Sanitizing the RV Fresh Water Tank

If you are a part time RVer, you should be Sanitizing the RV Fresh Water Tank before every trip, and full timers should do this at least annually. The quality of the water in the fresh water tank is vitally important to your health. Algae and other possibly harmful bacteria can grow quite well in your tank if you don’t pay attention to a few precautions. It is a simple but lengthy process:

The Procedure for Sanitizing the RV Fresh Water Tank

Start with a nearly full fresh water tank.

Turn off the external water supply and turn on the water pump.

  • Turn the water heater off, and let the water cool.
  • Dilute 1/4 cup of household bleach for each 15 gallons of tank capacity in to a gallon of water. Don’t pour straight bleach into your tank.
  • Add the chlorine/water solution to the water tank.
  • One faucet at a time, let the chlorinated water run through them for one or two minutes. You should be able to smell the chlorine
  • Top off the RV fresh water tank and let stand for at least three hours.
  • Drain the system by flushing all the faucets and the shower for several minutes each. Don’t forget the outside shower if your rig is equipped with one.
  • Open the fresh water tank drain valve to speed up emptying the tank and open the hot water tank drain plug and drain until it is empty.
  • Close all valves and faucets and drain plugs.
  • Fill water tank with fresh water.
  • Turn off cold water supply.
  • Open a faucet in the RV to relive pressure.
  • Pull out handle of the Pressure Relief Valve and allow water to flow from the valve until it stops.
  • Release the handle on the valve. It should snap shut.
  • Close the faucet and turn on cold water supply. As the hot water tank fills, the air pocket will be replenished.
  • Flush each faucet for several minutes each repeating until the tank is again empty. Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.
  • Fill the tank again. The water should now be safe to drink but if the chlorine odor is too strong you can repeat the fresh water flush.

Your RV fresh water system should now be safe for use.

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