How to Clean and Sterilise a Caravan Water System - Allens Caravans
Allens Caravans

Whether you live on one of our residential sites, or if you’re a seasonal holiday caravanner, maintenance of your mobile home is essential. Out of all the static caravan maintenance tasks, there is one that is arguably more important than the others: sterilising the water system.

If you buy a brand new caravan or reside in a second-hand one, keeping your water tank and pipes sterile is essential.

If you’re new to caravanning, this can seem like a daunting process, but there’s no need to be concerned. We’ve used our decades of experience to create this simple five-step guide which explains how to clean out a caravan water tank for both holiday homes and residential caravans.

Why do I Need to Clean my Water System?

There’s a lot of debate about drinking water from caravan taps, but regardless of which side of the fence you stand on, you still need to clean your water pipes.

If you don’t, a build-up of biofilm could occur. This is essentially bacteria that, if ingested, could cause an infection.

Even if you don’t drink the tap water in your mobile home, you can still get poorly from breathing in the biofilm through showering, or from using the water to wash up or wash your hands. That’s why it’s so important to regularly flush out the entire water system in order to avoid a health issue.

How Often Should I Clean my Water System?

If your caravan has been left idle for a period of time, you should sterilise the water system before you use it. Most people who holiday in their static caravans clean their water system at the start of the season and this is sufficient. If you live in your mobile home, you may choose to do it twice a year for added peace of mind, but once should be sufficient.

You may notice that your water system needs cleaning if the water has a foul taste, or if you drink it and get ill. You may also notice a build-up of a slimy substance in the pipes – this is biofilm. Whilst you should never let your pipes get to this stage, if you’re new to caravan life or have just purchased a second-hand home, these signs are something to be aware of.

No matter how often you clean your water system, you need to ensure you do it thoroughly each time to eradicate the presence of bad bacteria. Although it may seem like a tedious task, taking the time to do a thorough job will prevent issues in the future and potentially minimise the risk of illness.

How to Clean a Caravan Water System:

1. Sterilise the Aquaroll

There are several brands of chemical sterilising fluids, but we’d recommend Puriclean because it’s been manufactured with caravan and motor homes in mind. Other brands may cause damage to the pipework because they’re corrosive to metal. You can pick up a tub of Puriclean online or from an automotive shop.

Once you have your sterilisation fluid, you will need to measure it against your water tank capacity. For reference, 100g is advisable for up to 90 litres.

If you have a filter, remove it before commencing any further as the Puriclean will damage it.

When this is complete, add the Puriclean to your Aquaroll and fill the tank to full capacity. Roll the tank over several times and give it a good shake before leaving it to sit.

2. Flush the taps

You will need to fill both your hot and cold water tanks up, but it’s not necessary to turn the hot water on. When the tanks are full, it will allow you to flush a partial amount of sterilised water through all the taps and the shower.

After allowing the water to flow through the taps for a short burst, close them off and wait for an hour minimum to allow the Puriclean to thoroughly sterilise the Aquaroll. The longer your caravan has been uninhabited, the longer you should leave the Puriclean.

3. Empty the water supply

When an hour or so has passed, you will need to completely flush the Aquaroll by leaving every tap and the shower on. This will ensure that every water access point gets a good amount of sterilisation and the whole network of piping is cleaned.

4. Eradicate out the Puriclean

No one wants to have a drink or wash their hands and find the water has traces of chemicals in it, but that’s exactly what will happen if you fail to completely eradicate the Puriclean from the pipes. To avoid this, you will need to re-fill the Aquaroll and drain it through the taps and shower again.

We recommend doing this twice to be sure, but you will need to exercise judgement as it may take a few more flushes. You will notice Puriclean is still present if the water has a slight smell, or if it has a strange taste. If this is the case, rinse and repeat.

5. Replace the filter

If you have a water filter, you will need to re-fit it now the system has been sterilised. If it needs changing or replacing, now is a good time to do so. You can find more information about how often you will need to replace the filter by referring to the manufacturer’s warranty.

Once your water system has been thoroughly sterilised, tap water will be safe to drink, but this is a personal preference.

If you use a separate tank for drinking water, it’s equally as important that this is cleaned properly, too. Biofilm can occur almost anywhere, so drinking from a separate water tank won’t eliminate the risk of getting ill.

Whilst you won’t need to flush out an entire water system, we’d still recommend using a chemical steriliser and rinsing the tank several times to ensure it’s completely clean and safe to drink from.

Knowing how to clean out your caravan water tank is an essential part of owning a static caravan and – once you know how – will easily become part of your annual ritual of keeping your home in tip-top condition.

We’re here to help if you have any questions about buying or maintaining a caravan on one of our residential parks. Simply contact us to find out more.

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