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Old 05-13-2012, 11:06 AM   #1
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Sanitizing vs. Chlorination for fresh water ?

We have never used the Thetford 2-part fresh water tank sanitizer kit. Only used household bleach. Never gotten sick, but we only use tank water for dishwashing and showers.

What is the real deal on dealing with bacteria that might live in our tank?

Saw a post on using hydrogen peroxide. Could not tell if it was a substitute for bleach or for "sanitizing".

Thetford product uses benzyl ammonium chloride and ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride. MSDS 50018 does not say much.
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Old 05-13-2012, 11:23 AM   #2
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Hydrogen peroxide is indeed a sanitizer, it's poured on wounds, for instance. And you can drink it. Won't harm your system.

Amount to use to sanitize a tank is 0.13 X Tank size = oz. of Hydrogen peroxide.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:22 PM   #3
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Hydrogen peroxide is not a sanitizer. It will only kill germs effected by high oxygen concentrations.
Chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, bleach, are all the same, is an oxidizer and a sanitizer.
Peroxide will help remove some odors but it does not sanitize.
Can't help it, it is the chemist in me.

The bacteria in wounds is anaerobic, that is why peroxide works on wound infection. I would never drink peroxide. A 35% solution of peroxide will kill you if ingested. Why do people give answers like this when all they know is what someone else said on a forum?
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garym114 View Post
Hydrogen peroxide is not a sanitizer. It will only kill germs effected by high oxygen concentrations.
Chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, bleach, are all the same, is an oxidizer and a sanitizer.
Peroxide will help remove some odors but it does not sanitize.
Can't help it, it is the chemist in me.
To clarify, are you saying that Chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, and bleach are also not sanitizers?

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Old 05-13-2012, 01:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved hydrogen peroxide as a sanitizer.
Source: The Many Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide-Truth! Fiction! & Unproven!
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:09 PM   #6
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Since chlorine works so well and is very inexpensive, why change?

Chlorine bleach is also universally used to kill bacteria in household water wells.
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garym114 View Post
Hydrogen peroxide is not a sanitizer. It will only kill germs effected by high oxygen concentrations.
Chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, bleach, are all the same, is an oxidizer and a sanitizer.
Peroxide will help remove some odors but it does not sanitize.
Can't help it, it is the chemist in me.

The bacteria in wounds is anaerobic, that is why peroxide works on wound infection. I would never drink peroxide. A 35% solution of peroxide will kill you if ingested. Why do people give answers like this when all they know is what someone else said on a forum?
What type of chemist says that hydrogen peroxide is not an oxidizer - none that I know of. Of course I only have a BA in chemistry, a MS in chemistry engineering, and married to a PhD biochemist. All peroxides are oxidizers. Remember freshman chemistry - obviously not!

Of course it sanitizes! Bacteria in open wounds are anaerobic? You want to go back and take another course or two? And let me ask you, why do people give answers when they don't remember their basic course work?

As to the original question, why I have no idea what the "Thetford" kit contains, I'd be willing to bet it is maybe some type of hypochorite solution (think pool chemicals) along with something like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to neutralize any residue - - just as easy to go with the standard bleach solution, run it through, let it sit, rinse well, then follow with a baking soda solution, run it through until no residual chlorine smell is detected, fill up and go.

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Old 05-13-2012, 02:46 PM   #8
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Need to keep sanitizing separate and distinct from disinfecting ...

Sanitizing is intended to clean things out and may use poisonous levels of whatever is doing the cleaning.

Disinfecting is about keeping the water safe for use.

Plain ol' bleach without any scent or whatnot, sodium hypochlorite in a weak solution, is commonly available, inexpensive, and works very well for both sanitizing and disinfecting (and many other things). There are other chemicals and iodine is probably most common in the survivalist's bug out bag for water disinfecting. H2O2 probably isn't because it is rather fragile in a chemical sense, especially when compared to bleach.

In an RV system, sanitizing needs about a quarter cup of bleach per fifteen gallons of water. That should be run through all faucets until you smell the bleach and then allowed to sit for a half hour or so. Then is should be flushed out as the chlorine tends to be rather hard on plastics. That's usually a once a year, get ready for summer, maintenance item.

Bleach as a disinfectant is a drops per gallon type thing and will dissipate in a short while. Public water supplies usually use a different compound that will stick around for a week or so. If you use a public water system for your RV water system and refill every week or so, you shouldn't have to worry about disinfectants. If you use a private water source, you should probably add something to serve this purpose.

As for the link, I get rather skeptical when I see such advocacy. Everything in reason and due care that doesn't go to paranoia suits me better.
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:21 PM   #9
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Interesting. I just finished sanitizing, well first stage, my 92 gal. fresh water tank and system. I opened up my 2008 Operator Manual to see what they recommended. They said to remove filter and store in a plastic bag for re-use. (I'm going to replace it). Pour 1-1/2 cups of household chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite solution) into the empty filter canister and screw the canister back onto the filter case. This solution will result in a residual chlorine concentration of approximately 50 ppm in the water system. (If 100 ppm is desired use 3 cups of household bleach)

Fill tank, Let stand 4 hours (if shorter time frame desired use 100ppm), drain fresh water tank, put in filter, fill tank, flush system by letting water run until there is no odor of chlorine.

I go a step further. I hook up the hose, pour the bleach into the hose (it gives my shorts a tye-dyed look) and when I go out to finish I'll fill the tank, run water, drain it, fill it again, run water until no smell - and let DW test it. If it's okay for her (smell wise) it will be fine for the dog and I, after all we may as well drink out of the same bowl.
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:24 PM   #10
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Sorry, but I just don't understand the sanitizing/disinfection bru-ha-ha that goes on. We take an average of 2 trips a year, about 3-4 months each and the rest of the time, the rig sits home in the barn. We never add anything to the black or grey tanks, and never add to or disinfect the fresh water. We USE the rig, with about half our time on the road boondocking and always using all tanks for their intended purpose. Before and after each trip I flush all tanks with fresh water and take off again. In over 120,000 miles of RVing from Key West to Prudhoe Bay in the last 8 years we have never had a problem. I do taste the water I intend to fill my fresh tank with before I turn on the necessary valves, but we've always had sweet tanks and never a problem. Additionally, the rig doesn't smell like chemicals and I'm never obsessing over which "magic treatment" is best. Try it..... You might like the system. Oh yes, I did remove all filters. so now have excellent water pressure.
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:56 PM   #11
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Pigman,

We've been fulltiming for 6 years, we never do anything to the fresh water tank other than fill it from city water systems. If the water has sat for a while, we will dump it (dumping 60-70 gallons makes a pretty big puddle under the coach until it sinks in) and refill with fresh city water. Never worry about grey or black water tanks, we use them and always use plenty of water, so we just dump. So you aren't alone.

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Old 05-13-2012, 05:42 PM   #12
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I am not going to comment on Hydrogen Proxide simply because I"m not interested in the fight that appears to be staritng.

I will comment on the two part sanitizer kit.. Odds are it's nothing more than bleach and baking sod with an inflated price tag.

How I do it, Add bleach (1/4 cup per fifteen gallons, or 5/4 cup (1 1/4) for my 70 gallon tank) when tank is about half full, finish filling tank, pump through all lines and water heater.. Then drain, flush, and refill this time adding a cup of baking soda, again pump it all through, drain and flush, re-fill and use.
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:45 PM   #13
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I am not going to comment on Hydrogen Proxide simply because I"m not interested in the fight that appears to be staritng.

I will comment on the two part sanitizer kit.. Odds are it's nothing more than bleach and baking sod with an inflated price tag.

How I do it, Add bleach (1/4 cup per fifteen gallons, or 5/4 cup (1 1/4) for my 70 gallon tank) when tank is about half full, finish filling tank, pump through all lines and water heater.. Then drain, flush, and refill this time adding a cup of baking soda, again pump it all through, drain and flush, re-fill and use.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:09 PM   #14
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The Thetford kit has Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride AND Alkyl dimethyl ethybenzyl ammonium chloride.

Any comments on these components?
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