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Old 03-21-2020, 11:04 AM   #1
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Fresh water tanks- Scientist needed

Hello all you anxious RV folks waiting for the "all clear" from the CDC to travel again! We are in the same boat expecting to decide Friday on a go/no go for our Branson, Nashville, Asheville & Louisville trip on 4-11.

In the interim, I need a scientific mind to riddle me this: Once you have sanitized your RV fresh water system for the season do you leave water in the lines and tanks between trips (30-60 days) or do you drain all lines and tanks? I guess the scientific question is: Will germs grow faster in water or air in a sealed system?

Thanks for your considerate responses. Enjoy the ride!

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Old 03-21-2020, 11:11 AM   #2
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I've owned many RVs over the last 20+ years including 9 different motorhomes. I have yet to "sanitize" a fresh water tank and I've never had any issue at all. I never drain anything until it's time to winterize and I've probably only done that 5-6 times when I didn't winter in warmer climates.

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Old 03-21-2020, 11:33 AM   #3
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I do my tank with Spring Fresh because I can let it sit in the system a couple weeks. Only when we don't use that often. If filling with City water all the time, then I don't bother. If many tanks on well water then I will. Also use very good water filters, outside and inside. Have been doing it this was for the last 8 years.
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Old 03-21-2020, 11:45 AM   #4
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Bacteria and Algae need what they consider as 'food'. For bacteria that some sort of organic material, which should not be in your system. And algae need light and some other 'fertilizer'. There are exotic microbes that can eat plastic but it's unlikely you have any.

So that being the case just what are you killing by sterilizing the system? Unless you contaminated the system in some way. I leave mine full of water.
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Old 03-21-2020, 11:48 AM   #5
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In 40 years of owning campers, I have never sanitized a fresh water tank. When not in use, I will attempt to drain as much water out as possible, but that would be it. From a logical point, people usually don't drain their house hot water tank or pipes unless they are winterizing the house. If you cut open a old hot water tank or old water pipe, there will be all kinds of slime and scum on the inside, your immune system can handle it.
Actually, purified water is not good for a human body long term. Water is a good source of minerals and elements.
Story - I had a fellow worker that would dump out his water glass every morning and refill it with fresh water. I used to kid him that the water was probably 2-3 billion years old and just because it came out of a faucet, doesn't make it fresh.
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Old 03-21-2020, 11:49 AM   #6
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If you have an immune system!
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Old 03-21-2020, 11:57 AM   #7
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1. Even if you drain the system there will still be plenty of water left in the tank bottom and low spots to keep the system plenty moist.

2. Few bacteria/viruses are harmful, many are required for good health.

3. Once I dewinterize my water systems and fill them, I'll keep them at least half full at all times. For quick departures if needed. AT home I fill from a deep private well. No problems ever. On rare occasions while travel we may encounter some foul water and then I'll deal with it as needed.

4. I usually treat the water system once on the spring.

5. I also think this problem looks differently in different parts of the country. I'm based in the arid southwest. Quite different than the humid SE say.
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Old 03-21-2020, 12:09 PM   #8
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When the moho is going to sit for a while, I add 12 ml of regular bleach (not gelled or scented etc.) to our 60 gallon water tank and fill it, and then run the faucets for a minute to pump it through the system. That's not enough Cl2 to worry about consuming, but enough to keep the water disinfected.

I need a scientific mind to riddle me this:

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Old 03-21-2020, 12:17 PM   #9
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Yes, you should sanitize your fresh water system and then quarantine yourself for 14 days to keep from re-contaminating it.

Or not.....
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Old 03-21-2020, 01:54 PM   #10
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If really worried an 1/8 teaspoon of 8.25% beach(1/4 teaspoon if 6%) per gallon of water let sit for at least 30 minutes. then run it through a good carbon filter to remove the chlorine taste.

All of our drinking water goes through a Berkey water purifying filter.

From the CDC.

  • Disinfect water using household bleach, if you canít boil water. Only use regular, unscented chlorine bleach products that are suitable for disinfection and sanitization as indicated on the label. The label may say that the active ingredient contains 6 or 8.25% of sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented, color safe, or bleaches with added cleaners.If water is cloudy, let it settle and filter it through a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter.
    • Locate a clean dropper from your medicine cabinet or emergency supply kit.
    • Locate a fresh liquid chlorine bleach or liquid chlorine bleach that is stored at room temperatures for less than one year.
    • Double the amount of bleach if the water is cloudy, colored, or very cold.
    • Stir and let stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight chlorine odor. If it doesnít, repeat the dosage and let stand for another 15 minutes before use.
    • If the chlorine taste is too strong, pour the water from one clean container to another and let it stand for a few hours before use.
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Old 03-21-2020, 01:58 PM   #11
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I sanitize annually because I have a well and we use water sources when on trips. I also replace the filters annually and if sanitizing, do so without the filters installed. Makes no difference if you've been RV's for 112 years, do what's comfortable for you. I usually drain the fresh water tank after a trip which might last 2-3 months just to get "their water" out of there. Course I also clean grey and black tanks too.
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Old 03-21-2020, 03:30 PM   #12
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I have sanitized the fresh water tank and lines in the spring since 2006.

During the camping season if not on the road. I keep the fresh water tank full with my well water plus what was picked up on the road. If the camper is not used for 40 days or so in the hot weather. I drain the fresh tank and refill it. I also drain and fill before every trip.

Use the water for everything and no problems
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Old 03-21-2020, 03:36 PM   #13
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I guess it depends on what you are comfortable with doing. If you're using the rig often, then not necessary to sterilize the tank and water lines. If you happen to know you received some questionable water supply, then yes.

I drain and sterilize once a year before camping trips start for the season. Our city water is clean and fresh since the city adds chemicals to kill germs.

Been doing this for 35 years with no issues.
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Old 03-21-2020, 04:01 PM   #14
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Been doing the same for 20 years. I don't drain between trips & that can be as long as a month during the RV-ing season for us.


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