How to Sanitize Fresh-Water Tanks in Pop-Up Campers

by Lynda Altman
The fresh water tank in a pop-up camper provides water for drinking and cooking.

The fresh water tank in a pop-up camper provides water for drinking and cooking.

Occasionally water in your pop-up trailer's fresh water tank develops a bad taste or odor. This is caused by one of three situations: bacteria build-up, frequent hookup to a city water supply or infrequent use. When this happens it is important to sanitize the fresh water tank in order to remove potentially harmful bacteria.

Drain the camper's fresh water tanks.

Add 1 ½ gallons of water to the two-gallon pitcher. Measure ¼ cup of bleach for each 15 gallons of fresh water tank capacity and add this to the water in the pitcher. If you have a 30-gallon fresh water tank, add ½ cup of bleach.

Pour the bleach and water mixture into the pop-up camper's fresh water tank. Add fresh water until the tank is full. Hook up the camper to a tow vehicle and tow the camper for 15 minutes in order to mix the water in the tank.

Park the camper. Open one cold water faucet and allow a quart of water to drain out. Close the faucet and repeat this procedure with every faucet in the pop-up camper.

Determine the size of your pop-up camper's hot water tank by checking the label on the hot water tank. Six gallons is the most common size. Open the hot water faucets and allow at least 6 gallons of water to run out. This will replace the old hot water with sanitized water from the fresh water tank. If your tank is larger than 6 gallons, run the hot water until the tank's capacity is emptied.

Allow the water system to sit for several hours or overnight. Drain the fresh water tank.

Remove the bleach taste from the water by dissolving ½ cup of baking soda in a gallon of water and pouring this mixture into the fresh water tank. Fill the fresh water tank completely. Tow the trailer to thoroughly mix the baking soda.

Park the camper and run the faucets to fill the system with the baking soda and water mixture. Allow the water system to stand for a few days.

Drain the entire water system. Refill the system with clean fresh water.

Items you will need

  • 2-gallon pitcher or container
  • Unscented household bleach
  • Baking soda
  • Fresh water drain kit
  • Fresh water hose
  • ¼ cup measuring cup
  • ½ cup measuring cup

References

  • "Trailer Life's RV Repair & Maintenance Manual, Fourth Edition"; Bob Livingston; 2002

About the Author

Lynda Altman started writing professionally in 2001, specializing in genealogy, home-schooling, gardening, animals and crafts. Her work has appeared in "Family Chronicle Magazine" and "Chihuahua Magazine." Altman holds a B.A. in marketing from Mercy College, a black belt in taekwondo, master gardener certification, a certificate in graphic arts and a certificate in genealogy.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images