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Over The Network

Water System Sanitizing

by Gary Brinck

It is not uncommon for RV owners to complain of bad water. The first sign of a contaminated water system is usually a bad taste, followed by strange odors emanating from the water supply. Bacteria may have built up in the water tank, especially if the water tank's supply has not been used frequently and has not been replenished with fresh, clean water on a regular basis. When a rig comes out of storage or is being used extensively on a city-water connection, the tank and entire water system should be sanitized before use. Some of the bacterial buildup can cause serious illness; don't take chances! Drain the water tank completely, then refill halfway with clean, fresh water.

Mix 1/4 cup of household bleach for every 15 gallons of tank capacity in a container with a gallon or two of clean water.

Pour this mixture into the water tank.

Top off the water tank with fresh water. Filling the tank should mix it well, but you can also drive the rig around the block to mix the solution.

Pump water through each faucet so that all the lines are filled with the water/bleach. Don't forget the shower and external faucets, if any.

The hot-water tank holds at least 6 gallons of water. Run the hot-water faucets until this much solution has passed to insure that the old water has been purged from the hot- water tank, and it is now filled with the water/bleach solution from the water tank. Alternatively, drain the hot water tank using its drain valve, then allow the pump to fill with the solution.

Let the water stand for several hours.

Drain the entire water system, hot-water tank included.

To remove the bleach odor, mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with a gallon of water and pour into the freshwater tank.

Fill the tank completely and pump this solution through the water heater andthe rest of the water lines. This solution can sit in the system for a few days. Driving the rig around the block will slosh water around and thoroughly clean the tank.

Drain the entire system and refill with fresh, clean water.

Note: If your RV does not have a fresh water fill tube (aka a gravity feed), hook up an empty water hose to the city water inlet, and pour the requisite amount of bleach or baking soda into the hose, then hook up to the water spigot, open the valve that fills your fresh water tank, turn on the water and the water will flush all the bleach (or baking soda) out of the hose and into your fresh water tank.