By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Many of us laughed ourselves silly at the old TV show detective, Monk. The poor guy couldn’t touch door handles with his bare hands, and should someone shake his hand – out came the antimicrobial wipes. Yes, Monk was obsessed with germs.
Sad to say, our modern-day society only contributes to the concerns that many people have about microbes. For RVers, this state of heightened alert may extend to the fresh water tank. Is it safe to leave water in the tank between trips? Is it better to drain the tank and refill it every run? If that’s the case, should we disinfect the system before refilling it?
We’ll make it simple. Our information sources here are the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). One of FEMA’s chief concerns is making sure Americans are prepared for emergencies. Seeing to it that we have plenty of safe water on hand is just one of their babies.
Here are some underlying principles you can apply when wondering about safe water in your RV:
• First, if you’re filling up your RV tanks with water from a “known” good source (a municipal water supply, as an example) then there’s little worry. Yes, before you fill up the first time, make sure your tanks are properly sanitized.
• Always use a drinking water-safe hose when filling your tank from your safe supply. Keep the tank securely capped to keep out unwelcome pests and road dust. Now settle back and relax. According to FEMA, “Replace the water every six months,” is all that’s required. What about water in your water heater tank? Remember, when you fire up the heater, a lot of bugs are likely to be cooked to death. And if the water supply you originally filled up with is good, then the same “six month” recommendation applies.
• If you’re really worried about water quality, FEMA suggests you purchase commercially produced drinking water, and keep it closed until you need it. It should be good until the “use by” expiration date printed on the bottle.