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Old 05-11-2019, 07:10 AM   #1
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Bleach to shock tanks ?

We have a Winnie Micro Minnie T T. Was thinking of shocking the holding tanks before we take off this summer. I normally use a mixture of bleach and water on most stuff but was wondering what others do. I have heard the sensors are in the tanks and I have heard they are on the outside of the tanks. Don't want to mess them up nor the pumps, etc. So what do you do and what do you recommend ? PAT
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Old 05-11-2019, 07:15 AM   #2
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33-yrs of RVing behind us. never have done this. why do you think it’s necessary?
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Old 05-11-2019, 07:26 AM   #3
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Instructions in my owners manual calls for sanitizing the fresh water tank once a year. It calls for adding a solution of 1/4 cup bleach mixed in with one gallon of water. You want one gallon of solution for every 15 gallons of tank capacity. After adding in the correct number of gallons of solution, top off your fresh water tank. Go to each fresh water outlet (shower, faucet, etc) and run until you smell cholorine to ensure the mixture has made it into the lines. Don't forget the hot water as well, sanitize the hot water tank, just leave the heat off. That mix should have your water settings at about 50ppm chlorine. Once you have the treated water in all your fresh water lines, leave it for about 4 hours. Drain your tank and refill with fresh water. Thoroughly flush the lines by running the taps.

there is also CDC guidance that stored water (as in our fresh water tanks) should be flushed and refilled if not depleted within 6 months to avoid potential bacteria growth.

I'm new to rving and intend to follow the guidance when it comes to fresh water.
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:11 AM   #4
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We also use chlorine as previously described. As part-timers for 30 years we sanitized before each trip; as full-timers we sanitize twice a year. Remember to run your water pump during the process.

The first time you talk to a RV neighbor who complains of an odor in their water - and you find the pump filter clogged with an ugly black goop - you'll be a believer in sanitizing.
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:40 AM   #5
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Do you didn't specify if you meant your black& gray holding tanks. If so, RK911 is correct. There is no need or purpose to using bleach. You don't want to put bleach into a septic system. If you meant fresh water, then BDUB is correct with the need to periodically sanitize the system.
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:03 PM   #6
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The 1/4 cup in one gallon poured into the tank for every 15 gallons is correct for a system in bad shape. With odd smells, black goo in the pump, water that has been sitting for years in the tank, and that sort of thing. The formula is 0.13 oz of bleach X tank size = oz of bleach . Comes to 7.8 oz per 60 gallons. Developed by an RV'ing chemist.

But for just preventative maintenance you would be better off using a less powerful mix. The park and/or city sewage system will thank you.

And that is 1 oz bleach per 60 gallons. You pour the bleach in your empty tank and fill it to mix. Then you run it through every faucet and shower head, using the pump. Another method is to use peroxide instead. 1 qt per 50 gallons.

Then ignore it. It'll sanitize your system and you can drink it and use it like normal so no wasted water.

Other things to do...

To remove smells: 1 & 1/2 cup vinegar per 60 gallons.
To sweeten the water: 1/2 cup baking soda per 60 gallons.
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:50 PM   #7
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1/4 cup Clorox (unsented) to 5 gal. Mix the Clorox with water in a bottle and add it through the gravity fill. can prophylactically treat the water once you have disinfected the system..
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:31 PM   #8
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Best to follow the directions in the Owners Manual covering fresh water system maintenance. If it says use bleach then use bleach if is says don't use bleach and do use something else then follow those instructions. So far though every one I have dealt with going back to the flood says to use bleach.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:29 AM   #9
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Question Vinegar or Bleach?

My 04 Sightseer has been sitting for 3 years unused, when my dh took ill with cancer. We are going to try to go out in it this year.

I have kept it winterized an my RV service man did it this past winter.

Will vinegar do an equally good job of sanitizing as clorox?

Is it ok to run either through my Atwood water heater?
For some reason I thought clorox was not supposed to go into water heater but maybe that just applies to winterizing fluid.

thank you,
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:04 AM   #10
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Be very careful using bleach. Sanitized the water tank on a new to us Minnie Winne years ago (just to make sure there wasn't anything unknown in the tanks) and inadvertently dribbled some of the premixed liquid on the siding. Even though I rinsed the siding off immediately, the bleach attacked the finish and try as I could never restore the factory color or sheen.

Since then, in all of our subsequent RVs, I've just filled and drained the water tank at the start and throughout the season. The extra water on the lawn is appreciated by our grass.
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:47 AM   #11
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Don't use bleach. Its hard on seals and valves. I use hydrogen peroxide. 10 or 12 oz in a full tank. It works and it is safe.
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:00 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by RvExplorer View Post
Don't use bleach. Its hard on seals and valves. I use hydrogen peroxide. 10 or 12 oz in a full tank. It works and it is safe.
Sorry.... that is a 'No Go!" Clorox, in the correct concentration is the "Gold Standard"....

And always DILUTE the clorox in water (like a gallon, or so) before dosing it to the tank. Wear eye protection and gloves....

Used in the correct concentration..... it will not harm the system or the pump.

H2O2 is NOT An Alternative Solution

"There is much rumor and myth in the RV world that you can disinfect a fresh water tank using hydrogen peroxide (the stuff you can buy off-the-shelf at the store). The bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide that you likely have in your RV or house won’t do the job—it is not a strong enough solution. Even if you could fill the fresh water tank with the 3% hydrogen peroxide, it wouldn’t do the disinfecting job you need.

The higher concentrate required to complete the disinfectant is only sold to authorized recipients—chemical companies, school systems, industry, etc.—and is only available at chemical-supply houses. That concentrate may be as high as 50%—significantly stronger than the off-the-shelf bottle available at your local store. Plus, when using the highly-concentrated solution, there is a specific process required to neutralize the level of hydrogen peroxide after disinfecting to make the tank safe for normal usage. I won’t go into that process here.

So, just disregard the rumor about cleaning your fresh water tank with hydrogen peroxide."

Here's the complete article: Cleaning the Fresh Water System
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:16 AM   #13
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My 05 Suncruiser had a problem with the grey water sensor. It always showed 1/3 full (1 light) no matter what I used to try and get the sensors clean. While we were in Florida I inquired and found a company that does pressure washing (Happy Tanks) and had the guy pressure wash my black and grey tanks. It was amazing what came out of those tanks. The grey tank had a buildup of grease and it came oue as a white looking sludge and also black mold. The grey tank will usually have moisture in it and it is an environment for black m old. I used many different products and solutions to clean (get the sensor working) and nothing worked. The pressure washing really did the job and the sensors are working like brand new.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:10 PM   #14
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As a boondocker I often source my drinking water from streams and rain barrels. I have a squirt bottle of Clorox/water mix that I use as a disinfectant. The recommended concentration at the tap is 50 parts per million sodium hypochlorite (bleach) to water.
Other things to know are:
50 ppm sodium hypochlorite exposure to water should be 4 hours or more before consumption.
Concentrations as low as 5 ppm is effective to some degree.
Brand name Clorox **is specified in many water supply regulations because it has no additives like “lemon scented” and “with whiteners”, etc.
Clorox is commonly supplied in two strengths, 3.2% and 8% “extra strength”. Be sure to consider when diluting with water to obtain the correct concentration.
Clorox degrades and becomes weaker as the elemental chlorine evaporates. Don’t use last season’s mixture this year and expect to get the same results.
Most problem contaminates (Pathogens) originate from humans or mammals.
Some metals react with sodium hypochlorite, sensors and metal hot water tanks can be susceptible to corrosion.
Most municipal water supplies add some form of chlorine at the treatment plant.
Although flushing the Clorox solution into a subterranean septic tank can kill the bacteria that the septic tank depends on, the waste sodium hypochlorite in the RV grey and black waste tanks has already been combined with the organics in the tanks and diluted over a period of time. Pouring raw bleach into a septic tank isn’t a good idea. RV holding tank chemicals contain enzymes that are generally beneficial to septic systems so dumping the black and grey water can be a good thing.
When black or orange goo is found in RV drinking water systems it is likely organic iron or manganese that was present in the water supply that the bleach has combined with, a process known as flotation. Other common “black goo” contaminates are algae that the bleach has killed.
Municipal water processing intentionally uses this phenomena to enlarge the organic metal molecules so that they can be “caught” by a filter. This is common when the ground water aquifer is bounded by iron and manganese bearing rock layers and the surface water has filtered through decaying vegetation picking up tannic acid.
When I fill my tank from a “natural” water source I use a bleach solution, a 50 micron polyester in-line sediment filter and an under-the-sink activated carbon filter, it seems to work, no clogged filters or taste problems.
“Shocking” the tanks with bleach is effective for killing algae and bacteria but can cause problems from the goo. Managing the black water hose and containing the effluents in and around a dump station is probably a more effective way of maintaining a safe drinking water supply.
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