Clean breaks

This month, the Club’s technical team look at ways to prevent water contamination in your caravan or motorhome’s water system

Q Are you likely to get a stomach upset from drinking the water in your leisure vehicle?

A It’s unlikely, but this is a very commonly misunderstood issue. Microbiological testing of water systems carried out by the Club some years ago discovered that it was much more likely that the kind of contamination found in poorly-sterilised water systems would give you a mild respiratory infection, not a gastric one. You also wouldn’t need to drink the water to get this – inhaling water vapour from the sink or shower would be sufficient. So don’t think you’re immune just because you only drink bottled water!

Buy one of the proprietary sterilising solutions sold for use in leisure vehicles and always follow the instructions carefully. How often you need to sterilise is a difficult question, but it’s probably more often than you think – we found evidence of appreciable contamination after just a few weeks’ non-use. Unless the system is in near continuous use, it ideally needs attention more often than just at the start of the touring season, therefore. Re-sterilise after any appreciable period of no use for maximum protection.

Don’t forget to include external fresh water containers and connecting/filling hoses in your sterilisation routine

Water filters may provide some additional protection, but do replace filter elements as advised by manufacturers and don’t rely on a filter alone. Filters should be removed prior to sterilising (or replace the filter element afterwards).

Use of a pressurised drain-down system like Floë ( can also be beneficial, removing residual water from the system and helping to cleanse the pipework. This is especially useful prior to winter storage, although this kind of system is much more costly than use of chemical sterilisers.

There are many leisure vehicles owners who will tell you they never sterilise their system and have never suffered any harm. Perhaps they’re just lucky, or perhaps they don’t associate the cold they sometimes return from holiday with as being linked to their water system…

Please address your questions to: Technical Information,
Tel: 01342 336611

...and quote your membership number  

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