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Old 08-11-2010, 09:52 PM   #1
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questions about fresh water tank

First off, can anyone describe the internal structure....
Are there baffles to reduce sloshing?
Are there any screens, over the sump well, for example?

Second, has anyone tried to wash out the tank, with dish soap, for example?

Down here in the deep South, with all the humidity and high temperatures, we get mold and algae at the drop of a hat.
Iseem to have a bit of mold and some algae in one of my tanks. I tried the old chlorine wash and that has killed the algae, but now I have large chunks floating around that I can't seem to flush out.
I also have a bit of slime mold mixed in as well.

I was thinking I could fill the tank halfway with warm soapy water, then drive around for a while to agitate before draining.
Then refill with fresh and repeating the procedure.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:30 PM   #2
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Hi 40

I’m making an assumption your 2006 fresh tank and my 2004 fresh tank are made similar.

Does It look like this, just maybe less the upgraded drain valve setup.


I know I have a camping buddy with a 2005 Sunline and his does not have that lower pocket in his. If yours has that lower low point pocket odds are it has a strainer in there. Both of my 2004’s did.

As far as baffles, none in mine.

Now to cleaning the thing. What chlorine/water mix are you using? The 100ppm chlorine mix generally cleans house. Are you using Ĺ cup to 30 gallons of water of fresh bleach?

I myself would caution the use of soap. Getting it out of there may be worse then the green stuff….

Here is something I would try. Start out with a fresh Clorox Ultra regular unscented bleach. I picked the Ultra as it is slightly stronger bleach. The tank is like 32 gallons so that is slightly over Ĺ cup to 30 gallons water. Put some ice cubes in and go for a drive. Let is site 3 hours, drain and flush.

If that does not help and I still saw green float’ies in there I would pull the tank and high pressure blast it. Put the pressure hose in the large water fill port and let it run out the vent hole, pump suction hole and drain hole. You can stand it up then and blast down.

The only heads up about pulling the tank is the white and green stripped fill hose. Sunline used food grade silicone to goop the hose with then slide it on the tank port. Some times that can be a bugger to not slip off or shut up a drip.

Hope this helps and please report back how you made out. I know of one other camper who had the green floaty problem and they ended up taking the tank off and cleaning it out in the open. There may be other ways but that is what come to mind.

John
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:23 AM   #3
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JohnB,

I am quite becoming dependent on your assistance. Many thanks.

Yes, my tank looks quite similar to yours with the exception that mine has a separate connection for the hose going up to the water pump. That connection is to the right of the sump at the bottom of the flat part of the tank (about where that brass looking thing is on your tank).

I have already upgraded from the chintzy plastic drain valve to a similar set up as yours. I have also replaced the green and white fill hose with a heavy duty, marine grade hose. Thats when I noticed the algae.

As for the bleach, I have been using the 1/4 cup per 15 gal. formula. We have two 35 gal. tanks. Most of our trips are overnighters or weekenders, so we've been working off the other tank. Our last outing, I filled the tank about 2/3 full with an appropriate bleach mix and let it slosh around for the whole trip, (about 5 hrs round trip).
I've drained it an filled it with fresh three times, but the sump seems to get clogged with about a half inch of water still in the main (flat) part of the tank. I am assuming it is from the remnants of the mold and algae clogging the sump screen.
I was hoping for a way to clear it out without dropping the tank.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:33 AM   #4
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I also took a two foot long pice of water hose and put two female ends on it. That way I can connect a hose to the drain valve and push water up through the sump. I think that clears the screen temporarily.

My real worry is that all the muck will get sucked up through the pump and into the rest of the system.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:46 AM   #5
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OK you did the correct bleach trick. Been there tried that. No work.

This may help, unscrew the pump suction port. I think it is 3/8NPT, that should not have any strainer in it. Or at least mine did not. I changed my pump suction from the side like you described to the bottom sump pocket so I could use that last 1" of tank water. On the side it sucks an air bubble and dry locks the pump.

With the pump suction port open to allow it to drain, then put pressure up thru the drain port and try to back flush it out. If that does not work, well the last resort is dropping the tank.

I would not turn on the water pump. If you have floaties in there now it will kill that pump. Get stuck in the check valves, in the faucets, HW heater what a mess.

Unless you are totally sure you got all the floaties out, you may be into dropping the tank. If there is even 1 floatie left it will keep growing. If it where me in this not good situation I would drop the tank so I can see inside the 1 Ĺ” fill hole and make sure it is 100% clean.

Good luck.

John
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:07 AM   #6
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Thanks.
We don't drink from our system. We always bring our drinking water in 1/2 gal. jugs. Easier to sterilize on a routine basis.
I try to chlorinate and flush the tanks regularly, but my work schedule often results in the trailer sitting with a 1/4 tank for a week before I can get back to it.
I have two 35gal. tanks and only the one has really been affected, so far. It got pretty bad about two months ago. We've been operating off the other tank since then. The inside bottom 1/3 of the bad tank was nearly completely coated with a green algae. The top part looked kind of pink with the mold. I filled it 3/4 of the way up with the bleach mix on our last two trips and just let it slosh around during the drive. Then I drained and flushed at least twice after each trip. The discoloring is gone now, but I can still see some kind of large "floaties" when I add water.
I've also tried usind pipe cleaners with a hook at the end. I'm positive I can feel something over the sump well. I was assuming it was a screen.
I was thinking the soap might break it down into smaller pieces.
Your suggestion of adding ice cubes as a grinding medium sounds interesting. I will try that.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:46 PM   #7
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How ya gonna get ice cubes into the tank? You fill it with a hose and there are no other openings large enough to insert ice cubes.
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:58 PM   #8
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I was thinking the same thing. My tank fill has somthing (strainer maybe??) about an inch inside of it that doesn't even allow me to use a funnel without holding it. Makes adding the bleach to sanitize real fun.
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:27 PM   #9
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Well, on mine I can insert an ice cube down the 1 1/4 to 1 1/2" green striped hose. Maybe I have smaller ice cubes that come out of the fridge ice maker. Granted I would need to do them 1 at a time with some water to slide them thru. If they get stuck, well just wait. That is one problem that will go away on it's own

And I know for a fact there is no strainer or screen on the manual tank fill hose entry to the tank. At least in 2004 vintages. I do have a strainer in the low point pocket.

And I think Sunline changed the tanks from time to time as Hutch's 2005 does not have the lower pocket.

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Old 08-13-2010, 08:06 PM   #10
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Well, on mine I can insert an ice cube down the 1 1/4 to 1 1/2" green striped hose.
John
OK John,

How do you access the end of the hose to put the ice cubes into it ?

Kitty

Guess maybe I should take a look at the one on the 311

Kitty
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:08 PM   #11
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OK John,

How do you access the end of the hose to put the ice cubes into it ?

Kitty
LOL

Step 1 Using key CH751..... open up the little door to the fresh water inlet fill hose.

Step 2. Unscrew the white cap over the water fill port

Step 3. The large fill hole in front of you, insert ice cube. Do not force, if it will not fit, let it melt some or go find a smaller one.

Step 4. Add some water during the loading process to carry said cube into the tank.

Step 5. When done put cap back on and use your trusty CH 751 key to lock the door.

Since we camp with on board tanks 90% of the time, I'm use to seeing that water fill hole.

What % do you camp with full hook ups to on board tanks? Are you telling me there is a mini storage compartment you have not been into yet?

OK all joking aside, understand now? What did I miss?

John

PS Amazingly enough I do not have a pic of that.... Will get one on Saturday
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:30 AM   #12
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This reply is really a question.

I've never seen 'green stuff' in a water tank. Sometimes our tank will go months with the same water sitting in it, happily half full.

I can only think of two reasons for this. I typically have 'city' water in my tanks implying a continuous level of chlorine and my tanks never see sunlight (I assume necessary for green stuff to grow). I almost always fill my tank via a pump bypass from my street water connection though the connection is post water filter.

I've frequently wondered if my input water filter was mis-located, wondering if the filter removes all the protective street water chlorine.
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:00 PM   #13
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This reply is really a question.
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I've never seen 'green stuff' in a water tank. Sometimes our tank will go months with the same water sitting in it, happily half full.

I can only think of two reasons for this. I typically have 'city' water in my tanks implying a continuous level of chlorine and my tanks never see sunlight (I assume necessary for green stuff to grow). I almost always fill my tank via a pump bypass from my street water connection though the connection is post water filter.

I've frequently wondered if my input water filter was mis-located, wondering if the filter removes all the protective street water chlorine.
Norm

A few info tid bits.

Chlorine in a non pressurized vented to atmospheric tank (our freah water tank) will flash off the chlorine over several days. Normal city water systems I believe have a max limit of chlorine of 4 ppm for potable water. And when it is at 4 ppm you can smell it for sure coming out of the faucet. The actual active % of chlorine will change over the year in the city water system. They regulate it to a tolerance. I have found in my camper that camping in a state park in late spring they spike the campground up to 3.5ppm when they 1st turn the system on to kill anything that grew during the down season. When you fill that into your fresh tank, no filter, that 3.5 ppm will flash off down to about 0.5 ppm over 4 days of approx 78 to 80F days. Sunline light speeds up the break down process but it will occur on itís own in a vented tank. The city keeps the water in pressurized pipes delivering it to your home. That helps retard the flash off process, that and the fact that the water needs to be kept clean or else a high bio load will consume the active chlorine and then you have issues.

Point, unless you are monitoring and adjusting the chlorine do not expect it to be there much over 5 days from the time you filled the tank.

You talked about green stuff growing in a fresh water tank and needing sunlight. Again some info tid bits. For the common water born organisms to grow in piping or water system they need 3 things to support life.

Moisture
Oxygen
Food

They are sort of like us humans. If you take away any one of the 3 elements to support life, they die. At work, I work on commercial food sterilization machinery dealing with water. And since we are a food company water is a big deal to us. Pending the application we use chlorine, bromine and heat pending the machine to keep microorganisms in check in tanks and piping. I can tell you with out any second thoughts, microorganisms will grow in a closed pipe or tank that never sees the light of day. And I have seen green slime in piping systems that again never saw the light of day. The color the organisms create is linked I believe to the type they are. Some are different shades of green and some are more clear while other can be black. And Iím sure there are many other colors I have never seen. I'm not saying some form of microrganims do not need sunlight, just not the normal ones found in potbale water.

I do not know what type of organism is living in 40 Acres tank but I can add this on how it got out of control.

As you can see from the 3 items above that are needed to support life, 40 acre had all 3 and then he added a catalyst to speed up the reproductive cycle. Heat. Next is learning a little about the organism you are trying to keep in check.

Organisms (aka bugs) that live in water systems can reproduce every 20 minutes if all the right conditions exist.

Ph of the water affects the conditions for bug reproduction. They do not like high Ph and will not want to reproduce in levels of 8.5 and above. The higher the Ph above the 8.5 the less they want to grow. Chlorine also does not work in high Ph. Once you get above 7.5 to 8.0 it's ability to sanitize drops like a rock. Every area of water source has a different natural Ph. The city water systems are Ph controlled for chlorine activation and corrosion of the piping systems. They are generally pretty neutral ~ 6.5 to 7.0 Ph

While you may have a low level of bugs in your water they may never present a problem unless they get out of control. Even potable water has a level of bugs in it. Just they are kept in check to be potable for people to drink and not get sick.

Temperature, this is a key element in bugs staying low in numbers to growing out of control. When you draw water out of a deep well at 40 degrees F, bugs do not like to grow in those temps so the water stays cleaner all by itself. Now warm up the water and pending the type of bug they start getting active. Iíll give a generalization here. When all the elements are present to support bug life they can reproduce quicker in there best reproduction temp range. So 40F is cold and they stay inactive. 70F is mild and they can grow well if the food supply is large enough. Going to 120 F this is real good reproducing range. Go to 140F even better,. Yah hoo they are growing like crazy. Get toward 170 F and they start dieing. 180 to 190 for many minutes and they die after enough time exposure. Get to 212F and they can die in seconds.

This is what I believe may have happened in 40 acres tank. At one point in time the tank was clean. Very low bug count or none. He added some water, may have been city water may have been well water. We never asked. Well water has no chlorine in it as a sanitizer like city water does. Some how, a food source got in the tank. There are a few ways this can happen but Iíll tell ya, nature finds a way to survive. He left the water in the tank for a period of time where what ever sanitizer was in the water is no longer left. Then it got hot out. Ya hoo we have food, we have water we have oxygen and the bugs are having a field day. They grow out of control. This varity of bug happened to be green. And Iím sure if 40 arce went to smell it, it would have a severe foul odor. One of our microbiologists kept joking with me, John just follow your nose to the source of the bugsÖ..

You stated you have left water in your tank for a while and have never seen the green stuff. Good. In your case you said you filter the water going in. Well you may have stripped out the food source or kept it low enough it was not a problem. The climate may have been cooler and you had a low bug count to start with. Odds are there are bugs in the tank, just you did not present the right conditions for them to grow out of control in. What ever chlorine was in there was long gone after a week.

You talked about the filter you use. Carbon type filters will reduce the amount of chlorine going into a camper tank. I stated reduce. Pending how good the filter is will depend on how well it reduces the chlorine. I use a Camco 0.9 micro ceramic and carbon filter when I fill up from a source other then my house. I have tested that it will take 3.0 ppm chlorine down to 1.0 ppm in one pass. I also have a 0.2 micron carbon/ceramic filter for point of use at the faucet that takes the chlorine out to the point I cannot measure it with the home device Iím using. If Iím camping off of on board tanks and fill up from the campground, I filter with the 0.9 ceramic carbon filter and then test for chlorine. If Iím 0.5 ppm or above, Iím good and I leave it. If Iím below 0.5ppm I spike the tank back to 0.5 to 1.0ppm target. I may or may not use the point of use filter at the sink. And I do drink from my water system.

Obviously you can see Iím from the camp that drains the water out of the camper after every camping trip. Due to my work back ground Iím probably at the other end of the spectrum on a normal RVíer level for water. Unless someone can tell me the science behind how water does not grow leaving the water in the tank for period of time in weeks and not draining it, Iíll keep to draining after each use. I have never been able to find an explanation in any RV published literature the technical reasons to drain the system or leave water in it or behind there doís and doníts. So I asked at work and from my bug hunting adventure in piping systems I follow the same process we do at work. At least I have reasons why I do it even if it may be 100% over kill in some cases.

Nature can be a strange thing. When it is in balance, life is good. When it grows out of control it is the stronger species.

Hope this helps

John

PS Goodole Bob had a post in the community section about to drain or not to drain. Only 1 person so far chimmed in. I was in the process of creating a response and I think I typed part of it here. I will get to Bobís post and fill in the more.
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:08 PM   #14
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John,

I am familiar with that "door", and yes I have used the 751 key to open it and put water in it. I use bottled water for drinking primarily because I don't want the dogs having tummy issues with different water. I usually refill jugs at home (I have wonderful tasting well water) and when traveling I will purchase water when I run out of "my" water.. Might sound stupid but it works and I don't end up with sick pups.
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:39 PM   #15
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John,

I am familiar with that "door", and yes I have used the 751 key to open it and put water in it. I use bottled water for drinking primarily because I don't want the dogs having tummy issues with different water. I usually refill jugs at home (I have wonderful tasting well water) and when traveling I will purchase water when I run out of "my" water.. Might sound stupid but it works and I don't end up with sick pups.
Kitty

Taking drinking water with you is for sure, not stupid. Your reasoning is very valid for you. You bring water from your known source. Your body and doggies bodies are adjusted to it. Many folks have issues when they travel for just that reason. From city to city the water changes and it really affects some people in a very negative way and this has nothing to do with camping.

Your method works for you and I agree having a pup in the camper that is water sickÖ is not something that is fun.

For this very reason I do filter all the water going into my camper unless it is from my own house. I know my source as I drink it every day. My body is adjusted to it. I canít say that for all campgrounds I go to.

OK back to the ice cubesÖ.. do they fit?
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:44 PM   #16
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John,

That was great and educational. Draining your tank probably makes sense. I can't think of a why not.

As to filtering we use two filters as well, engaging the second when in areas of concern. We usually use a Trave-l Pure (0.1 to 0.4 micron) for drinking water when in places like Labrador that frequently has problems even with their standard drinking water.

I know that bugs can grow in the dark (my intenstines) however I did not know that green stuff could grow without sunlight.

Thanks again for the good write up.
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:02 PM   #17
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John,

That was great and educational. Draining your tank probably makes sense. I can't think of a why not.

As to filtering we use two filters as well, engaging the second when in areas of concern. We usually use a Trave-l Pure (0.1 to 0.4 micron) for drinking water when in places like Labrador that frequently has problems even with their standard drinking water.

I know that bugs can grow in the dark (my intenstines) however I did not know that green stuff could grow without sunlight.

Thanks again for the good write up.

Norm, Thanks and glad it helped. Raining like crazy out so I had time to type and well was on a roleÖ.

Your filter size, when in unknown areas that is good. When we backpacked and filtered water right from the stream we had 3 ways of sanitizing. Boiling, iodine and filter. The carbon/ceramic filter was 0.1 micron as it stop any viruses from coming thru. However that fine of a filter with stream water does not take long to clog to where it needs cleaning even with prestraining. We only filtered when the boys had nothing to doÖ.. takes time. Or when we need water fast. The iodine takes 20 minutes, and 40 minutes by Scout standards. Double the does and time so it does not get goofed up.

See this chart on the size of ďstuffĒ in water systems.


Growing green stuff, the green we see in a water system may or may not be the same pond scum floating on top of the water. The green slim film I pulled out of piping system was green but more of a film them pond scum that is thick. Nature comes in all colors. Iím not by any chance a pond scum expert, never had to deal with it other then cussing at it for messing up the side of my canoeÖ.

Thanks

John
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Old 08-14-2010, 05:19 PM   #18
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John,
Having a a standard carbon/ceremic pre-filter before the 0.1-0.4 micron filter goes a long way towards extending the life of the 'virus filter' at the water faucet.

On our last trip to Labrador practiclly every small town had a drinking water warning. The locals laughed it off, but on an extended trip we couldn't risk a problem. As a backup we always carry a case of bottled water in the car, nice for the desert adventures.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:40 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by kanyonkitty View Post
John,

I am familiar with that "door", and yes I have used the 751 key to open it and put water in it. I use bottled water for drinking primarily because I don't want the dogs having tummy issues with different water. I usually refill jugs at home (I have wonderful tasting well water) and when traveling I will purchase water when I run out of "my" water.. Might sound stupid but it works and I don't end up with sick pups.
Kitty,

We do the same, but we don't have any pets....
I fill about 12- 3 ltr. bottles with our well water to start and when we run out we buy 3 ltr. bottles of spring water for drinking.
I only keep the water tank 1/3 full when traveling. I always drain the tank when we get home, no problems with the water in the tank yet.......
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:54 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvrque View Post
Kitty,

We do the same, but we don't have any pets....
I fill about 12- 3 ltr. bottles with our well water to start and when we run out we buy 3 ltr. bottles of spring water for drinking.
I only keep the water tank 1/3 full when traveling. I always drain the tank when we get home, no problems with the water in the tank yet.......

Well add us to the list of "water bringers"......with my stomach the way it is....I never drink strange water.......bring from home and they buy bottled water when we run out!

We also travel with some water in the tank but use it for flushing while on the road.
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