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Old 02-17-2020, 11:14 AM   #1
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Sanitizing fresh water tank - anybody use Vinegar?

Escape manual calls for 1/4 cup of bleach per 15 gallon tank.

I just discovered that bleach expires (who knew?)

does anybody use vinegar instead of bleach ?
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:21 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by LarryandLiz View Post
Escape manual calls for 1/4 cup of bleach per 15 gallon tank.

I just discovered that bleach expires (who knew?)

does anybody use vinegar instead of bleach ?

I wouldn't use vinegar. At least the bleach goes away after a time, exposed to the air. That's a positive.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:40 AM   #3
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I’ve used bleach for many types of sanitation for the past 45 years. Never had a problem with expiration but always bought what we knew we would use for “projects” and kept any left over tightly sealed in a cool dry place. Bleach is very economical so the cost for sanitizing a camper water system a couple times a season is not really a factor in my opinion. You don’t have to buy the most expensive stuff on the shelf.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:46 AM   #4
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Thanks Glenn and Dave

I store bleach like Dave. I glanced at the code on the bleach and my wife (bless her heart) started using the internet to decipher how to read the code. Apparently, the bleach I want to use today (and used last year) expired in 2016. Also, the internet tells us that bleach looses its punch by 20% every 6 months or something ....
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:14 PM   #5
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Also, the internet tells us that bleach looses its punch by 20% every 6 months or something ....

I think that would be if exposed to air. If it smells like chlorine, I'd say you are good to go.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:37 PM   #6
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And whatever you do...don't use "splashless bleach". Just the old fashioned regular stuff. We accidentally did that a couple of years ago and it took forever to flush it from the system! Nothing like sudsy water coming out of the tap.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:50 PM   #7
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And, make sure it is unscented. Bleach is supposed to smell like bleach, at least for a while.
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:21 PM   #8
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my code buster wife tells me this code is good (i sent her pics from the Store - the first few bottles I sent her pics of were old)

E619352 - E6 = bleach facility
19 = the year it was made
352 = the day of the year

That is the bottle of Clorox I just went out and bought
And since I'm an old guy - I like "ORIGINAL"

- here is all you could ever want to know about bleach codes and expiry
Understanding Clorox Shelf Life and Decoding Date Codes

Why does bleach expire?
Well, according to the Clorox website:

“When Clorox® Regular-Bleach is stored between 50°F and 70F° and away from sunlight, it will maintain label strength of the sodium hypochlorite active for up to 6 months (at this point hospitals should replace it). After 6 months it starts breaking down into salt and water, but it will still work well for the home consumer up to a year. Since it’s always diluted before use, you can just use a little more. Beyond a year, it should be replaced because the rate of decomposition into salt and water speeds up, which is a big part of why it’s environmentally friendly.”

Decoding Clorox Date Code Stamps
“The best way to identify the age of a bottle is to use the production code stamped on the neck of the bottle, which typically looks like this:

A8116010clorox shelf life

5813-CA3

The top line provides the information on when it was produced, which would be A8-1-160-10 (if you added dashes). You only need the first 6 digits and you read it from left to right as follows:

Plant Number—Last digit of year made—Day of the year made

A8 1 160

The bleach in this example was made in 2011 on June 9th, the 160th day of the year.”
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:26 PM   #9
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Damn. One more thing to worry about.
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:34 PM   #10
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I could be wrong, but I think bleach actually plays havoc with the rubber components in the 12v pump, especially at sanitizing concentrations. I do sanitize the tank by adding bleach and letting it sit for 24 hours, then drain it. I then fill the tank and drain it again to rinse out bleach residue. I then fill it if I am going to be off grid. I will try to camp with hookups for a night before Boondocking. The chlorine or chloramines municipal water supplies use are adequate to sanitize the plumbing in the trailer if you open a tap for a few minutes. I haven’t had to replace any check valves in my 12 volt pumps since I started following this procedure. When I was pumping bleach with ShurFlo pumps to sanitize the plumbing, it seems I was replacing check valves on a regular basis.
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:40 PM   #11
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I know! I would have never known that bleach expired or even lost its effectiveness. It came to light when my daughter was researching cloth diaper washing/disinfecting and reported this info to us......Liz
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:14 PM   #12
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I could be wrong, but I think bleach actually plays havoc with the rubber components in the 12v pump, especially at sanitizing concentrations.

It is quite dilute and rinsed out after a short while. Are those rubber components actually rubber, or are they a plastic, like the water tank and hoses?
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:25 PM   #13
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It is quite dilute and rinsed out after a short while. Are those rubber components actually rubber, or are they a plastic, like the water tank and hoses?
The pump is designed to pump dilute solutions of chlorine. The parts are not a regular rubber but a much more resistant type of material. More than likely the problems people have with their check valves are due to hardness(calcium) buildup that the chlorine breaks off and gets stuck in the check or they use waaaaay too much chlorine...1/4 cup to 30 gal of water is a VERY strong solution....NEVER USE MORE!

Vinegar does have some disinfectant properties being a weak acid but it would take an awful lot to do it right!

Also always use just bleach....no scent, no additives...just bleach(sodium hypochlorite)
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:31 PM   #14
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Escape manual calls for 1/4 cup of bleach per 15 gallon tank.

I just discovered that bleach expires (who knew?)

does anybody use vinegar instead of bleach ?
Bleach degrades by off gassing the chlorine...so a full container or a well sealed container will not be able to off gas as quickly. Bleach is crazy strong stuff and people often use waaaay more than they need to....a 1/4 cup is plenty strong and you should not EVER need to use more.
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:51 PM   #15
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Today I followed the Escape Owners Manual which calls for 1/4 cup per 15 gallon of tank capacity. So I’m hoping I’ll be ok.

This winter I read through all the different manufacture’s manuals for the various trailer components. The sureflo water pump says that most instances of failures are due to lack of sanitizing the trailer. I think the manual calls for sanitation several times a year. The manual also told me to unscrew the cap on top of the water pump and clean out the little screen. I checked the screen yesterday (the first time ever) and it looked real clean - thanks to the soft water around here I think.

I’m checking out all the trailer systems for a month long trip south in late April.

Glenn, have you looked at your sureflo screen.
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Old 02-17-2020, 05:43 PM   #16
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Glenn, have you looked at your sureflo screen.

Nope. Will do, but I think you are right about the soft water keeping crud from building up.

Another thing to check from time to time is the screen on the faucet aerator. If that gets clogged, the pump will shut down because of backflow pressure.
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Old 02-17-2020, 05:54 PM   #17
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And speaking of things to check....

I read that people with the most beloved RM 5881 fridge are supposed to clean out their orifice several times a year. I hadn’t done that until last year (I think I know the damn fridge model number without looking it up.

I’ve checked all the propane run systems (fridge, water heater and furnace) and so far no issues. My batteries show healthy (the battery hydrometer shows green). A few more systems check and I’m good to hit the road - earliest leave date for me is April 15 so I’ll be more than ready
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Old 02-17-2020, 06:05 PM   #18
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Interesting that bleach, like a lot items, break down with age, sort of imitates life, does it not
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:38 PM   #19
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The manual also told me to unscrew the cap on top of the water pump and clean out the little screen.
Another little trick, after you take off the cap to inspect / clean the screen, pour about a shot glass of water into the pump before putting the cap back on. (1.5 oz) This helps prime the pump to get it working if there is air in the lines. Particularly helpful in the spring if one blows all the lines clear of water in the fall to winterize the trailer.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:40 PM   #20
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What’s a shot glass? Like a tumbler or Something?
Good idea Arnie. Then sterilize the glass with alcohol.
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