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Old 07-01-2012, 09:19 AM   #1
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'Newbie' question about water tanks

Hello everyone! We own a 29' travel trailer, and we've only used it a few times so far. Each time we've had water hook-ups at our campsite. We're now getting ready to use it in a place where we'll have to fill our water tanks, and we have some concerns about the quality of the water.

We've read our RV manual, and it doesn't say anything about what to do to ensure a good and healthy quality of water. Should we use a mild bleach solution to clean them out? Can we/should we drink the water from them? What do we do to ensure that bacteria doesn't grow? We even wonder about rinsing the dishes.

Sorry to be so uninformed about this, but it's a real concern for us. We have a reverse-osmosis water system at home, and we can't stand the smell of well water (and even sometimes city water when they load it up with a lot of chemicals).

I posted my first question to iRV2 the other day and received something like 4 pages of answers. That was amazing to me. So it gave me the confidence to ask this water question without being made fun of! :-) Thanks!
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Old 07-01-2012, 09:26 AM   #2
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Before you go, you should sanitize your fresh water tank. Put some bleach in the water tank, fill the tank, run it through all water lines, water heater, etc. Let it sit for a few hours and then drain, refill flush the lines to expell the bleached water, then refill the water tank in prep for your trip. Take your first tank with you.

Get an inline water filter at walmart of rv store.

We use a Brita water pitcher or use bottle water for drinking.
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Old 07-01-2012, 09:54 AM   #3
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Do as Wildtoad suggested. Sanitize your system about 1/4 cup of bleach for each 10 gallons of water. I have a 100 gallon tank and I do it 2x per year. We have well water and I understand your preference for your own water. When we don't have hookups I wait until I arrive to put water in my tank, I don't fill up before leaving because of the weight and reduced gas mileage. I usually have about 10 gallons or so for emergency use. All public campgrounds, by law, must have potable drinking water. If you can't stand the smell of the water then use it for bathing and toilet only. Carry jugs of water, either from home or purchase. Also do go to Walmart and buy a filter. I think they run about $20.

Relax and enjoy your TT
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Old 07-01-2012, 10:16 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum. Don't worry about asking silly questions and being made fun of. We don't do allow that here.

Wildtoad has the ticket here. Just make sure you understand that what he said is to sanitize using the bleach, let sit, and then drain the entire tank. You don't want to just throw bleach in the tank to sanitize the water that's in there.

If you want to read more discussion on this topic, here's the results of searching the forum http://www.irv2.com/forums/search.php?searchid=2796495 . There are 123 other threads which have discussed it.

We sanitize our tank 2X/year... use in line filters... have an on board water softener... and still don't drink the water when we travel. We carry bottled water for ourselves AND our dogs. With our pooches we found that constantly changing drinking water... let's just say it caused problems with their digestive processes. Not good with three dogs in a motorhome.

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Old 07-01-2012, 10:27 PM   #5
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Wink Thanks, everybody!

Wildtoad, thanks so much. I understand, except for the part about running it through all the lines (water heater, etc). But I'll tell my husband what you've said, and I'm sure he'll understand it. :-) I doubt we'll be traveling with a full tank because we're going to have a pretty heavy load on our trip to Edmonton. Now that our daughter is married, we're taking all of her earthly possessions that have been 'decorating' our attic for the past 3 years. :-) On the return trip, we'll be much lighter.

awarnes.....so do I understand you correctly? Do you actually put in 100 gallons of water to fill the tank? I would guess you'd have to in order to ensure that the tank is sufficiently sanitized. Thanks for the clarification about how much bleach vs. water. And yes, we'll definitely buy one of those filters. Thanks so much!

RickO....Yes, I know you're right about people not making fun of the new and uninitiated. :-) It seems like it's a very friendly group here! Thanks so much for the link to the other threads. I'll glean a lot from reading them, I'm sure. I wasn't having any success using the Search feature. It took me to random and unrelated Google sites. But I asked a question on how to search and was told that I need to click on the 'iRV2' button under search. And that seemed to do the trick.

I'm sure we'll carry bottled water too. That's what we've always done anyway. But I was hopeful that we might actually be able to drink the water in the RV. Better to be safe than sorry, I guess. And it's not only dogs that have problems with drinking water from different locales.
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:49 AM   #6
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Different models of TTs carry different capacities of fresh water tanks. For example mine is only 60 gallons and the ratio is 1/4 cup bleach to 15 gallons, so for me its as easy as a cup of bleach with a tank fill. Make sure to run through your lines, then drain and refill and flush again and refill, each time draining the lines as well. Also, I see you are up North. You should winterize in the winter as well. Are you doing that? Also, are you using a water pressure regulator?
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:55 AM   #7
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Skipper4RV.....Yes, we did winterize. Well, actually we had the RV place do it for us. Eventually I'd like to save that money and do it ourselves. And yes, they stressed to us that we should have a pressure regulator, so we have that too.

Yesterday we were at the RV place, and they told us if we're going to use bleach (rather than the stuff they sell), then we need to rinse out with baking soda after emptying the bleach water. They also said it may take a couple of rinses to remove the smell/taste of the bleach.

The thing I'm not sure we need is an inline filter. We bought one yesterday, but if we don't plan to drink the water from the RV, is the inline filter necessary? I thought it might keep metals and contaminants out of the water line, which may prevent problems in the future. Do you (or anyone?) have an opinion about that?

Thanks so much for your info!
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddleddd View Post
The thing I'm not sure we need is an inline filter. We bought one yesterday, but if we don't plan to drink the water from the RV, is the inline filter necessary? I thought it might keep metals and contaminants out of the water line, which may prevent problems in the future. Do you (or anyone?) have an opinion about that?
I always use a charcoal filter (blue one from Wal*Mart), just because I want to filter out any creepie-crawlies I can. It also will trap sand and other particulates that can harm your pump and faucet seals, and collect in teh bottom of the tank etc.

Note that you should run some water through a new charcoal filter before you connect it to your coach. There is quite a bit of black charcoal dust that washes out of it before the water runs clear.

I buy a new one every season, use it every time I hook up, and throw it away when I winterize the coach.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:06 PM   #9
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X2 with Ramblin! !!
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:20 PM   #10
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We don't sanitize the fresh water but we don't dry camp either. . We don't drink the campground water straight because of taste but may use it for koolaid, lemonade, coffee , etc. so we do use a blue filter from walmart We never drink from the freshwater tank. Bottled water is pretty cheap. or we carry gallon jugs from home.
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:43 PM   #11
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My wife and I are on our sixth year full timing. We have always used our on board fresh water tank for drinking water when not hooked to campground water. When hooked to campground water we use that. Most campgrounds are hooked to the water from a public utility and those who use a well must comply with standards for public water supplies. If you are concerned about the water just inquire about the water supply when you check in. Chorine in the tank a couple of times a year is a good maintenance practice. When you fill your tank you should only use a sediment filter because you need the chorine in the water when it's in the tank. The best setup for using campground water is a 2 filter set using a sediment filter first then a carbon block filter. You should have good tasting water. The public water supply in the USA is very safe and the envy of the rest of the world.
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Old 07-04-2012, 05:48 PM   #12
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These are all great answers. If you're squeamish like we were at first, you can always get some of those blue plastic 1-gallon water containers from Walmart's Culligan water machines and fill them with purified water either at their machines or at some supermarkets' Glacier water machines or at water stores. We got into that habit the first year of full-timing and have been doing it ever since. Probably not necessary but old habits die hard...
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:39 AM   #13
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Ramblin, Skipper4RV and GuyWhoTris.....we just bought a blue filter from the campground and paid $40 for it. I think we'll take it back.....thanks for the suggestion to buy it at Walmart!

Steve Ownby.....just wondering what type of filter you use. The blue one from Walmart says it eliminates sediment AND chlorine. I couldn't find one that ONLY reduces the sediment. Good idea to do that, I would think......although the chlorine smell in some water sources is pretty intense.

Groovy.....excellent idea. I never even thought of using those machines. We always buy gallons of spring water from the grocery. I'll check into this idea.....hopefully it's cheaper to buy the water this way.

Thanks to everyone!
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:55 AM   #14
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Here is all you ever wanted to know about water filtration:

RV Water Filter Store: Standard Filter Canisters for Whole RV

You can also go to a big box store & get 1 or 2 10" filter housings and a sediment filter and a carbon block. That way you can mix and match depending on where the water is going.
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