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Old 08-16-2015, 05:04 PM   #1
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Easiest way to disinfect fresh water tank?

The fresh water in our 2013 Interstate smells bad. Using it just for day trips since last October, we just haven't gone through the water fast enough, I suppose. We've never had this problem before.

I guess it's time to disinfect the fresh water tank. I've looked up ways to do it, and everyone seems to have some variation.

What is the easiest way to do it?

Since we keep ours in storage, I figure we'll have to go to a campground and get a full hook up site to work on it.

thx....
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Old 08-16-2015, 05:46 PM   #2
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You can shock it by adding a couple of cups of bleach to full tank. Run some thru all the taps. Let sit for awhile and drain, refill, run thru taps and drain. You might have to do this a couple of times to get it nice and fresh.
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Old 08-16-2015, 06:36 PM   #3
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That's the way I do it but then I don't drink the water.
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Old 08-16-2015, 06:53 PM   #4
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A pretty good explanation here
http://airstreamlife.com/wp-content/...water-tank.pdf

I think there is a section in the owners manual that is called Sanitizing
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:01 PM   #5
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Sanitize Fresh Water Tank

Another good document
sanitize fresh water.pdf
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:07 PM   #6
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After you do the bleach sanitizing, run a full tank of water thru to flush out the bleach.

We have done this every spring, drink the water, cook with it, etc., no problems.


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Old 08-16-2015, 10:23 PM   #7
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Thanks. That is really easy. I've read a couple other ways to do it that sounded more complicated. We can easily do this next week.
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Old 08-16-2015, 10:31 PM   #8
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Oh wait, I do have a few questions about the procedure.

1. While we're doing this procedure, should we avoid flushing the toilet (to avoid bleach solution getting into the black tank or getting on any of the seals, etc..)?

2. Instructions say to run water through hot and cold valves. So, do I just need to be sure part of the time running the water through the system, that the faucet is set to hot and part of the time it's set to cold?

3. What about the hot water heater? Will this part of the system get sanitized as I do this procedure? I'm assuming that's why I need to set the valve to run "hot" for part of the time.
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Old 08-16-2015, 11:05 PM   #9
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1. No need to flush.
2. Yes
3. Yes you should open the bypass so that the water heater fills.
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by weirdstuff View Post
Oh wait, I do have a few questions about the procedure.

1. While we're doing this procedure, should we avoid flushing the toilet (to avoid bleach solution getting into the black tank or getting on any of the seals, etc..)?

2. Instructions say to run water through hot and cold valves. So, do I just need to be sure part of the time running the water through the system, that the faucet is set to hot and part of the time it's set to cold?

3. What about the hot water heater? Will this part of the system get sanitized as I do this procedure? I'm assuming that's why I need to set the valve to run "hot" for part of the time.
Yes do flush the toilet until the chlorine smell is in the toilet. The goal is to completely fill the hot and cold systems by opening every faucet and valve. If your trailer has an outdoor faucet or shower open those valves too. If you miss filling any part of the fresh water system with the chlorinated water, then it the system is not sanitized completely.
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Old 08-17-2015, 05:22 AM   #11
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After I do the bleach thing, I turn on the kitchen faucet, run thru hot and cold alternately, also flush continuously to empty the fresh water tank of the bleach water.

The bleach won't hurt your toilet, as it is well diluted, and brightens your bowl, flushing moves the water fairly quickly, but do the faucet, too.

Dump all that water, fill your fresh full again, run your faucets and flush your toilet to rinse everything thoroughly, dump everything and you are ready to go.

The idea is to sanitize everything the water runs thru, then flush the chlorine from the same areas.....so divide the tasks up.

I usually use a couple of gallons of bottled water for coffee, tea, drinking, etc., until I don't smell chlorine when I turn on the tap. I just don't want to drink it.

At least, this is what we-now-I do.


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Old 08-17-2015, 08:43 AM   #12
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One last thing. I agree with all the above.
Also completely drain the system when it will be stored for more than a week. Especially during warmer weather. That includes the Hot Water Heater.
At tank fill up add roughly an ounce of unscented bleach per 50gal of capacity. It will help keep the bacterial critters in check, and you shouldn't be able to smell or taste it.
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Old 08-17-2015, 09:41 AM   #13
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73Shark, you said to open the bypass so the water heater fills. What and where is that?

Alan, thanks for mentioning the outdoor shower. I would have forgotten all about that!
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Old 08-17-2015, 09:52 AM   #14
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On mine it is under the rear lounge behind the water heater. To get to it you have to pull the black carpet material off and it's about an arm's length in from there. I believe the owner's manual for the AI shows a picture of it.

If you have been using your hot water system, it should be in the normal position now and not require changing. The only time I turn it to bypass is for winterization. That way I can drain the water heater and not have to worry about the lines there.
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:00 AM   #15
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73shark...so I don't have to touch mine, right? I'm in So. Cal and we don't winterize.
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:19 AM   #16
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Correct if you have been using HW, it should be in the Normal, not Bypass position.
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:47 PM   #17
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Wierdstuff,

Lots of good recommendations here, but a few details may be needed.

It takes about a tablespoon of common household bleach to disenfect 200 gallons of water! Don't go crazy with a cup or two of bleach in a 50 gallon tank.

In a previous life I was associated with a beverage company and clean tasteless water was mandatory. What you are looking for is about 200 parts per million chlorine to a volume of water for about 20 to 30 minutes. In this way you don't trash out any of the water system.

Chlorine is a reactant and it CAN damage features of a water system.

So, a tablespoon of chlorine in 50 gallons is going to be about 1000 PPM. Household bleach will be somewhat less than pool chlorine or USP chorine. No problem.

Let the solution (chlorine & water) stay in the fresh water tank for about 30 minutes then flush through every valve in the vehicle. Sink, Showers, hot and cold valves and commode. Try not to splash it on you, what your wearing or your AS.

Then flush out every tank with fresh water and you are done. Remember also that you do not need to heat the hot water heater water in any way.

Also prepare to change the water filter associated with the kitchen sink if there is one. The activated charcoal filter will trap the chlorine and reduce the filters effectiveness.

It does not hurt to pour just a cap full of chlorine (household bleach) into the fresh water tank ever so often to keep the little bugs in check.

Chlorine breaks down when exposed to air and sun light so it will go away after a very short while.

All the best and Happy Trails.

PS, where you smelling foulness when you were running hot water or when you ran any water? If only hot water you took on a load of "h2s" laden water (hydrogen sulfide) and the sacrificial anode in the hot water heater was liberating rotten egg smell. It's harmless in small concentrations.
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Old 08-17-2015, 01:26 PM   #18
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Two things to be sure of when filling the fresh water tank: 1) Always use a potable water hose like the one that came w/ your AI, white w/ blue stripe and 2) Always check when filling away from home that you are using a potable source.

I didn't do #2 once and got a horrible smell in a day or two.
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:03 PM   #19
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It does not hurt to pour just a cap full of chlorine (household bleach) into the fresh water tank ever so often to keep the little bugs in check.

.

Do you add a capful to the water you're drinking? That is, even when not flushing the tank? If so, does it affect the taste much?
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:13 PM   #20
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Jekkerville...thanks for that info. Everyone else seems to think we need so much more chlorine though. Are you sure using so little will disinfect everything?!

We always use our fresh water hose to fill the tank. And yes, we're careful to always use potable water. Last time we filled tank was from the outside hose bib at our friend's house back in February.

And since we've only been day tripping since that trip in February, we don't use much water. We don't drink it, but our dogs do. And a couple weeks ago, I went to fill the doggie water bowl, and noticed the smell.

So, yes, this would be cold water. We haven't used the water heater in a long time.

And, not that you asked, but, our bathroom/toilet does not smell, so I figured this was just related to the fresh water tank, and not the black tank.
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