Ensuring you have clean and safe drinking water next time you take the caravan for a spin is easier than you think. Here is a quick guide to flushing and cleaning your caravan’s water system.
One of the key reasons for maintaining your caravan’s water supply is to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and algae. It should be noted that algae, like any plant, requires sunlight to grow. If you have an older caravan with clear water lines, you should replace them with newer, non-transparent lines. Additionally, you must ensure that your water source is pure if you’re not filling up from home. Also check the condition of your filler hose – old hoses that are not UV stable can impart an unpalatable flavour to the water.
Flushing and cleaning a caravans water system
Whether to leave your tanks full or completely empty during longer periods of storage is a hotly contested issue. However, properly treated water is fine to stay in your tanks for this amount of time. After a long period of storage or after a bout of water contamination, you may find it necessary to clean your tanks and plumbing. First you need to decide on a cleaning agent, then you need to flush all the plumbing in the caravan before completely draining and rinsing the tanks.
A range of agents can be used to clean a caravan water system, including bicarbonate of soda and/or white vinegar, a bleach solution and commercial products such as Tank Cleen.
If your plumbing has the facility, you can bypass your caravan water filter before running the cleaning agent through your taps. Ensure the system is disconnected from your town water source. With your water pump powered, run water from each of your internal and external taps and shower for about minute.
Now drain the tank and follow up with a rinse, or run the hose through it simultaneously. If you’re not at home, observe local etiquette for dumping grey water.
Drinking water treatment
There are various cocktails of chemicals that can disinfect your water; do your research to find the right mix.
A popular solution is a dilution of liquid bleach (sodium hypochlorite). However, calcium hypochlorite is a more heat-stable form of bleach and has more available chlorine in it than sodium hypochlorite. Furthermore, calcium hypochlorite will remain active longer than regular bleach and is suitable for long-term storage. Do not use stabilised chlorine as it contains cyanuric acid and is not effective in enclosed tanks.
Before each caravan season, putting an afternoon into your water storage system should see you drinking clean water for many years. If you’re just dusting off your caravan for the summer, it’s probably a good time to do a caravan maintenance check.