Should We Be Draining Water Between Uses? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-15-2018, 08:20 AM   #1
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Name: Dave
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Should We Be Draining Water Between Uses?

I couldn't find much in my search of threads so sorry if it has been beaten forever. We are typically 2-4 weeks between camping trips. I have been draining the fresh water tank after each trip but realize the hot water tank still has water in it. What is considered the best practice between trips?

a) Just drain the fresh water tank
b) Drain both the fresh water tank and water heater
c) Fill the fresh water tank up when getting back to keep minimum air in system
d) Fill fresh water tank and add a sanitizing solution.

And what about sanitizing solution? Anything anyone uses that is easy and effective? Should we be doing this with every fill?

Thanks for either pointing us to a good thread or your help with these questions.
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Old 07-15-2018, 08:28 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Vtec View Post
I couldn't find much in my search of threads so sorry if it has been beaten forever. We are typically 2-4 weeks between camping trips. I have been draining the fresh water tank after each trip but realize the hot water tank still has water in it. What is considered the best practice between trips?

a) Just drain the fresh water tank
b) Drain both the fresh water tank and water heater
c) Fill the fresh water tank up when getting back to keep minimum air in system
d) Fill fresh water tank and add a sanitizing solution.

And what about sanitizing solution? Anything anyone uses that is easy and effective? Should we be doing this with every fill?

Thanks for either pointing us to a good thread or your help with these questions.
A is all we do unless the trailer will be sitting for over a month then B
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Old 07-15-2018, 09:58 AM   #3
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A is all we do unless the trailer will be sitting for over a month then B
This works for me too 😎
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Old 07-15-2018, 10:03 AM   #4
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If you are not using the fresh water for drinking then you should be okay to leave the system full between trips. I carry separate drinking water in refillable bottles. If you are using the fresh water for drinking you probably should drain the system including the hot water tank to avoid any possibility of bacterial growth. You can flush the system with diluted bleach, at the end of the season, and then drain it completely. A good fresh water flushing at the beginning of the next season should get rid of any remaining bleach residue.
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Old 07-15-2018, 10:23 AM   #5
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You can flush the system with diluted bleach, at the end of the season, and then drain it completely.

I don't bother with this step as the municipal water in Vancouver is already chlorinated.
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Old 07-15-2018, 10:48 AM   #6
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Unless the place where you are going doesn't have water available, I wouldn't even think of having to "schlog" around a 200 lb. tank full of water if I can use theirs when I get where I'm going. Boon-docking of course changes the game a bit, but then we stay where there are full hook-ups 99.9% of the time. I can't remember the last time I even used the trailer's water tank.
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Old 07-15-2018, 12:34 PM   #7
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We're lucky to have really tasty deep well water at our home. I fill the tank in the camper, and another 7 gallon portable tank that travels in the back of the pickup. I use the home water for as long as it lasts. I usually drain both tanks when I get home.
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Old 07-15-2018, 01:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
Unless the place where you are going doesn't have water available, I wouldn't even think of having to "schlog" around a 200 lb. tank full of water if I can use theirs when I get where I'm going. Boon-docking of course changes the game a bit, but then we stay where there are full hook-ups 99.9% of the time. I can't remember the last time I even used the trailer's water tank.
Just the opposite here. I commonly camp at stops on a trip with no hookups. I'd rather not be bothered with filling the tank along the way. And if you don't drain the tank, by day two I am schlogging the water on the trip. That plus its convenient on stops on the road to have water for mini-breaks, walking the dog stops, or whatever.
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Old 07-15-2018, 05:05 PM   #9
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Should you...???

there are no rules here....just what people tend to do...The vast majority of the time there's no hook-ups where I'm going/staying. I always leave home with a full fresh water tank.


FWIW...I drain the water heater once a year for winter storage (it's a chore! I don't do chores unless I really have to)


If the trailer hasn't moved for a month, yeah, I'll drain the fresh water tank (It's a snap, just twist the valve open in the back yard)


After years of boat ownership (filling the tank here and there and everywhere) I got in the habit of adding 2-3 drops of chlorine (bleach) every other time I top up the tank. It's a practice I still do with the trailer's water tank.


Every month or so I add a splash of bleach to all three drains (kitchen, bath sink, shower). The grey tank collects food reside from the kitchen sink making it a good breeding ground for bacteria....bacteria stinks.


Once or twice a year I add Drano (most expensive stuff on the shelf and the only thing that really works) to all three drains to keep everything running fine. (all three are smaller sizes than your typical house plumbing and prone to "slowing down")


The black tank is the black tank. I use it, dump it and add chemical every time... that's it (no cleaning, hosing, wanding or whatever). At the end of the last trip of the season, I dump... then half fill the tank with fresh water, add a splash of bleach and take the trailer for a "drive" (including swerving and hard brake applications) and dump again.... then I add a gallon or two of fresh with anti-freeze.



Just what I do...never any plumbing problems, never "smelly" water
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Old 07-15-2018, 05:23 PM   #10
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I drain the water system only for winterizing and never between even if I don't use the trailer for a while. I also always try to keep my tanks full when travelling, as I often end up camping off the grid for a few days.
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Old 07-15-2018, 06:07 PM   #11
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My fresh water tank is always full. If I use a some while camping shortly after I get home I drain ad a bit bleach and fill and drain, then fill through a ceramic with a charcoal core filter. Read to go any time.
I guess I look at things a bit differently than many people. My trailer has it' primary purpose as a camp trailer, not an RV resort trailer. Second purpose is as an escape pod for the when the infrastructure fails.
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Old 07-16-2018, 12:44 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Vtec View Post
I couldn't find much in my search of threads so sorry if it has been beaten forever. We are typically 2-4 weeks between camping trips. I have been draining the fresh water tank after each trip but realize the hot water tank still has water in it. What is considered the best practice between trips?
a) Just drain the fresh water tank
b) Drain both the fresh water tank and water heater
c) Fill the fresh water tank up when getting back to keep minimum air in system
d) Fill fresh water tank and add a sanitizing solution.
And what about sanitizing solution? Anything anyone uses that is easy and effective? Should we be doing this with every fill?

Like someone else said, there is no one correct way, just depends on your location and concerns of how you use the TT. I don't have to winterize as I'm in the desert. I keep the tank full for emergency use if needed. I installed a deck plate to the top of the fresh tank to make it real easy to clean it if needed....hasn't happened yet. I drain the tank and refill with fresh water before any trip, yes, I run with a full tank but I really only boondock and my SD 17 is TW heavy. Once a year I do a bleach rinse. I have never drained the water heater and have never heard of any of my camping buds of over 30 years ever doing that either nor having any problems because of it...maybe we've been lucky . Bottom line Dave, whatever you decide to do that makes you comfortable is the correct way to go.
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
My fresh water tank is always full. If I use a some while camping shortly after I get home I drain ad a bit bleach and fill and drain, then fill through a ceramic with a charcoal core filter. Read to go any time.
I guess I look at things a bit differently than many people. My trailer has it' primary purpose as a camp trailer, not an RV resort trailer. Second purpose is as an escape pod for the when the infrastructure fails.
I keep mine ready to go as well. I live by railroads, woods, highways. If I got notice to leave at any time, for any reason, I have supplies for me and all the animals. Hook up, grab the Ďkidsí and Iím gone. Same if the house becomes uninhabitable for any reason, I have what we need to get by a while.
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Old 07-16-2018, 04:53 AM   #14
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Most of the time I drain everything. Just a matter of opening a valve for each the fresh water and hot water tanks. We usually fill up once we are at the CG if it's a non service site.
While travelling I usually keep a minimal amount of water in the fresh water tank for use like flushing the toilet.
Both my tanks are at the back of the trailer and I don't want to carry the weight of full tanks behind my axle.
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Old 07-16-2018, 06:20 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the great insight. I have really good tap water and with the hot summer don't want to get the water system skunky smelling. I have had no problems in the past but could be running on luck.
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Old 07-16-2018, 08:22 AM   #16
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I have the cold/water shutoff valve, or whatever thingy, you want to call it, to the HWH. I very seldom use the HWH and want to close the valve to keep it from filling. Just wondering if anyone knows if it works well. I have the 2014 Scamp. While we are on the subject of filling or emptying tanks. carl
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:49 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Vtec View Post
I couldn't find much in my search of threads so sorry if it has been beaten forever. We are typically 2-4 weeks between camping trips. I have been draining the fresh water tank after each trip but realize the hot water tank still has water in it. What is considered the best practice between trips?

a) Just drain the fresh water tank
b) Drain both the fresh water tank and water heater
c) Fill the fresh water tank up when getting back to keep minimum air in system
d) Fill fresh water tank and add a sanitizing solution.

And what about sanitizing solution? Anything anyone uses that is easy and effective? Should we be doing this with every fill?

Thanks for either pointing us to a good thread or your help with these questions.
We drain both tanks every time we come home. This keeps the tanks in good condition. Of course we sanitize every spring and we do drink the water. If you don't have clean water to use then it is useless to have the water at all. You use the water to wash dishes, brush teeth, etc. Any water that is used for these purposes needs to be clean. We also rinse our black tank after each use. If not they build up some yuck and smell. It doesn't have to be a huge cleaning just rinsed out. Always use a deodorizer that helps with digestion and cleaning each time you dump. Some are called toss-ins. They work well. I prefer to keep my RV working as good as possible in all manners. Some don't clean their tanks then they wonder why they don't work well.
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Old 07-22-2018, 08:20 AM   #18
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My method is to keep the tank full in season....I refresh water supply before a trip (drain and refill just prior to departure.
If you drain tank and let it sit empty you must re-sanitize your water system with bleach and water mix...drain..flush and refil....a lot of time and work.
Keep tank active during camping season and drain and add anti-freeze for winter storage....then sanitize with bleach and water mix in spring.

Happy camping !
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Old 07-22-2018, 10:14 AM   #19
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Name: Stuart
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Draining tanks

Where we live in New Hampshire, proper winter storage is crucial. So we blow out our lines with fresh water and compressed air, drain all the tanks, and then use the pink RV anti-freeze. Be sure not to let the anti-freeze get into the hot water heater! We rarely use the hot water heater, so we always travel with it empty and add water if we need it. I always deodorize the black water tank but I havenít worried about the gray water. I generally keep a few gallons in the freshwater tank In case we need some water when weíre on the road, but we generally hook up to the ďshoreĒ Supply if itís available, otherwise we use a refillable jug for water. We donít drink the water from the freshwater tank, we always use water from the campground, run through our water filter. Iíve only use bleach if I suspect contamination of the water tank or lines. Because of its toxicity to septic systems, and groundwater, disposal of water with bleach in it is a significant issue.
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:58 AM   #20
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A note for Stu-ru and others who may not know about proper sanitation of water systems.....you must use a bleach/water mixture in your fresh water tank and all your water lines at the start of the camping season after winter storage.
This will end the problem of bacteria in both water lines and the tank itself.
Let the bleach/water mixture sit in the tank and all the water lines for a day then flush the system with fresh water until the heavy bleach smell is gone.

I just run the bleach/water mix out of the tank and lines on the ground. It is not an issue. The small amount of bleach in the mixture does no harm to my grass.
I have used this approved method for years.

Most RV manufacturers include instructions on this sanitation method in their owners manual.
Suggest you install a hot water heater bypass valve system in your RV to save on antifreeze when winterizing . But.... allow the sanitizing liquid to also clean and eliminate bacteria in your water heater.

Happy Safe Camping.
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