how to sanitize rv fresh water tank

Today in this article I am going to talk about the facts you need to know on how to sanitize rv fresh water tank and also I will give you some helpful tips on your conservation efforts, although it is good in maintaining sustainable use of the planet’s resources by helping us conserve natural resources. but I think if we are going too far with conserving or following steps for conserving our natural resources, we may end up being bored and we’ll get tired easily of things like this because it offers negative effects that people do not want to keep doing them anymore.

the use of an RV fresh water tank is very fun and exciting, especially for those who have never done this before.

Why to sanitize rv fresh water tank

sanitizing rv freshwater tanks is very important for you and for the people around you. We all know that some diseases can be transmitted by drinking contaminated water, and they may cause an infection in the human body. so we need to keep our best effort on how to sanitize rv freshwater tanks as this will not only preserve our health but also make us safe from a possibly deadly disease that may plague us.

There is a great number of ways or methods available for you today on how to sanitize your freshwater tank, I am going to give you tips on how to do this safely and effectively, including boiling, chemical treatment with chlorine dioxide tablets, adding vinegar and water to the tank, and solar power or UV light.

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Methods to sanitize rv fresh water tank

Method 1: Boiling RV Fresh Water Tank

boil your water by placing it in a pan on your stove after you stabilized the temperature then let it cool down again needed for drinking then suddenly you realized that there is no space for water in the campground so here’s what do to next:

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1st, if you have a portable container that can hold 2 gallons of liquid such as an empty milk jug, place the pot with boiling water on top of this filled milk jug (don’t forget to first put some insulation over it if possible) this will allow you to store more hot water than before. And at last, be sure to keep a thermometer inside of the milk jug in order to know the temperature of the water.

2nd, if you don’t have a portable container that can hold 2 gallons of liquid and you are still at your destination, place a smaller pot inside with enough hot water added so that it reaches a 2-gallon mark (or more) remember to always add some insulation over it to avoid losing heat as much as possible or use two pots because placing one pot within another might not be effective enough when it comes to keeping stored hot water warm.

3rd after boiling the fresh tank for 5-10 minutes, remove from stove then fill clean containers such as pitchers with cool tap water and pour into tank. Be sure to let both cold and hot water flow at the same time just in case of backflow.

this method is recommended for you if you want to make sure that all bacteria is killed and removed from your RV fresh water tank, not only for drinking but also for washing because contaminated water can cause skin irritation, especially in children.

Method 2:  Chemical Treatment with Chlorine Dioxide Tablets or Drops

Aquabeacon Pool Large Chlorine Floater for 3" Chlorine Tablets - Optimal & Enhanced Control with 15 Flow Vents - Premium Pool Chlorine Tablet Dispenser Holds up to 5 Tablets!
  • FOR A PERFECTLY CLEAR POOL - Your pool is meant to be a place for fun and relaxation, not a source of worry and stress! With the AquaBeacon floating pool chlorine dispenser, you can maintain the cleanliness of your pool water with zero hassle and simply get back to making a splash. Holds up to 5 chlorine tablets (3-inch size). Dispenser measures 7.2 x 7.2 x 7.0 inches. Tablets not included
  • OFFERS ENHANCED FLOW CONTROL - Our pool chlorine dispenser has an incredible 15 flow vents to give you increased control over the release of the chemicals. The twist ring makes it easy to adjust the flow with just a flick of your wrist, because nobody wants to waste time fumbling with a chlorine floater when they could be swimming or chilling out
  • HEAVY-DUTY, PREMIUM QUALITY - We've ensured our pool chlorine tablet holder is made of strong and durable plastic to keep it performing for longer. The classic floating design features a locking cap to hold the tablets securely in place. This helps avoid annoying spillages and prevents children from gaining access tablets
  • LEAVE IT TO FLOAT AND JUST RELAX - Let our pool chlorine tablet floater take away all your worries about sanitization and the condition of your water. Just pop in your tablets, let the dispenser float, and then go grab your bathing suit! On a hot summer's day, your pool will be perfectly clean and all ready to dive into

chlorine dioxide tablets are available at most camping stores and some retail stores like LOWES or HOME DEPOT these days, and it helps sanitize your water by making it safe to drink by eliminating harmful microorganisms such as Giardia, Salmonella, E Coli and other contaminants caused by either sewage leaks or wildlife waste. By adding chlorine dioxide tablets to your water tank, it will disinfect your water within a short period of time.

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Method 3:  Vinegar and Water in Tank

Daily Chef Distilled White Vinegar 2/1 gallon jugs (2 Pack)
  • Reduced with water to 5% acidity
  • Great for food or cleaning

adding vinegar and water to an RV fresh water tank is very effective when it comes to eliminating harmful bacteria that can cause diseases for you or other people around you. Using this method is very easy, all you have to do is add half a cup of white vinegar per gallon of water then slowly pour the mixture into the tank where it should mix completely with cold and hot water inside. be careful not to add too much since this method might affect taste once consumed so putting 1-2 cups may work better for your case.

Method 4:  Solar Power

Topsolar Solar Panel Kit 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Off Grid System for Homes RV Boat + 20A 12V/24V Solar Charge Controller + Solar Cables + Z-Brackets for Mounting
  • 100W solar panel kits ideal for 12v battery charging, designed for RVs, cabins, homes, boats, caravan s, back-up and remote power use.
  • This kits include 4pcs Z mounting brackets and 1 pair Red and Black Solar Cable makes it easy to set up. Easy to install with pre-drilled holes on the back of panel for fast mounting and securing.
  • With the 20A charge controller with PWM function, it can prevent the battery from over charge, over voltage, discharge and short circuit, reversed polarity protection, battery is fully protected. You can expand your system up to a maximum of 260W 12V system or 520W 24V system.
  • Dimensions: 1160*510*35mm (45.6*20*1.37 inch). Weight: 15.84 lbs. Voltage at Pmax (Vmp):23V. Current at Pmax (Imp): 4.3A.
  • Withstand high winds (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa), strong tempered glass and aluminum frame for extended outdoor use, allowing the solar panel to last for decades.

UV Light Solar power technology has made it possible for us to use the power of sunlight and convert it into a usable form of energy. This technology has been used to sanitize RV freshwater tanks effectively, so instead of purchasing expensive chemicals, why don’t you just spend less than $200  dollars  to cure your rv fresh water tank (assuming that you have a solar panel) this is how:

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1st, clean the tank before adding any chemical inside then put the solar panels on top of it.

2nd, sanitizing will occur as long as you leave them in direct sunlight under 120 degrees heat for 2-3 days regularly check daily until cloudy then stop.

3rd once the heating process has stopped or when the water temperature reaches 120 degrees F, remove panels, fill the tank with water, add chlorine bleach and let it run through for at least 5 minutes.

this method is effective when the rv fresh water tank has been contaminated due to animals or insects, also useful in killing bacteria quickly provided by solar radiation.  

Method 5:  UV Filtration System

The UV filtration system works similarly to the sun’s rays as it can kill harmful microorganisms that cause contamination to your RV freshwater tank. This system works by exposing polluted water to Ultraviolet light which destroys bacteria as well as other organisms like viruses that may cause cancer or contagious diseases within the body. This type of technology does not actually make use of sunlight but relies on either low-pressure mercury lamps (most common) or high-intensity lamps that emit ultraviolet light.

There are so many different UV filtration systems on the market available for RVers, but they will cost you some money depending on the type and size of your water tank and your water storage needs but if you think about long term investment, it is understandable that spending around $400 to $1500 dollars to save a few bucks using cheaper methods may not be worth the gamble especially when there is such thing as bacterial contamination which can result in diarrhea or vomiting after consuming contaminated water in rv freshwater tanks while traveling.  

FAQ’S for how to sanitize rv fresh water tank

Ques. 1: what are the harmful chemicals found in freshwater tanks

Ans 1: chloramines and ammonia, affect our lungs when we breathe in.

Ques.2: can you use salt water to restore the freshwater tank?

Ans 2: is not recommended since salt may leave deposits on the walls of your tank and you will need to clean it regularly which requires a lot of time effort from your end. 

Ques.3: where can I get chlorine dioxide tablets from?

Ans. No retailer carries these tablets here in California (USA), but HERE ARE SOME LINKS that might help you find retailers near your area.

Ques.4 do RV freshwater systems require any calibration or testing equipment?

ans 4 NO, but having a TDS meter and a water hardness bottle would be very useful to have, also there is nothing wrong with using chlorine tablets while traveling, in fact, I do it myself just because of their convenience. So why did not I use them as primary sanitizing agents? It’s up to you if you want to buy the items above or not but I will leave the choice for you.

Ques.5:  why does my RV water storage tank still smell like chemicals after the UV filtration system has been installed?

Ans 5: This may happen since more than one harmful chemical (chlorine/chloramine) is present in your rv fresh water tank so measure some water from your tanks tap, then add few drops of vinegar to it, if the smell of vinegar disappears then your tank is OK but if not then you need to clean your rv tank and start all over again.

Summary for how to sanitize rv fresh water tank

Following the above 5 methods should make your water a lot safer to drink and you will notice a difference in how it tastes. 

This is not an exclusive list, what I have mentioned in this article is based on my observation while buying these items online but for more information regarding the freshwater tank sanitizing process, you can check forums like rv lifestyle forum or ask from fellow RVers who are more experienced than me in this particular topic and may be able to provide some valuable advice.

how to sanitize rv fresh water tank
Article Name
how to sanitize rv fresh water tank
Methods to sanitize rv fresh water tank Method 1: Boiling RV Fresh Water Tank Method 2: Chemical Treatment with Chlorine Dioxide Tablets or Drops Method 3: Vinegar and Water in Tank Method 4: Solar Power Method 5: UV Filtration System
Shivam Singh
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