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Old 02-21-2019, 08:08 PM   #1
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Disinfecting Water Lines ???

We live full time in our 40' fiver. I think it's about time to disinfect/clean all the fresh water lines. Lately there has been occasional "bad taste" in the water. We've been full timing for over three years now...same hook up, same place. The utility water is fine. Flushed low point (cold) a few weeks ago and a lot of crud (visible) came out. Better now but taste continues. KW1 filters changed regularly.
What should be used to purge the lines (all of them) that will be most effective and how should it be done? I can clean and wait...up to several days if necessary (by using bottled water) so what's best method/chemical? Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:03 PM   #2
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Plain Chlorine Bleach. Best consumer usable and cost effective sanitizer available. Use about 1/4 cup for every 15 gallons of capacity. You need to get it into all water contacting areas: FW tank, water heater, hot and cold water lines, fill line, etc.
Some say you don't need to do the water heater, but I like to get everything sanitized and it won't harm the heater. Helps a bit if you can drive with the bleach in the water tank so that it sloshes and gets the top. Leave the bleach in for at least an hour - ideally over night or 12ish hours.
Use cheap, plain bleach 5.25% sodium hypochlorite - no odor stuff, not splash less, not concentrated, etc.


I start by completely draining everything (water heater off). Put the bleach solution into the water tank. Fill the tank. Run the pump to pump water thru everything until you smell bleach at each faucet - hot and cold separately. Top up the water tank. Take a drive and then let sit overnigh. Dump all water. Fill FW tank with clean water. Run water thru all faucets again until no bleach smell. You may need to dump the FW tank after the initial rinse of the plumbing and then fill a second time to get rid of all bleach smell.
Note, after the first fill of your GW tank and rinse of the plumbing, any remaining bleach will not be harmful. Some folks are just better at smelling low concentrations of bleach.


(I know this stuff because I use a similar process to sanitize my equipment for making beer and wine)
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by SailorSam20500 View Post
Plain Chlorine Bleach. Best consumer usable and cost effective sanitizer available. Use about 1/4 cup for every 15 gallons of capacity. You need to get it into all water contacting areas: FW tank, water heater, hot and cold water lines, fill line, etc.
Some say you don't need to do the water heater, but I like to get everything sanitized and it won't harm the heater. Helps a bit if you can drive with the bleach in the water tank so that it sloshes and gets the top. Leave the bleach in for at least an hour - ideally over night or 12ish hours.
Use cheap, plain bleach 5.25% sodium hypochlorite - no odor stuff, not splash less, not concentrated, etc.


I start by completely draining everything (water heater off). Put the bleach solution into the water tank. Fill the tank. Run the pump to pump water thru everything until you smell bleach at each faucet - hot and cold separately. Top up the water tank. Take a drive and then let sit overnigh. Dump all water. Fill FW tank with clean water. Run water thru all faucets again until no bleach smell. You may need to dump the FW tank after the initial rinse of the plumbing and then fill a second time to get rid of all bleach smell.
Note, after the first fill of your GW tank and rinse of the plumbing, any remaining bleach will not be harmful. Some folks are just better at smelling low concentrations of bleach.


(I know this stuff because I use a similar process to sanitize my equipment for making beer and wine)
Perfectly described.

I would remove the water filter while doing this and replace it with a new one after you are done rinsing out.

I think the crud coming out the low point drains is likely from your water heater annode. You can rinse the tank out from the drain plug when you drain everything. Just hose it out a few times.
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:15 PM   #4
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This^^^^^^ Thats exactly how I do it. Run the chlorine solution through everything, including hot water heater. As Sailor Sam said above, fill the FW tank full so the chlorine solution touches everything.

Good Luck
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:16 PM   #5
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I use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect my lines. Less flushing needed to get rid of the chlorine taste. Found the tip on a you-tube video

m
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:04 PM   #6
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I use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect my lines. Less flushing needed to get rid of the chlorine taste. Found the tip on a you-tube video

m
Assuming you mix it...that would be a lot to fill a 30 or 40 gallon tank. What's your ratio?
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Old 02-22-2019, 02:11 PM   #7
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I'm not convinced that a drugstore bottle of hydrogen peroxide is going to get it done.
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Old 02-22-2019, 02:14 PM   #8
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SailorSam's method is what I use and it's not that hard to get rid of the smell. DW's nose sensitivity would rival a bloodhound's and we have no problems.
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Old 02-22-2019, 03:16 PM   #9
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I use bleach as well as removing the water filter. I ensure that all the faucets have a bit of the chlorine smell and leave for overnight. Once purged replacing the KW1 and ensure no leaks etc. Although only done once I plan on doing this once a year when I replace the filter (unless of course smell or taste would prompt sooner).
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Old 02-22-2019, 03:30 PM   #10
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I'm not convinced that a drugstore bottle of hydrogen peroxide is going to get it done.
I have to agree.

Drug store Hydrogen Peroxide is already diluted with water to a low percentage.

100% Hydrogen Peroxide is rocket fuel.

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Old 02-22-2019, 03:34 PM   #11
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I use 1 cup of Clorox put into the empty fresh water tank and then fill the tank to overflowing. Next is to run the water pump until one can smell the chlorine at each faucet, hot and cold. (Remember the outside shower, too.) Then it sits for 2-3 hours.
I then drain the tank and refill with fresh water and again open the faucets until the strong smell is not there. Finally, I drain the tank and put in fresh water, just enough to have for emergencies as I usually have a full hook-up.

What little chlorine that might still be in such a weak solution will not hurt anything. I actually had to have a Chlorinator installed in my house until a new well was drilled. A charcoal filter removed the taste.
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Old 02-22-2019, 03:52 PM   #12
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So are we draining the tanks on our driveways down to the gutters?
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Old 02-22-2019, 04:03 PM   #13
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So are we draining the tanks on our driveways down to the gutters?
From the freshwater tank, I always did. If you really want, you could capture it in a bucket and dump it down a sink.
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Old 02-22-2019, 04:17 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SailorSam20500 View Post
Plain Chlorine Bleach. Best consumer usable and cost effective sanitizer available. Use about 1/4 cup for every 15 gallons of capacity. You need to get it into all water contacting areas: FW tank, water heater, hot and cold water lines, fill line, etc.
Some say you don't need to do the water heater, but I like to get everything sanitized and it won't harm the heater. Helps a bit if you can drive with the bleach in the water tank so that it sloshes and gets the top. Leave the bleach in for at least an hour - ideally over night or 12ish hours.
Use cheap, plain bleach 5.25% sodium hypochlorite - no odor stuff, not splash less, not concentrated, etc.


I start by completely draining everything (water heater off). Put the bleach solution into the water tank. Fill the tank. Run the pump to pump water thru everything until you smell bleach at each faucet - hot and cold separately. Top up the water tank. Take a drive and then let sit overnigh. Dump all water. Fill FW tank with clean water. Run water thru all faucets again until no bleach smell. You may need to dump the FW tank after the initial rinse of the plumbing and then fill a second time to get rid of all bleach smell.
Note, after the first fill of your GW tank and rinse of the plumbing, any remaining bleach will not be harmful. Some folks are just better at smelling low concentrations of bleach.


(I know this stuff because I use a similar process to sanitize my equipment for making beer and wine)
Excellent Write Up!!

This is a Tried and True method of sanitizing the entire water system in any RV.

Personally I use the same process myself. IT WORKS!

I see no reason to argue with success.
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Old 02-22-2019, 05:00 PM   #15
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Re: Should you empty the fresh water/low point drains/water heater AFTER treating the system with Clorox solution? As a State Certified Water Treatment tech for 10 years I will say this--YES, dump it out on the driveway provided that it will eventually go to a storm water drain, or IF you want to carry it to a sink that goes to a municipal sewer water treatment center then YES again. The diluted water/Clorox solution will not have enough Clorox/Hydrochloric Acid in it to matter once that run-off meets up with the storm drain water or mixes with home discharge sewer water. As was stated in a previous post-after running a proper Clorox mixture through your campers water system, draining all the water/Clorox that you can, then flushing everything with fresh water you will not have enough Clorox in the system to hurt you even if you can smell it. Me--I have the convenience of allowing this water/Clorox mixture to drain on my driveway and run off onto the ground of my yard. Hasn't hurt a thing over the years I've been doing it.
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Old 02-22-2019, 10:06 PM   #16
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Sanitizing water system

Something to keep in mind is to drain the hot water heater, run some fresh water through it then refill. This is easily done by removing the anode rod.
Be sure to do the dump and flush or you could end up like me, smelling like I had been in an over chlorinated swimming pool.


I forgot to do that and the wife took one whiff and laughed.

Won't forget that again...
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Old 02-22-2019, 11:30 PM   #17
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One additional note.


If you have a lot of crud coming out of your WH when you drain it, that is lime scale. To completely clean the scale out -
Drain the WH.
Reinstall the anode/plug. Leave the pressure releif valve open.

Assuming you have a winterizing port -

Leave the WH bypass valves in normal operation setting.

Suck enough of a 50/50 water/white vinegar solution in using the port to fill the WH (same way you add antifreeze when winterizing). The solution will go into the WH. When the WH is full, close the pressure relief valve.

Then you have 2 options:
1. turn on the water heater (gas or electric or both). Let sit for 1 hour. Then carefully drain (it's hot and will likely presurize!)
2. let the cold solution sit overnight, then drain, open the pressure relief valve before pulling the anode/plug - it will likely have built up pressure.


Remove your anode/plug and rinse the tank well.



If you run your WH on electric a lot, lime will build up on the heating element. This will act as an insulator and slow down how quickly the water heats.
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Old 02-23-2019, 01:08 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thurman View Post
Re: Should you empty the fresh water/low point drains/water heater AFTER treating the system with Clorox solution? As a State Certified Water Treatment tech for 10 years I will say this--YES, dump it out on the driveway provided that it will eventually go to a storm water drain, or IF you want to carry it to a sink that goes to a municipal sewer water treatment center then YES again. The diluted water/Clorox solution will not have enough Clorox/Hydrochloric Acid in it to matter once that run-off meets up with the storm drain water or mixes with home discharge sewer water. As was stated in a previous post-after running a proper Clorox mixture through your campers water system, draining all the water/Clorox that you can, then flushing everything with fresh water you will not have enough Clorox in the system to hurt you even if you can smell it. Me--I have the convenience of allowing this water/Clorox mixture to drain on my driveway and run off onto the ground of my yard. Hasn't hurt a thing over the years I've been doing it.
Hydrochloric acid? Where is this coming from?

Clorox/household chlorine bleach is Sodium Hypochlorite... I thought. I'm not a chemist though!
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Old 02-23-2019, 01:50 AM   #19
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If you have a private septic system don't dump your bleach/water mix in it. Two reasons not to do so. That is a lot of bleach to put in the septic system at one time and will kill off the microbes that make the system work. It may not kill off all of them but will slow down process of breaking down of the solids. The second reason is that is a lot of liquids to put through the septic system in a short amount of time and may flood the drain field leaving you with a soggy yard.
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Old 02-23-2019, 07:30 AM   #20
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If you have a private septic system don't dump your bleach/water mix in it. Two reasons not to do so. That is a lot of bleach to put in the septic system at one time and will kill off the microbes that make the system work. It may not kill off all of them but will slow down process of breaking down of the solids. The second reason is that is a lot of liquids to put through the septic system in a short amount of time and may flood the drain field leaving you with a soggy yard.
I don't see how 3/4 cup of bleach in 45 gallons of water will cause any more problems than washing several loads of laundry.
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