Sanitizing Water Tanks & Refrigerators - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-17-2019, 06:14 PM   #1
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Name: MJ
Trailer: Park Liner
GA
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Sanitizing Water Tanks & Refrigerators

Hey All,

I did a search for previous posts on sanitizing water tanks but didn't find anything, just mostly for sale posts.

I purchased a 2013 PL and have just begun my maiden voyage. Before departing I had it checked out by Camping World (including flushing all tanks). They gave me the green light. But after hooking up to the water source at the camp site in the park and trying to drink water from the faucet I noticed a strange taste (like stale/old refrigerator water) which made me wonder if the water that had been sitting in the water tanks before I departed might have grown something undesirable

The water in the bath house tastes better than what is coming out of the faucet So, I wonder:
How does one ever clean/sanitize those 2 fresh water tanks to ensure one doesn't drink bacteria?
With a direct hook up to the park spigot Is the park water having to go through the internal fresh water tanks (and what ever water that was left in there) to reach my faucet and toilet?
Are those 2 fresh water tanks connected (as in "fill via one side port valve" will fill them both)?

I have a water filter on the spigot and the water still tastes terrible! With 99 degree temps it would be nice to have a cold glass of water.

Speaking of which, my ever so tiny Norcold drips water inside all the time. Is this normal? I have tried turning the thermostat to "High Cool" and "Low Cool" and nothing seems to change. Not sure which way is cooler temp. Is the fridge dripping because it is so humid outside this time of year? BTW: Which direction is cooler... "High Cool" or "Low Cool"? I cannot tell which way to turn the knob to increase or decrease "coolness" inside the fridge.

Your experienced, knowledgeable comments greatly welcomed

Thanks so much,
(thirsty) Tinkerbelle
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:31 PM   #2
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Sorry for your water problems.

No, city water does not go through your fresh water tanks. Straight to your sink.

Take your hose off the city water spigot outside and taste the water there. Maybe that's the source of bad tastes.

Have you been also using a screw-on external water filter on the hose hookup? Can help a lot. Also, try taking off your faucet filter on the sink faucet and clean it. Try drinking the water with the inside filter off, too. Sometimes they can hold nasty sediment or gave a reaction to the minerals in the water. Finally, is your hose made for potable water? Regular garden hoses often taste bad.

Fridge units will drip in humid conditions due to condensation. However, it should probably drip outside. Perhaps the small drain hose came off if it has one or the drainage hole is plugged with crud. It should not drip inside, so you may have to just catch the drips for now.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:20 PM   #3
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Personally I never use water at any camp site for drinking water I've always used bottled water. In most cases its likely fine to drink but after using plumbers antifreeze over the winter it takes a long time to flush the residual out of the system.
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:32 AM   #4
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This is kind of a multipart answer.


First: How to sanitize fresh tank: This is what my owners manual for my Bigfoot says to do to sanitize the fresh tank:


Quote:
SANITIZING THE FRESH WATER SYSTEM
The following procedures are recommended to ensure complete sanitization of your potable water system. This applies to a new system, one that may have become contaminated or one that has not been used for a period of time.
1) Prepare a solution of ľ cup household liquid chlorine bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) to one gallon of water. This solution will treat 15 gallons of fresh water. You will need to increase solution proportions to the tank capacity of your travel trailer.
2) Close drain valves and faucets; pour chlorine solution into the fresh water tank filler spout. Fill tank completely with fresh water.
3) Turn water pump switch “ON” be sure you have 12V DC power. Open all faucets individually until water flows steadily and you detect a distinct odour of chlorine – then turn faucets off. Do not forget the hot water faucets. This will purge any air from the lines.
4) Refill the fresh water tank to “full” and wait 3 to 4 hours.
5) Drain the entire system by opening all water tank valves, faucets and plumbing line drain valves.
6) Rinse the system with fresh water, close drain valves, refill the water tanks with fresh water and repeat the steps set out in step 3 (omitting the chlorine solution). Let the fresh water flow through the system for several minutes to rinse out the chlorine solution.
7) After you finish flushing the fresh water system, drain the entire system by repeating the steps set out in step 5. You can now close the tank valve, faucets and drain valves and fill the tank with fresh water. The system is now ready to use.
To remove any excessive chlorine taste or odour that may remain in the potable water system, prepare a solution of 1 quart vinegar to 5 gallons of water. Allow this solution to agitate in the tank through vehicle motion. Drain tank and rinse again with fresh water as set out in step 5.

Second: As everyone mentioned, while you are hooked up to city/park water your fresh tank is closed off and water won't go in or out. Also as mentioned, the screw on type of water filter is recommended, and if you look around at others camping you will see most of them use one (at least that's what I saw looking around campgrounds.)
Third: I ended up getting a Berkey water filter so whatever I'm drinking (whether from the city or from the freshwater tank while boondocking) is filtered via the Berkey. (I also use the Berkey at home so there is that. I have had it a few months and it seems to be doing a fine job. It was expensive, but I'm not buying bottled water anymore so eventually hopefully it will even out.)
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:44 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by JonRaw View Post
This is kind of a multipart answer.


First: How to sanitize fresh tank: This is what my owners manual for my Bigfoot says to do to sanitize the fresh tank:





Second: As everyone mentioned, while you are hooked up to city/park water your fresh tank is closed off and water won't go in or out. Also as mentioned, the screw on type of water filter is recommended, and if you look around at others camping you will see most of them use one (at least that's what I saw looking around campgrounds.)
Third: I ended up getting a Berkey water filter so whatever I'm drinking (whether from the city or from the freshwater tank while boondocking) is filtered via the Berkey. (I also use the Berkey at home so there is that. I have had it a few months and it seems to be doing a fine job. It was expensive, but I'm not buying bottled water anymore so eventually hopefully it will even out.)
The things I'd add to this procedure which I agree with 100% is use a little more bleach and dilute it before putting it into the tank as the bleach could damage the filler tube (per previous comments in this forum). I use a 1/2 gallon pitcher and fill it with water after putting the bleach in it. After pouring it into my tank then I fill my tank with water. We do this every year to get rid of the anti-freeze taste in the lines. Another thing is you want to bypass your hot water heater and not put the bleach in it. You do need to remove the plug or anode rod whichever you have on your water heater and flush it real good with a special nozzle made for that purpose on the end of your water safe hose. Never use a regular garden hose. You can also hook up to city water without a pressure regulator on your hose but don't leave it that way with everything closed as it usually is to much pressure. Remove the plug or anode rod to flush it but that doesn't do as good of a job as the special flush nozzle. If you don't have an outside spout like I don't on my motorhome I put the 1/2 gallon of bleach water into my hose and hook it to my outside fill hookup then to my faucet and get bleach into my tank that way. Some units can only be filled with city water pressure going into the tank. Most small trailers have the water tank fill opening though. Check your water hose and if it smells at all replace it. Before storing the hose make sure it is drained. I never screw the ends together since no air can get in and that's when they seem to get smelly. Hope this helps also.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:17 AM   #6
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Name: Erik
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Water filters

I have noticed that most of the RV hose water filters are not properly designed to prevent water-born illness. Of particular concern are the parasites, cryptosporidium and giardia. These require a filter pore size of less than 1 micron. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that filters conform to the NSF/ANSI Standard 53 or Standard 58. For more information visit the CDC website at



https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto...o/filters.html


Most city water systems do this filtering for you. However, well water can become contaminated after heavy rains or floods.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:30 AM   #7
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If the mfr. instructions don’t work. Consider a brewing sanitizer which you could get from the local homebrew store or online. That’s what I would try. It’s specifically made for food use so no aftertaste is left after the single rinse on brewing equipment which includes small diameter tubing and valves.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:19 PM   #8
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Like others I prefer not to drink water from my fresh water tank. But I also avoid commercial bottled water as much as possible because it's so environmentally harmful. So I carry 2 to 3 gallons of water from home for drinking. On longer trips I can add water from a reliable source.

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Old 09-18-2019, 04:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by SnowballCamper View Post
If the mfr. instructions donít work. Consider a brewing sanitizer which you could get from the local homebrew store or online. Thatís what I would try. Itís specifically made for food use so no aftertaste is left after the single rinse on brewing equipment which includes small diameter tubing and valves.

Interesting that you mention this. I was just at a local home brew equipment shop and came across the sanitizers they use. The owners of the shop suggested I try this since it's much easier to rinse than bleach.


Anyone try this yet?
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:23 PM   #10
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Name: MJ
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Kevin A: spigot/faucet tips...will do. Fridge drain hose??? I don't see anything "off" at the controls outside and no hoses in the cabinet where the tiny fridge fits.

Daniel A: antifreeze tasting water...good point.

JohnRaw: I am using a proper and new water hose & filter. Would love a Berkey but all my money is in the camper right now :-(

JannTodd: hot water heater special nozzle??? Where does one find one of those?

SnowballCamper: Have you tried using the brewer's sanitizer before? What protocol did you follow?

WaltP: I only have a Britta but hope for a Berkey some day. For now I am getting glasses of water to go when I eat out to put through the Britta but this is not sustainable for me.

Thank you all for your tips/advice.

Tinkerbelle
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:42 AM   #11
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So, are you traveling from site to site and has the bad taste persisted? Or is it only at the site you've been at?
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Old 09-20-2019, 07:52 AM   #12
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Fridge leaking

Is the water running from the door? If so see if your door seal is tight. If it is check if your fridge has a heated door seal. These can be turned on or off and are heated to prevent the area around the seal from sweating. If you do have one remember to turn it off when you quit using your fridge. This is a big reason RV batteries go dead when the RV is parked for a long period and not being used. I found this on many mysterious dead battery issues.
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:43 AM   #13
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Drinking water

Iím with Walt;
Took out my water tank(13íBurro), and carry a 3 gallon container that rides beneath the sink.
Fill it at home, cut the faucet hose so it fits into the 3 gallon tank and pump from there.
Actually, I usually fill at a campground.
Only have about 2-3í of hose to keep clean, I have a 5 gallon obtained I keep in the back of my tow vehicle with water in case I am suspect of campground water.
Original water tank was always suspect, and I never used it.
This system works great for me.
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:10 PM   #14
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Frankly I always just use my tanks. And I bleach them before every trip.

The offical procedure above certainly is the best way. BUT just doing it generally is good enough. First I actually rinse all of the lines. Then add bleach to the tank. Then fill the whole thing. Then just run in through all of the lines. remember your hot water heater has a bunch of water in it ;-) Then I rinse the tank till it is obviously clear of bleach. Then a full fill and run that through all of the lines.

I use my tanks because that way I know when my gray tank is about full. Have thought of getting a monitor.
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Old 09-25-2019, 10:46 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Daniel A. View Post
Personally I never use water at any camp site for drinking water I've always used bottled water. In most cases its likely fine to drink but after using plumbers antifreeze over the winter it takes a long time to flush the residual out of the system.
Not if you rinse well, bleach the tank, rinse again and use the tank. We usually take a gallon or 2 gallon jug of ice water to drink the first few days and by then the water has rinsed the lines very clean. Never put anti-freeze in the water tank or hot water tank. They can't be drained enough. We have a hot water tank bypass kit and a kit to put the anti-freeze in the lines right at the pump. The line from the tank to the pump drains naturally when we drain the tank and the hot water tank drains when we take out the anode rod or the plug. We have an RV and the Casita so we have one of each.
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:06 PM   #16
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Not if you rinse well, bleach the tank, rinse again and use the tank. We usually take a gallon or 2 gallon jug of ice water to drink the first few days and by then the water has rinsed the lines very clean. Never put anti-freeze in the water tank or hot water tank. They can't be drained enough. We have a hot water tank bypass kit and a kit to put the anti-freeze in the lines right at the pump. The line from the tank to the pump drains naturally when we drain the tank and the hot water tank drains when we take out the anode rod or the plug. We have an RV and the Casita so we have one of each.

I have always used to rv anti freeze. And generally I blow out my lines as best I can. Then drain the hot watrer heater and bypass it. Going to come up with a better way to do that ;-) Then I put a gallon of rv anti freeze in my tank and put it through to all of the lines. Then I blow up the lines and the tank again. Never have had a problem removing the anti-freeze.

Well one problem. I never use my city water connection and find that has retained water and frozen in the past. I make it an effort to blow that out too now.
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Old 09-26-2019, 12:27 AM   #17
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I sanitize my water tank with bleach. This is easy and does not take much bleach. Don't worry about hurting your plumbing as the bleach is very diluted. Either add about 1/4 cup to the tank or pour it into the hose before filling the tank.

Be sure you are filling with a drinking water approved hose and not just a garden hose. Run the inside faucets to get the bleach through the system and then let it sit overnight. Drain, refill and you are good to go.

I never use the RV antifreeze, except in the sink traps. I don't want to drink any of that stuff even if it is "safe". I winterize by blowing out the lines instead.

We always carry cases of Costco drinking water for coffee and drinking. Very cheap at about 13.4 cents each! But the tank water is drinkable.

Filters are fine for keeping rocks and grasshoppers out, but they are not for keeping pathogens out. Charcoal filters are for improving taste, but that should not be needed if you have good water. If you are not sure, use your Costco water until you are sure.
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Old 09-26-2019, 12:31 AM   #18
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We always carry cases of Costco drinking water for coffee and drinking. Very cheap at about 13.4 cents each! But the tank water is drinkable.

You have a lot of faith in Costco.
You have no problem with loading the landfills with plastics that will take hundreds of years to decompose?
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Old 09-26-2019, 01:21 AM   #19
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You have a lot of faith in Costco.
You have no problem with loading the landfills with plastics that will take hundreds of years to decompose?
Not sure what you mean? We eat the bottles and water the plants with the water. Water doesn't decompose.

BTW, how long did that plastic sit somewhere as oil before it was processed into bottles? 100 million years or so? Hardly a concern to use a tiny bit of it to make a plastic bottle that weighs approximately one ounce, while not caring about pouring many gallons of processed oil into your gas tank, over and over, to drive hundreds, or thousands of miles simply for recreation, on a whim, while spewing exhaust into the atmosphere. All while the military is dumping tanker planes of oil over the ocean to use up their allotment numbers so they won't get less next fiscal year, and thousands of airliners are constantly in the air carrying people on recreational trips around the globe, just for fun. While cargo ships are transiting back and forth to China and other locations, carrying goods that are so cheap that the fuel to run the ships is insignificant.

But it warms my heart to know you are concerned about my water bottle, that will sit for a long time in the landfill. But wait! Will it? With the 5 cents per bottle deposit, how many bottles make it that far before being recycled? Not many.

The world is now consuming over 80 million barrels of oil a day. But I guess I should drink out of a faucet, while camping, instead of a Costco water bottle, to save the planet. Even though, while camping, we refill the bottles as much as is practical, from good drinking water sources.

Oh, but wait, what about all of that piping infrastructure to pressurize it and get it to the faucet? What about the fuel I use to tow my trailer over to the faucet to re-fill the tank? I guess it's complicated.

You are really on a roll tonight Glen!
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Old 09-26-2019, 02:40 PM   #20
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I have always used to rv anti freeze. And generally I blow out my lines as best I can. Then drain the hot watrer heater and bypass it. Going to come up with a better way to do that ;-) Then I put a gallon of rv anti freeze in my tank and put it through to all of the lines. Then I blow up the lines and the tank again. Never have had a problem removing the anti-freeze.

Well one problem. I never use my city water connection and find that has retained water and frozen in the past. I make it an effort to blow that out too now.
You can put in a hot water heater bypass and a T-connection to put the antifreeze in just before the water pump and pump the antifreeze throughout the trailer lines. We only blew out lines once and one came apart and flooded our camper in the spring. So now we do the antifreeze directly into the pump. It takes one gallon. The problem with putting it into the tank is there's still water in the tank sometimes even when drained since the drain sits a little above the bottom of the tank. So you may not get full protection since it is diluted. Plus you have to really rinse and rinse to get it out of the tank. We drain all the lines and hot water tank before we put the antifreeze in. Done this for over 35 years and no problems. We have had 2 rv's since 2005.
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