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Old 03-20-2018, 09:36 AM   #1
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Necessity to drain fresh water

When should the fresh water tank be drained? Obviously when winterizing, but what about other times when the trailer is stored? If I'm going to storage for a month, should I drain it? Does the temperature make a difference, hot weather versus cool?
I'm now in storage for 3 weeks and not sure what is the best policy.
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Old 03-20-2018, 10:05 AM   #2
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I'm sure you'll find other answers, but for us, we flush our water out before we are on our last leg home or know we will have fresh water at the next stop; it also helps reduce travel weight. Our practice is to never store the trailer with water in its tank if it stands more than a week--we live in a hot summer climate and are concerned about water freshness. Two days before we leave for a trip we sanitize the system


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Old 03-20-2018, 10:12 AM   #3
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You'll probably find all kinds of different responses on this, but we only drain all the water when winterizing. If things seem a little "funky", we'll sanitize the system with bleach and flush, or use vinegar to remove scale. Otherwise, we usually empty the tank enough during our stays to not travel with too much on board. We've never had an issue with aliens living in our plumbing, especially with city water. I can imagine aliens liking well water better.
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Old 03-20-2018, 10:49 AM   #4
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You'll probably find all kinds of different responses on this, but we only drain all the water when winterizing. If things seem a little "funky", we'll sanitize the system with bleach and flush, or use vinegar to remove scale. Otherwise, we usually empty the tank enough during our stays to not travel with too much on board. We've never had an issue with aliens living in our plumbing, especially with city water. I can imagine aliens liking well water better.
The products used for descaling coffee makers works much better than vinegar for removing scale, with no pungent odor. Flush tank and system well after use.
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:37 AM   #5
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When we get back home from every camping trip we empty our fresh water tank and water heater . When we get to the first stop on our next trip we add water to the tank and water heater. We find that well water that sits in our tank for more than a week starts to take on an unpleasant taste.
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:54 AM   #6
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I always drain after every trip.
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Old 03-20-2018, 12:47 PM   #7
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In my opinion draining the fresh water tank isn't very effective at reducing bacterial growth. Even if you empty the tank there is still stagnant water left at the bottom and it is a great breeding ground for bacteria. The residual water means the walls of the "empty" tank can be very moist as well. Temperature and light are factors affecting the amount of growth, but people don't appreciate how much microbial growth is possible in stored water. See other threads on this forum for a better understanding (there are differing opinions). The first important question is do you or don't you drink the "fresh" water.

If you just use it to flush the toilet and wash, once a year maintenance is probably adequate. If drinking the water, I would amp up the maintenance and sanitize your fresh water after anything more than a few weeks storage. If you have a healthy immune system and don't mind drinking bacteria rich water you could leave sanitation to once or twice a year.

My point of view is based on supervising hospital laboratory grade water systems over many years and monitoring bacterial and algae growth. Even the purest water can grow a surprising amount of crap if left stagnant. Also, if there is even a short dead end in a water system's plumbing it can prevent water turbulence from scrubbing away bacteria and they get a foothold.

I'm sure others will testify to not being grossed out by bacteria or other microbials in water and I think it depends on how healthy an immune system you have.

Bob K

p.s. We bring one or two containers of tap water from home when we camp and refill as we need to.
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Old 03-20-2018, 12:58 PM   #8
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There are few benefits of having the fresh water tank inside the trailer, ala Scamp and Casita, but the best is being able to put a deck plate on the top and then being able to thoroughly dry the tank, along with scrub the inside by hand. Shoot.
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Old 03-20-2018, 01:53 PM   #9
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Bob K, - thanks, I was hoping you would give your input.

We drink from our freshtank so I sanitize after trips and again before leaving if it is going to be much more than a few days in storage. Being a beer brewer I always have some no- rinse sanitizer around that makes the process much easier during the season. At the end and beginnings of winter storage I always do a bleach based cleansing.
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Old 03-20-2018, 02:07 PM   #10
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i don't drink the water i use it for washing bathing etc... i just sanitize yearly.
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Old 03-20-2018, 02:26 PM   #11
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Although we don't drink the water, I do use it to cook and wash fruits and vegetables and thus the primary reason for sanitizing our system if left standing on its own. Bob's insight helps me justify why we do this extra step as part of our routine.
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Old 03-20-2018, 02:42 PM   #12
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Draining

The early 21s which is what we have were set up with hot and cold water low point drains. Apparently these could not be trusted for winterization. I think the flush valve perched water and maybe something else. Anyway, they are handy for dropping the water between outings. I addition the previous owner installed an in line filter ahead of the sink on the fresh water side. Since we winterize with the pink stuff and it goes through that filter, I’ll replace the filter this spring after I sanitize. We don’t regularly drink from the fresh water tank, we use bottled water to cook with also. I trust the well water we have at home as it’s tested regularly. What I don’t trust is campground water, especially where it is in close proximity to the dump station.
Too much chance of a cross connection or backflow with the cold water used to rinse the drain hose etc. Maybe that’s just me. I had 7 certified backflow prevention people working for me at one time and over 100 backflow preventers to maintain so I’m pretty cautious when it comes to water quality.
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Old 03-20-2018, 03:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbito View Post
Bob K

p.s. We bring one or two containers of tap water from home when we camp and refill as we need to.
We also bring several containers of drinking water. Yet I continue to brush my teeth with tap water. No matter how clean the tank is I can't make a decent cup of tea with tank water.

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but the best is being able to put a deck plate on the top and then being able to thoroughly dry the tank, along with scrub the inside by hand. Shoot.
I'm used to doing that with boat tanks. Sometimes looking inside a tank is enough to put you off drinking tank water.

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Old 03-20-2018, 03:45 PM   #14
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What I don’t trust is campground water, especially where it is in close proximity to the dump station.
Too much chance of a cross connection or backflow with the cold water used to rinse the drain hose etc. Maybe that’s just me. I had 7 certified backflow prevention people working for me at one time and over 100 backflow preventers to maintain so I’m pretty cautious when it comes to water quality.
Iowa Dave
While I certainly agree with you Dave, cross connections can and do occur in municipal water systems. And backflow devices do occasionally fail/malfunction. I do believe, however, that every state requires that any water system supplying the public with well water have a certified (licensed) operator. If the campground is supplied by a public water system, that system has licensed water professionals. These people typically know what they are doing and take pride in delivering safe water. I sometimes drink campground water without worry, but my decision whether to drink it or not is predicated on how it tastes.
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:17 PM   #15
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Water

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Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
While I certainly agree with you Dave, cross connections can and do occur in municipal water systems. And backflow devices do occasionally fail/malfunction. I do believe, however, that every state requires that any water system supplying the public with well water have a certified (licensed) operator. If the campground is supplied by a public water system, that system has licensed water professionals. These people typically know what they are doing and take pride in delivering safe water. I sometimes drink campground water without worry, but my decision whether to drink it or not is predicated on how it tastes.
I know that’s the way the laws read and I know that most water systems are properly designed, inspected and maintained and maybe it’s just me but I’m not always sure everybody including campers play by the rules when it comes to using the hoses at the dump stations. The coiled up 25 or 30 foot fresh water fill hose at the end of the dump station island might be a little too tempting as a flush out hose for the stinky slinky if nobody is around and the tower with the pull down spring hose is leaky, has a bad quarter turn ball valve etc. I guess, as has been said, everybody has their own comfort level. I can tell you those old fill and drain park wading pools could get pretty nasty pretty fast. The newer splash pads with a “waste water” right down the drain system as opposed to a swimming pool Filtration type system were a lot better deal for us in the parks. And when we changed from using the gas chlorine in the pools to the briquette chlorinators my blood pressure went down 25 points.
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:26 PM   #16
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While I certainly agree with you Dave, cross connections can and do occur in municipal water systems. And backflow devices do occasionally fail/malfunction. I do believe, however, that every state requires that any water system supplying the public with well water have a certified (licensed) operator. If the campground is supplied by a public water system, that system has licensed water professionals. These people typically know what they are doing and take pride in delivering safe water. I sometimes drink campground water without worry, but my decision whether to drink it or not is predicated on how it tastes.
As a Licensed Water Operator I appreciate your confidence in us! As one who used to provide technical assistance to Licensed Water Operators I think in some cases it is a bit naïve. Also taste is not the best indicator of water safety. I would instead first look at the overall maintenance and condition of the campground. Is everything jury rigged? Is general maintenance lacking? The person operating the campground is often the water operator too...you be the judge. Second look at the water pressure...is it low? Does it vary quite a bit? These are indicators of problems and backflow conditions(and contamination) can be real in these situations. Finally if you are going to leave the water in your tank for extended periods of time or are not sure about the quality of the water you just put in your tank...add a bit of chlorine. 0.3 - 0.5 parts per million is plenty to protect you. How much is that you ask Bleach is STRONG AND NASTY.....MORE IS NOT BETTER!!! If you put in a capful of bleach in a full tank that is more than enough. For 30 gal to get 0.3 PPM you need to add 0.6 ml(that is 1/8 of a teaspoon) of 6% household bleach

Bottled water from the store is not necessarily better. Think about it...what does bacteria need to grow? Warm, wet and time...what is it like on the grocery store shelf
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:31 PM   #17
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I won’t use a fresh water fill hose if it is anywhere near the dump station. I only use a fresh water spigot if it is at the campsite, and only if it is a water/electric site only (no sewer connection). As you said, you just don’t know what the previous user might have done.
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:40 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
I won’t use a fresh water fill hose if it is anywhere near the dump station. I only use a fresh water spigot if it is at the campsite, and only if it is a water/electric site only (no sewer connection). As you said, you just don’t know what the previous user might have done.
I won't use any hose buy my own.
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:45 PM   #19
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The camp host at Devils Tower was and is a no nonsense fellow. There’s a sign in the restroom that states the water is tested daily. Talk to that old boy for 15 minutes and watch him stand tall on the road and stare at 35 noisy teenagers from Jackson Wyoming about sundown and then listen to the quiet and I’ll bet you’d be willing to drink his water, plug into his electric and believe about anything he’d tell you. And I will say that feeling only comes over me about twice a season. On the way to Osoyoos and on the way back. Last year, as we drove in he said “ Hey, that’s a different trailer than you had when you were here in May.” We’d sold the 19 and were pulling the 21.
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Old 03-20-2018, 06:39 PM   #20
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Eric - What disinfectant do you use?

Bob - Thank you for your input as well. A couple of years ago we were dismayed to discover that the previous owners of our new-to-us 17 had left the “fresh” tank partially full for a significant timeframe, and your input at that time helped us get that under control.

We subsequently implemented a sanitation and triple filter system that has worked well for us. We traveled the US and Canadia for a year, using the system for all of our water, and our filtration regimen rendered water tasteless everywhere we went, except one one occasion in ND where the sulfurous yellow local water still retained some “flavor”.

We recently upgraded one component of our system that I’d like to give a special plug to. We switched out the generic carbon filter component of our two canister external “hose” filter to a general purpose filter made by the company HydroViv. It’s a drop in replacement that gives us a great deal of confidence about the filtration of stuff as it goes into the trailer. We learned about HydroViv last year and got a home system and I can’t say enough good things about both the company and the product. One thing they do that no one else does is custom build each filter for *your* water supply. Our home filter is tailored for our municipal supply. Our RV filter is not, but rather built to be broad spectrum. Cause it’s mobile.
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