This should of been one of the first things I did when I got the RV, but it was one of those task that had me unsure of what to do. I know how to demo and rebuild stuff but sanitizing a water tank, that smelled like death, was out of my league. I needed time to pull my big girl panties up and tackle it! I read many post in the RV facebook groups I am in, watched a few YouTube videos and talked to the guy at the RV repair shop.
Frankly it’s not hard or complicated, not like I had psyched myself into believing it would be, but it did take time, and at the end of the day I ended up having to re sanitize the tank after I changed out some pretty nasty hoses, which were the source of the smell.
First I located the release drain for the tank. Our water tank is inside under one of the twin beds in the back bedroom. The drain is inside and a pull up plug, some tank drains are located underneath the RV, so check your manual.
I had picked up a sanitize kit at the RV store. Most blogs I had read said just to use Bleach, our tank is 64 gals so about 1.5 cups is what I would of needed but it smelled really bad so I was hesitant that would take care of the issue all alone. The kit I found had a soap to wash the tank and lines and then a sanitize solution (like bleach) that killed the bacteria.
After I put the blue soap in, I drove the RV around in the yard so I could pull it into the drive way and drain the gray tank into the yard ditch, this allowed the soap to slosh around inside the tank. I let it sit for a few hours too.
My in-laws live on 60+ acres of farm land and the soap is not harmful to environment so I had blessings from my Father in-law to dump in the ditch, but Check your local laws before you start dumping just anywhere!
I ran the soap through all the lines by turning on the water faucets. Then I had to fill the water tank again and add the sanitizing solution. I repeated the step of running the water through all the faucets again.
I filled the tank a 3rd time and rinsed the lines again, then filled the tank a 4th time so we could use it.
The next day the water not only smelled like death still but it also smelled like bleach. UGH!
I ended up draining and refilling again but still no luck. That is when I pulled up my sons bed so I could see the tank. I was hoping to find an access hole so I could get in there with a scrub brush. Unfortunately the port was melted shut. AND then that is when I noticed the clear hose, which was the over flow hose was full of black junk. YUCK!
I decided to try and remove the hoses and replace them before deciding I needed to spend the money on a new tank. That was going to be at least a $500 investment.
I had to unscrew the access port on the outside so I could disconnect the hoses. That is when I found the fresh intake hose also had some scum in it.
I made it to the RV shop before they closed and they hooked me up with the right sized hoses and the rubber putty strip gasket to replace the old one where I had to remove the access port.
After I took the boys to hockey practice I got back to work and got the new hoses installed.
I waited till the next day to refill and sanitize the tank since it was cold and raining the night before!
I lead a pretty natural life. I use all natural and organic products so having to use the box sanitizer was honestly unsettling. Especially all the warnings on the side of the box. One of my friends suggested I just use my Thieves Cleaner. Of course! It actually works better then bleach, I’m not sure why I didn’t think about it sooner! I ended up adding 3/4 of a bottle into the tank. I’m sure that is way too much but it was pretty gross! Plus my tank is 64 gallons. I let it sit for 2 days before I drained it, refilled to rinse and refiled to use. I am happy to say the tank is clean and the water doesn’t smell at all!
I was told not to ever use the tank water to drink with so we do have a blue water bottle I picked up at Walmart along with a auto pump (love that!)
I eventually want to get a Berkey but that will have to wait since they are an investment!