Quick advice on sanitizing water system - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-29-2015, 06:34 AM   #1
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Quick advice on sanitizing water system

Hi, y'all. I am going to be checking all my fittings and lines to be sure there are no leaks, removing carpet from under my sink, possibly removing carpet around the hot water tank and/or breaker box or at least moisture testing it. I think probably the former. It smells somewhat moldy to me under there, and I am very mold sensitive so I've been getting stuffed up when I sleep.

I also want to sanitize my entire water system, and someone told me how to do it this summer but I can't find the post. I think I was supposed to flush all my lines using the fresh water tank with a bit of bleach but I can't recall the amount. Frankly, I don't ever use the freshwater tank nor plan to boondock, so I don't know too much about it.

I also saw a post on casita club where someone's fresh water tank line was black and moldy. And so was their freshwater tank and they modified it. Is there a way I can check my freshwater tank to be sure it's relatively okay and I'm not sleeping on top of some kind of tank with mold and bacteria in it? And how do I check any lines or fittings for yuck inside them?

Well, basically over the next month I want to thoroughly clean out my lines, my water system, get rid of ANYTHING the least bit moldy, replace it, make sure all pipe fittings are good. By the way, I have heard of people using enzyme and probiotic products after a flush and I think I just may try that.

And I really don't know a dang thing about all this... ha ha.
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Old 12-29-2015, 08:25 AM   #2
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My Scamp's fresh water tank and line had been unused for at least 8 years prior to my buying it. The water line did contain some dried, black mold and general "gunk", including some spider bodies.

I filled the tank completely (12 gal) and added two cups of bleach (overkill). Pumped water through the system (mine is only a hand pump to the kitchen sink). Black crud came out immediately, including the spiders. The pump was leaking some, but I found no other leaks. I allowed the bleach water to stay in the tank/water line for a couple of weeks, occasionally pumping more water through the line until no more crud was coming out.

Once all the crud was out of the lines, I drained the remaining water, replaced the hand pump with a new one that does not leak. I have not re-filled the water tank again, since it is winter here in Michigan, but I am fully confident that when I do, I will have a fully functioning, clean water system. Haven't decided if I will use the system for actual drinking water, or just washing water. If I decide to use for drinking, I will probably use AquaMira water treatment in the tank. This is what I use for purifying water when I backpack. It was originally sold as a treatment for water holding tanks and water storage. It purifies and prevents "slime" from forming in stored water. Adds virtually no taste, maybe a HINT of a chlorine taste, if you look for it. Would be a good precaution to use if any question remains on the potability of your water system.

Water Storage & Purification Treatment Liquid, 2 oz | Aquamira
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Old 12-29-2015, 08:33 AM   #3
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That aquamira looks really good, and won't leave a bleach smell. Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2015, 08:46 AM   #4
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I think I would still use bleach first. It seems to do a great job of loosening the solid crud that may be in your tank or lines. Do as I did, fill with water, add bleach while filling (to help mix it), pump this mixture through all your water lines, then let it sit for a few days. Occasionally run more water through the lines. Once you are satisfied that all lines are flowing free, with clean water, drain the remaining water/bleach from the tank. Fill again with fresh water, no bleach and flush all the lines until you no longer smell any chlorine.

Drain your tank once again, then fill with the water you will use for washing and/or drinking. It is at this stage I would add the AquaMira, as a final step. If you use according to directions, the water if completely safe to drink after treatment with the AquaMira, it is a drinking water treatment.

Don't be confused that using this is just an expensive form of bleach treatment. They are a completely different chemistry despite the similarity in the names. The bleach uses chlorine to clean/purify, the AquaMira uses Chlorine Dioxide, which actually releases high oxygen levels - this is what does the disinfecting in the AquaMira. It is a treatment method that has been in use in many Public water systems since the 1940's - very safe and effective.
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Old 12-29-2015, 10:11 AM   #5
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The entire RV world has gotten by just fine using common bleach (sodium hypochlorite) for sanitizing water tanks. Google "Cleaning RV water tanks" and you will get several hundred hits. Here's a typical one:
https://www.clorox.com/dr-laundry/bl...g-water-tanks/

The AquaMira products seem more aimed at emergency and back country water purification needs, than for tank and system cleaning.
Water Storage & Purification Treatment Liquid, 2 oz | Aquamira


At $16 for enough to treat only 60 gallons, it's about 500 times more expensive than common bleach.
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Old 12-29-2015, 10:30 AM   #6
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In the spring I drain and fill 3 times to remove the pink antifreeze. I then fill the tank adding 1/4 cup of bleach at the half full point. I open the faucet until I smell the beach. I let it sit over night. Next day I drain and fill 3 more times. My tank is now ready for the season. We use the tank water for dishes and wash up only. Good luck, Raz
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Old 12-29-2015, 02:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jenbooks View Post
That aquamira looks really good, and won't leave a bleach smell. Thanks!
Pricey!! The smell of bleach disappears fast when you refill and run fresh water through your lines after sanitizing.
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Old 12-29-2015, 02:18 PM   #8
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The municipal water here contains chlorine. I fill the coffee maker reservoir the night before and the next morning there is no chlorine smell.
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Old 12-29-2015, 04:18 PM   #9
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Thanks, all. I like the aquamira idea, and $16 is not much in the bigger scheme of things. I am going to purchase it. di-oxide is two oxygens, chlorine is chlorine That's probably why it has a mild residue of chlorine, less than bleach. Oxygen is a potent killer of lots of stuff, so I like the idea of flushing with that afterwards. Thanks for all the advice--not sure I want to let it sit since I'm using the trailer now?

We had a sunny day today but I didn't even have a chance to get to the trailer, and we are due for another YUCKY rain day tomorrow.
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Old 12-29-2015, 07:52 PM   #10
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The FW tank on our 76 Trillium was original and looked that way, as did the lines. I tried the javex/water solution, still wasn't satisfied and so after removing it, installed a 4 inch polypropylene deck plate in the top of the tank. This lets me get in there, inspect it closely and scrub. I used a paste of Borax and lemon juice to clean away the iron deposits and gunk and then several soaks of Javex and water alternating with baking soda to get rid of the funky smell. I kept the tank in my laundry tub and worked at it over the winter. Oh and next spring I replaced the water lines - a cheap and easy sure fix.

Finding a food-safe gasket for the deck plate has been a challenge. I first used cork but am going to replace the cork gasket with JB Water Weld which claims to be drinking water safe. Having said all that, I we don't drink the water from this tank. My thinking is that any stagnant water at summer temperatures is suspect. After all, our initial concern was mold, right? So I treat this water (you can find directions online) and use it for cleaning up, washing vegetables etc. We keep separate water for drinking.
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Old 12-30-2015, 08:06 AM   #11
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You guys are all so handy. This is so new to me I am not even sure how to know how to fill my freshwater tank. But I bought that casita book everybody recommended, and I'm sure it will tell me how. RAIN TODAY again!! Can't stand it!!
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:45 AM   #12
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chlorine is chlorine That's probably why it has a mild residue of chlorine, less than bleach. .
Keep in mind that chlorine is the bases of most common bleach brands - even today.
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:48 AM   #13
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Have to find some 'organic' chlorine or bleach.
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Old 12-30-2015, 02:15 PM   #14
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Have to find some 'organic' chlorine or bleach.
LOL I believe chlorines common compound is salt - thats organic or maybe not as thats the result of a chemical reaction. LOL
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