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Old 04-25-2011, 02:49 PM   #1
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Fresh water tank sanitizing-Hydrogen Peroxide?

I have a 40' dp and the only way to get sanitizing solution into the tank is by pouring it into the water supply hose. The tank is 100 gallons+. I have read many reccomendations about how much bleach to use but am not sure which is correct. I recently heard hydrogen peroxide can be used to sanitize and it doesn't leave residual odor or taste. Any ideas how much to use if this is true? How much bleach do I use if the peroxide is not an option? How often should you sanitize the fresh tank?
Happy Travels,
Mike
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Old 04-25-2011, 03:03 PM   #2
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Spa chlorine

We add about a level teaspoon of fast dissolving Spa Chlorine to a new tank fill. We never use anything else. We add it to the hose end before connecting to a water supply or put it in the empty filter housing. If you can taste it, use a little less next time. Just a little bit goes a long way. We always use our tank water so that it is kept fresh and not sitting for weeks on end. Joe
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Old 04-25-2011, 03:19 PM   #3
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Here are two methods to sanitize your tanks. I have used the bleach method and made sure I flushed it really good before use. When storing for long periods I do the same thing with the bleach. Hope this helps and be careful chlorine and bleach are dangerous if used improperly. If you are using city water that has been treated it already has chlorine in it. I am on a well so there is no chlorine, but there are other things in my water to worry about.

How to Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water System


by Steven Fletcher:
Insuring clean, safe drinking water in your motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer requires sanitizing your fresh water system. For a new or new-to-you RV you will want to sanitize before your first use of the system. You may also want to sanitize the system if your RV has not been used for some time, for example if it has been stored for the winter.
Generally Accepted Method to Sanitize Fresh Water

The generally accepted method of sanitizing your RV's fresh water system as outlined below involves filling the fresh water tank with a solution of household bleach and running the solution through each faucet. Then letting it stand for at least three hours. Finally, flush the system once or twice to remove the taste and smell.
This procedure is one you'll find in most any book about RVing it tried and true but be sure to read on to find out what I do.
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.
Another Way to Sanitize Fresh Water Tank.

A friend and fellow full time RVer, Bill told me how he uses something other than household bleach which works well for him and I also started using it. I think it is worth passing on to you. Before he retired, Bill spent twenty years in the swimming pool business. He's an expert when it comes to sanitizing swimming pools and spas and says the same rules apply to RV fresh water systems.
Bill uses Chlorinating Concentrate (Sodium Dichloro-s-Triazinetricone or Sodium Dichlor for short). Sodium Dichlor contains 62% available chlorine. Compare that to household bleach which has something close to 3%. One pound of Sodium Dichlor is equal to 8 gallons of bleach! Also, household bleach contains other stuff, including a lot of salt, and that salt and other stuff is what causes the bad taste and why you have to flush the fresh water tank so well.
Bill says it takes only 1 teaspoon of the concentrate per 100 gallons of water to initially sanitize the system. Remember to run water through all the faucets. It's okay to use the full teaspoon even on smaller tanks because you will be flushing the tank before adding the water you intend to drink but it seems wasteful.
Like most of us, Bill travels with a near empty tank to reduce weight. So if he arrives at park where he plans to stay and they have well water, he drops a half teaspoon per 100 gallons of the concentrate into the fill tube and fills his water tank. This insures the system will always be sanitized. No, you do not have to flush again. It's the equivalent to drinking chlorinated city water. If you are filling your tank from a source that is already chlorinated then you don't need to add the concentrate.
That said, if you don't like to drink chlorinated water, don't add the concentrate to the water you intend to drink. Assuming, you fill your water tank from a trusted source you should be safe. Or, you can add the concentrate and then filter the water you drink or cook with.
Truth is I almost always seem to be filling the fresh water tank from a chlorinated source (city water supply) so I seldom need to to use the concentrate. And we do filter our drinking water.
This is not a case where more is better. This stuff is concentrated and it's best to use just what Bill recommends.
Because Sodium Dichlor is so highly concentrated you only need to carry a very small container... buy the smallest container available. And it is dry crystals so there is less chance of a spill. However, because it is so concentrated it is highly corrosive so you do have to be careful how you store it and use it. You should be able to find Sodium Dichlor (Chlorinating Concentrate) at any pool supplies or spa store. Bill says there are several brands to choose from but brand should not be a factor in your choice... it's all the same stuff.
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Old 04-25-2011, 04:04 PM   #4
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There is sanitizing, which is a extra heavy chlorination intended to kill off everything possibly nasty, and regular chlorination, which is similar to what most all public water supplies do to keep things healthy. You would use a more chlorine to "sanitize" once in awhile (I do it annually) than you would for normal consumption. The amount used to sanitize has a noticeable taste.

The 1/4 cup per 15 gallons is a sanitizing mix and should not be drunk. For drinking water (if you don't trust the source), the EPA recommends only 1/2 teaspoon per 5 gallons. A teaspoon is only 1/6 of an ounce, so that is very little chlorine. A 100 gallon water tank of drinking water would need only about 1.7 ounces.
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Old 04-25-2011, 04:24 PM   #5
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Here is a great book by Peggy Hall, known in the boating community as "The Headmistress." She is an expert at removing odor from boats, which are many times worse than RVs: Amazon.com: Get Rid of Boat Odors: A Boat Owners Guide to Marine Sanitation Systems and Other Sources of Aggravation and Odor (9781892399151): Peggie Hall: Books
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Old 04-25-2011, 05:56 PM   #6
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Thanks for reprinting my article, but no credit?

Another Way to Sanitize Fresh Water Tank. By Joe and his friend Bill.
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Old 04-25-2011, 06:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
There is sanitizing, which is a extra heavy chlorination intended to kill off everything possibly nasty, and regular chlorination, which is similar to what most all public water supplies do to keep things healthy. You would use a more chlorine to "sanitize" once in awhile (I do it annually) than you would for normal consumption. The amount used to sanitize has a noticeable taste.

The 1/4 cup per 15 gallons is a sanitizing mix and should not be drunk. For drinking water (if you don't trust the source), the EPA recommends only 1/2 teaspoon per 5 gallons. A teaspoon is only 1/6 of an ounce, so that is very little chlorine. A 100 gallon water tank of drinking water would need only about 1.7 ounces.
Gary I will say the pool chlorine powder is not your laundry bleach. I'm not sure how concentrated it is.

However to the original poster.. LISTEN TO GARY, His formula for how much bleach is 100% dead on the man knows what he's talking about,
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Old 04-25-2011, 07:43 PM   #8
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As for using hydrogen peroxide, that works too. The Peroxide readily available in stores (3% solution) is not as strong an oxidizer as chlorine bleach, so you have to use a lot more. If you can get the industrial grade (27% or 35%) peroxide, then the amount needed is far less.

Here is one recipe for sanitizing with peroxide and lemon.

How to Clean an RV Freshwater Tank | eHow.com
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Old 04-25-2011, 08:35 PM   #9
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Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is not a sanitizer. It is used on cuts and abrasions to create an oxygen rich environment in the wound to kill germs that are killed by oxygen.

In pool water it is used to 'oxizidize' or 'burn' up contaminants in the water. Chlorine can also be useds as an 'oxidizer', but does double duty as oxidizer and sanitizer. The hydrogen peroxide you buy at the pharmacy is 3% or 97% water. It may clean up your tank, remove odors,but it won't sanitize it, kill germs.

If you use chlorine and still smell it, you didn't use enough. Free chlorine, the kind that kills germs on contact, has no smell. Combined chlorine, combined with contaminants, does smell. On the other hand, if you go to a public pool, or hotel pool, and you smell chlorine, don't get in! It does not have enough chlorine in it. The owner needs to add more chlorine to rid the pool of the combined / contaminated chlorine.

I know it sounds crazy that if you smell it, you don't have enough, but it is true. I have taught water sanitation for 12 years, and that is a very tough concept. After students have taken my class, they carry test strips in their luggage when they travel, so they can test the hotel pool before they get in.....

If you are using a chlorinated water source, it is supposed to have enough residual sanitizer in it to decontaminate anything it comes in contact with, ie. your water tanks. Disinfecting it before you leave home is still a good idea.

Previous posts talked about powdered chlorine. There are several types of powdered chlorine. Use the Sodium Di-Chlor, it works the best.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MIX DIFFERENT TYPES. MIXING DIFFERENT TYPES CAN CAUSE IT TO BURST IN TO FLAME, MELT TANKS, AND EXPLODE!!! I have seen the skimmer on a pool, burst into flames while filled with water.
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:27 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone. It seems that the powdered di-chlor might be the best way to go. The only way to get anything into my fresh tank is by pouring it into a garden hose. If I have to mix 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water for each 15 gallon capacity, it wouild take all day to get that into the tank one hoseful at a time. So, I assume that I can just pour the required amount of powder into the hose, attach it, then hook it up and fill the tank.
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:13 PM   #11
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I want to sanitize my water inlet and RV park water sources before connecting my MH. What strength (water to bleach) mixture should be used in a spray bottle for this purpose?

jim
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:50 AM   #12
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I have well water at home, so I try to keep city water in my tank when ever possable there by eleminating the need to bleach the tanks. I tend to think most folks make to much of an issue over this IMHO. Put another way if you are gone 2 or three mos in the motorhome do you bleach your water system at home when you get back, or how old is that bottled water we insist on drinking? After all the water system in your MH is a closed system, not a swimming pool. Now with that said if you let your RV sit for extended periods of time, fill with city water before storage, then drain and refill before use you should be fine. Also another thing to think about is leaving the house with a 100 gallons of water= 800 lbs., when you are going to a campground with water.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:39 PM   #13
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10% bleach + water will do fine for spot sanitizing with a spray bottle.
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azloafer
Another Way to Sanitize Fresh Water Tank. By Joe and his friend Bill.
I, too, owned and operated a pool business, and I will only use the sodium-dichlor powder for sanitizing purposes....never bleach! I live in Florida, and like most RVers, only travel with 1/4 tankfull fresh water. That said, this is the land of MOLD and ALGAE.

Even though the water supply is a closed system, it is susceptible to mold and algae growth. Every 6 months, I add 2 heaping tablespoons of powdered swimming pool chlorine and fill my 100 gallon water tank. Then I run all the taps (no heat in the hot water tank....gas off). Sleep....drain in the morning. Flush twice with city water.....run all the taps again.....use the water pump.

Final step is to fill w/city water. There is a LOT of chlorine in our city water. I LEAVE IT FULL FOR AWHILE.

Drain to 1/4 tank and I'm ready to go traveling.

Using the powdered pool chlorine in your fresh water that you drink is not something I recommend. It is really hard to judge amount.....especially if using well water.....how much to add.....how much water is onboard.....how much chlorine is already in the tank......how much well water will you take on???

These variables make it difficult to control chlorine level unless you are actively monitoring with a good test kit and know how to calculate parts per million.....OR you change how you use water.

Far better in the USA, to just be casually observant. When you go to a campground, ask where their water comes from....ask if it's chlorinated. If it's well water and not chlorinated, you know you can rely on your onboard water for drinking.

Frankly, we (Americans) are pretty blessed with excellent water quality standards. Most water supply systems are regulated. If there is ever a worry....prudence should suggest you go somewhere else.
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