Dirty Water - Solutions Can Vary before Boondocking Prep
Trailer owners should be concerned about the expiration date of their canned food. Best Used By 8-14-1987 is probably dated and needs to be tossed.
Fresh Water is no different. The Spring Routine to flush out Dirty Water, mildewed stale fresh water tank and water lines will brighten your travels with minimal invasive, future efforts. Foul tasting water, stinky shower, mildew smelly washing of dishes and hands are not the Airstream Dream while on the road.
NEW Airstream owners of a brand new or used trailer need to fill the fresh water tank half way, after purchase. This saves you time not having to do it at home later. The drive home will slosh the chemical taste of the NEW Fresh Water Tank upon arriving home. If not... repeat. It is just a film from the manufacturing of the plastic tank. If the chemical taste remains, repeat. (You will know instantly if the new tank has been flushed, or not by the Dealership!)
Flush water through the Hot and Cold water lines, using the City Water Connection on the left side of your trailer. First run the fresh water through the hot and cold faucet sides of each sink, toilet and shower. You want to remove as much air in the water lines possible. The last purge will remove ALL air in the lines, later in the discussion.
You want to get a good flushing of fresh City Water with chlorine. You can sometimes SMELL mildew in the trailer’s fresh water. Does your under the counter sink have a ten year old ‘water filtering system’? Time to replace it, as well. Then repeat the process.
The Hot Water tank fill takes a few minutes. It fills once you are connected to the City Water Connection. You will hear water flowing from inside, and if not, outside the trailer. This is normal. When the hot water tank is full, turn on the Hot Water located in the Restroom near the sink. Let the hot water tank get HOT. The tank will shut the propane heating once at temperature.
***Check that the nylon drain plug on the outside hot water tank is not leaking. If so. Be careful and do not remove while hot. Turn off the Hot Water System, proceed to flush the system and when the tank it cool, reduce the pressure in the lines from the interior and use plumber’s tape to prevent any leaking at the nylon plug.****
You now have tested the Hot Water tank and now going to flush hot water through the hot water line.
The hot and cold water will be going into the Grey Water Tank. Newer Airstreams have grey water going into the Black Water Tank. (The drain in the Shower that can be sealed shut is the clue from my experience.) If you are having a problem getting hot and cold water pressure, check the exterior drain valves on the left side of your trailer. Make sure the exterior valve drain is closed to the Grey Water Tank. You will want water in the Grey Water Tank. The grey water in the tank needs to slosh around while towing.
Add eight gallons or more fresh water to the Black Water tank through the Toilet. I advise that you take a garden hose with a nozzle in one hand and a flashlight in the other to clean out all the 'krapola' that may have fallen into the tank, directly below the stool. This cleansing can be drained from the Black Water Tank into a five gallon bucket and disposed into your home toilet and city sewer system. If this seems like a dirty job... don't do it... it will become a massive blockage someday when you are on a long trip camping.
Toilet paper is like a building material and become 'concrete eventually', of some sort. Yours or the previous owners. This will harden and be directly below the toilet in the Black Tank.
I advise anyone buying USED.... to look down the toilet into the Black Tank and observe with a flashlight what you are getting into. If the view looks disgusting... you may want to look at other ‘servicing issues’.... like foul smelling fresh water tank, gray water, black water tank flushing and interior water lines needing more attention. OUR Airstream’s Black, Gray and Fresh water tanks are... spotless. No Sh$t. Honest Abe, I say.
Now that your hot water tank is hot and water lines primed of most of the AIR in the lines... the next BIG STEP is the Fresh Water Tank itself and the Fresh Water Pump AND... the interior hot and cold water lines need to be purged of ALL AIR.
It took me more time to type out this, than doing the ENTIRE PURGING of any Fresh, Grey and Black Water System! After a couple trips, you will be able to do it all in half the time it took to do the FIRST NASTY cleansing of the water system.
All of this is necessary. Want a short cut? Good... Lets hear it, as well. This is Part ONE just to cleanse the fresh water system and interior lines and water pump. Also freshen up the Black and Grey Water Tanks. Your nose may be your best guide.
Part TWO is no less easier to follow. How to complete the Season’s FIRST Adventure with a clean water system is the beginning. If your Airstream is NEW, used ANNUALLY or USED and has been sitting for a year... or more... other steps can be added... or ignored if you are currently satisfied that the water system is to your liking.
(I would avoid using Chlorine / Clorox as the smell and taste will out live YOU! City water should take care of most issues with a couple flushes... unless you really found yourself owning a BIGGER problem.)
When Boondocking, we drink the water from our fresh water tank. We need a clean tank and fresh water lines within our trailer. It is not necessary to carry bottled water, unless you prefer it... but a clean tank provides fresh water for as long as you keep adding water on your extended trip. Ahhhh... I say.
Someone may want to describe a CHEMICAL OPTION to a BIG Problem with mildew/stale FRESH WATER LINES... as I am not familiar with any options needing to cleanse the system of serious Tricks of the Trade used by experienced Airstreamers.
Reminder: If your water pump burps or runs constantly... you have AIR in the Hot and/or Cold water lines. Purge again through ALL faucets and shower and outside shower! After a long drive, you may develop some air bubbles in the system, again... but after this time your system should be 100% AIR FREE. The water system has plumbing going up, down and sideways... leaving plenty of locations for AIR to remain in the system.
All of this should take less than 20 minutes. Once you are good... you will not post on the Airforums your... Pump RUNS all of the TIME. It is not the pump, in most cases... but YOUR lack of purging air out of the system.