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Old 08-09-2015, 07:31 PM   #1
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Default disinfecting the water system

I've always been a little concerned with using chlorox to disinfect the water system in my RV. The stuff is so corrosive and hard on any surface it contacts. Lately I bring water to drink in separate containers and use the RV system to shower and do dishes. I've heard that the iodine solutions they use in the beer brewing industry to clean and disinfect the equipment would work in an RV water system. I've been reading about using iodine to purify water while back country traveling along streams and lakes. Will disinfect but still ok to consume. Anyone out there have an opinion?
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: disinfecting the water system

Not certain about iodine but I agree with your plan to bring along drinking water. We have 70k miles and over 200 nights in our RS and we have always carried our drinking water.

We do use chlorine to clean the tank in the spring, usually a cup or less in a full tank of water and then thoroughly rinse the system which is mostly plastic so not prone to corrosion. I believe the chlorine would need to sit for a while in contact with metal surfaces to corrode them so a good rinse should eliminate that concern. I usually rinse twice with full tanks each time. If you think about it most municipal water systems are chlorinated so the corrosion issue must not be a big issue and as far as drinking it, well most of us do. Most of my rinsing is done with chlorinated water too so again I am not overly concerned assuming I rinse thoroughly.
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: disinfecting the water system

the American Water Works Association has a disinfection procedure that I have used to chlorinate commercial buildings when construction is complete. You use a high level of chlorine for 24 hours and flush. I do know that it's corrosive (to copper and steel), but it's in contact for a fairly short period of time. Piping in commercial buildings lasts 30+ years.

For the same dosage as AWWA recommends, add 1 ounce of chlorox per 10 gallons of water in your holding tanks. Fill them all the way up, run water to each fixture / shower head. Let sit for 24 hours, then drain and flush.
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: disinfecting the water system

Iodine tastes really bad,especially in warm water,and will stain .For camping it is better than chlorine because it kills giardia/viruses better
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: disinfecting the water system

The standard RV chlorine disinfection regimen works just fine and is perfectly safe. Follow the directions and all will be well. No need to carry separate drinking water.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: disinfecting the water system

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
The standard RV chlorine disinfection regimen works just fine and is perfectly safe. Follow the directions and all will be well. No need to carry separate drinking water.
I agree. Despite marketing appearance, there is no assurance that bottled water is any purer/safer than tap. It just costs 100X as much. Most bottled water is made from municipal water supplies. The water is run through an additional particulate filter which removes virtually nothing because there is nothing to remove. For the most part, bottled water is a scam ... plus a scourge on the environment (empty bottles).
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: disinfecting the water system

You do not need a very high concentration of chlorine to sanitize the system, we're talking ounces (perhaps 1 or 2 oz. of diluted 5% household bleach per 10 gallons water), not cups as I sometimes see posted here. You should just barely be able to smell the chlorine in the water. That is far below the level which would do any damage for the few hours necessary to do the job. Any more is unnecessary, and will just make it more difficult to purge it out.

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Old 08-11-2015, 11:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: disinfecting the water system

It's not that complicated. Straight from the manual:

DISINFECTING YOUR FRESH
WATER SYSTEM
(As required by NFPA®1192 Standard on
Recreational Vehicles)
To ensure complete disinfection of the potable
water system, it is recommended that the
following procedure be followed on a new
system, one that has not been used for a period of
time, or one that could have become
contaminated.
This procedure is also recommended before
long periods of storage, such as over winter.
Disinfecting with Gravity Fill
1. Prepare a chlorine solution using 1 gallon of
water and 1/4 cup of household chlorine
bleach (sodium hypochlorite solution). With
tank empty, pour chlorine solution into the
tank. Use 1 gallon solution for each 15 gallons
of tank capacity. This procedure will result in
a residual chlorine concentration of 50 ppm in
the water system.
If a 100 ppm concentration is desired as
discussed in Step 4, use 1/2 cup of household
bleach with 1 gallon of water to prepare the
chlorine solution. One gallon of this solution
should be used for each 15 gallons of tank
capacity.
2. Complete filling of tank with fresh water.
3. Open each faucet in the coach and run the
water until a distinct odor of chlorine can be
detected in the water discharged. Do not
forget the hot water faucets.
4. Let the system stand at least 4 hours when
disinfecting with 50 ppm residual chlorine. (If
a shorter time period is desired, then a 100
ppm chlorine concentration should be
allowed to stand in the system for at least 1
hour.)
5. Drain the water tank and refill with fresh
water.
6. Open each faucet again and run fresh water to
flush chlorinated water from the lines. Run the
water until there is no odor of chlorine
detected in the water discharged. Do not
forget the hot water faucets.
(You may need to leave a hot water faucet
open for some time to flush the water heater
with clean water. You may also want to turn
the water heater off until this is done to avoid
wasting energy trying to heat “unused”
water).
7. Water system is now disinfected.
Continuous Tank Disinfection
(Superchlorination)
Some RVers like to ensure continuous
sanitation of their fresh water tank by
“superchlorination”– maintaining an effective
low level of chlorine in the tank at all times.
• Add 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach (sodium
hypochlorite) to your tank for each 10 gallons
of tank capacity. When you fill the tank, this
will result in a 6.7 ppm level of chlorine,
which should kill harmful bacteria and slimeforming
organisms.
• Chlorine may be removed from drinking
water by the cold water filter at the galley
faucet or by the separate filtered water faucet
(if equipped).
• Superchlorination does not affect city water
usage, only the fresh water tank.
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Old 08-15-2015, 06:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: disinfecting the water system

Why are you chlorinating in the first place? Do you know for a fact that your tank is contaminated? If so, how? By taste, odor, or a biological test? If so, by all means chlorinate per instructions given by our fellow members.

Or are you doing it out of fear induced by another RV'er or am article you read on the net? A properly cared for water system shouldn't need to be chlorinated. Our unit is seven years old and the water is clean, fresh and tasty, without resorting to chlorination. I only fill at reputable locations and use a carbon filter that kills bacteria. Carrying bottled water is downright silly and wasteful when you have good water in your tanks.
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Old 08-15-2015, 06:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: disinfecting the water system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekker View Post
Why are you chlorinating in the first place? Do you know for a fact that your tank is contaminated? If so, how? By taste, odor, or a biological test? If so, by all means chlorinate per instructions given by our fellow members.

Or are you doing it out of fear induced by another RV'er or am article you read on the net? A properly cared for water system shouldn't need to be chlorinated. Our unit is seven years old and the water is clean, fresh and tasty, without resorting to chlorination. I only fill at reputable locations and use a carbon filter that kills bacteria. Carrying bottled water is downright silly and wasteful when you have good water in your tanks.
Hi Trekker,
I cannot disagree with anything you said, however, I have a question. Do you ever disinfect your system, specifically after a winter storage? Maybe living in Florida you never have to worry about a Minnesota winter and your system gets fresh water more often.

I do the same as you with a good fiilter, however, I do often connect to a campground water system which also goes through my filter but I do not know how reliable their systems are. Thus, I chlorinate my system at the beginning of each season and install a new filter just to be safe and after cleaning out the antifreeze: also something you may not have to do.

My only excuse for using bottled water is that we more easily keep track of how much we drink and we do recycle the bottles: weak I know.
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