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Old 06-27-2010, 11:28 PM   #1
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1971 23' Safari
Bedford , Texas
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Question I am New. Should I replace my water tanks?

I am a first time owner of a 1971 Airstream Safari. This is the first time I have ever owned a camper. Should I replace the water tanks or even at least the fresh water tank on a unit this old?

Can anyone give me any suggestions???
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Old 06-27-2010, 11:54 PM   #2
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1963 26' Overlander
1977 23' Safari
Prince George , British Columbia
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Is it leaking?? or does it taste funny? most of the people that i know buy the chloriphyl stuff from the RV store or they use a cup of bleach and run the water to flush the system. both work. as for us we drink water from one of those 5 gallon blue jugs and wash dishes, clean up with the tank water.
Have a good time with your new trailer
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Old 06-28-2010, 12:23 AM   #3
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1959 24' Tradewind
The Grass Capital of the World , Oregon
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I did (replace it)

Your main concern is anything growing inside the pipes or tank. If the tank is water-tight and you want to keep it, what I've seen recommended is a full bleach-water flush followed by a thorough rinsing with city water. Water softener tablets couldn't hurt (after the bleach flush), since pure water is one powerful solvent.

My tank was stainless steel and held 20 gallons of rusty water. I decided it'd be easier and healthier to replace it.

Good luck!
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Old 06-28-2010, 01:17 AM   #4
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1971 25' Tradewind
Menlo Park , California
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Instructions floating around:

INSTRUCTIONS FOR DISINFECTION OF POTABLE WATER SYSTEMS ON RECREATION VEHICLES
As approved by the U.S. Public Health Service
To assure complete disinfection of your potable water system, it is recommended that the
following procedures be followed on a new system, one that has not been used for a
period of time, or one that may have become contaminated. This procedure is also
recommended before long periods of storage such as over winter.
1. Prepare a chlorine solution using 1 gallon of water and 1/4 cup of household bleach
(sodium hypochlorite solution). With tank empty, pour chlorine solution into the tank. Use
1 gallon solution for each 15 gallons of tank capacity. This procedure will result in a
residual chlorine concentration of 50 ppm in the water system. If a 100 ppm concentration
is required as discussed in item 3, use 1/2 cup of household bleach with 1 gallon of water to
prepare the chlorine solution. One gallon of the solution should be used for each 15 gallons
of tank capacity.
2. Complete filling of tank with potable water. Open each faucet and run the water until a
distinct odor of chlorine can be detected in the water discharged. Do not forget the hot
water taps.
3. Allow the system to stand for at least 4 hours when disinfecting with 50 ppm residual
chlorine. If a shorter time period is desired, then a 100 ppm chlorine concentration should
be permitted to stand in the system for at least 1 hour.
4. Drain and flush with potable water.

I used this; works fine.

Do keep an eye out for hose problems; the vent hose on our '71 split, causing an alarming leak when full.... no damage done, but I'm now keeping an eye on the rest.

- Bart
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:11 AM   #5
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First off... Welcome to AIR, glad to have you with us.

If the fresh water tank doesn't leak then most here (self included) would disinfect and continue using. The disinfecting process will take care of most anything in the system assuming it's been used for its intended purpose and there's no solid matter or debris in the tank.

We disinfected and borescoped the tank in our Avion and it came clean (visibly). We use it for washing and cooking but use jugged water for drinking (it's a taste issue).

The fresh water tank in our Sovereign is cracked so we've never used it.

Welcome again,

Kevin
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barts View Post
Instructions floating around:

INSTRUCTIONS FOR DISINFECTION OF POTABLE WATER SYSTEMS ON RECREATION VEHICLES
As approved by the U.S. Public Health Service
To assure complete disinfection of your potable water system, it is recommended that the
following procedures be followed on a new system, one that has not been used for a
period of time, or one that may have become contaminated. This procedure is also
recommended before long periods of storage such as over winter.
1. Prepare a chlorine solution using 1 gallon of water and 1/4 cup of household bleach
(sodium hypochlorite solution). With tank empty, pour chlorine solution into the tank. Use
1 gallon solution for each 15 gallons of tank capacity. This procedure will result in a
residual chlorine concentration of 50 ppm in the water system. If a 100 ppm concentration
is required as discussed in item 3, use 1/2 cup of household bleach with 1 gallon of water to
prepare the chlorine solution. One gallon of the solution should be used for each 15 gallons
of tank capacity.
2. Complete filling of tank with potable water. Open each faucet and run the water until a
distinct odor of chlorine can be detected in the water discharged. Do not forget the hot
water taps.
3. Allow the system to stand for at least 4 hours when disinfecting with 50 ppm residual
chlorine. If a shorter time period is desired, then a 100 ppm chlorine concentration should
be permitted to stand in the system for at least 1 hour.
4. Drain and flush with potable water.

I used this; works fine.

Do keep an eye out for hose problems; the vent hose on our '71 split, causing an alarming leak when full.... no damage done, but I'm now keeping an eye on the rest.

- Bart

This is how I do mine. I will re do the bleach method more than once in the summer since I can't camp all the time. Have fun with your Stream'
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Old 06-28-2010, 01:39 PM   #7
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1971 23' Safari
Bedford , Texas
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Thanks so much everyone that is great advice.
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Old 06-28-2010, 03:40 PM   #8
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Lexington , Minnesota
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Step 5. Pour in 1 gal of white vinegar for each 10 gals of fresh water capacity. Completely fill the tank again, running the pump until you have a distinct vinegar smell at each water tap (including the hot water and toilet), and let sit overnight. Or even for 2 days. The vinegar will remove the bleach taste, and is also currently recommended by some of the water heater manufactures.

A couple of additional notes:

When filling with the bleach solution, be sure to check for the bleach smell your toilet. If you don't, you may have a few feet of cold water plumbing that does not get disinfected by the bleach. Microbes can easily start growing there and spread to the rest of the system.

When figuring out your fresh water capacity, add the capacity of the water heater to the fresh water tank capacity. On a '71 AS, the fresh water tank should be 50 gals, and the water heater should be 6 or 10 gals.

We've used this system for all the years we've been camping. Well, we used to use baking soda to remove the bleach taste, but switched to white vinegar a few years ago. We drink the fresh water out of the tank and do not carry jugs of water just for drinking or doing dishes, and have never gotten sick from the water. It's a personal preference decision as to what you feel comfortable doing.

Happy Camping!

Chris
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