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Old 10-02-2015, 08:15 AM   #1
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When to fill/empty fresh water tank

Fairly new to fifth wheel, but had a pop-up for a few years.

I've seen quite a lot of posts about HOW to empty the fresh water tank, mostly just folks trying to find the drain valve on a particular model, but not much on WHEN to empty the fresh water tank.

On our popup we never ever used the fresh tank, and left it permanently empty, since we always hooked up to city water.

My first question is whether that's OK to do on a fifth wheel ? (no plans to camp anywhere without city hookup in the foreseeable future)

We're just about to go on a trip, and I just realized that the fresh water tank is still 2/3 full, and was left that way for quite some time.
I'm thinking that, even if I do drain it and leave it empty, I should sanitize it first since it's had water sitting in it for ages, while in FL heat.

If it's not OK to just leave the tank empty, when do folks empty it, and fill ?
Empty before leaving campsite ? Empty when get home ? Leave empty while not in use or leave full until next trip ? Fill before next trip ? etc

Hoping to get some advice/consensus.

Thanks
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:26 AM   #2
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When to fill/empty fresh water tank

I fill mine once per year when I dewinterize- for the purpose of sanitizing the tank. I never have more than 10 gallons of water in mine and that for hand washing and toilet flushing on trips. We camp at sites with water and don't want the weight of hauling water. We camp somewhere once per month so our 10 gallons of fresh water gets exchanged enough that it doesn't get too stale for hand washing.


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Old 10-02-2015, 08:34 AM   #3
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If you always have water hookups and you don't plan to use water during travel, you do not need to add water to fresh water tank. When I do not have hookups, I wait to fill tank until arriving at campground and drain before I leave so as to not have the weight during towing. I do not recommend leaving water in tank for extended periods of time. People will disagree with me, but to see for yourself, put about some water from your FWT in a container and sit on a counter in your RV after a few weeks or months, open container and decide for yourself if you want to use it.
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:44 AM   #4
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I sanitize mine twice a year ... spring and later on in the summer. We always carry about 10 gallons of water in the tank for "as needed" situations on the road or when the dump stations have no water. We make several trips so the water gets replaced and doesn't sit long. About 1/3 of our destinations don't have water at each campsite as well.
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:59 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback guys, I think I'll empty, then sanitize, and then leave empty for now.

I'll probably partially fill when going on longer (out-of-state) trips, just in case of emergency, but we always (thus far) camp at sites with water hookup, and just stop off en-route for bathroom breaks etc.
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:45 AM   #6
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What would you do if tv breaks a radiator hose next to the clamp? If you can cut the end of hose off and re-install, what'll you do for coolant? Some people carry bottled water, but I prefer 'free' water........always travel with some water in tank.
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:34 PM   #7
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I sanitize often and always have some in while traveling to flush & wash. I've also seen on other posts where people fill/drain the tank to change the weight distribution. Probably not as important on a 5er.
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leefl View Post
Fairly new to fifth wheel, but had a pop-up for a few years.

I've seen quite a lot of posts about HOW to empty the fresh water tank, mostly just folks trying to find the drain valve on a particular model, but not much on WHEN to empty the fresh water tank.

On our popup we never ever used the fresh tank, and left it permanently empty, since we always hooked up to city water.

My first question is whether that's OK to do on a fifth wheel ? (no plans to camp anywhere without city hookup in the foreseeable future)

We're just about to go on a trip, and I just realized that the fresh water tank is still 2/3 full, and was left that way for quite some time.
I'm thinking that, even if I do drain it and leave it empty, I should sanitize it first since it's had water sitting in it for ages, while in FL heat.

If it's not OK to just leave the tank empty, when do folks empty it, and fill ?
Empty before leaving campsite ? Empty when get home ? Leave empty while not in use or leave full until next trip ? Fill before next trip ? etc

Hoping to get some advice/consensus.

Thanks
If I were you I would empty and then sanitize the tank. Then in the future I would put between 5 or 6 gallons in before a trip. This is just to be used for emergencies. I never travel with more than that. Remember that water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon so the weight adds up fast. For drinking I normally have a case of water with me, normally in the truck so no added weight to the trailer and easy to get to. When I get to the cg I can always put a few bottles in the fridge if I want.

If at a cg without running water fill at the cg and empty when leaving. My 5er carries 42 gallons of fresh water, that is 348 pounds, about 300 pounds I don't need to travel with!


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Old 10-02-2015, 01:02 PM   #9
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i always travel with fresh water. We frequently camp at locations without water so our habit of bringing our own water is likely bassed on that need. However, too often my wife and I have camped at places with poor tasting water. Good tasting water from home will make the coffee tast much better.

I agree that you should sanitize your entire water system, even if you don't intend to carry your own water. Sanitizing your waterlines is a good precaution even when you intend to exclusively use your "city water" connection because it's not just your tank that needs tending to.
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Old 10-02-2015, 02:49 PM   #10
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I've started carrying about 5 gallons to use for unplanned needs - i.e. toilet flushes, washing, etc. If you carry a full load of water, be sure to check and see how that affects your tongue weight, axle loading, etc.
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