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How do members clean the water system on their caravans?


Alan G H
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Good morning everyone.

We are away in Cornwall at the moment, and late last night the water pump on our caravan stopped working.

The van is a Gobur Carousel folding caravan, and is about 26 years old, we have owned it for the last 16 years.

The water system is just a simple Whale pump in the Aquaroll, plugged into the side of the van, with a pipe to taps in the washroom and kitchen sink (no water heater). 

I carry a spare pump, so this morning I changed the pump, so we now have water on tap again.

However, I was shocked by how much debris came out of the taps when I tested the system.

Each time we go off with the van, I have mixed up an Aquaroll full of Milton solution, and run this through the system, thinking this should be enough to kill any bacteria, but it clearly isn't enough.

Any suggestions as to what I can use to deep clean the system when we get home? We aren't planning to get away again till October, so I will be able to leave it to soak for quite a while.

 

Edited by Alan G H
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Again (due to memory issues) I don't know if I've said this on this forum...

I think one key thing is to circulate the cleaning solution.

Just filling and letting it soak can't possibly dislodge much?

I therefore suggest the following:

Set up as normal including Aquaroll.

Add correct concentration of your cleaning solution as recommended by manufacturer which doesn't affect any stainless steel components etc (Puriclean?)

My key point is to use our Superpitch water hose and attach it to the shower fitting (Hozelock connector fits ours) or a tap (somehow) so that the solution can be circulated, Aquaroll>pump> taps>hose>back to Aquaroll.

I'd also suggest using it as an opportunity to fully test the hot water system (if fitted, or use hot water?) so that hot water can be passed through both the hot and cold systems i.e. heat the water than circulate it alternately through the cold and hot pipes.

Allowing some dwell time then repeat flushing round the system.

If any filter cartridges, remove, clean, flush  and refit new when complete.

Any improvements or errors on that procedure accepted!

Edited by DougS
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My preferred cleaning agent is Puriclean. 
Normally fill first aquaroll and add the Puriclean, then purge the vans water system. Let it sit for a few minutes, then pump the whole barrel through. 
Fill the second barrel, add the Puriclean, then pump enough to clear any air. Leave it to soak for the recommended time (overnight). Then flush it through, followed by at least three full barrels of fresh water. 
Finally, fully drain the water system. 
IMHO a lot of the gunge that develops is down to poor draining down, as typically the vans pipe route allows several places where water gets trapped. Although I don’t have one, have considered investing in something like the “Flo” drain down system. After seeing how much water can remain in a drained system, it looks like a useful, but overpriced bit of kit

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If you want to clean your Waste container at the same time collect the water in your container and swish about/let stand before emptying.

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1 hour ago, Alan G H said:

However, I was shocked by how much debris came out of the taps when I tested the system.

That is precisely why we never consume water from the van's pipework!

Unlike a domestic water system which has an almost continuous daily flow/use , water in a van's system can sit stagnant for days in varying temperatures - a veritable breeding ground for all sorts of nasties.

I know a lot will disagree but that is their funeral, so to speak!

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Just doing mine now , I always use Milton , was fluid  , now tablets . I must admit I’ve never had the problem of gunge coming out the taps . I’ve made up two aquarolls & will leave them overnight to soak through , I’ll then run all the fluid through the system including the shower & leave it for a day or so before giving it a good rinse through with fresh water , should be fine for next weekend . I also soak my wastemaster in a mild bleach solution to freshen it up . I do sympathise with anyone who can’t garage their van at home , it must make this kind of chore a lot more challenging .

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7 minutes ago, The road toad said:

That is precisely why we never consume water from the van's pipework!

Unlike a domestic water system which has an almost continuous daily flow/use , water in a van's system can sit stagnant for days in varying temperatures - a veritable breeding ground for all sorts of nasties.

I know a lot will disagree but that is their funeral, so to speak!

I think you might be in for a shock if you take the anti-splash nozzles off your taps at home and see what's lurking in there!

VW Touareg Escape towing a 2018 Knaus Starclass 695

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1 hour ago, Lost in the wilderness said:

My preferred cleaning agent is Puriclean. 
...

Mine too. I haven't done this exercise on the new van yet but I used to run a 5% (ish) solution of citric acid into the hot water system to discourage limescale and follow with Puriclean in the whole system. Milton may be good for killing bacteria in a plastic nappy bucket but it's not recommended for stainless steel because it contains hypochlorites which attack stainless steel. Caravan boilers are generally stainless steel. Puriclean is designed for caravan and boat water systems.

Those who worry about not using the caravan water system to drink from are victims of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Certainly water will stagnate if you don't use it to drink or shower with and most water in the UK comes with added chemicals to keep it drinkable. And, while I'm on the soap box, get rid of any filters in the system; that's where the bugs breed, given half a chance.

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Don't bother cleaning it or on the boats over the years.  Just use Aquasol water treatment ( not the cleaner). before it goes into the van.  And yes I have taken various bit apart over the years and there has never been any film or other nasties.  

https://www.cleantabs.co.uk/aqua-sol.php

 

 

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in 25 years of caravaning, other than ‘flushing the water through’ as part of the annual service, and using Puriclean on the Aquaroll twice a year, we’ve never done anything to cleanse the water pipes and we have never suffered any effects.

We must have stout constitutions !

 

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1 hour ago, GarryandTrish said:

in 25 years of caravaning, other than ‘flushing the water through’ as part of the annual service, and using Puriclean on the Aquaroll twice a year, we’ve never done anything to cleanse the water pipes and we have never suffered any effects.

We must have stout constitutions !

 

Same as us!

2019 Bailey Platinum (640) Phoenix from Chipping Sodbury caravans, towed by our  2017 my Discovery Sport!

 

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Thanks to all who have replied, it looks as if I have to get something to leave in the system for a few days to soak. 

I've never noticed anything come out of the taps before, but stretching the hose to the pump obviously disturbed what was in there!

As some have commented, we've never had any stomach upsets, so we must have good constitutions!

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11 hours ago, Alan G H said:

Thanks to all who have replied, it looks as if I have to get something to leave in the system for a few days to soak

I would strongly recommend Floe as part of your regime moving forward.

 

Floe Draindown Video

 

By removing as much water as you can you are removing the source for bacteria to thrive.

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Never cleaned the system and never had a problem in 20+ years. We do flush through with fresh water at the beginning of each trip. Like Garry and Trish we must be made of tough stuff - or others are just over-worried.

 

As said, water in most countries (certainly the UK) is treated anyway and is far less contaminated with bacteria etc than much of the stuff you buy in bottles.

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If the van has been unused for any length of time I fill the Aquaroll and add Puriclean and then pump into the onboard tank and run through the system. Leave for several hours and then repeat with pure water and flush the system. If it has only been a short period on none use I just flush with clean water. I drain down very thoroughly for winter.

We drink etc from the onboard system and never had a problem over many years.

Life is not a rehearsal . . .:)

Porsche Cayenne S Diesel & Knaus StarClass 695. Previously Audi S4 Avant & Elddis Super Sirocco

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/07/2021 at 15:21, KnausCol said:

If the van has been unused for any length of time I fill the Aquaroll and add Puriclean and then pump into the onboard tank and run through the system. Leave for several hours and then repeat with pure water and flush the system. If it has only been a short period on none use I just flush with clean water. I drain down very thoroughly for winter.

We drink etc from the onboard system and never had a problem over many years.

I've now had the Puriclean and some Aqua tabs arrive, have mixed up an aqua roll full with Puriclean, flushed through the system & left it to soak overnight.

Today, I've flushed through the system several times, but I've only seen a little dirt coming out. So maybe the system wasn't as dirty as I thought!

So far I've used only about half the aqua roll, so I'll leave it to soak overnight again, and flush out again tomorrow.

I think I might mix up another lot when I've used what I've mixed already, and do it all again.

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