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Old 05-22-2010, 09:03 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Dover, Ohio
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basic new owner questions

Hello everyone,
I just bought my first MH. I've read through the manuals but I still have a few questions about the water system. First, do I need to sanitize the fresh water tank. I have a 100 gal. tank in the manual it says something about puting chlorine in it and then flushing it out. Could someone please explain to me exactly how to do this because it also says that chlorine could damage the rubber seals and I don't want to do that.
My second question is about the septic tanks. I have two 45 gal. tanks one for greywater and one for the toilet. I probably need to put some sort of deodorant or something in it, but what, how much and how exactly to get it in there( I mean do you just dump some in the toilet and flush it a couple of times) And should I only put the deodorant in right before we take a trip or leave it in there all the time? Should I empty the holding tanks after every trip or wait till they get full?

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Old 05-22-2010, 09:15 AM   #2
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Newmar Owners Club
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I've never sanitized my fresh water tank in any M/H.
We quit using any chemicals in our black water holding tank and have never had a problem.
We dump our tanks after every trip, back flush the black and put a couple gallons of fresh water back in.
There have been numerous posts in several forums relating to chemical use in the black holding tank.

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Old 05-22-2010, 09:23 AM   #3
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Hi Jay,
There is no reason to sanitize the fresh water tank unless it gets contaminated. The best way to keep the tank from being contaminated is to use water filters in the incoming line. Fill the tank only from known water sources. When I fill our tank, at the house, I do not use a water filter. I know our village water is excellent and I want all the chemicals they put in the water.

As to the holding tanks, there is no need to use a deodorizer unless there is an odor or you do not intend on dumping for over a week or two. Dump the black tank when it is 3/4 to full. Right behind the black tank dump, dump the full grey tank to clean out the hose. This means you'll monitor the black tank level and will need to close the grey tank valve to allow it to fill as the black tank completes filling. You'll need to experiment on when the grey tank valve needs to be closed. For me, when the black is 3/4, I close the grey tank valve. Based on history, the grey tank will be full about the same time as the black tank.

As the trip is coming to a close, the goal is to get home with empty holding tanks. You'll need to experiment on how best to do this for your family. The coach should be stored with empty holding tanks. Once empty, put about 3 or 4 gallons of clean water in each tank to cover the valve seals.
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:54 AM   #4
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If your coach is a used coach, you might want to sanitize the fresh water tank, you never know what is in there or how long the old water that is left from the previous owner has sat in there. The process is fairly simple, clorox and water, you can follow these instructions:
Start with a nearly full fresh water tank.
Turn the water heater off and let the water cool.
Dilute 1/4 cup of household bleach for each 15 gallons of tank capacity in to a gallon of water.
Add the chlorine/water solution to the water tank. (Never pour straight bleach into the RV fresh water tank. )
One faucet at a time, let the chlorinated water run through them for one or two minutes. You should be able to smell the chlorine. (Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.)
Top off the RV fresh water tank and let stand for at least three hours over night is better.
Completely drain the system by flushing the faucets for several minutes each. Open the fresh water tank drain valve to speed up emptying the tank.and Open the hot water tank drain plug and drain until it is empty.
Close all valves and faucets and drain plugs.
Fill water tank with fresh water.
Flush each faucet for several minutes each repeating until the tank is again empty. (Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.)
Fill the tank again. The water should now be safe to drink but if the chlorine odor is too strong you can repeat the fresh water flush.
Your RV fresh water system should now be safe for use.

As far as whether to use chemicals in your black water tank, it's a matter of preferance. We do and we keep our tanks clean, just research on this forum and you'll get lots of ideas.
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:54 AM   #5
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Hi Jay and congratulations on your new coach. Just a suggestion but read and re-read your manuals and spend a LOT of time on this forum. I joined this forum 3 yrs ago just before buying my first RV ever and now we've been full timing for 8 months! I don't know what I would have done without the help of everyone here.

You'll find a lot of different opinions regarding the care and feeding of your tanks. You'll find many who will point out that we do NOT have septic tanks but rather holding tanks. As you've seen already, many folks have had success using no chemicals. Others swear by the "Geo Method" where a combination of detergent, bleach, and fabric softener. Do a search on this forum and you'll find it. We are still experimenting with it all but I think the Geo Method plus some deodorizer is what we're going with.

You'll also find a variety of opinions on fresh water sanitation. I just went through the whole process this week but it's only the second time I've done it in three years. We seldom use our fresh water tank because we're usually hooked up to park water so I'm concerned that the water might begin to grow stuff I don't want. But... to each their own. Ultimately we each have to educate ourselves and decide on our own course of action. There are also excellent posts on this forum to explain how to do this if you decide to go forward. If you have a used coach it might be a good idea since you have no idea how it has been maintained.

Again, congratulations and have fun!
Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 05-22-2010, 01:22 PM   #6
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Unless you have your water system tested regularly, how would you know if it needed sanitizing? I for one do not want to wait until I get sick to know I should have done it earier.

That said, if you are regularly filling and emptying the fresh tank and lines from a city water source that is chlorinated, the system is already sanitary. But if it has been sitting for months with the same water in it, or if you filled from a well system of unknown quality, sanitizing is a wise thing to do (my opinion). And I would certainly sanitize any used RV I bought.

I do mine about once a year unless I have reason to be suspicious of a water source. And I do periodically drain and refill the tank with good fresh water if I haven't been using the tank otherwise.
Gary Brinck
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Old 05-23-2010, 05:02 AM   #7
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Once your tank is sanitized, be sure to empty it, the water lines and the water heater after each use before storing. Make certain that the water heater electric heating element is off before draining and that the water heater tank is full before tuning it on. The element will only last about 5 seconds if not immersed in water.

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