water filter on the sink which further filters water for cooking/drinking. We stopped using bottled water years ago. When possible, I fill the tank from our well water (softened) before leaving on a trip. It holds 90 gallons which will last the two of us more than a week. We'll fill from city water while on the road, but only after double checking on the quality of the water supply at the park/campground.

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