How to Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water Tank

How to Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water Tank

Posted by RVCampersUSA on Oct 13th 2016

How to Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water Tank

There's nothing that compares to the self-sustained freedom of living offered by an RV. With even compact RVs offering heating, cooling, electricity and running water, you can venture off the beaten path and explore the truly untouched areas of this beautiful country. But if there's one system that you don't want to fail in an RV, it's the water. If your water has an unusual taste and/or odor, it could be indicative of an underlying problem.

Sanitization Guidelines for RV Fresh Water Tank Systems 

Recognizing when to sanitize your fresh water system remains a crucial part of upkeep. To ensure optimal cleanliness and safety, it is typically recommended that you sanitize your RV freshwater tank approximately every six months. However, three key indicators can signal that immediate sanitization may be necessary: 1) A strange taste or odour emanating from the fresh water, 2) If the vehicle has remained in storage for an extended period of time, or 3) The suspicion arises concerning whether the tank has previously been filled with substandard water. In such cases, initiating sanitization swiftly becomes imperative.

The Importance of Sanitizing Your RV Fresh Water Tank 

Wherever your travel adventures may guide you, the fresh water tank in your recreational vehicle (RV) inevitably gets replenished. Occasionally, however, the quality of this essential resource may not meet up to desired standards. Moreover, when water remains stagnant within the tank for prolonged periods, it could cultivate harmful bacteria alongside molds and mildew - both inside the tank and within supply lines. 

Sanitization of your RV's freshwater system is therefore paramount; providing a countermeasure against potential propagation of these unwanted elements. This critical practice fosters health and wellbeing for all members onboard while ensuring continued enjoyment from your RV excursions in many years to come.

Ensuring Clean and Safe Water Supply: How to Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water Tank

Maintaining a clean and safe water supply is crucial when you're on the road in your RV. One of the key steps in ensuring this is regularly sanitizing your RV fresh water tank. Over time, bacteria, algae, and other unwanted substances can build up in the tank, potentially contaminating your water supply. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of sanitizing your RV fresh water tank.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you start, gather all the supplies you'll need. This includes a non-toxic, RV-safe sanitizer (usually a diluted bleach solution), an RV fresh water hose,  fill funnel, and protective gloves.

Step 2: Drain Your RV Fresh Water Tank

Start by draining any remaining water in your RV fresh water tank. You can do this by opening the tank's drain valve. Also, open all the faucets in your RV to drain the water from the plumbing system.

Step 3:Disable the Water Heater and Pump

To prevent damage to either appliance while emptying your fresh water system, initiate a shutdown of both your caravan's water heater as well as its pump.

Step 4: Establish Bypass Protocol for the Water Heater and Filter

Introduce bypass mechanisms encompassing both your vehicle’s inbuilt filtering solution and its water heating unit.

Step 5: Complete Draining Operation on the System

The next step involves discharging all content from the fresh water system. This can be accomplished by unfastening the plug of the water heater and simultaneously opening up the low-point drains within your RV. Facilitating this process can also involve making use of open faucets.

Step 6: Engage Lockdown Procedures for Low-Point Drain Valves

Subsequent to completion of draining process - indicated by lack of outflow and depleted reservoirs - return all previously-opened low point valves back into their designated secure or ‘closed’ configuration positions.

Step 7: Prepare Your Sanitizing Solution

Next, prepare your sanitizing solution. A common recommendation is to use a quarter cup of bleach for every fifteen gallons of water that your tank holds. Mix the bleach with water in a one-gallon container.

Step 8: Add the Sanitizing Solution to Your Tank

Pour the sanitizing solution into your RV fresh water tank. You can use a funnel to make this process easier and prevent spills.

Step 9: Fill the Tank with Water

Using your RV fresh water hose, fill the rest of the tank with water. This will help distribute the sanitizing solution throughout the tank.

Step 10: Run the Sanitizing Solution Through Your Plumbing System

Turn on all the faucets in your RV until you smell the bleach solution. This ensures that the sanitizing solution has reached all parts of your plumbing system.

Step 11: Let the Solution Sit

Let the sanitizing solution sit in your tank and plumbing system for at least four hours, but ideally overnight. This gives it enough time to kill any bacteria or other organisms in the system.

Step 12: Drain the Sanitizing Solution

After letting the solution sit, drain it from your tank and plumbing system. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the tank and flush the plumbing system with fresh water until the smell of bleach is gone.

Step 13: Refill Your Tank

Finally, refill your RV fresh water tank with fresh water. Your tank is now sanitized and ready to provide a clean, safe water supply for your travels.

In conclusion, sanitizing your RV fresh water tank is a crucial maintenance task that ensures a safe and clean water supply. By following these steps, you can effectively sanitize your tank and protect your health while on the road.

Remember, a well-maintained RV is the key to a successful and enjoyable RVing experience. Don't let water supply issues put a damper on your adventures. Regularly sanitize your RV fresh water tank and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're well-equipped for your travels. 

How to Sanitize the RV Fresh Water Tank with Extreme Cleaner

You can find many different ways to sanitize your RV's freshwater tank online. Many posts and videos say that bleach works well for this task, but you should always dilute it first. Take one cup of bleach and mix it with four gallons of water. Next, add the solution to your tank and fill it up with fresh water. Now turn on all sinks and faucets in your RV, allowing them to run until your tank is empty. On the following day, drain the tank twice more, but using freshwater instead. Assuming you can no longer smell bleach, it's safe to use as intended.

Using bleach in your holding tanks is always a controversial recommendation because it is so harsh and ruins your seals. There is a completely safe and effective alternative to clean both your black and gray tanks. Happy Campers Extreme Cleaner is arguably the most powerful holding tank cleaner available and it’s easy to use.

When using Happy Campers Extreme Cleaner:

*Effectiveness requires some type of agitation (tank rinser sprayer, long curvy drive, etc.)

1. Dump & thoroughly rinse tank
2. Mix whole container into large bucket of hot water till fully dissolved
3. Add the solution to your RV fresh water tank
4. Fill tank with clean water to ½ (completely fill if stationary)
5. Aggressively agitate (long curvy drive) (if stationary soak overnight minimum)
6. Dump & thoroughly rinse immediately upon completion agitation & rinsing is key
7. We recommend giving your fresh water tank a couple good rinses prior to use.

Additional Tips:

Don't Overfill the Tank

While it may seem harmless enough, overfilling your RV's water tank can stress the lines, causing them to loosen and even leak. Think about it: one pound of water weighs approximately 8.35 pounds. Assuming you have a 100-gallon unit, that's more than 800 pounds. Avoid overfilling your tank to minimize pressure and protect against damage to the lines.

Cleaning the Sink

The sink is a common source of foul odors in RVs. This is due to the food particles that become stuck inside the drain lines, which create the perfect breeding grounds for bad germs. You can clean it, however, by pouring vinegar and hot water down it. The vinegar is a safe, all-natural cleaning solution that will literally eat bad germs. And while it smells bad at first, vinegar actually freshens the air once it dries. I actually use it with laundry too.

Add Baking Soda When Emptying Grey Water Tank

Another trick that's helpful to maintain a fresh water system is to add a spoonful of baking soda to your kitchen sink whenever you empty the grey water tank. Baking soda neutralized odor-causing germs, which are particularly problematic in this tank.