Monday, February 24, 2014

Sanitizing, followed by Drip, Drip, Drip

Water Tank Sanitization

Most people tend to sanitize RV Water holding tanks with Bleach, if they do sanitize.  I try and stay away from bleach in all aspects as there is mounting evidence that it's not the best for us, from inclusion into city water (taking a shower in chlorine gas, eww), to just being around it more often.  Bleach does have some good aspects, such as killing bad germies.  There are other options to killing bad germies though, better options depending on the intended application.

To sanitize my tank, I chose to go a more environmentally friendly route, using Hydrogen Peroxide.  One of the keys to using Hydrogen Peroxide is to use the 35% Food Grade version.  The typical stuff, in the brown bottle, from the drug or grocery store, just won't cut it, no pun intended.

I used this article as a general guide for how went through the sterilization process.  One thing I didn't do is add lemon juice.  As it's slightly acidic am sure it would've helped, but my thinking is Hydrogen Peroxide is corrosive to begin with so that should be enough to do the trick.

Got my bottle of the Hydrogen Peroxide from Raw Vegan Source, quite some time ago, to use as a vegetable wash.  For a vegetable wash, use 1 capful to a full sink of cold water.  Put veggies in, swish around, then rinse with clean water.  Viola, cheaper than vegetable wash from the store.

My steps, for right or wrong were:
  1. Empty RV Water holding tank, low as it could go
  2. Fill RV Water tank (with filtered water) most of the way
  3. Mix 2/3 of bottle (unsure how much, can't find bottle, though it's smallish) with pitcher of water
  4. Empty pitcher with mixture down fresh water fill tube
  5. Rinse more water down
  6. Continue filling tank till mostly full
  7. Drive down road (to next destination in my case), about 3-4 hours, only enough to swish things around is truly needed
  8. Prior to hooking to campground water, turn water pump on and run through water pipes to all faucet.  Let the faucet/shower, hot and cold water, run couple minutes.
  9. Open up drain valves for hot/cold water by main water holding tank for couple minutes
  10. Let water sit in everything for couple more hours
  11. Leaving faucets open fill up grey tank with solution from fresh water tank
  12. With Toilet open fill up black tank with solution from fresh water tank
  13. Let sit for couple hours
  14. In meantime fill fresh water tank with, well, fresh water
  15. Empty Black tank
  16. Empty Grey tank
  17. Return to normal use
  18. Flush all lines with the fresh fresh water (still contains minimal amount of hydrogen peroxide,very diluted)

These are the steps I did from memory.

While flushing the toilet, did notice lots of little black things come out from the water pipe into the bowl so looks like this did the trick for most of it.  With the faucets and shower, didn't have the white background so couldn't tell if anything got dislodged.

When can get more Hydrogen Peroxide will probably redo these steps just to verify all the baddies are gone, maybe even adding some lemon juice into the mix like the article above mentioned.

Other uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

While doing some research for posting this, came across bunch of other links regarding different uses for this.  Here is one of the better ones, from Wolf Creek Ranch.  Haven't tried anything specifically found there, just more interesting.

Drain Shutoff replacement

After doing this cleansing noticed some water dripping from the hot and cold fresh water drains by the main tank.  These are used to drain the tank (like did above).  It seemed like no matter what I chose to do, how hard I chose to shut them, they wouldn't stop leaking.

Before replacement
At first thought this leaking was caused by seals which were affected by the Hydrogen Peroxide.  Turns out, while it's still possible, don't think this was the cause.  Still replaced them as it didn't dawn on me until after replaced them.  Believe the leaking issue was caused by sediment which got flushed down and got stuck in the crevice.  This is because, unbeknownst to me prior to replacing them, the existing shutoffs were Gate Valves.  They looked just like ones with a tap washer, similar to what is shown in this article.

First try, no clue..
Even though have done this type of thing before, sometimes those memories are hard to dredge up when needed the most.  Tried countless ways to remove the threaded pipe and nothing at all seemed to work.  It appears that this piping is all factory original, so didn't want to move things too much for fear of risking a break.  That would just add much much more time to the process.

Still being unsure what to do, stepped away for a short break, then remembered that the end which was leaking has a short drop tube that comes out other end of faucet (where drips were coming from) and drops straight down to the ground.

Drop tube and faucet
Was able to successfully lift that portion up.  Using two adjustable wrenches it was an easy process from here to remove the drip tube and then the faucet.  This picture shows the second one about to be removed and see how much it looks like a "standard" faucet, which in my mind are the standard ones that typically have washers which wear out.

Both removed!
It was at this point, after removing the first one, where I realized that they don't have washers at all, just the gate valve, which is all brass.  This is how I came up with my theory on why it was leaking, because of gunk stuck at the bottom of the gate valve.  Such is life. Didn't want to take it apart prior to going to store for replacements, but should have.

First one on!
Installing the new ball valves is a fairly easy and simple process.  Just rinse and repeat, in reverse order, of how things were taken apart. This is a relatively painless process, with the right knowledge, and the right tools.

Of primary note is the use of Teflon tape.  Unsure if there are more environmentally friendly products to use to seal threads, but this is what have been using.  Two key things to remember, if possible, as it makes life easier.  First is to wrap the tape on fairly tight, tight enough so it "clings" to the threads.  Second is try to wrap it in direction of the threads.  This means that when putting on the shutoff valve, in my case, that the tape has less tendency to want to come off as am not trying to peel it back up.

All set, last for posterity
The tightening process is also fairly straight forward, though it's a fine line to not leaking and having everything line up exactly how it should be.  With these types of faucets, it's a good idea to not torque it down with all your might on the first go.  The key is to put just enough pressure on it to align everything without having to back off, or loosen, to achieve desired alignment.  This is where having large muscles doesn't pay off too well.  The teflon tape does a wonderful job for sealing the cracks!

Notice how it's all nicely aligned in the last photo.


  1. Most people tend to sanitize RV Water holding tanks with Bleach, if they do sanitize. I try and stay away from bleach in all aspects as there is ...


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