Proper maintenance of water tank and water lines - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-17-2015, 02:08 AM   #1
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Proper maintenance of water tank and water lines

Lil'Bea has new water lines and a new water pump. Her old plastic lines were a bit green in the visible areas, and completely black where they were hidden.

Yuck.

They've been replaced by the heavier white stuff (plex? pex?) and the pump works great.

Since we've returned from our first trip, there's still plenty of water in the tank.

Should the tank now be drained? Sanitized? Is there a way to prevent these new lines from becoming nasty like the previous ones?
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Old 09-17-2015, 03:48 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post
Since we've returned from our first trip, there's still plenty of water in the tank. Should the tank now be drained? Sanitized? Is there a way to prevent these new lines from becoming nasty like the previous ones?
This may be one of those questions that go sideways . All I can tell you is what I've done for 30 yrs with all the different RVs. For many years the rig went to the desert at least once a month. Never drained it, I only topped off the tank before each trip. Once a year I added a cup of bleach, drove around a bit to mix it up, emptied the tank, one rinse out and left it empty till the next trip. Never had any problems by doing that and we do use the water from the tank for coffee and such although many here don't. For preventing your new lines from getting nasty......don't let it sit for years like the last owner . So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Others will be along with other ideas.
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Old 09-17-2015, 06:15 AM   #3
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I drain my tank at the end of each outing. I open the tank a few miles from home. Once a year I sanitize with bleach. I used about 1/4 cup of bleach for each 10 gallons of water. I run the pump until I smell the bleach and let things sit over night. Next day I drain and flush until the bleach smell is gone. We use the water for washing up not for drinking. Raz
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Old 09-17-2015, 07:12 AM   #4
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I drain fresh water and water heater after each trip. If for no other reason than to keep the annode threaded connection workable (I use teflon tape on the annode thread which helps too.)

I've never sanitized the fresh tank but I do use water conditioning tablets I purchased from the marine store. Between the boat and trailer I've been drinking water from plastic tanks for over 20 years without issue. Thankfully, I'm not a connoisseur of water (or pizza or wine or coffee, etc.) so I'm pretty much always content with the taste and don't carry bottled water.

I don't know what the inside of my PEX lines look like. The boat has clear vinyl and they're aged somewhat yellow but no inside the line growth that I can spot.
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Old 09-17-2015, 08:41 AM   #5
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Do I drink water from the tank?..........Yes. I still drink water from the garden hose.

I do drain the tank between trips and sanitize once a year.
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Old 09-17-2015, 09:13 AM   #6
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water...

I carry an eye dropper full of chlorine....every other time I fill the water tank I put 2-3 drops of CL in the opening before inserting the hose....I drain the tank once a year.

Did that for twenty years in boats and never had the "smelly water" problem... (a very common complaint from boat owners)
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Old 09-17-2015, 09:43 AM   #7
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I empty out the hot water tank at the end of each year and do a sanitizing of it (using bleach in the fresh water tank and running all the taps) and all the water lines ones a year - usually right after I have flushed out all the plumping RV anti freeze in the spring.

If I had been picking up water at questionable sources while on a trip I will also drain it out completely at the end of a trip.

I have only had a smelly hot water tank once. My Scamp has an Atwood tank so it does not have a anode rod so that was not the problem.

Turned out the tank had a lot of sediment built up on the bottom of the tank (I had been on an 8 week trip and did fill up a number of times from places with private wells) and due to the drain plug design it was not draining out. I purchased a Water Heater Tank Rinser to completely flush out the hot water tank and have not had the problem return. Now use the hose attachment to rinse out the RV anti freeze from the very bottom of the tank each year as well.
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Old 09-17-2015, 12:04 PM   #8
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... I purchased a Water Heater Tank Rinser to completely flush out the hot water tank and have not had the problem return...
A great device. For the novices..the theory being you inject water in through the annode opening into the back of the heater and the plastic tube part is small enough diameter that debris, etc. can squirt by it leaving the tank.

Stand to the side of the opening while operating....
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Old 09-17-2015, 12:58 PM   #9
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I live in So Cal earthquake country. The trailer is my safety back-up plan. I keep the water tank full always. My home water system is on the grid and uses Government water which is Chlorinated.

Before I leave on a trip I dump my water tank and fill up with fresh water. When I return I top off the water tank and it sits until my next trip. Then the cycle starts all over again. The most the trailer sits unused with tank water in it is about 5 months during the winter months. It usually sits 3-4 months between use. I have no issues drinking this water and mostly use it in boiled water anyway. Most of our liquid drinking is in containers.

I think keeping the tank full to the top when not in use is the best way to deal with it. A full tank has very little air and the most chlorinated water in it. Having a mostly empty warm wet tank with allot of air is inviting trouble.

I don't have to deal with freezing here in So Cal so I don't have to deal with the antifreeze and flushing chore. My lines are clear braid so if I have impending issues I can see it and deal with it. I have had no issues since I replaced the water lines when I bought the trailer 3 years ago.
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Old 09-17-2015, 03:05 PM   #10
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Scamp, in one of their owner's manuals that someone made available on the net, recommended this procedure for sanitizing your fresh water tank.

In addition to sanitizing the tank, I use either bottled or filtered water for drinking and cooking. For filtered water on-site, I use a Y valve after the pressure regulator on the spigot. One of the valves is connected to the white hose that goes to the fresh water tank, The other has a RV water filter attached. I fill a gallon jug from the filter when its needed. This way I don't bother to filter all the water being used for cleaning, bathroom, etc. as well as drinking, and I don't have to worry so much about my fresh water tank being perfectly clean. I mark the date of first use on the water filter with permanent marker and when I pack up the filter after a camp stay I mark it again, using tally marks to record the number of days. That gives me the total days the filter has been in use and a rough idea of when to replace it.

I do need to get a better quality Y valve and pressure regulator. These plastic ones don't connect very well.
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Old 09-17-2015, 03:54 PM   #11
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This is great advice, everyone. Thanks!

Since our departure was so last-minute, the tank was not sanitized before we left. Therefore I didn't use ANY of the water. I think there must be some air at the top of the tank.

Do you think I should empty everything first, then refill and add bleach?

Or just top it off and add bleach? Then run the pump until I smell chlorine coming from the faucet and leave it like that until next time (then drain and refill with fresh)?

We are on city water, so there is some chlorine there (and fluoride, and gawd knows what else) already.

I do like the idea of having it full in case of emergency, then refreshing before the next trip.

(We don't have a water heater at this time... but it's good to know more about how to maintain that system as well.)

All of the good strategies much appreciated!
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Old 09-17-2015, 04:53 PM   #12
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.......and fluoride, and gawd knows what else.....
any alligators? No that's New York. Pick one of the above suggestions. A little clorox goes a long way. You'll be fine. Raz
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Old 09-17-2015, 04:58 PM   #13
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LP, you don't have to top it off, just add a cup of bleach, tow it a bit for mixing and run water through the lines till you can smell it. Let it sit for a few hours empty and rinse. Yes there is chlorine added to city water but you need a lot hotter % to sanitize the system.
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Old 09-17-2015, 07:33 PM   #14
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And of course never use the scented bleaches or anything other that pure Sodium Hypochlorite deleted with water. Some people will tell you to only use food grade Sodium Hypochlorite / bleach. If you're drinking from the tank, that might be a good idea, I don't know. If you are not drinking from it then I am sure that pure / unscented bleach such as Clorox is fine.
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