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Holding Tank Questions

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Morning Ya'll,

 

I have a couple of questions:

 

1) do you leave the grey water tank/s valves closed when hooked up or do you fill and empty similar to the black water tank/s?

a) if open, how do you prevent odors from coming up the pipes in hot weather?

B) if closed, do you put chemicals in them? What do you recommend?

2) has any one tried RID-X® RV Toilet Treatment (Liquid)? I am thinking about replacing Odorloss with this. I have only found Odorloss at Camping World or online and was thinking that RID-X may be easier to locate as we travel.

a) if you leave your RV for a week, can you fill the black water tanks with fresh water and use RID-X (or something similar) to clean them while gone?

B) do you recommend have your tanks professionally cleaned? How often would you recommend?

 

Thanks.

 

DH and I have full-time for nine months now and are loving it. We have traveled to Albuquerque, Williamsburg, Cape Canaveral and Houston for DH's work. The F450 and Voltage are a good combination for us.

 

Hope Ya'll have a fantastic Friday.

 

 

 

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1) do you leave the grey water tank/s valves closed when hooked up or do you fill and empty similar to the black water tank/s? When we first started fulltiming, we spent 3-4 months in one place and left the gray tank open except a day or two before we needed to drain the black tank. When we went to leave, the bottom of the sewer hose was so filled with gunk that we had to throw it away. From then on, we always leave the gray tank closed except when draining.

 

a) if open, how do you prevent odors from coming up the pipes in hot weather? Leave a loop in the hose, similar to a "P" trap.

 

B) if closed, do you put chemicals in them? What do you recommend? We don't use chemicals in our tanks, just plenty of water.

 

2) has any one tried RID-X® RV Toilet Treatment (Liquid)? I am thinking about replacing Odorloss with this. I have only found Odorloss at Camping World or online and was thinking that RID-X may be easier to locate as we travel. See above.

 

a) if you leave your RV for a week, can you fill the black water tanks with fresh water and use RID-X (or something similar) to clean them while gone? It's not going to hurt anything to do so.

 

B) do you recommend have your tanks professionally cleaned? How often would you recommend? We've never had our tanks professionally cleaned in all the years we've been RVing. Waste of money, IMO, but YMMV.

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If you search the forum, there are several discussion threads on this topic. We generally leave all the tanks closed until time to dump. This gives us full gray tanks to flush the hose after draining the black tank. Every couple of months, I add a half cup of dishwashing liquid and a half cup of borax crystals to each tank along with about 1/4 tank fresh water just before we travel. The sloshing and additives keep the tanks nice and clean. (I'm mostly interested in keeping the crud off the tank sensors...).

 

Rob

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You will find a wide range of opinions about holding tanks, so I'll base my responses on my experience and observations.

 

1) do you leave the grey water tank/s valves closed when hooked up or do you fill and empty similar to the black water tank/s?

a) if open, how do you prevent odors from coming up the pipes in hot weather?

We keep the gray valve open, but I close it about a day before dumping the black tank, just to flush both the gray tank and the hose. To prevent a back flow of sewer gas from the connection, I support my hose off of the ground but leave a U in the hose right at the sewer connection, to act like a P-trap does.

 

if closed, do you put chemicals in them? What do you recommend?

You can if you want to perfume things but we discovered after a time that it is really a waste of money, if you are generous with the use of flush water. Septic systems work from naturally found bacteria and many of the chemicals just kill that and use perfume and chemistry. As such an excess of them is harmful to septic systems and has a lot to do with the closing of so many public dump stations. We just used ample water for most of our 12 years on the road fulltime and we still do that when we travel seasonally, usually for 4 or 5 months at a time.

 

2) has any one tried RID-X® RV Toilet Treatment (Liquid)?

We have and the only time I ever use anything it is one of the few products that I would use. It is septic friendly and it simply enhances the natural process of liquefying things in your tanks. In very hot weather or when we have several grandchildren visiting and so fill the tanks very quickly, I do use that product. But that doesn't happen often as we seldom have that many live-in guests and we avoid the hottest of weather.

 

a) if you leave your RV for a week, can you fill the black water tanks with fresh water and use RID-X (or something similar) to clean them while gone?

It sure wouldn't harm anything but I normally just leave about 1/4 tank or less of water in mine, after flushing it well and dumping. Now that we are back to seasonal travels, I clean my tank on the trip home, flush it out and then leave it empty and the valves open when stored.

 

do you recommend have your tanks professionally cleaned? How often would you recommend?

No but I do clean mine, myself. The best way that I've found to clean waste tanks is to put some really strong detergent that doesn't make suds into the tank in a very strong mix along with about a half tank of water, just before travel. You then drive to your next stop and you can even use the tanks in route if need be as it will not effect the cleaning process. Once you arrive you then dump the tanks as soon as possible, before things have much chance to settle out. I do this two times a year and always just prior to storage. My preferred detergent is the TSP products that are available from Amazon, but you can substitute laundry detergent. If you visit this page you can read a detailed article about tank maintenance.

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I have a couple of questions:

 

 

a) if open, how do you prevent odors from coming up the pipes in hot weather?

 

 

 

 

 

How did you prevent odors from coming up the pipes in your sticks and bricks? There's nothing wrong with odors entering your gray tank through the dump hose, just like you have odors in your plumbing at home. That's what traps are for. Your sink, lavatory, and shower all have traps.

 

However, if it bothers you, you can build a trap into the hose like others have suggested.

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Thanks everyone for the replies. I will check outside to insure that we have a "P" in the hoses connect to the drain. I will also go to the link posted. Thank you

 

I tried searching the forums - obviously not good at it :( . I searched "holding tank", "black water" and "chemicals". The search returned several articles that had nothing to do with holding tanks - nice units for sale though :rolleyes: .

 

Hope everyone has a nice weekend.

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We leave the gray water valve closed until ready to dump. That way it flushes the residual black water from the hose when we dump.

 

No added chemicals. When we started fulltiming in 2006 we used the chemicals for a while. Then I would forget to add the chemical a time or two and didn't notice any difference. So I started leaving the chemicals out for a couple of weeks and again didn't see any need for the chemical. So for the last 10 years in 5 different RV's we have not used any chemicals and have not see a need for adding stuff.

 

I do flush the black tank every time we dump. Up until our current RV, a 2006 Winnebago Sightseer, we always had a black tank flush connection. Now I have to connect an extension to the dump connection with a place to add a hose to push water into the black tank to flush it. Doesn't work as well as the black tank flush connection, but gets the job done.

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For our 16 years of full-timing we do exactly as LindaH posted above.

 

Leave grey water valve closed and you don't have to worry about the sewer hose getting smelly and you don't need a 'P' trap in the hose. Your inside drains create the 'P' trap. No odors. If you're concerned about not having enough room in the grey tank for your morning shower, just get in the habit of emptying the tank in the evening.

 

Rid-X - sewage needs bacteria to dissolve. This is a natural process. It's always in your tank. If you use Rid-X and then dump it out it's not adding to the process. The Rid-X isn't in there long enough to do anything that the natural bacteria can't. Rid-X was made for septic tanks where the stuff stays in there. Adding chemicals to the black tank kills the natural bacteria. Use plenty of water. That's all you need.

 

If your questions came about because of odors you're getting in the RV, check your venting pipe on the roof.

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One point not mentioned above is smell, not from the drains but from the plumbing vents on the roof. That smell can be drawn through a skylight vent or through air leaks in the air conditioner. On poorly built rigs where the vent pipe is not sealed to the roof you can get smelly air coming in there.

 

Something else that can give you a blast of bad smell is flushing the toilet with a vent fan blowing out, we learned to not do that!

 

A last point you won't see in a lot of homes are the vent valves used on many RV sinks, under the counter they are supposed to allow air in so the P trap doesn't get sucked dry but prevent air from escaping. Cheap and easy to replace if you suspect one of causing a problem.

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The best way that I've found to clean waste tanks is to put some really strong detergent that doesn't make suds into the tank in a very strong mix along with about a half tank of water, just before travel. You then drive to your next stop and you can even use the tanks in route if need be as it will not effect the cleaning process. Once you arrive you then dump the tanks as soon as possible, before things have much chance to settle out.

 

Laundry detergent formulated for front loading washers or soap for dishwashers are both good low-sudsing detergents.

 

Linda Sand

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I normally leave grey valve open as others have stated. I once read a post that made me stop and think about that. He said something was preventing his grey valve from closing completely. He ran all the faucets while operating the grey valve and a dead snake washed out. He said it must have crawled out of a CG sewer system and into his grey tank while the valve was open for a few weeks.

I don't think I'll change my procedure though, the odds of than happening have to be very slim.

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We usually keep the grey closed and like some use its output to help clean the hose after dumping the blank tank. Read that lot of folks keep their grey open most of the time so decided to try it last summer in Alaska. Well when it came time to roll both grey valve were more difficult to operate and continued to get worse. By the time we landed in Arizona one of the valves was inoperable so I had to drop some of the underbelly cover to access and operate it. Long story short installed electric actuators and new valves on all three tanks and went back to dumping as I used to (i.e. when you get an answer from the John in the form of a burp). Use no additives in any tanks but do the soap water travel-slouch routine every once in awhile. Added a whole 10-pound bag of ice to the black tank slouch mix once (something I saw recommend here) and then drove 400 miles before dumping. Didn't see any ice come out just lots of gunk I don't normally see. I keep telling myself that that worked so well I should do it again but so far I never have.

Happy tanks to you.

Later,

J

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B) do you recommend have your tanks professionally cleaned? How often would you recommend?

 

 

 

 

We had our tanks professionally cleaned a couple of years ago when we were experiencing problems getting the gray tank to drain. For those who say this is a waste of money, my suggestion is not to criticize something if you've never tried it. The cleaning by http://AllProWaterFlow.com involves the use of a pressure washer with extremely thin hoses and small nozzles that can be "threaded" into the tanks from the outside drain port. Using this the operator was able to remove large chunks of calcified material that had built up in the tank over its then ~10+ years of use.

 

The quantity of stuff removed was far greater than could have been removed by any other method IMO. Yes, calcified material will dissolve, slowly, in a strong solution of dishwasher detergent, but these golf ball size lumps would have needed quite a while to dissolve.

 

I don't think that professional cleaning is needed on a regular basis, but every couple of years it might make sense. Unfortunately, the franchisees for AllPro aren't located throughout the US and I don't know of any other competing services.

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If you do a good job of keeping your tanks clean you may never need a professional cleaning but if you abuse them you can end up with gunk that is going to be difficult to remove without serious effort and equipment.

 

A good tank flusher, one that goes down the toilet and blasts the sides and bottom of the black tank with a solid stream of water will do wonders in preventing buildup in the black tank, much better than most in-tank flushers. They won't work on all tanks but where they do work I'd use one.

 

The gray tank(s) need care too, a good flushing can remove a lot of buildup before it becomes a problem. For a kitchen tank that gets grease flushing with a big pan full of boiling water a couple times when parked followed by another pan and some good grease cutting soap left to slosh on your next move. Shower only tanks can benefit from the boiling flush and slosh method too.

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Less work and less money to just use plenty of water to keep everything submerged.

 

It's probably a matter of perspective. For a boondocker water is 'premium', and if you've ever spent a couple hours over your pooper working a wand trying to clear your tanks... to me, doing an ounce of prevention and having them clear cleanly each dump is well worth the few minutes and extra dollars.

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It's probably a matter of perspective. For a boondocker water is 'premium', and if you've ever spent a couple hours over your pooper working a wand trying to clear your tanks... to me, doing an ounce of prevention and having them clear cleanly each dump is well worth the few minutes and extra dollars.

You're right,I never thought about long-term boondockers most we've continuously dry-camped is 2 weeks.

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I like the Geo Method except for the need to sanitize my waste tanks......no need for that IMHO.

If you do that, you need to sanitize what is being put into them also! :P

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