RV BUYers

Sanitizing Your Holding Tanks & Removing Algae

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An Overview of the Process

These checklist steps will help you sanitize your RV fresh water tank with bleach or another antibacterial product:

  1. You need to remove the hot water heater from the main supply and wait a few minutes before moving on. 
  2. Open the pressure relief valve located outside of the compartment where your water heater is located. 
  3. Empty your water lines. Water lines in your RV can become clogged with algae and contaminants, so you’ll need to make sure they’re empty first. Locate and open the low-point water drainage valves to accomplish this. If the freshwater tank itself has a drain, open it as well. There should be directions in your RV’s owner’s manual about where these valves are located.
  4. It’s time to mix your bleach solution once you have drained your water tanks and lines. In a bucket, mix 1/4 cup of bleach with a few gallons of water for every 15 gallons of fresh water your RV holds. 
  5. The instructions for mixing an antibacterial product will tell you how to sanitize your tank if you choose to do so. 
  6. Your freshwater tank should now be full of your solution. Pour it carefully into the tank. It might be easier to use a funnel and less likely to stain the area if you do so. 
  7. Then, fill the tank almost to capacity with fresh water after pouring the bleach/antibacterial solution in. 
  8. Make sure all sink faucets are fully filled with water by running them one at a time. Make sure you do not run the faucets for too long, so you empty your fresh water tank! Each faucet should emit a smell of bleach. 
  9. After the bleach/antibacterial solution has been added to all the water lines, some RVers find it helpful to take a short drive. As a result, the system is further sanitized as the water is sloshed around.
  10. Make sure the solution sits overnight in the freshwater tank and your water lines. 
  11. Let the solution sit in the freshwater tank overnight, then drain it and dispose of it properly. 
  12. After filling up your tank with fresh water, flush your lines with fresh water by turning on each faucet one at a time. Continue this process until the tanks or faucets are no longer smelling of bleach.

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