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Old 02-12-2016, 07:40 PM   #1
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sanitizing tank and lines

We are leaving the frozen north for southern FL next week. Our 19 is winterized. The plan is to spend the first night without using water and then stop the second day(where it is above freezing) at a full hookup park and de-winterize (I'm sure that's not a word).

We want to sanitize the fresh water tank at this time. My question is how long should the bleach solution stay in the tank and lines before we empty it and rinse?

Thanks Caren
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:05 PM   #2
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Bleach works almost instantly, at home after one hour the stains are gone. Mix bleach and water, about 1 oz to 5 gallons water and let sit, rinse and you are done.
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:33 PM   #3
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I have seen people say several hours and I have seen them say overnight. Think I would wait a while just to make sure.
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:53 PM   #4
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Minnesota Department of Health says this:

• Chlorine at a concentration of 50 ppm with a contact time of at least 10 seconds.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:06 PM   #5
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Closer to home for you, Michigan State University Clean, sanitize and disinfect | MSU Extension says this:

Sanitizing is the process of reducing the number of germs on a surface to levels considered safe by public health codes. This is done by using a commercial sanitizing product. The most commonly used and readily available sanitizing solution is regular chlorine bleach and water. The most important part of sanitizing is making sure to mix the solution at the proper ratio, then letting it stand on the surface for the recommended time. For example, bleach used for sanitizing should be mixed at a rate of one tablespoon bleach to one gallon of water, or a concentration of 50-90 ppm, and requires a contact time of 30 seconds. It is also important to test the concentration often to make sure the solution is consistent. Sanitizer test strips purchased at food service stores can be used to do this. While sanitizing reduces the number of pathogens on a surface, it does not kill all of them.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:13 PM   #6
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They may be referring to bleach used on a surface, not very diluted bleach in water lines. Usually see 1/4 cup per 15 gallons or similar. Have never seen info for a trailer that says to put it in and take out immediately but maybe you have seen such directions.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:18 PM   #7
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Go to the page or read the quote.
It says 50 to 90 parts per million. One tablespoon per gallon. For 30 seconds.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:49 PM   #8
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I think Cathy is suggesting that a lower concentration (one-quarter of the university's recommendation) would be effective if in contact for a much longer period. I don't know if that is true - many physical effects do not scale this way - but perhaps it is.

One tablespoon per US gallon would be 80 tablespoons (1.2 litres) for an Escape fresh water tank (you want contact with the entire tank interior surface, right?), and if it were pumped out through all the lines everything would get suitable contact.

I think if I'm going to put whole tankfulls of water through the system, I would use enough bleach to be sure that I have an effective concentration.
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:03 PM   #9
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I don't know. Argue with Michigan State University.
And rinse thoroughly.
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Old 02-12-2016, 11:43 PM   #10
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I was not really meaning to say that less concentration requires longer but, in fact, that may be the case, Brian. A 19' has 20 gallons and a 21' has 30 gallons and I don't know about the other models. With Glenn's info of one tablespoon (TBSP) per gallon, that is 30 TBSP for a 21', assuming one wants to fill the tank to sanitize it and not only the lines. One cup has 16 TBSP.

The recommendations I have seen for trailers often would be a 1/2 cup for the 30-gallon 21'. So that would only be 8 TBSP or a little more than a fourth of the concentration that your info has, Glenn. Why they would say to use less for longer, well, maybe they figure it is then easier to rinse out, or no sense in removing right away. And if it sits for hours, they expect that will do what the larger concentration does. Don't know if that is true or not. Just know that the recommendations are for using much less bleach but for many hours so it looks that way. Thanks for the info, Glenn. So if we want to be really fast, we can quadruple the bleach.

Hope you can get that all straight, Caren!
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:16 AM   #11
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I've never sanitized my fresh water tank. I just drain it from time to time.
I don't have a theory, or a plan.
Note: the municipal water supply here is chlorinated.
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Old 02-13-2016, 02:48 AM   #12
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I have never done one either, but then again I only use it for flushing and occasional coffee, boiling the water in the coffee maker should kill any germs. Drinking water is always brought from home, in approved gallon containers for both us and the dogs. I only use the tank water for coffee as a last resort, i.e. after we consume the other.
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:16 AM   #13
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I used a 1/2C in our 30 gallon tank, pump it through the lines and let it sit for an hour. Drain and rinse a couple times after. We stopped in northern GA for the night, temps were above freezing. Hoteled it for the first night.
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:25 AM   #14
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So how are you putting the bleach in.Thru the water fill[side of trailer],or are you pumping it in.Once in do you drive around with the trailer sloshing it about,or are you turning on the pump,there by circulating.new at this.Tried pouring into side fill,didn't rinse it out very well.Was sick for 2 days ...thanks
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:06 AM   #15
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With my 19, I did the bleach thing once in just over 6 years. With my previous trailer, we did it a bit more often. I pretty much do like most.

I mix 1/2 of bleach in a 5 gallon container of water, pour into a part filled water tank. I then fill the tank completely, run water through all the lines until I smell the bleach from each hot and cold tap. I then top off the water tank.

This I let sit for at least 30 minutes. I think time is a bit irrelevant, as is the amount of bleach, just so long as you have enough. I then drain the water system as good as possible, including the hot water tank.

I then fill the water tank and run water through the lines and flush once to clear out the bleach solution. I never worry about a wee bit of residual bleach by flushing more than once, as the minute bits left are not really harmful.
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:19 AM   #16
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Thanks for all the information. We take drinking water but do use water from the tank for dishes, brushing teeth, and cooking.

I feel confident now that letting it set a couple of hours will be adequate.
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:19 AM   #17
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I'm confused now, the initial post was about de-winterizing, Water run through the system will do that as rv antifreeze is not toxic. Just hook up to a water source and flush until clear. Bleach may not be good to add to rv antifreeze. One uses bleach when the trailer has not been in use, in warmer temperatures where the fresh tank may have a smell or odor, not to dewinterize and flush out rv antifreeze.
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:31 AM   #18
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From the Escape Owner's Manual:

Sanitizing the Fresh Water System
Keeping the fresh water system clean and free of any potential contaminations is a top priority. Sanitizing the system before initial use and thereafter annually, or whenever water remains unused for prolonged durations, is recommended. This will help keep the water system fresh and discourage harmful bacterial or viral growth. To sanitize your system, perform the following:
1. Drain the tank by opening the low point drain on the fresh water tank. Make sure water heater is not by- passed.
2. Prepare a chlorine bleach solution of 1⁄4 cup to one gallon of water for every 15 gallons of tank capacity.
3. Add solution to tank and fill with water. Turn on pump and open each faucet/fixture until a distinct chlorine odor is smelled. Close faucets and let stand 4 hours. Do not forget to turn on hot water taps as well as cold.
4. Completely drain system and flush with fresh water until chlorine odor and smell is gone. (If water filter has been added, change it at this time).
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:12 AM   #19
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sanatizing tank and lines

I was in charge of a large hospital laboratory water purification system for over 20 years and can offer this advice. Do NOT use a trailer water system as drinking water without religiously following a sanitation regime like that suggested by ETI. If you purchased a USED trailer and need to use its water for drinking, have a sample tested and cultured by a reputable water testing lab to ensure the water is drinkable. We had tanks or circulating loops that developed bacterial growth with biofilm membranes that prevented our sterilizing solutions from doing their job, so after many extraordinary sanitation attempts by Millipore and Culligan water companies, the only solution was to rip out the tubing or physically scrub the membranes from the affected tank. If only using the water for washing, flushing or such (our situation) you needn't be this careful. Stagnant water can grow these biofilm membranes in a matter of months. We put a 5 gal purified water container on the floor by the door of our Escape 21 for drinking.

I will be sanitizing our Escape for the first time next month using ETI's procedure.

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Old 02-13-2016, 10:48 AM   #20
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Thanks good to know Bob, thanks for the information.

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