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Old 05-19-2011, 10:37 AM   #1
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How to bleach RV system when I can't smell any bleach even before I put it in the RV.

I am trying to santize the RV system, I have 1 question 1 issue.

1. Why can't I just dump straight bleach into RV, I have to mix first why?

2. I can't smell bleach in the bucket that I used to pour into fresh water tank. I had 3/4 of bleach to 1 gallon. I have a 53 gallon tank, 6 gallon water heater and the pumping. This not enough bleach?
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:02 AM   #2
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Some of the new bleaches are deodorized or perfumed.
I use good old fashioned clorox or the house brand of non-
perfumed bleach.
A cup of full strength bleach in your tank and then fill the tank half full or so with water.
Run all faucets long enough to get the solution into all
water lines and faucets.
Also the water pump.
Leave it sit a while- maybe an hour.
Then drain the tank, refill or at least refill partially and then
run all faucets again to get the solution out.
Yer now ready for summer!
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:23 AM   #3
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Not what to hear... I am leaving tomorrow at noon and want to bleach. I dont got any more time to add different stronger stuff...

Do you know why I cant dump straight bleach into tank ? As long as I put water following right away?
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:41 AM   #4
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I don't think straight bleach down the fill tube on in the tank is a good idea for plastic. That is why it is suggested to mix it 1st. I have had no trouble mixing 1/4 cup bleach in a gallon milk jug of water. 1/4 cup per 15 gallons, so that times ~3 1/2 for a 53 gallon tank (total of 7/8 cup) . Your water heater would not figure in, since you are mixing solution in the 53 gallon fresh water tank before you pump it into your lines and water heater.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:10 PM   #5
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mtnguy. I did actually figure in the water heater, why? Because I put bleach in. made sure everything smells like bleach...or tried. Then I filled water tank back up(for water used in system and water heater).

I was just wondering why I can not put straight bleach down. But my knowledge is limited with bleach
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyDan View Post
Some of the new bleaches are deodorized or perfumed.
I use good old fashioned clorox or the house brand of non-
perfumed bleach.
A cup of full strength bleach in your tank and then fill the tank half full or so with water.
Run all faucets long enough to get the solution into all
water lines and faucets.
Also the water pump.
Leave it sit a while- maybe an hour.
Then drain the tank, refill or at least refill partially and then
run all faucets again to get the solution out.
Yer now ready for summer!
I have always read that you should use 1 ounce of bleach to ten gallons of tank capacity. This was in my manual for the Roo as well. That being said in order to answer your question above, yes you did use enough bleach. My calculation is that you have a 53 gallon tank (I rounded up to 55 for ease) that would mean you should use 5.5 ounces of bleach to a full tank. 3/4 cup is 6.25 ounces so you exceeded the amount recommended. I doubt that will hurt anything at all. You should be good to go as far as the amount of bleach used.

The only thing I disagree with from the post above is that you should fill your tank all the way to full. The thought here is what good is it to only sanitize half of your tank? The idea is to get the bleach in the tank, the supply lines, everywhere that your drinking water may touch so that you know all parts have been sanitized. If you only fill you tank half full, you have only sanitized half your tank which means you have basically wasted your time and still have the chance for contamination.

Now for dumping the bleach in straight, I assume that platic is not the issue since bleach is in a plastic bottle. I would guess that wherever you read this, recommends mixing it becasue bleach is very corrosive and can do damage if left to sit for a long time? Telling you to dilute first takes liability off the mfr or whomever because they told you to dilute first. It could also be there just so people don't just put straight bleach in the system without adding any water at all (similar to how you use RV anitfreeze in winterizing) which would probably damage seals etc.

I have never read that you shouldn't do this. I don't mix first, I get my funnel dump in my bleach and then add the water using the hose. I figure the water coming in behind the bleach will "wash" it off any parts and dilute it as it goes. This has worked for me with our current and past campers without any issues.

This is just my 2 cents, I'm sure I could be wrong about some of this!
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Old 05-19-2011, 02:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lriel View Post
The only thing I disagree with from the post above is that you should fill your tank all the way to full. The thought here is what good is it to only sanitize half of your tank? The idea is to get the bleach in the tank, the supply lines, everywhere that your drinking water may touch so that you know all parts have been sanitized. If you only fill you tank half full, you have only sanitized half your tank which means you have basically wasted your time and still have the chance for contamination.
I agree. But there may be an air pocket at the top of the tank, even when the water comes back out of the inlet tube or the vent. That is why I drive around a bit after filling my tank, to make sure the bleach/water solution splashes on the top, as well as thoroughly mixing the solution in the tank.
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Old 05-19-2011, 02:50 PM   #8
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I found this link some time ago and it has worked well ever since. How to Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water System

Just in case the link breaks, here are the steps:

Generally Accepted Method to Sanitize Fresh Water

The generally accepted method of sanitizing your RV's fresh water system as outlined below involves filling the fresh water tank with a solution of household bleach and running the solution through each faucet. Then letting it stand for at least three hours. Finally, flush the system once or twice to remove the taste and smell.

This procedure is one you'll find in most any book about RVing it tried and true but be sure to read on to find out what I do.
  • Start with a nearly full fresh water tank.
  • Turn the water heater off and let the water cool.
  • Dilute 1/4 cup of household bleach for each 15 gallons of tank capacity in to a gallon of water.
  • Add the chlorine/water solution to the water tank. (Never pour straight bleach into the RV fresh water tank. )
  • One faucet at a time, let the chlorinated water run through them for one or two minutes. You should be able to smell the chlorine. (Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.)
  • Top off the RV fresh water tank and let stand for at least three hours over night is better.
  • Completely drain the system by flushing the faucets for several minutes each. Open the fresh water tank drain valve to speed up emptying the tank.and Open the hot water tank drain plug and drain until it is empty.
  • Close all valves and faucets and drain plugs.
  • Fill water tank with fresh water.
  • Flush each faucet for several minutes each repeating until the tank is again empty. (Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.)
  • Fill the tank again. The water should now be safe to drink but if the chlorine odor is too strong you can repeat the fresh water flush.
  • Your RV fresh water system should now be safe for use.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:00 PM   #9
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I figure a guy can only worry about this stuff so much.....
I hear what you are saying about filling as full as you
can and then driving around but I'm not gonna do it.
Just too much trouble.
My driveway is 150 feet long and it turns out
onto a busy road. That's a lot of backing and maneuvering
just to slosh the water around in my tank.
I guess I could pull back and forth and hit the brakes
a few times but again, it's just not in the cards for me.....

I drain and refill my tank fairly often and have not had a
problem in nearly 8 years of RV camping.
I might get sick tomorrow but that's my story and I'm
sticking to it.
I want to sanitize the water that always stays in the
bottom of the tank as well as all the lines.
I'm just gonna let the top of the tank go since as you
say there is no way to get it completely full.

OMG, I actually don't sanitize at all some years
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:16 PM   #10
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I tackle this issue a little differently.

We do not dry camp. We always go to parks with full hookups so keep that in mind as you read this.

I do this once a year right before we leave for the coast.
That is a three hour drive for me.

I fill my tank to about 2/3 capacity of fresh water. (At home in the driveway)
I add my diluted bleach mixture. 1/2 cup to one gallon of water.
I dilute it, not becasue I am worried about what Clorox does to plactic, but because if you spill it you can damage your clothes, decals on the trailer, ect.

I turn on the pump and open every faucet until I can smell the bleach.
I turn off the pump, close the faucets, and head out to my camp site.
When I get there I fill up the fresh water tank with water, hook up my drain hoses and turn on the pump, open all the faucets again.
I open the grey valves so it all drains out.

When the fresh water tank gets just about empty,
I do it again.

I have been using this method for about 7 years now on two different rigs.
No slimys and no rotten egg smell.

As I said before, this would not work dry camping.

I hope this is helpful.

Bill
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