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Old 09-30-2012, 04:29 PM   #1
lrw
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Where do I add bleach to the fresh water system?

Recently purchased a 2007 Classic and this will be our first time disinfecting. Can someone please share with us where/how you add the bleach. We really appreciate all the information that we're learning from your sharing. No experience camping, but always wanted to try it so here we are....
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:52 PM   #2
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I pour some into the fresh water tank external fill opening, as if you were filling the fresh water tank with your garden hose.

I forget the amount you use, but it's not much. I believe it was something like one teaspoon per gallon to make water drinkable. I tend to go with a heavier concentration than that though....probably put about 8 ounces in with 60 gallons of fresh water. I'll put maybe 15 gallons in the fresh tank, add the bleach, then fill the tank up. Go for a drive to mix it all up nicely, then let it sit awhile to kill whatever's in the fresh tank.

After a couple days, I'll run the water pump to run it through all the lines. I'll do that a lot; maybe like run 30 gallons through. Then I drain everything, the fresh and the gray/black tanks. Get it empty, then I'll fill it up again completely, run some of that through the lines until it quits smelling like bleach, then drain whatever else is in the fresh tank.

You might have to refill and drain the fresh tank a couple of times to get the bleach smell out.

I may be using way more bleach than is required, but doing it this way I have never gotten sick from drinking the water out of my fresh tank.

Many folks just drink bottled water and never drink the water from their fresh tank. We typically start out with those intentions but after a couple days I end up brushing my teeth with tank water. So anyway, I want to kill whatever bacteria is in there. So I do the above and it's worked well for me. Plus my hair hasn't looked like Billy Idol's so I'm thinking I've gotten most of it out of the lines
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:57 PM   #3
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Bleach

We assume that you are disinfecting the fresh water tank. On the outside on the driver's side of the AS you will find the water fill inlet. It needs a key to open it up. Once open, you can pour the bleach in. Then fill with water. Open the taps and let them run for a few moments. Don't forget the water sprayer in the bathroom and the shower hoses. (you may have an exterior water sprayer...don't know about 2007s). After you have let them run, shut off and go out and dump the fresh water tank. Refill with clean water and redrain. You may not have to do the second one if the water that is coming out looks pretty. When we do our tanks first thing in the spring we try to fill with half a tank plus the bleach and then drive the trailer around a few blocks to slosh it around...then drain and refill. It isn't rocket science. You will figure it out.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:46 PM   #4
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Please Dilute the Bleach First

Decide how much bleach is recommend for the capacity of your fresh-water holding tank. (It's in your owner's manual, or at least it is mine)
Put that much in a 5-7 gal water jug with a pour spout.
Fill the container with water.
Pour the diluted bleach into the holding tank via the aforementioned fresh-waster, holding tank inlet.
Then, fill the tank the rest of the way with a white, fresh-water supply hose.
Do not use your garden hose.
Otherwise, follow loudruff's instructions.
USE PLAIN BLEACH (SODIUM HYPOCHLORITE) DO NOT USE BLEACH WITH A FRAGRANCE.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:06 PM   #5
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Quote:

AIRSTREAM CLASSIC TRAILER OWNERS MANUAL
F-7
SANITIZING
Potable water systems require periodic maintenance to deliver a consistent flow of fresh water. Depending
on use and the environment the system is subject to, sanitizing is recommended prior to storing and before
using the water system after a period of storage. Systems with new components, or ones that have been
subjected to contamination, should also be disinfected as follows:
1. Use one of the following methods to determine the amount of common household bleach needed to
sanitize the tank.
A) Multiply "gallons of tank capacity" by 0.13; the result is the ounces of bleach needed to
sanitize the tank.
B) Multiply "Liters of tank capacity" by 1.0; the result is the milliliters of bleach needed to
sanitize the tank.
2. Mix into solution the proper amount of bleach within a container of water.
3. Pour the solution (water/bleach) into the tank and fill the tank with potable water.
4. Open all faucets (Hot & Cold) allowing the water to run until the distinct odor of chlorine is detected.
5. The standard solution must have four (4) hours of contact time to disinfect completely. If you double the
solution, this concentration allows for contact time of one (1) hour.
6. When the contact time is completed, drain the tank. Refill with potable water and purge the plumbing of
all sanitizing solution.
NOTE:
The sanitizing procedure outlined above is in conformance with the approved procedures of RVIA

ANSI Al19.2 and the U.S. Public Health Service.

There should be a small door that uses a key to open that has the water fill.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:29 PM   #6
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I follow the Owner's Manual with some changes. I use a fresh water (white) hose and fill the tank part way and then add the one-hour amount of Clorox. Then I fill the rest of the tank, run water through all the faucets. After an hour, I drain the system. Look for a drain next to the water heater (that's in the FB's, it may or may not exist in other trailers). I run the pump to quicken the draining. After the system is drained, I fill it again, run water through all the faucets, drain again. I fill the system 3 times before all the Clorox solution smell is gone, then one more fill (full or partially full) for a trip.

Chlorine is bad for plastic—makes it brittle. It is best to limit exposure to one hour (or 4 hours if you are using the 4 hour mix).

I don't run the solution through the filter under the sink as I don't think chlorine and an activated carbon filter would agree.

The whole process takes about 2 1/2 hours. We do it twice a year—once in the spring and once during summer. In the spring I also run the solution through the outside shower even though we have never used it. When I winterize, I run antifreeze through that and the kitchen sprayer and toilet line.

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Old 10-01-2012, 06:02 PM   #7
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Okay, we found the inlet on the curb side of our Classic where we can add the bleach under a locked cover. We should be ready now to disinfect. Thanks for all the replies.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:49 PM   #8
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As I mentioned in an earlier thread You can sanitize your white hose at the same time. Hook your hose to the trailer then pour the required amount of chlor in the other end of the hose just before hooking up to the faucet. I have found it easier to pour into the end of the hose than into the trailer.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:33 PM   #9
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:13 AM   #10
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Ok, i a, set for today's project...question when u use ur pump to help get water thru the system and for flushing...doesn't it land in the grey tank? Where do you empty the grey tank several times when you are home with the bleach water?
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:04 AM   #11
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You should be using a diluted solution of bleach ( perhaps 1/4c per gallon of water). After giving it some time to disinfect or taking a drive around the block a few times it is no problem to drain it on the ground. If possible it might be good to NOT drain it on your grass but onto gravel, pavement or other hard surface it will be no problem.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:13 AM   #12
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Hi ...you should have a factory manual which will help with "getting to know" your AS.....ours has specific instructions for sanitizing the holding tank...here is another reference..RV Doctor Newsletter: Issue 18 | RV Travel
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:16 AM   #13
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This is even more specific...The RV Doctor: Chlorinating the Fresh Water System
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:11 AM   #14
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You can drain the bleach solution on the ground, but flood the area with a hose as you're doing it. That dilutes the bleach enough it won't burn the grass. I always follow my bleach routine with a flush of baking soda in the system. For a 50 gal. tank, I use a 4 lb box of baking soda mixed into a full tank of water and run through all the water system. It kills the bleach taste in the water. Let it sit for at least 3 days, then drain and fill again, flush, drain and you're done. Mix the baking soda with water as you dump it in. My oldest son uses white vinegar as his rinse. It needs several gallons for a fresh water tank. He swears by it, but I prefer baking soda....

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Old 05-13-2013, 12:26 PM   #15
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As the Airstream manual says, you don't use much bleach. Chlorine is bad for plastic, so not too much and not too long. We use the amount for 1 hour disinfection, drain on ground, flush with fresh water 3 times and there's no taste of chlorine or antifreeze. The ground where we live is all weeds, so we don't care about the chlorine's effects.

Chlorine dissipates in the air and sun, so get the right amount, use it right away, use a funnel to put it in the tank and fill the tank with water. I usually put a few gallons of water in the tank first so the solution is diluted quickly.

Once the solution is in the tank, I run the pump to get it into all the water lines and water heater, opening each faucet in turn. As soon as it gets to the spigot, a foamy solution will come out and you'll know the water line is filled. This cleans them, the pump and the tank. The small amount that goes into the grey tank can be easily drained. Most is drained out through the fresh water tank valve or the water line drains (I have 3 of those plus tank drain). It takes quite a while to drain the lines and tank. Open all the faucets, water line drains and tank drain, turn on pump to accelerate the tank draining and wait. The pump can run while dry, so don't worry about that.

When done, turn off pump, start running water into tank again, close tank drain, water line drains and faucets last. When tank fills, turn off water and repeat.

In between all this, some maintenance can be done while things fill and drain. It takes several hours at most.

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Old 09-28-2013, 08:44 AM   #16
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This is the first reference I have seen to the long time it takes to drain the fresh water tank. We have a 1993 30' Excella and the fresh water tank has never been used--I have only used it to winterize using pink RV antifreeze. When I did drain the tank of leftover pink stuff, it probably took 30 minutes to drain less than a gallon. When I sanitize the fresh water tank (we will use it soon, but likely use bottled water for drinking) is the best way to drain the fresh water tank through the drain petcock, or pump it all through the faucets and into the grey tank, then drain that?
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Old 09-28-2013, 09:06 AM   #17
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When it drains slow I open the water door and remove the cap. This way there is not much restriction. If it can't get air it can't flow.
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Old 09-28-2013, 11:43 AM   #18
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The system (pipes, fresh water tank and hot water tank) will drain faster if you run the pump. It can run dry (ours can, check your paperwork on the one you have), so that is not a worry. Open every faucet, water tank filler and city water filler to let air into system.

If it still runs slow, there may be trash in the tank. When they build these things, they throw trash (metal cuttings, hamburger wrappers, etc.) in the area around the tanks and some may get into the tank itself before the plumbing is done. When they cut holes in the tank for the fittings, the cut pieces can fall into the tank and it is not easy to fish them out. It doesn't take a lot to clog the drain.

You may have to crawl under the tank and remove the access plate under the drain fittings and then remove the fittings to make sure they are not clogged. You may encounter trash when you remove the access plate—watch out for metal cuttings—they have sharp edges and can make for a nasty cut. Balancing a flashlight on your chest while you lie under the tank and try to see what you are doing is a good idea, but will lead to frustrations as you try to keep the flashlight from falling over and get your arms to bend in 6 places as you maneuver yourself to work on this. You can jack the trailer for more room, but be sure to use something very secure to hold up the trailer besides the jack. This is not fun, but necessary.

You can take the opportunity to replace the spigot. The plastic one recent models have come with gets very hard to turn. There is a better quality spigot available at some RV stores that will fit. I could not find one, so I used a hose bib that fit. It had to be installed at an angle because there are things in the way, but drains better than the OEM spigot and it much, much easier to open and close.

Steve, your trailer may be different, but the principles are the same (including trash). We sanitize every year and sometimes twice a year if we use the trailer a lot. We have an external filter for the water when attached to city water or when filling the fresh water tank. We also have an undersink filter that came with the trailer for a separate filtered spigot as part of the kitchen faucet—water gets flltered twice there, but we still use bottled water for some purposes. If we boil the water to make tea or coffee, we use the water from the fresh water tank or city water. While city water is usually fine, sometimes campgrounds use questionable supplies, especially in remote areas, so extra filtering is a good idea (we know a doctor who got giardia while on the way to Alaska and found the water came from a hose in a creek; most carbon activated filters will eliminate giardia—6 microns to filter out giardia, filters are usually 2-5 microns).

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Old 09-28-2013, 03:07 PM   #19
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The spigot is slow no matter the age of your trailer. I can attest to that. If I'm going to use the fresh water tank for drinking, I sanitize the day prior to leaving preferably in the morning. I use the 4 hour method and pump a small amount of the mixture through all the outlets. I open up the drain after 4 hours and go back and check in a couple of hours. Usually by that point the 60 gallon tank in my Classic is drained. I usually refill again, run some water again through the outlets and let it sit an hour. I then open the drain again. That gets rid of most of the bleach taste. Either the night before I leave or the first thing the day of departure, I fill again.

Now if the timeframe gets compressed on the draining, I'll start the pump, open all the water outlets in the trailer and also open the grey water dump valve.

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Old 02-16-2019, 12:36 PM   #20
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Testing the well water for contamination

I'd also like to check the well water I use in the trailer for contamination at source. Does anyone have experience of Aquavial or similar test kits?
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KN92N...il_aax_0?psc=1
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