Freshwater Tank Sanitation Sanitize Water Systems

Should I use (drink) water in my freshwater tank?

Q: Freshtank water, safe to use?

A: Yes but keep some things in mind (from Leroy Kreider, RV Newbies group on Facebook).

It’s perfectly safe to use the fresh water in your freshwater tank if you follow these few simple rules:

  • Sanitize your tank and freshwater system annually as directed in your owners manual.
  • Only fill the tank from potable water sources. Potable water is, “water fit for drinking, being free from contamination and not containing a sufficient quantity of saline material to be regarded as a mineral water.” Water supplied at individual campsites is potable water. Water provided for flushing at dump stations is not.
  • Sanitize the water supply spigot before connecting your freshwater hose to it. I use a spray bottle containing a mixture of 1 part chlorine bleach to 8 parts water and I always thoroughly spray the spigot and the end of my hose before connecting. I do this because you never know what the previous users connected to the spigot. (– added by owner of this website: Be sure to use a food grade hose, one made for drink water, not your normal garden variety house to hook between the spigot and your RV)
  • Never use your black water flushing hose to supply potable water to your RV.
  • Use a quality sediment filter. You can get one designed to be connected in line with your freshwater hose or the one built into many RVs. I use both. Optionally you can use filters designed to improve the taste and smell of the water supplied. Most of these use some sort of activated carbon. An example would be those that are used in residential refrigerators for the water supply and ice maker.

If you follow these simple rules you can safely use the water in your fresh water tank and you can save a ton of money over using bottled water.

Added by owner of this website: I also use a Zero Water filter as a last thing before I drink the water whether from city water hookup or the freshwater tank)

Freshwater Tank Grey Tank Sanitation Sanitize Water Water Systems

Sanitation of Freshwater System

Q: How do I sanitize my freshwater system, tanks, lines, etc.

A: Drain the water heater – Caution: Never drain the water heater when it’s hot or under pressure.

  • Turn off the water heater.
  • Run water out of your hot water faucets until the temp is low enough to not burn you.
  • Go to the outside compartment where the water heater is located. The drain plug, or petcock is usually located in the bottom left hand corner. Remove the plug and open the pressure relief valve on top of the water heater to assist in draining.
  • Let it drain completely.
  • I like to leave on or turn on my water heater bypass and not put bleach into that tank, since it will heat water, it will kill any bacteria in there so I don’t feel the need to put bleach water into my water heater tank.

 Drain other tanks and lines

  • Locate the low point water line drains. It may take a while to find them but they are there.
  • There will be one for the hot and one for the cold water lines. This is the lowest point in the RV water system.
  • Open these and drain the water out.
  • Find the drain for the fresh water holding tank and drain it also.
  • At this point you can turn the water pump on for a moment to force any remaining water out. Do not let the pump continue to run once the water stops draining.

Close all of the drains.


  • Using a quarter cup of household bleach for every fifteen gallons of water your fresh water tank holds.
  • Mix the bleach, with water, into a one-gallon container and pour it into the fresh water holding tank. Do this as many times as needed for each 15 gallons of water your fresh water tank will hold. Example: If you’re freshwater tank is 45 gallons, do this 3 times. You will want a funnel to pour this into the fresh water tank opening.
  • Fill the rest of the fresh water tank with regular tap water using a food grade hose, not your normal run of the mill garden hose.
  • Turn the water pump on, open all hot and cold faucets and run the water until you smell the bleach at each faucet.
  • Close the faucets.

Let it sit for at least 12 hours.

Drain the entire system again and re-fill the fresh water tank with potable water. Open all of the faucets and run the water until you no longer smell any bleach. It may be necessary to repeat this process again to eliminate all signs of bleach from the water system.

Once all done and you don’t smell any more bleach, you’re good to go.