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Old 09-10-2018, 03:37 PM   #1
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Need to sanitize system if only using city water?

For some trips we know that we will only be using city water hookups - never the fresh water tank and pump. Anyone have any thoughts about the necessity of sanitizing the fresh tank in such cases?

As I understand it, when hooked up to city water there is a check valve that keeps the city water from going into the fresh tank and out of the pump, and the water that shows up at the plumbing fixtures (faucets, showers, toilet) is exclusively from the city supply, not the fresh tank.

I don't particularly like going through the 'add bleach and flush the system, add bleach and flush the system again' routine, especially having done it more than once outside in the rain in Seattle. I typically store the trailer between trips with essentially a virtually empty fresh tank, and am hoping that for 'city water only' trips we can forgo the bleach sanitation drill.

Proposed procedure:

1 - Pump (or drain) old water out of the fresh tank and the water heater tank

2 - Get hooked up to the trip's first city water hook-up

3 - Open all cold faucets and expel the old water remaining in the cold plumbing lines (using city water pressure, not the pump)

4 - Open all hot faucets (2 sinks and outside shower) till water heater tank is filled up with new city water and the old water is expelled from the hot water lines (using city water pressure, not the pump)

One potential problem with this would be that there would be some old diluted gungy water left in the water heater tank. Maybe only use hot water for showers and washing - not for consumption? I recall that it's a numbers game when filtering water while backpacking - there will always be bad stuff in the water, it's just a matter of keeping the numbers low enough so your body can deal with it ok.

Would it be ok to have a few gallons in the fresh tank for use while in transit, but then flush the system as described above when re-hooking up to city water at the next camping location?

Any ideas / opinions about this would be appreciated.
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Old 09-10-2018, 03:48 PM   #2
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We always have water in the tank while traveling, never know what the destination is like as well as for use enroute. That said I'd wait and sanitize before each season, while dewinterizing. The tank as well as all the lines even if water from hookups, because sometimes that water is from wells also and you are using common lines.
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Old 09-10-2018, 04:06 PM   #3
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Personaly I sanitize everything at least once a year, including the hose/s. if it sits all summer I'd do it again in the fall. when did you last do such?
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Old 09-10-2018, 04:31 PM   #4
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Personaly I sanitize everything at least once a year, including the hose/s. if it sits all summer I'd do it again in the fall. when did you last do such?
Sorry, I guess I didn't make things very clear...

I always sanitize before the first trip each year when de-winterizing.

Beyond that, I have been sanitizing before every trip (unless it's less than 2 weeks between trips), and that's what I'm hoping to avoid. I recall reading that it's only when the trailer sits for more than 2 weeks between trips that sanitizing is really needed.

I'm thinking about cases where it's maybe 3-6 weeks between trips, and we know for sure that we'll have full hook-ups - can we get by without a full sanitization?
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Old 09-10-2018, 05:41 PM   #5
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I go well over a month without sanitizing with the trailer just sitting in the yard. I do dump the fresh and the HW heater after a trip if I'm not going out for a couple weeks, but not resanitize. I'd say you'd be fine.
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Old 09-10-2018, 05:49 PM   #6
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I've never sanitized my water lines.
The municipal water supply is chlorinated as it comes out of the tap.
I do screw the male end of my water hose into the female end for storage. Keeps insects, mold and debris out of it.
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Old 09-10-2018, 05:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I've never sanitized my water lines.
The municipal water supply is chlorinated as it comes out of the tap.
I do screw the male end of my water hose into the female end for storage. Keeps insects, mold and debris out of it.
I do not think it keeps mold out of your hose, if anything, it encourages mold growth. Your hose is your weak link in the entire process, keep it clean and aerated and you should be fine. I have never sanitized my system, but then again we always carry water for ingestion and use the on board contents for flushing and washing.
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Old 09-10-2018, 05:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I've never sanitized my water lines.
The municipal water supply is chlorinated as it comes out of the tap.
I do screw the male end of my water hose into the female end for storage. Keeps insects, mold and debris out of it.
��

We sanitized in season once, years ago. We just don't drink water from our tank.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 09-10-2018, 05:59 PM   #9
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I do not think it keeps mold out of your hose, if anything, it encourages mold growth.

How do mold spores get into the hose with the ends joined?
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Old 09-10-2018, 06:04 PM   #10
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Even though I have sanitized the water system once a year, we always use bottled water for cooking and drinking. Loren
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Old 09-10-2018, 06:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
How do mold spores get into the hose with the ends joined?
That's my thinking too!

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 09-10-2018, 06:35 PM   #12
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i don't drink my water i sanitize once a year.
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Old 09-10-2018, 06:51 PM   #13
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How do mold spores get into the hose with the ends joined?
I don't know but having had boats and boat fresh water tanks for years I know what happens inside, even if they're mostly empty. Boat tanks usually have clean out hatches and in the case of a tank with internal baffles, several clean outs. One look inside the tank will show you what a nasty environment it is for molds etc. to thrive. Those large beads of condensation on the tank top are perfect for molds to thrive. It's enough to make you never drink tank water again. It's probably better to leave the tank completely full with slightly chorinated water but not practical in cold storage environments.

Personally I sanitize the tank if it's been in storage and throw a cap full of bleach in every time I fill the tank. We don't drink the contents but we do brush our teeth with tank water.
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Old 09-10-2018, 10:08 PM   #14
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It's probably overkill, but I do sanitize the system if it sat for more than a couple of weeks. Since the trailer is on our property, it's easy for me to do for my piece of mind.

Per our manual, it reads, "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."

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Old 09-10-2018, 10:24 PM   #15
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We use our onboard water system ( tank , city ) for drinking , cooking , cleaning and sanitary purposes . We sanitize our trailer’s water system twice a year with bleach
The only bottled water we drink is when we fill bottles ourselves with well water from our tap .
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Old 09-10-2018, 10:25 PM   #16
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Same here Lorna. I sanitize at the beginning of the season and if there’s a several week interval between trips, I sanitize again. Since we store Our rig at home and I can drain the sanitizing water in the grass it’s pretty easy. I also pull the hot water heater anode between trips too. We drink bottled water most of the time. I’m not really worried about bad water, seems our practices have worked for many years. I never fill my fresh water tank near a dump
station. I have personally observed the possibility of cross Connection and the lack of backflow protection. No thanks
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Old 09-10-2018, 10:55 PM   #17
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Same here Lorna. I sanitize at the beginning of the season and if thereís a several week interval between trips, I sanitize again. Since we store Our rig at home and I can drain the sanitizing water in the grass itís pretty easy. I also pull the hot water heater anode between trips too. We drink bottled water most of the time. Iím not really worried about bad water, seems our practices have worked for many years. I never fill my fresh water tank near a dump
station. I have personally observed the possibility of cross Connection and the lack of backflow protection. No thanks
Iowa Dave
I do what you do Dave. Except we drink the water out of our tank. We never buy bottled water. Never had problems in 10 years of camping. I usually use about 1/2 cup of bleach and rinse twice.
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Old 09-10-2018, 11:03 PM   #18
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Howdy

Hey you old coot,
Good to hear from you. Saw a couple flycatchers working the insects over in an ash tree yesterday and a migratory killdeer on the driveway this afternoon. Big deal for the season so far was in northern Colorado when we were there for the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous.
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Old 09-10-2018, 11:51 PM   #19
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Nice shot of the moose Dave. We hope to be off in a few weeks looking for big animals to photograph. Love fall camping.
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Old 09-11-2018, 11:42 AM   #20
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Quote:
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... I do screw the male end of my water hose into the female end for storage. Keeps insects, mold and debris out of it.
But if we did that, where would our poor little cockroaches overwinter?
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