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Old 01-28-2016, 08:31 PM   #1
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How long fresh water stays fresh?

This is likely a question that gets asked by every newbie (that's me) but how long is reasonable to hold fresh water in your tank? We're on our first fill and temps have been cool here in CA. It was filled three weeks ago and is about half full right now. I have the ability to do a sanitation cycle with our current storage location but don't have a lot of time.
Any help is much appreciated.

Alan
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:37 PM   #2
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If it's clean and has at least some chlorine in it when it goes in, it will be good for quite a long time (months). I've only run into a problem once and that involved well water which I hadn't added any chlorine to. I sometimes add 30 ml of household bleach to the tank if I'm not confident of the source or the handling equipment, particularly when hauling water in 5 gallon plastic tanks.
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:44 PM   #3
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Water is H2O. Depends upon what else you add to it that is pollution. Water by itself is a stable molecule.
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:48 PM   #4
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If it has chlorine , and in cool weather maybe 1 month, just drain it....and get new..
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Old 01-29-2016, 09:59 AM   #5
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Thank you for your input. It was filled from our house supply so treated and chlorinated. We'll refill and then drain after our next overnight.
Much appreciated.
- Alan
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Old 01-29-2016, 12:26 PM   #6
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What a number of us do in suspect settings is to use the tank water for showers, cleanup, washing hands etc, but use bottled water (gallon jugs from WMT etc.) for drinking. Something to consider. jon
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Old 01-29-2016, 12:55 PM   #7
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In all of our years camping in an RV, we never drink from the fresh water tank. We have a mini igloo water jug that fits nicely on the counter and the spout overhangs the sink. Then you can easily get fresh deinking water anytime. Then just put it on the floor when we break camp. I always add some chlorine to keep the tank fresh for dishes & showering.
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Old 01-29-2016, 12:59 PM   #8
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It is important to fill your tank from a reliable source and to use/drain and refill frequently. How often depends on a number of factors including the starting water quality, condition of your water system, temperature, and most importantly, the chlorine residual present in your source of supply. All natural water sources contain some contaminants and pathogens, as does the air we breathe, but typically at very low levels in a properly maintained public water system. Public water systems are required to disinfect, typically with chlorine, and to demonstrate a chlorine residual at the point of use (your tap at home, the sink in a restaurant). That residual keeps the plumbing between the water plant to your water glass free of pathogens. The ideal range of residual free chlorine at the tap is 0.2 - 0.5 milligrams/liter (mg/l or parts per million). Above 1 mg/l the odor and taste is offensive to some, and above 25 mg/l there are potential health effects.

From the minute you fill your water tank, the chlorine residual will begin to decline. Eventually, no free chlorine will remain allowing naturally-occurring and ubiquitous bacteria, viruses or other pathogens to multiply. You can test your water with a simple pool test kit or free chlorine test strips (Google it) to determine if there is any detectable chlorine. Yes, you can add unscented household bleach to raise the chlorine residual to extend the "tank life" of your water, but it's probably easiest and safest to drain and refill regularly. If you suspect that your potable water system may be contaminated by any biological growth, you can shock the system with bleach, much like you would a pool, followed by copious flushing with water from a reliable source.

This is a very simplified explanation of disinfection requirements and water quality safety, but probably more than you wanted to know! Happy trails and stay healthy!
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Old 01-29-2016, 03:31 PM   #9
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O my! Please don't empty out the tank just because it's been in there for two weeks. There is a major problem in California that there is not enough water to go around, mush less wasting it. The way me do it is buy the 2 1/2 gal jug of water for coffee and cooking, then bottles for drinking. Our fresh water tank for washing hands and flushing the toilet we use until empty. I live in California and I don't want to get to the point we are having to re-use the water we flush down the toilet. Please Don't Waste Water.
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Old 01-29-2016, 06:16 PM   #10
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Hey All,

Quick question, has nothing to do with water but, "What is a Rivet Member?"
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:04 PM   #11
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Maybe I'm playing with fire but I've drank water from my RV fresh water tank for years (like the 1990's). Never can recollect getting sick from fresh water during a camping trip. I think throw away plastic bottles are a wasteful use of resources.
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cellarrat View Post
This is likely a question that gets asked by every newbie (that's me) but how long is reasonable to hold fresh water in your tank? We're on our first fill and temps have been cool here in CA. It was filled three weeks ago and is about half full right now. I have the ability to do a sanitation cycle with our current storage location but don't have a lot of time.
Any help is much appreciated.

Alan
Each spring as part of de-winterizing I sanitize the fresh water system as follows:
fill the tank halfway, add about a cup of regular Clorox bleach and top the tank off with fresh water(total about 30 gallons for us). Open the system drain for a second or two to put a bit of chlorine in the drain line, run the pump and open each tap until I get a solid stream from each, then flush the toilet for a few seconds to ensure some chlorine in each branch (including hot water system). Then add an ounce or two of Clorox back to the tank and top it off again with fresh water. Let sit over night, drain entire system, flush system thoroughly one tap at a time until little or no chlorine smell is detected. Flush the tank completely at least twice then refill for travel. After using this procedure, I have no fear of drinking the water from any tap for up to a month or two. We usually fill with city water. If forced to use well water we would probably not drink the water after a week or two without sanitizing again.
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:58 PM   #13
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I generally change it out after a month. No real phobia or reason, it is just what choose to do.
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
Maybe I'm playing with fire but I've drank water from my RV fresh water tank for years (like the 1990's). Never can recollect getting sick from fresh water during a camping trip. I think throw away plastic bottles are a wasteful use of resources.
Can't agree more.

There is no need to sanitize your water source more than once each season provided you don't contaminate your tank. When we are on a long trip, like a month or longer, we just top off the fresh water tank when we have a chance. Using almost any municipal source in the USA will work just fine. Yes, there are some areas where the water might be high is sulfur and it does start to stink the place up but even then it is not harmful to drink. We have had to drain and flush when that happens.

Well water? Most cities rely on wells to some extent. A private well might be different but even those when servicing a public establishment are tested regularly. Carrying your own plastic water tank is the same as using the plastic tank in your Airstream. Contaminating a small 5 gallon water tank is much easier than the one in the trailer, in my opinion.

I have been doing this for 30 years with no ill side effects.
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