Extend your coach recreation time by reducing work time “” and water and antifreeze usage “” with this handy port that facilitates the process of flushing and cleaning fresh-water tanks.
By K. Stephen Busick, F45180
The Aqua Saver from PJB Company is so named because it can save a great amount of water during the process of flushing and cleaning fresh-water tanks on motorhomes and boats. However, after installing and using an Aqua Saver on our coach, I think it also could be called “Time Saver,” “Work Saver,” and even “RV Antifreeze Saver.”
The Aqua Saver is a port that provides a 5.5-inch opening in an RV’s fresh-water tank and thereby allows access to the inside of the tank. One of the benefits is that this port makes it possible to reach the inside of the tank with a brush and to scrub it using a household bleach solution. Material that might not be flushed out otherwise can thus be loosened and removed. It also provides benefits when winterizing and dewinterizing the tank.
I first saw the Aqua Saver when information about it was presented for inclusion in the “RV Products” column of this magazine. At the time, we were preparing to dewinterize our coach. The water, antifreeze, and time involved in winterizing and dewinterizing, along with the horror stories we have heard about dirty water tanks, made the Aqua Saver a natural choice for us. I immediately purchased the device, and it arrived in just a few days.
After watching the accompanying rental videotape I had ordered, I decided to install it that evening. Thinking that this might make an interesting story, we took pictures during the actual installation and still completed the task in less than 45 minutes. I feel confident that if I were to install an Aqua Saver in another coach, the job could easily be completed in less than 15 minutes.
I know many coach owners who simply blow out their water lines with compressed air when winterizing them; however, it is possible for water to lie in a low spot in the plumbing, and where we live, this water will definitely freeze during the winter. Spending a few dollars on nontoxic antifreeze seems a mere pittance compared to the cost of replacing split plumbing lines. In the past, some water remained in the tank even after we moved the coach and elevated one side to drain the water out of the bottom of the tank. Naturally, this diluted the antifreeze, and more antifreeze had to be added to ensure protection to the necessary temperature. The Aqua Saver makes removal of this water from the tank a simple task. And in the spring, removal of the antifreeze from the tank is just as simple.
While the Aqua Saver may at first glance look like a deck plate, it is much more. All materials in the device that could come in contact with the water in the tank are food grade. And, according to PJB Company, in the more than 9 years that the Aqua Saver has been offered, there have been no complaints of the unit leaking, even when it is installed on the side of the water tank.
Along with purchasing the Aqua Saver, I rented the hole saw and installation tape that are offered by the manufacturer. I believe these two items could make installation a 15-minute-or-less job for just about anyone, and I highly recommend renting them when installing the unit. However, for those who choose not to rent the tape, written directions are included. Although during the install I wondered a couple of times why a specific instruction was given, a minute or two further into the project, I found out why.
To simplify installation, the Aqua Saver can be positioned on the top or side of the fresh-water tank. Since our tank is located under the dinette, I installed it on the top of our tank.
The specially made hole saw is used with a variable-speed drill to cut the hole in the tank for the Aqua Saver. Our tank is plastic, but the saw also will work with metal tanks. If this saw is not used, a rough opening between 7-1/4 inches and 7-3/8 inches is cut in the fresh-water tank.
As soon as I had cut the hole, I saw just what a convenience having an opening in the tank would be. I took our wet and dry vacuum, cleaned the nozzle, and sucked out the antifreeze left in the tank. If I had not been able to do this, I would have had to drain the tank and then flush it repeatedly to get the remaining antifreeze out of the tank and then out of the water lines. With the opening, this job was accomplished in a matter of seconds. Most importantly, with the Aqua Saver installed, the task will be just as simple in the future.
After getting the antifreeze out of the tank, I continued with the installation of the unit. I placed the unit into the hole and marked the location of a rubber seal and the Aqua Saver itself on the tank. Using one of the eight mounting holes, I employed a 1/4-inch drill to drill through the seal and tank top. After inserting one of the backer blocks with its molded-in stainless-steel bolt to hold the Aqua Saver in place, I drilled a similar hole and placed a second backer block/bolt in that hole. Then, with the Aqua Saver securely, though temporarily, in place, I drilled the other six holes. Next, I reached inside the tank and from the bottom up installed all eight backer blocks/bolts, and secured the stainless-steel nuts with a wrench.
I then inserted the seal plate and screwed down the cap. To firmly seat the cap, I used the included spanner wrench. And I was done.
Last fall when winterizing the water system I used less antifreeze than I have in the nearly 30 years we have owned motorhomes. Because the opening of the Aqua Saver is 5-1/2 inches, I was able to vacuum the last of the water from the tank. This meant that the antifreeze that was pumped into the lines was nearly pure from the start.
Although our coach was only 2 years old when I installed the Aqua Saver, and I had thoroughly flushed the tank the previous spring, the bottom of the tank was very slimy and a little algae appeared to be growing. I don’t know whether the bleach treatment would have cleaned the tank; however, with the Aqua Saver in place it was, and will continue to be, a simple job to reach in and clean the tank whenever I wish, and I will know that it is clean. While this may not have a direct financial savings like the reduced antifreeze usage, the peace of mind it will give us is, as they say in the credit card advertisement, priceless.
The Aqua Saver is guaranteed for as long as the original purchaser owns it. FMCA members can purchase the device at the special price of $89.95, including shipping. The saw and videotaped directions package requires a $30 deposit, but when the saw and tape are sent back, $26 is returned. In my opinion that $4 rental is a great value.
PJB Company, 5773 Pleasant Valley Road, Cogan Station, PA 17728; (570) 435-5412 or www.aquasaverbypjbcompany.com