keeping fresh water fresh with bleach

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Pat

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Mar 17, 2005
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Payson AZ
I used bottled water for drinking and cooking.  I use the fresh water tank supply for cleaning, flushing the toilet, washing occasional dishes, washing fruit like apples, etc.

Bleach is so much more available than the bottled water fresheners from places like CampingWorld.  I'd like to know if it's OK to use a few tablespoons of bleach in a 40-gallon tank (about 2/3 full at maximum) to keep the fresh water tank clean.  I don't care what taste it has, since I don't drink it.  Nor does the cat.  Will the bleach harm the tank, pump, pipes, toilet rubber parts, etc?  Besides damage the bleach might cause are there any potential water pollutants it might not help clean?

--pat
 

Ned

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Since most city water already has chlorine in it, and that's all bleach is, a small amount won't do any harm.
 

Karl

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Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
To do a thorough job, you should first add a fairly large amount of bleach, 1-2 cups to a full tank of water, circulate it throughout the water system including all faucets, shower heads, hot water heater, let sit for several hours or overnight, then drain (remove the drain plug from the water heater for more complete draining) and refill with fresh water. Repeat until the bleach smell is gone. Now you're ready to refill with fresh water and add a small amount of bleach to help maintain a clean supply.
 

Pat

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Payson AZ
Karl:  I did the cups of bleach cleaning once.  Took forEVer to get the taste out.  This time I added probably 4 tablespoons to about 30 gallons of fresh water.  It's a teensy bit bleachy smelling but not bad, and I've smelled worse chlorinated city water.  I was concerned that it might bleach spots on things like dishtowels or clothing. 

I'm in AZ where water is scarce.  Filling, emptying, rinsing, filling, etc. is not an option in my opinion.  I know people who have huge holding tanks they fill and empty a couple times every week to clean them.  Breaks my heart.


--pat
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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Davison Michigan
When I pre-trip I fill with 70 gallons of watter, and 5/4 cups of bleach.  Drive a bit, drain and refill (After each fill I also flush the lines)  Drive a bit and drain and refill,  Usually that fill is drinkable, (This is when I try it) any taste of clorene left I'll drive a bit and drain and refill one more time... I'm told a bit of sodium bicarbornate (Baking soda) will take the clorene taste out as well.

Of course in Michigan water is abundant and cheap, and when you drain it gets recycled.
 

Karl

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Pat,
I'm in AZ where water is scarce.  Filling, emptying, rinsing, filling, etc. is not an option in my opinion.  I know people who have huge holding tanks they fill and empty a couple times every week to clean them.  Breaks my heart.
I understand your concern, but you don't come to a gunfight with a slingshot (unless your name is David and you're fighting Goliath ;D) As you well know, if you want to remove stains in the wash, a couple tablespoons of bleach just won't get the job done. Same with sanitizing water tanks and swimming pools - you gotta shock 'em, or the nasties will keep right on living.

John,
Just did a very un-scientific test with the baking soda. 4oz. water, 2Tbsp. bleach. 1tsp. baking soda reduced the smell somewhat; 2tsp. got rid of most of it. Conclusion: Probably would work in the final rinse with maybe a 1lb box of the stuff dissolved in water and added to the rinse. May be a concern for those on a salt restricted diet, but another rinse after that should take care of any residual sodium. 
 

steved44

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Dec 13, 2006
Posts
36
Here is the proceedure we use on our boat and it works really well.

Fresh water system problems--foul odor or taste--are typically caused by allowing water to stagnate in the system. Although most people think only in terms of the tank, the plumbing is actually the source of most foul water, because the molds, mildew, fungi and bacteria which cause it thrive in damp dark places, not under water. Many people?and even some boat manufacturers?believe that keeping the tanks empty reduce the problem, but an empty water tank only provides another damp dark home for those ?critters.?

There are all kinds of products sold that claim to keep onboard water fresh, but all that?s really necessary is an annual or in especially warm climates, semi-annual recommissioning of the entire system?tank and plumbing. The following recommendations conform to section 10.8 in the A-1 192 code covering electrical, plumbing, and heating of recreational vehicles. The solution is approved and recommended by competent health officials. It may be used in a new system a used one that has not been used for a period of time, or one that may have been contaminated.

Before beginning, turn off hot water heater at the breaker; do not turn it on again until the entire recommissioning is complete.

Icemakers should be left running to allow cleaning out of the water feed line; however the first two buckets of ice?the bucket generated during recommissioning and the first bucketful afterward--should be discarded.

1. Prepare a chlorine solution using one gallon of water and 1/2 cup (4 oz) Clorox or Purex household bleach (5% sodium Hypochlorine solution ). With tank empty, pour chlorine solution into tank. Use one gallon of solution for each 5 gallons of tank capacity.

2. Complete filling of tank with fresh water. Open each faucet and drain cock until air has been released and the entire system is filled. Do not turn off the pump; it must remain on to keep the system pressurized and the solution in the lines

3. Allow to stand for at least three hours, but no longer than 24 hours.

4 Drain through every faucet on the boat (and if you haven't done this in a while, it's a good idea to remove any diffusion screens from the faucets, because what's likely to come out will clog them). Fill the tank again with fresh water only, drain again through every faucet on the boat.

5. To remove excess chlorine taste or odor which might remain, prepare a solution of one quart white vinegar to five gallons water and allow this solution to agitate in tank for several days by vehicle motion.

6. Drain tank again through every faucet, and flush the lines again by fill the tank 1/4-1/2 full and again flushing with potable water.

Peggie Hall
Specializing in marine sanitation since 1987 and
Author "Get Rid of Boat Odors - A Guide to Marine Sanitation and Other Source of Aggravation and Odor" Published by Seaworthy Publications http://www.seaworthy.com/html/get_rid_of_boat_odors.html

 

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