If you only use your RV now and again, this issue will most likely never happen. However, if you are full time RVing or even taking two trips that are almost one, then you will need to consider your freshwater supply.
Many new RVers often overlook it, although it is one, which can lead to considerable problems.
The question has to arise of “how long to keep fresh water in your fresh water holding tank?”
The most significant issue is that even if you are a full-time RVer, an RV freshwater holding tank was never designed for long-term use.
Here you can learn how long you can keep water fresh, and how to care for your holding tank, so it remains healthy.
Is Water from an RV Freshwater Tank Safe to Drink?
Most of the answer begins with where you get the water. If you are traveling down backroads and doing a spot of Boondocking, then you may be tempted to fill your tank with fresh water when you have the chance.
Using a regular water hose from an outside faucet probably isn’t the best decision. If filling your tank from home and use your trusted water source and a drinking hose that is BPA free etc., and then you may find the water safer to drink.
However, if your tank isn’t in the cleanest of conditions, it doesn’t matter how good the water source.
You will find many full-time RVers won’t drink the water right from their fresh water tanks, and always boil their water before using it for consumption.
One of the main reasons being odors from stored water sources, as well as possible bacteria and microbes, which can easily thrive in such conditions when you don’t use or clean your tanks frequently.
You will find a group of individuals who carry bottled drinking water for drinking and cooking and keep the water from their RV holding tanks for washing dishes or bathing.
While you do need two different water sources, and you need somewhere to store your bottles of water in your travel trailer, you will find you have healthy drinking water, and you can prolong the fill-up times of your on-board storage tank.
How Long is Water Safe for Drinking?
Even with the best tank cleaning, it is a rule that water for drinking purposes; you should consume this within two weeks after you fill the fresh water tank.
Once you reach two weeks, the water will be safe for showering, flushing the toilet, and washing your dishes.
One thing to note is that if you smell an odor, and there is a plastic smell, it may not be just the tanks smell. Warmer weather can induce this once the tank and water heat up.
If you smell anything that resembles a musty smell, you may need to dump your water and set about cleaning your water system.
How RV Water Systems Work
You will have your clean water tank, which they make from fiberglass or heavy-duty plastic. Once you run the water, a water pump draws or pushes water along the water lines to the faucets, water heater in the shower, or the toilet.
Any wastewater from faucets or showers runs to a Gray Water tank, and water from flushing the toilet runs down the sewer hose to the Black Water tank.
How to Sanitize RV Water System
The issue with RV tanks is it doesn’t matter which one it is, be it the fresh water, gray water or your black water tank. They can all have contaminated water at some stage if you do not tend to them correctly.
Here are ways how to keep water-holding tanks clean and sanitized.
Flushing Water Tanks: Unless you are RVing full-time, drain the water from your travel trailers tank every two weeks at a maximum.
You can turn the water on in the shower, or using it to help keep your toilet system clean and adding a second hose to help flush the pipes.
If you are on the road, take the time to clean your gray and black tanks at the same time. Some RV dump stations will have decent quality water to top up your tank once you are done.
Sanitizing Freshwater Tanks
Although you can drain and re-fill your tanks regularly, it is useful to know how to sanitize RV fresh water tank to avoid issues.
By far, the easiest way to sanitize your tank is by using household bleach. What you need is 1/4 cup of bleach for 12 – 15 gallons of water. Add to water and not to an empty tank.
Once you fill your tank, you can take it for a drive, so it gets in every corner.
Once your return, run some water through your faucets, so all pipes have this bleach solution in them. Let your RV sit for 12-hours.
Once you are ready, it is time to drain the tank, and then fill it with clean water. Here you can turn on all the faucets to flush all the pipes.
Keep running with fresh water until you no longer smell any bleach. It can take a while until you no longer smell bleach, but it will go before too long.
It is advisable to change your water filter after doing this, as you don’t want that to be tainted with signs of bleach or it being clogged with any of the bacteria from when you sanitize the fresh water tank.
Using the steps above are a quick way to sanitize RV water tanks, although they are not always the best.
It is possible to purchase tank cleaners, which are more specific in the treatment of mold. Besides this, they don’t leave you with the nagging worry if you cleaned your tank correctly.
If you have issues, you won’t notice so much in hot water as mold dies at lower temperatures. This being said, you still don’t want any tainted water, so it is ideal to know how to keep RV water fresh as long as possible.