Water tank clean

garfield28

New Member
Jun 28, 2021
26
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NSW
G'day all,

Still fairly new to caravaning and just wondering how I could give my water tank a quick clean - or maybe it doesn't need it I'm not real sure.

We bought it back in April and haven't used the water tank yet but we are taking it away on the weekend and will be using it for our drinking water. There was a tiny bit if water in it when I checked the other day from what I can tell it didn't stink so I don't think it was stagnant, but I want to give it and the lines a good flush before using it this weekend and just wondering how I'd go about it.

Thanks
Geoff
 

Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
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Ferny Grove, Queensland
G'day all,

Still fairly new to caravaning and just wondering how I could give my water tank a quick clean - or maybe it doesn't need it I'm not real sure.

We bought it back in April and haven't used the water tank yet but we are taking it away on the weekend and will be using it for our drinking water. There was a tiny bit if water in it when I checked the other day from what I can tell it didn't stink so I don't think it was stagnant, but I want to give it and the lines a good flush before using it this weekend and just wondering how I'd go about it.

Thanks
Geoff
I would be looking at giving the tank a really good flush out, because you do not know what sort of scale, mildew, or other crud is sticking to the insides of tank. Others on this forum will give you better advice on what to clean it out with. Once clean, the secret is to always keep the tank FULL when back at base or not using van for a while and flushing and refilling again before hitting the road again. Being full means that there is no or very little oxygen remaining in tank which restricts the spread of bacteria which not only gives water a bad smell, but could give you a good belly ache or the "trots". You can also attach good filters to the water line if you want to spend the money.
 

Drover

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Nov 7, 2013
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As above, there are a number of tank cleaners on the market and many home mades, some not so good.... My first up clean, version is drain and refill tanks, clean inline filter and the screens on the taps, then give all taps a run including the hot water, then drain tanks, mix up a batch of the stuff you clean home brew bottles, nappie buckets, ( in fact I use Nappisan stuff in the loo) follow the dose rate per lt and mix in a water can pour into tanks, top up tanks with water and have a coffee, come back and give taps a quick run then drain tanks, plug into mains to flush all tap lines, you don;t want cleaners staying in lines, HWS or pump, give tanks one or 2 flushes and leave full to brim along with HWS...........
If you know there are goobers in the tank it is just easier all round to pull tanks off, mix up a brew and let them sit for a few hours , then drain off add a few hand fulls of little pebbels, put tanks in boot/back of ute, half fill with water and take for a decent run around the block, then flush out, should get most of the goobs out....make sure no pebbles left.
If youv'e ever looked in a household water tank you would never drink water again, we lived out of them for decades, if it doesn't kill the dog its still okay is what I told the kids....

If you fill pipe is clear you will notice a green tinge, don;t worry about it, its the same even with a black pipe..... I always leave my tanks and HWS full as Boots said.


If yours has a HWS (can't recall) it would be a good idea to pull out the anode and see if its any good.... details are in the Van Manual.
 

jazzeddie1234

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2016
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Mandurah
I drain the tanks, half fill then tip in 1/2 cup of regular bleach (aka budget chlorine) , immediately fill tanks to the top (to stir in the bleach), turn the pump on , run all the taps for a minute, leave for a day, drain all the tanks and fill with fresh water, run the taps again and check that I can't smell chlorine. With transparent water lines I also keep an eye on the inlet pipes nearest the tank as they often show the first sign of issues - black spots/mould growing, etc

Don't forget to check the pump inlet filter (on the pump) if it has one
 
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garfield28

New Member
Jun 28, 2021
26
11
3
NSW
I would be looking at giving the tank a really good flush out, because you do not know what sort of scale, mildew, or other crud is sticking to the insides of tank. Others on this forum will give you better advice on what to clean it out with. Once clean, the secret is to always keep the tank FULL when back at base or not using van for a while and flushing and refilling again before hitting the road again. Being full means that there is no or very little oxygen remaining in tank which restricts the spread of bacteria which not only gives water a bad smell, but could give you a good belly ache or the "trots". You can also attach good filters to the water line if you want to spend the money.

Thanks boots

As above, there are a number of tank cleaners on the market and many home mades, some not so good.... My first up clean, version is drain and refill tanks, clean inline filter and the screens on the taps, then give all taps a run including the hot water, then drain tanks, mix up a batch of the stuff you clean home brew bottles, nappie buckets, ( in fact I use Nappisan stuff in the loo) follow the dose rate per lt and mix in a water can pour into tanks, top up tanks with water and have a coffee, come back and give taps a quick run then drain tanks, plug into mains to flush all tap lines, you don;t want cleaners staying in lines, HWS or pump, give tanks one or 2 flushes and leave full to brim along with HWS...........
If you know there are goobers in the tank it is just easier all round to pull tanks off, mix up a brew and let them sit for a few hours , then drain off add a few hand fulls of little pebbels, put tanks in boot/back of ute, half fill with water and take for a decent run around the block, then flush out, should get most of the goobs out....make sure no pebbles left.
If youv'e ever looked in a household water tank you would never drink water again, we lived out of them for decades, if it doesn't kill the dog its still okay is what I told the kids....

If you fill pipe is clear you will notice a green tinge, don;t worry about it, its the same even with a black pipe..... I always leave my tanks and HWS full as Boots said.


If yours has a HWS (can't recall) it would be a good idea to pull out the anode and see if its any good.... details are in the Van Manual.

Thanks Drover

I drain the tanks, half fill then tip in 1/2 cup of regular bleach (aka budget chlorine) , immediately fill tanks to the top (to stir in the bleach), turn the pump on , run all the taps for a minute, leave for a day, drain all the tanks and fill with fresh water, run the taps again and check that I can't smell chlorine. With transparent water lines I also keep an eye on the inlet pipes nearest the tank as they often show the first sign of issues - black spots/mould growing, etc

Don't forget to check the pump inlet filter (on the pump) if it has one

Thanks Jazz
 

garfield28

New Member
Jun 28, 2021
26
11
3
NSW
I ran out of time on Friday to get anything done so I ended up doing without it for the weekend. My Uncle is a Nomad and travels quite a Bit, I met up with him while away on the weekend and he said he has never and will never drink from his tank. He bought his van brand spanka a couple of years ago and said he will only and only ever has used his tank water for the his shower and for his toilet.

Anyone else like this or do most drink from the tank? If it is OK to drink and no dramas, then personally I'd rather drink from the tank being hooked up to the sink. With the Mrs, myslef and the 2 kids the old 16.49 starts to lose space pretty quick so not having to store bottles of water anywhere in the van also sounds a lot better to me.
 

Drover

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I don't think its a biggy, been drinking out of tank for the last 6 years, flushed once when we got it and put a dose in it, since then nothing but a drain and fill each trip, don't use filters and fill it up from most towns, we drink, cook and wash from our tanks, no floaties in it, its clear and having lived without town water for decades just tank and bore I do have a chuckle when folk have complicated filter systems and won't drink from their water tanks...........
If its clear, no floaties, doesn't smell then its bound to be good.................
 

Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
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I don't think its a biggy, been drinking out of tank for the last 6 years, flushed once when we got it and put a dose in it, since then nothing but a drain and fill each trip, don't use filters and fill it up from most towns, we drink, cook and wash from our tanks, no floaties in it, its clear and having lived without town water for decades just tank and bore I do have a chuckle when folk have complicated filter systems and won't drink from their water tanks...........
If its clear, no floaties, doesn't smell then its bound to be good.................
I am with you @Drover , always have used my own on board water storage. I have confidence in the water quality because it is well flushed, and drained and refilled with fresh water before I hit the road every time. Speaking of water quality, if you saw what was in the normal water pipes that bring water to your home, you would turn to beer every time. Remember that it is the chlorine in the water supply that treats the water and kills the bacteria (in theory anyway) and that makes it potable!!
 

Drover

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City water will kill you quick if not for chlorine, dug up some mains pipe and its only the pipe size that you know its not sewer...... Blackall water, safest and sweetest stuff around and no chemicals in it... But beer is certainly good, poor water was the reason for beer being used more than water a century or so ago....
 
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garfield28

New Member
Jun 28, 2021
26
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3
NSW
I don't think its a biggy, been drinking out of tank for the last 6 years, flushed once when we got it and put a dose in it, since then nothing but a drain and fill each trip, don't use filters and fill it up from most towns, we drink, cook and wash from our tanks, no floaties in it, its clear and having lived without town water for decades just tank and bore I do have a chuckle when folk have complicated filter systems and won't drink from their water tanks...........
If its clear, no floaties, doesn't smell then its bound to be good.................

Good enough for me Drover. Thanks

I am with you @Drover , always have used my own on board water storage. I have confidence in the water quality because it is well flushed, and drained and refilled with fresh water before I hit the road every time. Speaking of water quality, if you saw what was in the normal water pipes that bring water to your home, you would turn to beer every time. Remember that it is the chlorine in the water supply that treats the water and kills the bacteria (in theory anyway) and that makes it potable!!

I love beer :) That is what I will do before my next trip, flush clean and refill. Thanks
 

Texpat

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Nov 7, 2021
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Melbourne, VIC
Remember that it is the chlorine in the water supply that treats the water and kills the bacteria (in theory anyway) and that makes it potable!!
Was reading something the other day where the author recommended not using a filter when filling up the tanks from home, for this very reason.

Water quality should be ok at home, and you don't want to filter the chlorine out as it will only help maintain a clean tank environment.

Made sense to my layman's brain!
 

Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
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Was reading something the other day where the author recommended not using a filter when filling up the tanks from home, for this very reason.

Water quality should be ok at home, and you don't want to filter the chlorine out as it will only help maintain a clean tank environment.

Made sense to my layman's brain!
Yeah, partially correct @Texpat , running water through a filter with charcoal in it will remove most of the chlorine. However after coming out of the tap, the situation changes when the water has left the confines of the reticulated water supply and the chlorine in the water dissipates into the air as the chlorine has done its job in the pipe. Once in the open air or the inside of your water tank, there is no longer any chlorine (or very little anyway) and the potability then depends on the conditions in and around the tank. For anyone who had fish tanks at home, you may remember that you had to leave tap water out in the open for a few days to get rid of the chlorine so as not to kill the fish with the replacement water.
 
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Drover

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I just laugh at filtering the town water anywhere, if it worried folk that much they should boil it first, house tank water is another thing, had a filter fitted to the kitchen tap as all sorts of things could be in the tank, at times filling a glass from laundry tap and having a lookie would usually neccessitate topping the tanks up from the bore as the gas in the Spa water would bump off the critters................ oh the joys of life in the country.........
Pump water out of the river I filter it and hope no cows have been upstream for many miles but thats just for the washing machine and washing bodies not drinking........... water must be okay for swimming as nobody floats past legs up from camps upstream...... though the site of cows doing ploppies in the river does turn you off swimming.
 

Drover

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One other thing, @garfield28 most important, when you are filling your tanks or connecting van to the mains before you hook up ypur hose, tur the tap on to make sure no wildlife have set up house, then hook up your hose, give it a flush as well then hook up to van or tank ....... and carry a few hose fittings and joiners, I like the big orange Pope fittings they don't cost the earth and are robust.......
 
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Crusty181

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Feb 7, 2010
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I just laugh at filtering the town water anywhere, if it worried folk that much they should boil it first, house tank water is another thing, had a filter fitted to the kitchen tap as all sorts of things could be in the tank, at times filling a glass from laundry tap and having a lookie would usually neccessitate topping the tanks up from the bore as the gas in the Spa water would bump off the critters................ oh the joys of life in the country.........
Pump water out of the river I filter it and hope no cows have been upstream for many miles but thats just for the washing machine and washing bodies not drinking........... water must be okay for swimming as nobody floats past legs up from camps upstream...... though the site of cows doing ploppies in the river does turn you off swimming.
Ive first hand experience with rotting carcasses and toileting peeps up stream of other oblivious folk using the crystal clear water flowing past them down stream ... arghhhhh river water aint for me filter or no filter. Makes my skin crawl
 
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