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Old 04-19-2015, 07:46 PM   #1
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H2o

Hi - I had my Interstate de-winterized & took my first solo trip in her. This is the first time I have had running water & that is very, very nice.

Question - the tech told me to never leave water in my Interstate for more than a couple of days because it will go bad. My friend told me that they never empty their water, they just keep adding to it (they have big gaps between trips). What should I do? I hope to head back out on Friday for another long weekend. Can I safely leave the water in her & for how long?

My grey & black tanks are not full. I usually empty them on the way home from a trip, but due to time constraints & location could not. Do I need to empty those? If so, why & how soon after a trip do I need to take care of this fun chore?
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:53 PM   #2
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Hi,

I can't tell you what to do with your Interstate, but I can tell you what we have done with our Airstream trailers for the past 12 years.

1. We only empty the freshwater tank when we winterize the trailer. We fill it up as needed. I have never seen/smelled/tasted any sign of our water "going bad". Obviously you have to start out with clean water, which our tap water seems to be.

2. I have on occasion left the waste tanks partially full for a week or more at a time, but I don't especially recommend it. Dump the waste tanks at the end of the trip and--very important--refill with a gallon or two of water after dumping. You want water sloshing around in them while on the road to help clean them out.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:56 PM   #3
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Hi. I have a trailer but imagine this principle is the same. You DEFINITELY want to empty back and gray tanks if you're letting it sit (like a week between trips) and you want to be sure to fill the black tank completely before flushing so you can get all the fun solids out.

As for your freshwater - so long as you sanitize with chlorine per the instructions, I don't see why you need to empty it every 2 days! I kept mine full all last season and used as needed - including adding more to the tank from city water (pre-chlorinated).

Good luck!
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:18 PM   #4
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If not used and refilled on a regular basis I drain my water tank and refill once a month. The water I put in my tank is already chlorinated and filtered when I put it in so no extra water treatment is added.
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:33 PM   #5
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In a perfectly clean tank with perfectly sanitary water, you could store it forever. But in the real world, there is always the possibility that things aren't perfect and nasty little things that won't matter at first could grow to something that does matter.

We send all our water through a 5 micron filter, but silt and little lively things can get through 5 microns and grow over time. I treat the system with diluted Clorox when we summerize, but chlorine does not last long (silt doesn't grow or the world would be all dirt). I usually fill the tank before we leave and have travelled for 8 weeks using that water when necessary without any problem. But when we come home, I drain the fresh water tank and fill up when we go again.

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Old 04-19-2015, 08:47 PM   #6
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During the six months of hurricane season, my Airstream Interstate's freshwater tank is kept full. Never know when I might have to bug out for a storm, or how long it will be before I can find hookups since the whole Gulf Coast will be bugging out as well.

You should sanitize the entire freshwater system, including the water heater and all of the plumbing lines, at the beginning of camping season AND after every time you do repair work on your plumbing. The sanitizing process calls for four ounces of bleach to sanitize your fresh tank and water heater, (0.13 ounces per gallon 32 gallons total capacity) but you have to flush the tank with clean water afterwards; that much chlorine in the water is harmful to drink.

In theory, as long as you sanitized the tank, and only fill the tank from a trusted municipal water supply, stagnation of the water is not a concern; water cannot stagnate unless it contains organic material. The worst that can happen is that the water will taste "flat" due to evaporation of dissolved oxygen. An aerator screen on your faucet will fix that.

If you're still worried about long-term storage of water in the tank, then after you sanitize the tank, you can treat it again, but this time in accordance with the EPA emergency drinking water treatment guidelines. You can add four teaspoons of bleach to the water that you're going to leave in the tank. The chlorine residual in the tank will be under 4 parts per million, which is considered safe to drink. This amount of chlorine will gradually evaporate out of the water through the tank vent, but as long as there is even 1 ppm of chlorine left in the water, microbes cannot grow in the water. This treatment of the water is entirely optional, but can give you peace of mind if you're still worried about water quality.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:06 PM   #7
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We have a trailer, not an Interstate but this question may apply to both. If the freshwater tank is filled before leaving home for camping trips with full hookups does the incoming water from the hookup come through the freshwater tank? Is it continually flushing through the freshwater tank when being used or is it bypassing the tank altogether on the way to the faucets?
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paddledipper View Post
We have a trailer, not an Interstate but this question may apply to both. If the freshwater tank is filled before leaving home for camping trips with full hookups does the incoming water from the hookup come through the freshwater tank? Is it continually flushing through the freshwater tank when being used or is it bypassing the tank altogether on the way to the faucets?
Municipal water bypasses the fresh tank.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:26 PM   #9
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The hookup water bypasses the fresh water tank.

Too slow on my part.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:32 PM   #10
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I really can't believe I hadn't thought of that question before this thread. Knowing that I can see how draining it, if always using the hookups or running the pump to empty and refresh the water in your tank while at home a couple of times a year would be a good idea.
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:04 PM   #11
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It is true the risk is low that you will get sick by leaving the same water in the tank, but there is a slight risk and if you do get gastroenteritis ("24 hour flu—though it is not flu), you'll wish you had changed the water. It doesn't last long, but it sure feels like it. Even worse things can happen, such as e-coli or giardia (if you don't have a filter of 5 microns or more), and they all infrequent, but not impossible. For the most part, we use bottled water for drinking or use the city or tank water for cooking and therefore it is usually boiled. Maybe I wouldn't be so concerned if I hadn't married a microbiologist.

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Old 04-20-2015, 05:46 AM   #12
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Thank you everyone.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:15 AM   #13
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What Nuvite-F said.

When I dump at the end of a trip, I flush as much water as I can into the tanks, but don't worry about any small bit that may be sitting in there before I go again.

Have never had any problems, now approaching 160,000 miles.

I also prefer filling the fresh water tank, topping it off as needed, to hooking up to city water.

It is just so much easier.



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Old 04-20-2015, 06:23 AM   #14
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Drinking water

Hi, My solution, no pun intended, is to not drink the water from the fresh water tank, but to use purified water I purchase at $0.39/gal from Earth Fare, and this is for consumption.

My fresh water tank is sanitized yearly and some residual chlorine is in it the first fill. Then I will add a few cc's of Clorox before refilling the tank so as to bring the chlorine content up to maximum for potable water. But, this is once again, not what I drink, but use for washing.

Back and gray water tanks....remain filled until i am home, or they are at capacity, then I drain and flush (for about ten minutes) the black water, drain the gray water. Afterwards, i add about a gallon of water to each and a cup of deodorizer I use, my homemade variety.
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