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Old 10-17-2008, 11:12 AM   #1
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Water getting into fresh tank the wrong way

Hi,

I'm kind of a newbie at do-it-yourself, so be gentle . We have a 2006 Safari and it's permanently set up using "city" water (water supplied by the RV park), so we don't use the fresh water tank. Recently I noticed that the fresh water tank (which was more or less empty for 2 years) is starting to fill up a bit with water. I don't have a connection to the fresh water inlet, so it must be leaking in from the trailer water lines. Is there some one-way valve that could be going bad?

Also, I've been draining the tank and/or running the pump to empty the line whenever I notice it filling. Do I need to be concerned about water quality in my fresh water tank now? I've never done a bleach job because until recently because we never used the fresh tank for anything.
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Old 10-17-2008, 01:33 PM   #2
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Grantb4,
Your water pump may be allowing water to "back-flow" into your potable water tank. I believe there is a one way valve in the pumps that only allows the water to flow in one direction. Since you have been on city water without using your water pump, the one way valve in the pump may have gone bad.

Just a theory and my $0.02

As for your concerns with the water, I would say not to worry. But even if you don't use the potable water tank it may behoove you to sanitze it every year (we hardly use ours and I snitize it at the beginning and end of every season). It may make resale easier if the prospective buyer knows the tank has been maintained. It is an easy and inexpensive process to sanitize the tank and gives one piece of mind when it comes to water quality.
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Old 10-17-2008, 02:51 PM   #3
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Our Airstream is in our driveway and is often not used for months. Despite that, we keep our freshwater tank full. Periodically, we empty it and refill. Why? We live in California, which you apparently do, and it is earthquake country. One of the safety recommendations for people living in such an area is to have an emergency water supply which our Airstream's tank represents. You may wish to consider such a precaution after you find the source of the unwanted flow into your tank.
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Old 10-17-2008, 03:23 PM   #4
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Alternate supply

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Originally Posted by Tim A. View Post
... we keep our freshwater tank full. ... Why? We live in California, ... One of the safety recommendations for people living in such an area is to have an emergency water supply ...
My wife would feel inclined to boil the water from the Airstream if an emergency was to occur. Doing so would use up some of our LPG.

We have two, 40 gallon water heaters in the house. In case of emergency, those tanks are my emergency water supply.

grantb4 - If I was in your exact position (permanently parked), I would install a shutoff valve between the water pump & the supply line INSTEAD OF replacing the pump.

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Old 10-17-2008, 03:40 PM   #5
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My backflow valve in the pump went recently. There wasn't a source for a new pump where I was so off to the Home Depot I went. I put a backflow valve in the line before the pump. This will hold me over till I can find a pump at my kind of price. After you fix the problem, consider keeping water in the tank. I full time & when connected to city water for extended periods, I also keep water in my tank. This emergency holding kept us out of trouble when the rally we were at had a problem with their water source at the park. Don't fill & forget about it though. I'll fill, then use, then fill, then use regularly. Stagnant water can bring it's own kind of troubles. P..S -The city water will probably be treated with it's own clorine so use & fill won't need to happen maybe once a month.
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Old 10-17-2008, 03:41 PM   #6
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I would also make sure you have a water pressure "thingie" between the faucet & your trailer. It's possible if the water pressure at the campground is too high, it could be forcing a leak in the backflow preventer too.

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Old 10-17-2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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IF the check valve is the only problem with the water pump, you can get a check valve as suggested. It would be a very good idea to keep water in the fresh water tank, as if the water ever goes out at the RV park, you will have a backup supply.
The RV park we stayed at last was going through an expansion, and the water would get turned off for a few hours several times per month.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
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I would also make sure you have a water pressure "thingie" between the faucet & your trailer. It's possible if the water pressure at the campground is too high, it could be forcing a leak in the backflow preventer too.
Thanks. Yes we have one of those. It doesn't fill the fresh water tank very fast. This weekend there was maybe a few gallons I could drain from the fresh water tank after having the city line connected for about 3 days.

In other questions, ...how do you get the bleach in the fresh water tank? Just use a funnel?
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:34 AM   #9
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We had the same problem with our fresh water tank although it filled up quicker. Our Bambi was set up in a park and attached to their water. The fresh water tank would fill up and then continue dripping out the side overflow. At the end of the season I took it to the AS dealer. I had read about this on the forum and told the technician I thought the pump needed replacing because the valve was defective. He said it worked properly for him and no water went into the tank?

So I was stumped. Now we'll have to wait till spring to see what it does.
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grantb4 View Post
In other questions, ...how do you get the bleach in the fresh water tank? Just use a funnel?
Grantb4,
Do a Google search for "sanitize rv tank" and you will find the bleach to water ratio. I never pour straight bleach into the tank. I make the desired dilute bleach soution in a gallon jug and then use a funnel to pour it into a partially full tank. Then I top the tank off, circulate the solution until I smell chlorine at every water outlet, turn them off, let the solution sit in the lines for the desired amound of time, drain the tank, fill the tank with just water, and then run the water until the chlroine smell is gone.
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:37 PM   #11
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I think Dietz is right. I think most RV water pumps nowadays have the one-way valve built right into the pump. There should be a one-way valve between the water pump and the water tank that does not allow water from your curbside connection (municipal or private "shore" water) to flow into your tank. Any valve can fail over time. Personally, I'd rather have the valve separate from the pump, but that's just a personal preference thing.

Wet or dry, you should always be concerned about tank and line sanitation.

As for the problem NDM mentions, I doubt anyone is sneaking by and putting water in your fill tank. If you don't have a pressure reduction valve, it could be that the pressure where you have backflow is higher than the pressure the Airstream dealer used. In any case, the only way water can get into the tank is through the fill pipe or flowing back through the water pump past the check valve. If you are so inclined, you can always install an inline check valve between the tank and the water pump.
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Old 10-22-2008, 04:33 PM   #12
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I do my best thinkin' in the morning

This whole issue of a leaking checkvalve stayed with me for some reason, and was enough to interrupt my morning shower where I think about really heavy subjects like calculating PiD coefficents for the heater loop on the subscale testbed, or was Kim really happy about the toaster I gave her for our anniversary, etc.

Checkvalves leak more often than they seal. Any little amount of debris is sufficent to keep a checkvalve from sealing properly. Usually, the leakage more-or-less goes unnoticed due to system dynamics. At the office, we use really fine-mesh filters upstream of checkvalves to minimize this problem.

An Airstream was not designed to sit parked & hooked up to 365/24/7 shore water. I believe that any brand water pump's checkvalve will eventually develop a leak path after a small amount of use.

The only positive way to preclude the fresh-water tank from filling up is to install a shutoff valve between the water supply and the pump.

Or use the Airstream in a way for which it was designed.

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Old 10-22-2008, 04:48 PM   #13
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In municipal applications, check valves aka back flow prevention valves are not about perfect sealing and more about preventing the dreaded siphon effect in the event the main loses pressure. I think Tom has a good suggestion in installing a valve (presumably a high quality ball valve) to isolate shore water from the water tank. If you don't want to be bothered by valve operations, I think a high quality check valve installed is a better way to go than to trust the valve added as an afterthought within the water pump. Personally, I think devices should do one thing (e.g., pump water, stop flow, make toast) and do them very well. Back to the subject, Tom makes an excellent point. The Airstream is built as a travel trailer rather than a mobile home. Permanent connections to shore power/water/sewerage suggest (if not demand) some design modifications to ensure those systems work. And I'm think Tom is going to have plenty of time to ponder these mysteries if he keeps buying his wife appliances.
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Old 10-22-2008, 04:58 PM   #14
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What's your point?

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... And I'm think Tom is going to have plenty of time to ponder these mysteries if he keeps buying his wife appliances.
...



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