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Water system sterilisation

May 14, 2017
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Well it's been well over a year since we've had the opportunity to use the van and we've finally boked a few weekends away in July.
I'd like to use Pur on the water system and barrel as usual but i was wondering if anyone had any tips for sterilising the blue hose?
 

Ern

May 23, 2021
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Sterilising the blue hose will not remove the muck which coats the inside of it. I use a piece of stiff wire (a straightened coat hanger) bent flat over a slither of clean rag. It works well. I discovered how mucky they get when I changed a broken pistol connector and took the opportunity to rod it through.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Sterilising the blue hose will not remove the muck which coats the inside of it. I use a piece of stiff wire (a straightened coat hanger) bent flat over a slither of clean rag. It works well. I discovered how mucky they get when I changed a broken pistol connector and took the opportunity to rod it through.
To follow that logic the same would need to be done to the complete water system. I once had a van with an inboard tank. When I exposed it I was shocked at the state of it with algae etc. Since then, I have not had a van with an inboard tank, and the water system gets cleaned out with over strong pureclean. And we never use the taps for drinking or cooking no matter how much we hear, ’it never did us any harm’.

John
 
Mar 27, 2011
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When you sterilise the water system on the van you take it for granted it’s clean, with the blue hose mentioned by kerbdog I assume you mean the hose for a serviced pitch, I had the same dilemma, it looks awful but it’s about 20ft long so trying to get something through to use as a pull through was impossible and believe me I tried, I could see loads of algae so I ditched the hose and bought a replacement length, as for the rest of the system it’s a case of what the eyes don’t see etc etc, this year I bought the Aldi service pitch kit for £15, the float that comes with it is pretty crap but the hose is perfectly ok, not sure how much it would be to just buy a new length of food grade hose from a dealer, I also wonder if food grade hose is strictly needed if you only use it for a few weeks, would it deteriorate in that short time?

BP
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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When you sterilise the water system on the van you take it for granted it’s clean, with the blue hose mentioned by kerbdog I assume you mean the hose for a serviced pitch, I had the same dilemma, it looks awful but it’s about 20ft long so trying to get something through to use as a pull through was impossible and believe me I tried, I could see loads of algae so I ditched the hose and bought a replacement length, as for the rest of the system it’s a case of what the eyes don’t see etc etc, this year I bought the Aldi service pitch kit for £15, the float that comes with it is pretty crap but the hose is perfectly ok, not sure how much it would be to just buy a new length of food grade hose from a dealer, I also wonder if food grade hose is strictly needed if you only use it for a few weeks, would it deteriorate in that short time?

BP
If you don’t drink the van water a food grade hose isn’t required. But if you use one for drinking supply you’ve just opened a bag of worms ( or algae) akin to measuring noseweight. 🤭
 
Last edited:
Mar 27, 2011
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Morning OC, I haven’t ever used anything other than food grade hose when on a serviced pitch, I just wondered if it was hose that wasn’t food grade how soon would it degrade, I actually bought 3 of the Aldi water kits just so I’ve got 3 replacement food grade hoses ready and waiting, at the end of this season I can bin the hose and use a new one next spring, I book serviced pitches whenever I can as you may guess lol
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Morning OC, I haven’t ever used anything other than food grade hose when on a serviced pitch, I just wondered if it was hose that wasn’t food grade how soon would it degrade, I actually bought 3 of the Aldi water kits just so I’ve got 3 replacement food grade hoses ready and waiting, at the end of this season I can bin the hose and use a new one next spring, I book serviced pitches whenever I can as you may guess lol
If my garden hose is anything to go by it sits outside all year and lasts and lasts.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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We rarely go on service pitches. But we ended up somehow, with two food grade hoses. One of which was roll flat. When I had the opportunity at a CL in Folkestone, I got it out. It had completely disintigrated!

He other one, (not roll flat) still seems fine years later. But rarely used.

John
 
Jul 18, 2017
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We rarely go on service pitches. But we ended up somehow, with two food grade hoses. One of which was roll flat. When I had the opportunity at a CL in Folkestone, I got it out. It had completely disintigrated!

He other one, (not roll flat) still seems fine years later. But rarely used.

John
We have the Whale roll flat hose and been using it regularly for about 3 years and no issues. I seem to recall yours ended up with numerous pin holes?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Not all algae is dangerous, but the problem is we don't have the means to check the difference between the ok and the dangerous.so its simplest to assume a clean pipe is needed.

There also seems to be some confusion about what a "food grade" pipe is. Most modern day hose are manufactured from plastics, but there are many different types of plastic, and some use materials that are know to be harmful because some of their chemical make up or manufacturing process materials can leech out and be carried away by the water passing through them.

It may be different now but just a few years ago, the yellow colour in some fittings and hoses was created using cadmium. This is a highly toxic.

Also to allow for the flexibility in a hose a plasticiser is usually added. Some of these can be toxic, and becasue they act a bit like a lubricant they also can leach out, which is one of the reasons why older plastic pipes loose their flexibility.

There is conception that plastic pipes have an impervious surface, In flexible pipes that certainly isn't true, which is why some chemicals can leech out but it also explains how algae can attach to the inner surface and are not washed away. - and why a pipe often doesn't look as clean even though yo may have scrubbed the surface.

The dangers of issues noted above are normally relatively small, but where water is standing in the pipework there is a significantly raised risk of high levels of contaminants leaching and building up in the water contained in the system

Food grade pipes have to be shown to be free from toxic formulations, and that is why they must be used in systems where water might be drunk.
 
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Jul 8, 2020
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If my garden hose is anything to go by it sits outside all year and lasts and lasts.
I just replaced my retractable 40mtr hose in the garden ,out of curiosity i spliced open the middle section for a nosey, 10 yrs old and i couldnt belive it was spotless .

P.s we also drink van water 👍
 
Jun 16, 2020
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We have the Whale roll flat hose and been using it regularly for about 3 years and no issues. I seem to recall yours ended up with numerous pin holes?
It did indeed. To be fair, it must have come with a van, I did not buy it new. So I don’t know how old it was. But the standard food safe hose seems fine.

John
 
Jun 16, 2020
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I just replaced my retractable 40mtr hose in the garden ,out of curiosity i spliced open the middle section for a nosey, 10 yrs old and i couldnt belive it was spotless .

P.s we also drink van water 👍
It is my believe, based only on observation, that water held in an enclosed system. ie. mains water. Stays comparatively safe. But in systems open to the atmosphere the potential growth of bacteria, algae and sludge is always present.

For example. Most houses used to have a cold water storage tank. Some still might but thay have been phased out for a long time now. If anyone looked into the storage tank they would not be drinking the water. Only, usually the main kitchen tap, was classified as drinking water.

I remember one household only became convince not to drink it when a dead pigeon was found in theirs.

Caravan systems are open to the atmosphere, even worse possibly, is that every time the system is drained it remains damp and that’s the breeding ground in my opinion.

Also. Lead at one time was considered safe for drinking water.

I feel sure those who drink the water will be fine for years to come, but we will not be doing so. And it is so easy not to need to.

John
 
Sep 7, 2020
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Not all algae is dangerous, but the problem is we don't have the means to check the difference between the ok and the dangerous.so its simplest to assume a clean pipe is needed.

There also seems to be some confusion about what a "food grade" pipe is. Most modern day hose are manufactured from plastics, but there are many different types of plastic, and some use materials that are know to be harmful because some of their chemical make up or manufacturing process materials can leech out and be carried away by the water passing through them.

It may be different now but just a few years ago, the yellow colour in some fittings and hoses was created using cadmium. This is a highly toxic.

Also to allow for the flexibility in a hose a plasticiser is usually added. Some of these can be toxic, and becasue they act a bit like a lubricant they also can leach out, which is one of the reasons why older plastic pipes loose their flexibility.

There is conception that plastic pipes have an impervious surface, In flexible pipes that certainly isn't true, which is why some chemicals can leech out but it also explains how algae can attach to the inner surface and are not washed away. - and why a pipe often doesn't look as clean even though yo may have scrubbed the surface.

The dangers of issues noted above are normally relatively small, but where water is standing in the pipework there is a significantly raised risk of high levels of contaminants leaching and building up in the water contained in the system

Food grade pipes have to be shown to be free from toxic formulations, and that is why they must be used in systems where water might be drunk.
This is very important and one of the reasons we don't use the van water for drinking or cooking. If you are running a hose outside your van to your tank be also aware that exposure to sunlight can have a adverse affect on the hose potentially releasing harmful chemicals. We even try to keep the Aquaroll in the shade.

The water bottles we carry in the car and on walks are made from glass. On the occassion when we have no choice but to use plastic bottles we keep them out of the sunlight.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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It is my believe, based only on observation, that water held in an enclosed system. ie. mains water. Stays comparatively safe. But in systems open to the atmosphere the potential growth of bacteria, algae and sludge is always present.

For example. Most houses used to have a cold water storage tank. Some still might but thay have been phased out for a long time now. If anyone looked into the storage tank they would not be drinking the water. Only, usually the main kitchen tap, was classified as drinking water.

I remember one household only became convince not to drink it when a dead pigeon was found in theirs.

Caravan systems are open to the atmosphere, even worse possibly, is that every time the system is drained it remains damp and that’s the breeding ground in my opinion.

Also. Lead at one time was considered safe for drinking water.

I feel sure those who drink the water will be fine for years to come, but we will not be doing so. And it is so easy not to need to.

John
Our 1986 house has just such a cold water tank in the loft. It feeds upstairs H and C and downstairs too. But the kitchen sink tap has a direct mains connection.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Our 1986 house has just such a cold water tank in the loft. It feeds upstairs H and C and downstairs too. But the kitchen sink tap has a direct mains connection.
My 1970's house also had that system until I updated the heating and water supply about 5 years ago.

It will no doubt take many years before 'all mains' will be the norm but most modern buildings will be OK. I have seen some discussing examples of uncovered galvanized tanks in the past. Modern plastic tanks with close fitting covers and in less dusty lofts will be fine.

Originally mine just has a small tank above the hot water cylinder. But I updated that to a larger loft tank raised up into the peak in order to get an improved shower head. Then moved to a pumped power shower system. We are now on to a Combi which gives a great space saving.

We are now able to drink water from any tap to our hearts content. But we still use the kitchen tap as everyone else does. :)

If I remember correctly, storing water in the property was considered a good thing many many years ago because it gave everyone a reserve if needed.

John
 
Nov 11, 2009
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My 1970's house also had that system until I updated the heating and water supply about 5 years ago.

It will no doubt take many years before 'all mains' will be the norm but most modern buildings will be OK. I have seen some discussing examples of uncovered galvanized tanks in the past. Modern plastic tanks with close fitting covers and in less dusty lofts will be fine.

Originally mine just has a small tank above the hot water cylinder. But I updated that to a larger loft tank raised up into the peak in order to get an improved shower head. Then moved to a pumped power shower system. We are now on to a Combi which gives a great space saving.

We are now able to drink water from any tap to our hearts content. But we still use the kitchen tap as everyone else does. :)

If I remember correctly, storing water in the property was considered a good thing many many years ago because it gave everyone a reserve if needed.

John
Ourlast house had a combi, but like this house I fitted a water softener so having drinking taps throughout the house would have been extraordinarily complex. so we have just the one in the kitchen and one outside for the bird and hedgehog (plus dogs) drinking features. If anyone wants a drink by the bedside they take a bottle with them.
 
Last edited:
Jun 20, 2005
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Twice a year the pipes inboard tank, aquarolls are cleaned with Puriclean or Milton. Don’t leave in too long as both can damage the Stainless Steel hot tank. We have drunk fresh water from the caravan taps for decades and are still here! But as the Prof and others say you must use food grade pipes.
What do you all do at home? A lot of new builds use plastic pipes as well as copper. Older ones will still have lead mains. Today’s fresh water supplies are carefully monitored and treated . I agree an open tank may cause more sinister things to happen like Legionaires but I have never heard of a caravan system causing it.
 

Ern

May 23, 2021
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85
The blue hose discussed was the hose which is inserted into an Aquaroll or similar and connects to the caravan inlet. It is typically about 60cm long.
 

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