Water tank cleaning? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-24-2012, 05:09 AM   #1
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Question Water tank cleaning?

About once a year, I drain the water from the storage tank under the rear seat (there's a little valve to open under the trailer near the bumper), and refill it with new water. But I was wondering if this water is potable after a few months? Is there a proper way to "wash out" the tank or sterilize it before putting in fresh water? I thought of adding household bleach, but was afraid to try it. Are there any special additives to add to the filler that would reach the tank to clean it? Living in earthquake prone Caifornia, we keep the trailer fully stocked, and ready to use as an earthquake shelter should our house be uninhabitable after "the big one". We also store cases of bottled water, and the porta potty is always clean too, but I want to make sure the trailer water is clean just in case we run out of the bottled water and have to drink it to survive. Oh, and how many gallons do these tanks normally store? It's a 13 foot Tote n' Tarry. I think I remember my dad telling me 10 gallons? Thanks!
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:53 AM   #2
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There's no answer to tank capacity because there are so many different sizes. You could measure yours and calculate the size. Or maybe someone here will know. As for sanitizing your tank, I pour in a cup of bleach and fill the tank. Then I run the water through the faucets. Then I let it sit overnight, drain, refill, drain, etc until there's no bleach taste or smell.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:18 AM   #3
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Wow - that's a lot of water used to get a tank cleaned!
We haven't ever used our fresh water tanks - have been able to get by just bringing jugs of water or filling up jugs at the campsite as needed.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:27 AM   #4
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I have a five gal tank and to flush I put in two table spoons of javex, run around the block and drain. This sanitises and does not leave a javex taste.

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Old 08-24-2012, 08:40 AM   #5
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Bleaching

We typically bleach our water system, not just our tank once a year. Flushing the system after a bleach treatment only requires about 10 gallons which the lawn loves.

Generally we fill up our tank with city/tap water before going into a boondock situation. Most of this city water contains bleach/chlorine of some kind.

In reality most of what we use water for is washing, cooking and flushing where the water gets heated anyway and not likely to cause any issues.
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:00 AM   #6
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Hmmm... I bet the stuff I use to sterilize my home-brewing equipment might be the ticket for this. It doesn't leave any after-tastes.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:00 AM   #7
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Hmmm... I bet the stuff I use to sterilize my home-brewing equipment might be the ticket for this. It doesn't leave any after-tastes.
And the secret ingredient is?
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
And the secret ingredient is?
I'm hoping he says wine!
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:54 PM   #9
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Deck plate, deck plate, deck plate. The only way to thoroughly clean ANY tank is to be able to clean the inside. Any product, whether bleach or commercial... coats the inside of the tank and if you're lucky actually cleans the inside. You need to thoroughly inspect, clean and dry the tank, especially.... if it's water you plan to ingest: WEST MARINE Screw-in Deck Plate, 6", Smooth, White at West Marine

Although I do like Carol's wine suggestion
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:02 PM   #10
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Years ago a RV Shop owner told me the best way to clean a water tank is. Get a 2ltr of Coke and 3 gallons of water pour all into tank. Take trailer for a ride giving the cleaner coke time to clean. Upon returning drain the tank refill and drain again. It should be ready to go.
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:08 PM   #11
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Donna- love the deck plate- I'd never seen one before.

Deb & Chuck - I suppose the phosphoric acid would clean good. I'd be afraid any sugar left in the tank would be happily growing "stuff" you would not want to ingest.

I used bleach on mine last week. Then, got to thinking, why not distilled white vinegar? Cleans, disinfects and leaves no after taste with a good rinse. I'll prolly do that next time.
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:45 PM   #12
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Vinegar is what I used to clean mine. Filled tank half full, poured in a quart or so of vinegar and took the trailer for a little jaunt around the neighborhood. Drained. Filled with plain water. Then drained again before refilling. Seemed to do the trick. Used it to brush my teeth and boil water for coffee. I'm still alive.
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:15 AM   #13
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Donna as much as I would like to hear that wine worked something tells me that your idea of the deck plate is a better one. I currently have the tank area all opened up as I am installing an electrical plug in that area and I'm also redoing the 20 year old water tank plumping before I have a problem in that area. While I have it all apart your idea would be pretty easy to add.

What tool did you use to make the hole in the top of the water tank? when I have cut holes in the fiberglass I play it safe & cut the hole a little smaller than what ever it is I am installing in the hole and then sand down the fiberglass a little for a nice tight fit - just call me a chicken! ;-)) but I suspect a round hole in the plastic tank may be harder to cut correctly than a straight edged hole is.
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:19 AM   #14
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Carol, Rob has a great writeup on the CasitaForum. Hope you can read/see it: http://www.casitaforum.com/invboard/...sh-water-tank/

If you can read the thread, read then entire thing. Rob had a leaker using DAP....
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:23 AM   #15
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Thanks Donna got it!

Now I know that ever girl needs a Pneumatic saw, who knew!

Edit: cool that he used a deck plate on the side of hatch to make it easy to get at the tank drain as well! got to have that!
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:32 AM   #16
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Several other threads I've read about installing a deck plate involved using a drill for a pilot hole (and bolt holes) and a dremel tool. There are always many ways to do something. Just finding out what works best for YOU is the trick
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:56 AM   #17
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Thanks Donna, I just read through and I see the Dremel use - just so happens I do indeed have one of those but havent actually ever used it to cut fiberglass - looks way to easy!! LOL
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:58 AM   #18
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Cleaning the Water System

A deck plate is a nice cleaning method for the tank. To clean the entire system including the pipes, at least to partially sterilize them, you need to add bleach to the tank and run chlorinated water thru the pipes.

Driving about with chlorinated water will add agitation to the process.

Before you drive around you might add a lot of water and a bag of ice cubes to the black tank to shake things up.

Though we do this once a year we've never had a bad water experience.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:10 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filbert V. View Post
Living in earthquake prone Caifornia, we keep the trailer fully stocked, and ready to use as an earthquake shelter should our house be uninhabitable after "the big one".
We do this also, but we include recycling into the process since water is such a scarce commodity here at the bottom of the left coast. It all starts every morning in the bathtub. Our home water heater is on the opposite side of the house from the bathroom. Before I shave every morning, I place a 2-1/2 gallon plastic jug under the bathtub spigot, turn on the hot faucet, and feel the side of the spigot to determine when all of the cold water has been pushed out of 35' of pipe between the water heater and the bathtub. I usually capture a little over a gallon each morning, minimizing the water that would have been wasted waiting for the water at the sink to be hot enough to wash with.

I have 4 of these jugs, that I keep in the corner of the room in the dead space between the end of the original antique claw-foot bathtub (our house was built in 1918) and the wall. They are an emergency water supply for the house. To have an empty one ready to catch cold water each morning I take them and pour into the Fiber Stream's fresh water tank.

A 2-1/2 gallon jug is a convenient size to pour into the water tank fill port using a funnel with a long spout. The Fiber Stream's fresh water tank drain line is connected to a "Hose Bibb" faucet. Once the tank is full (about 4 jugs worth) Robert draws off water into a sprinkler can that he uses to water all of the pots and containers of plants we have.

So, while we don't always have all of our jugs and tank full all of the time, they are full much of the time. Water that might have been wasted never sits in a container long before it is eventually used, and the containers are continually flushed out and refilled.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:50 AM   #20
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I figure that it's better to keep the earthquake supplies in the trailer under the carport, just in case the house is too damaged to enter, or worse yet, burns down. There's NO way the carport is going to fall down, and even if it did, I'm sure the trailer might end up cracked her and there, but not totaled. The trailer itself would just ride out the jolts and aftershocks, and the water in the tank would be for emergency use only, and more than likely for washing rather than drinking. I keep cases of bottled water in the trailer for drinking use, and also use it for our vacation rental on our property, so it never gets old from sitting around. The canned goods get changed out once a year, and we also have the trailer stocked with toilet paper, an ax, leather boots, etc. Pretty much everything the Red Cross recommends for that crucial 72 hour period. We had that big blackout here last fall, and it really gets you wondering how we'd survive without electricity for very long! Those were the longest hours of my life, but our solar landscaping lights sure came in handy, and much safer than candles
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