Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
RV Trip Planning Discussions

Go Back   iRV2 Forums > RV SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES FORUMS > RV Systems & Appliances
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-22-2022, 05:10 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 61
Tank Sanitizing Question

We just returned from an extended trip out of the country so I'm just getting around to de-winterizing and sanitizing my tanks and lines.

An article I read said to leave the water heater bypassed if you're sanitizing with a bleach and water solution.

Is there a component of the water heater that's prone to damage from bleach? Is this a necessary step if you flush the system out until several times until there's no bleach odor?

2021 Grand Design Imagine 2970RL
2020 RAM 2500
Woodstock, GA
Dr. Dolittle is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free! RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-22-2022, 05:40 AM   #2
Senior Member
inlineskater's Avatar
Forest River Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: May 2014
Location: St Paul MN
Posts: 910
Not sure about the bleach in your water heater. I have sanitized and ran it through the water heater with no ill effects. There is also a non-toxic product that I use. It can be purchased from camping world or amazon. I forget the name. You can run that thru everything.
Marianne & Jerry. 2019 Forest River Berkshire 34QS
USS Decatur DDG-31 1971 to 1975
Fort Snelling Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Rifle Squad
inlineskater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2022, 09:17 AM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
Gary RVRoamer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Silver Springs, FL. USA
Posts: 25,036
First, to answer your question, no, there is no component in the tank that will be damaged by any rational concentration of bleach. Bypassing the heater tank saves a bit of time but reduces the effectiveness of the process. A few bacteria in the heater will quickly spread to the rest of the system and soon as the bypass valve is opened for normal hot water use.

If I were sanitizing my water system, I would definitely want to sanitize the heater tank as well as every other part. Yes, it makes flushing the bleach out a bit more difficult, but bacteria thrive in the heater too. Most notably, a bacteria that gives hot water a "rotten egg" smell. I would drain the heater tank as a separate step before adding bleach and then pump the heater tank full of the bleach solution along with the rest of the water lines. When ready to flush out the bleach, bypass the heater and open the heater tank drain to directly eliminate the bleach in there. Do not open the bypass until ready to send fresh water through the entire system.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition and several other RVs
Home is West Palm Beach, FL
Gary RVRoamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2022, 11:02 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Posts: 3,285
Of course, you want to flush bleach water through the by pass pipe and valves as well. Don't forget toilet, outside faucets flush ports, etc. All can re-contaminate.
Paul Bristol
Kodiak Cub 176RD
Nissan Pathfinder 2015
Persistent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2022, 11:22 AM   #5
Senior Member
Old-Biscuit's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 21,655 the whole complete system water heater included that is where you want to 'Bypass' the water heater tank
*no sense in wasting 6-10 gals of Anti-freeze or spend numerous/multiple fill/drain/flush repeat routines to clear WH Tank of the anti-freeze
I took my Medication today. HAVE YOU?
Dodge 3500 w/Tractor Motor & NUWA 5vr
US NAVY---USS Decatur DDG-31
Old-Biscuit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2022, 05:10 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mariposa, CA
Posts: 3,719
Originally Posted by inlineskater View Post
Not sure about the bleach in your water heater. I have sanitized and ran it through the water heater with no ill effects. There is also a non-toxic product that I use. It can be purchased from camping world or amazon. I forget the name. You can run that thru everything.
2003 - 2010: 2004 35' National RV Sea Breeze LX 8341
2010 - 2021: 2001 41' Newmar Mountain Aire 4095
2021 - ???? : 2001 31' National RV Sea View 8311
TechWriter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2022, 07:49 PM   #7
Community Administrator
NLOVNIT's Avatar

Pond Piggies Club
LA Gulf Coast Campers
Outdoors RV Owners Club
Entegra Owners Club
Skyline Owners Group
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 36,554
Blog Entries: 1
Sanitizing=include the water heater tank
Winterizing=bypass the water heater tank
Lori (& Dave, my spirit guide) - FMCA #F419886 | RV/MH Hall of Fame Lifetime Member
2016 Phoenix Cruiser 2350 & 2014 CRV EX-L AWD, My iRV2 Photo Albums
2018 Phaeton 40IH,2006 Bounder 36Z, 2004 Cougar 285EFS, 2000 Aerolite 25FBR
There is great need for a sarcasm font.
NLOVNIT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2022, 12:09 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 204
When sanitizing, you want to make sure you get the bleach solution into EVERY pipe/hose that holds water and let it sit. Add the bleach, then use every possible combination of hot/cold and every outlet (don't forget your toilet, or outside shower if you have one). Also remember your hot/cold outside drains if you have them.

Then, when flushing, make sure you do the same....all possible pipes/hoses.

I'm a "number's guy". When I flush, I think of it like this.... If I'm able to drain just 90% of all [bleach solution] water when flushing ('s probably closer to 95%, but we'll just use 90%), then when I refill the tank with fresh water the bleach solution has lost 90% of it's strength. If I then flush all the pipes/hoses and drain 90% of all the water again and refill with clean water, then the bleach solution has been 99% removed. That's probably good enough (and a TINY bit of bleach won't harm you), but I usually can't help myself and I flush it all a 3rd time for good measure.

I do this once a season and I've never had any bad taste/smells coming from my fresh water.

Good luck!
SJ-Chris is offline   Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Question about sanitizing water tank Nick1234 5th Wheel Discussion 12 09-13-2016 09:00 AM
Question about sanitizing frewhwater tank MSHappyCampers RV Systems & Appliances 4 09-26-2015 04:36 PM
Sanitizing Fresh Water Tank - How to get bleach in tank? JavaJelly MH-General Discussions & Problems 11 10-07-2007 02:05 PM
Sanitizing fresh water tank davidnrose Newmar Owner's Forum 9 05-01-2007 02:23 PM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:23 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.