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GEO method for black tanks

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I keep seeing about the GEO method of keeping black tanks (specifically sensors) clean.

I'm not clear on what to do do after adding the calgon water softener and Dawn. Do I fill the tank up the rest of the way with water and let sit for awhile, or just add the Dawn and Calgon, then proceed to use normally until time to dump again?

Looking forward to trying this as our sensors are useless.

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just add the Dawn and Calgon, then proceed to use normally until time to dump again?

 

Exactly. Although it will help to keep your sensors clean, it's not meant as a method to clean already fouled sensors. For that you may need to get in there with a pressure wand, fill your black tank with hot water and let it sit for any solid material to loosen and dissolve or a combination of both.

 

That being said.. fouled sensors are going to be an ongoing issue and they really aren't all that necessary. As you get used to your "facilities" you'll be able to hear the change in flush noises that will key you to your black tanks fill level.. or like many.. I use the "burp" method. When you flush and your tank "burps" back and releases a little sewer gas .. it's time to dump.

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I have used the GEO method a number of times. Not long after dumping and using the tank again the sensors won't read correctly. It is just the nature of the beast. Best bet is to pay attention to what time frame you need between dumps and dump accordingly.

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The "Geo method" myth has been around for a long time and has been promoted by the invertor, Charles Bruni. He is also a promoter of several other causes on his website and can get pretty ugly when he discovers those of us who are doubters. Because of that, several years ago I contacted the chemists at Calgon just to ask about his method. In return I got a 3 page letter denying any claim to his process working and explaining the illogical theory of his claims. Basically they state that their product softens water by causing the minerals in it to solidify and settle to the bottom, not disappear. The one thing he says that is absolutely valid is the use of generous amounts of water in your tanks. With water being the universal solvent of nature, if you use enough of it, you can probably get away with adding just about anything to your tanks.

 

Most of the fulltimers that I have known over the years, eventually come to realize that if you use ample flushing water and never empty a tank at less than half full, you are just wasting your money dumping any kind of chemicals into the waste tanks. The problem of your tank level indications is not what you put into the tanks but the poor design of the cheap level indications used by the RV industry. There are systems that will work, such as the one from SeeLevel but most manufacturers are too cheap to use them. The technology used by them has been around since the 1960's but it costs more than what most RV builders are willing to use. Most of us just learn how often to dump and ignore the junk level indicators. They work for the fresh water, but not waste and the battery meter in most RVs is very little better.

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Just my experience. I have the cheap sensors in my RV. I've been full-timing for over 8 years in my current RV and the tank level indicators are still accurate and operational.

 

I wash dishes twice a day, so perhaps running all that dishwashing liquid through the gray tank keeps those sensors operational.

 

Regarding the black tank, as Kirk says above, I use lot's of water with each flush. I also put as little paper as practical into the tank. I never dump the black tank unless almost full and then give a good flushing using the black tank flushing system.

 

I don't use the Geo method, but I don't see how it can hurt anything. The Dawn will certainly help loosen any grease. In the long run, though, I think using lot's of water and having a good flushing system is the secret. If I bought a new RV which didn't have a black tank flushing system installed, that would be one of the first things I would add.

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100% what Kirk said!

 

Also on many RV's you can look straight down the toilet and see the water/waste level in the tank. Turn off the water pump or outside water valve and open the toilet flapper, then using a flashlight look down to see the water level.

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As a chemist please let me say that Kirk is correct - water is the answer. Next time you empty the black tank, if you are traveling right afterwards, through a bag of ice down the toilet, some water, and get on your way. The ice will bounce around, helping to dislodge any particles clinging to the tank walls and then melt, leaving you with an adequate base to start at your next stop. You will learn the 'burp' and don't dump until then.

 

If you use a dish pan to wash dishes, every once in a while (after checking to make sure you spoons are still in the pan) dump the pan of dishwater into the toilet. I also pour some vinegar into the toilet, let it sit for a while before flushing so that the vinegar works down onto the seals. This will help dissolve any calcium carbonate on the seals. For scrubbing, I like to use baking soda, helps remove scale and is a good buffer for your tank. Baking soda down the sink drains will help keep traps 'sweet', and of course boiling water drained from pasta also helps removal grease from the traps.

 

The key for everything is to use plenty of water, keep the valves closed until dumping, and don't dump until over 1/2 full - the fullter the better.

 

Barb

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through a bag of ice down the toilet, some water, and get on your way.

 

I'm assuming that's "throw". ;)

 

I won't comment on the Geo method. Some swear by it, some think it's a crock. I don't know if I would trust a MFG of a product to condone or support it's use for anything other than what it was intended.. but to each their own.

 

The ice thing though I would call "myth". Here's one fella that did a "rough" test and did a short and sweet right-up. He brought up some interesting points that if you DO want to give it a try... you might want to bear in mind.

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Woah. I was just sharing some thoughts and linked a video that maybe might help people decide if it was worth it for them. When I first heard about the ice idea, I thought hey that might work and it certainly isn't going to hurt anything. I just wanted to share a video that actually shows what happens with ice in a tank. I didn't say anything negative at all. In fact everything you shared about the water being the key I agree with.

 

Man this site can be jumpy when people share something that doesn't go with the flow of others. I always go with the idea that it's best to educate yourself as much as possible on all the possibilities and see what works for you.

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Whenever we move after sitting for awhile, after emptying the black water tank I add 2 packets of dish washer soap packets and flush 5 gallons of water down the toilet. This will slosh around the tank while traveling and if I dump when I reach our next stop, the water comes out pretty nasty. This was even after using the flush wand during the first dump until the water ran out clear. I also leave our dump valves open when we have FHU and have not had any problems in 4 years now. Our Cameo tank monitors are useless.

Greg

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Leaving the black tank valve open when FHU is a huge mistake. You will end up with some nasty piles of poop in your tank that will eventually harden and be extremly difficult to get out. A friend did that and had real issues.

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Leaving the black tank valve open when FHU is a huge mistake.

While there may be exceptions, most of us agree with this view. The reason is that your waste empties into tanks and they are not designed to flow the way that a sewer line does and so the water can flow out too quickly, leaving solids and paper behind. If that builds up over time it will eventually harden and become nearly permanent inside of the tank and cause dumping problems.

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If that builds up over time it will eventually harden and become nearly permanent inside of the tank and cause dumping problems.

 

While camp hosting, I had the pleasure to assist in clearing a black tank on a three month old 5er. It seems that the newbe owner was not given direction by the dealership (no surprise there). So, upon completion of our dark task, we went over all the proper procedures and gave explanation for every why, how and what for. Isn't sharing our knowledge and experiences a wonderful thing?

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Whenever we move after sitting for awhile, after emptying the black water tank I add 2 packets of dish washer soap packets and flush 5 gallons of water down the toilet. This will slosh around the tank while traveling and if I dump when I reach our next stop, the water comes out pretty nasty. Greg

yo

 

The dishwasher soap works well for us. On two occasions our black tank flusher became clogged and we found that a couple of cups or generic dishwasher detergent, a half tank of warm water and a day or two of travel solved the problem.

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Yes, I always leave the valves open with FHU's. That being said, no paper products go into the tanks either. We usually park for 2 months and then move 2-3 days for up to a 1000 miles. I do use the soap packet during one of the day's travel. My thought is the tank is sloped to drain and any waste will wash on through as long as it's not sticky wet paper. Just like a piping system in a house, the tank is just an oversized pipe in the system. I know this is against what we have been told, but so far no problems in 4+ years full timing.

Greg

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Just like a piping system in a house, the tank is just an oversized pipe in the system.

 

Not exactly. In a house, you have a 3" or 4" pipe with 2 to 5 gallons of water rushing through with each flush. In an RV, you have a much larger tank with a quart or two of water with each flush. That extra size of the tank allows the water to go around the solids while draining.

 

Glad it's working for you, but I wouldn't try it.

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Greg, when you come back to ask how to deal with the Giant Pyramid of Doom we will resist the temptation to say "we told you so" because it isn't a matter of 'will it happen' if you keep leaving the black tank open all of the time, but rather of 'when', not to mention the problem of fecal flies and how to combat them because you have the tanks open.

 

There are literally decades of experience here and we've all met people who ended up having to have tanks worked on at huge costs because someone new to RVing didn't listen the words of those with a lot of experience. We can have a debate on the gray tank (we're one of those that keep the tank closed, but that is an entirely different problem than the black tank. I hope you have a repair account set up and are contributing to it because you could be looking at a hefty repair charge for not keeping the valve closed until the tank was 2/3 full.

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I knew I would be flamed for this, but 4+ years and still running can't be all bad. Thanks for the concern about the repair cost, but there is nothing on this camper I can't repair or fix myself, so any labor is zero cost. Dropping a waste tank is well within my capabilities for repair or replacement, but I repeat, so far no problems and for 4 years I have not had any issues. Just be sensible about what goes in the tank.

Greg

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Yup.

 

Flush with lots of water.

Dump when full.

I try to dump while on the road and all is "in suspension"......

Drive with at least 1/4 full, clean water is good.

Don't add ANYTHING.

Edited by oscarvan

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