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Toilet Chemical, Technical, just not Electrical or Mechanical


oldjohnt

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This is technical but chemical (my worst subject) instead of electrical or mechanical but here goes as I didn't know where to post it.

 

TOILET CHEMICAL

 

Okay, I have used Thetford and Camco and Walex and a few others and cant say which is best so Im looking for opinions and experience on which DOES THE BEST JOB OF BREAKDOWN AND DECOMPOSITION OF PAPER AND WASTE. I can dry camp 7 days no problem and can push it to 11, but Im "full of it" after that and was wondering how Happy Camper or Rid X or other products may fare. Sure odor control is important, but digesting and breaking down waste is what Im most interested in. Opinions on the best product and why???????? I don't need to necessarily hear about the good or bad of formaldehyde or other products, just what product works best for say a 10 day stretch and Ive never used Happy Camper or Rid X so curious about them....

 

John T Wants to stay a Happy Camper for extended dry camp periods

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The key to successful use of an RV waste tank system is generous use of water. If you use enough of that you can usually get away with using just about any product on the market and even some home remedies. Use too little and nothing will prevent the solids from slowly building up in your tanks until you find yourself with a tank that will not drain. The vast majority of fulltimers that I have known over the years eventually come around to simply using water alone. If you feel that you must put some product into your tanks, at least choose one that is a bacterial product to enhance the natural action, rather than a bunch of chemicals.

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Been using Happy Camper for about 12 years now!... And just like using anything else!...Plenty of water in key!

 

After emptying and rinsing the black tank, I'll fill the commode full two times and flush. Then fill a third time to 3/4 and add two scoops of happy camper, take the bowl brush, mix it up, clean the bowl and flush... Finally, fill the bowl 1/4, rinse the brush & flush!... Tank is charged for use!

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For sure I always use plenty of water and have for yearssssssssssss. I haven't tried Happy Camper or the Rid X product made for RV's and wondered if anyone had experience with it. I cant tell any difference with Camco or Thetford or Walex. Any experience with those??????? Looking for the best digester out there moreso then simply odor control. I don't dump into my home septic system so that's not my issue.

 

John T

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Breaking down human waste is a function of the water -- not of any other stuff you put in the tank. Any human waste will dissolve in a matter of hours when placed in water. I'd suggest you try an experiment for yourself, but I'm not sure exactly how to accomplish that in a way you would enjoy.

 

I am one of those full timers who has used nothing but water for many years. I have a clear elbow on the drain, and I use a macerator much of the time. If there were any solids they would be apparent, but there are none - ever. And, as long as you use some toilet paper that dissolves without much agitation, it will be nothing but mush too. If you really feel you must put something in your holding tank, just drop in a couple dollar bills. That will cost about the same and eliminate a trip to the store to purchase the unnecessary chemicals. They will be the only things that won't dissolve by the time you dump.

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If you want to minimize your water use you can cut down on the amount of paper you flush by putting the less disgusting bits in a sealed container. That makes dumping a bit easier too.

 

For the rest of the time use plenty of water and nothing else and you will be fine.

 

Edit...

 

Forgot to mention testing your toilet paper to be sure it is RV tank friendly. Toss a dozen squares in a glass quart jar with 3 cups of water, let it soak for 5 minutes then shake it for 10 seconds. If it doesn't dissolve to fibers look for a different brand. I avoid RV toilet paper as it is not pleasant or sturdy where many other septic safe brands are far more pleasant and just as RV tank friendly.

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One other thing I've used in RV's which extends time before dumping is necessary, is a Thetford Electra Magic 85 (if I recall) Recirculating Toilet. Charge with 4 gallons of water, use it for 4 gallons, then dump the 8 gallons (1/2 water) when full down into the black holding tank. To help with odor control, instead of one chemical dose which is supposed to treat a 40 gallon holding tank, I always used two. With one half water (should be plenty) and like five times the chemical (2 packs for 8 instead of one pack for 40 gallons), odor control and decomposition worked fine, plus dry camping time before dumping was required was extended and half water to half crap lol seemed to be plenty. Its been years since I owned one but the one I had worked fine, although results may not be the same for others....

 

Sure, PLENTY of water and several flushes and dumps and refills and more flushes has always worked well for me, I've never had any problems, just wondering if anyone had any experience with happy Camper or the Rid X RV products. I may just give them a try out, nothing ventured nothing gained lol

 

THANKS YALL

 

John T

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I have read that the black water tanks on RVs are holding tanks and not a septic tank or system and that for most people the black

water is not in then long enough to break down. In your case with 7 or 11 days that may not be the case. We use Calgon water softner and laundry detergent

only.

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Chalk up another great learning experience to this wonderful site and all you folks that full time and share your wealth of knowledge!! Thanks for the info in this thread, I was under the assumption that you had to use the additives or the odor would be bad!!!

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Singwing12

 

"I was under the assumption that you had to use the additives or the odor would be bad!!!"

 

Actually if your toilet has a good bowl seal with some water retained in the bowl after flushing (along with proper tank venting), that should hasten the escape of gas and odors. However, most of the treatment products do provide some additional degree of odor masking at least. As I posted I've used several brands and cant say any one is better then the other. NOTE if using a recirculating toilet odor control is much more critical and in the one I owned the use of two doses or packs of chemical in 4 to 8 gallons of water and waste (versus one in a 40 gallon holding tank) did a decent job of controlling odor. If I can tell any significant improvement using Happy Camper (which I doubt as I use plenty of water anyway) I will let you know.

 

John T

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Some folks see an odor problem from tank air getting sucked into the rig, that can be pretty bad. Two usual sources, a roof fan sucking air into the rig but located too close to one of the tank roof vents, either black or gray as both can stink pretty bad. The second is up through the toilet which is usually caused by a vent fan blowing air out of the rig and creating a partial vacuum inside, when you flush you suck in air pulled up from the tank.

 

Another potential issue is air venting from the park's sewer system up your dump hose and out the toilet or roof vents. Keeping your dump valves closed will stop this as will making a P trap in your dump hose by putting a 1 pound sized coffee can under the hose just past where it exits the rig.

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We only use water. We can go 2 weeks on our black tank and there is no noticable odor unless we run the bathroom roof fan while flushing...that will bring some smells up.

 

I also have the clear elbow permanently mounted in the plumbing bay of the MH and all I ever see leaving is a slurry ...rarely do I see anything resembling a solid. I believe in doing a good rinse and use the rinsing jets built into the tank about 3 times or until I see relatively clear water going through that clear elbow.

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You really don't have to do anything to lubricate the dump valves other than keeping them wet. While wet any buildup on them remains soft and pliable and the valves operate as they should. It's when the valves dry out and the gunk on them becomes hard and crusty that makes them jam and leak.

 

After you dump, just add a full toilet bowl or two of water to the black tank - enough to fill the outlet pipe and keep the wet side of the valve wet. A little extra to wet the bottom of the tank under the toilet doesn't hurt either and lets the solids and paper spread out and dissolve instead of drying out and forming the dreaded black pyramid.

 

On the grey tank, flush a few cups of water down each drain after you close the dump valve. This ensures the P-traps under each sink and the shower stay full (sometimes they're sucked dry while emptying the tank) and the excess fills the grey tank outlet and makes sure it's valve stays wet

 

I've never felt the need to use chemicals in my holding tank, but if you do - start by adding enough water to fill the tank's outlet pipe and wet the floor of the tank, then add the chemical. If you don't all your chemicals will settle in the outlet pipe and won't migrate back into the tank until you've added enough content to raise the level above the bottom of the tank.

 

If you winterize the rig, add enough antifreeze to the black and grey tanks to keep the valves wet.

 

In over 20 years of RVing, I've yet to have to any dump valve problems - unless the RV had dried out valves when I bought it.

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OP-oldjohnt, What size is this tank and how many of you are using it that you only get 7-11 days per dump cycle? That info might be usefull in coming up with the solution. IE my black tank is I think 38-40 gal and I routinely get at least 14days or more. After I dump I start the next tank with 2 gal. of water. I use one of the clear dump fittings off the hook up to the hose so I can see how it is breaking down. I normally dump 2-3 gal. down the tank with tank valve open after dumping. Then I close the valve and add the 2 gal "starter" water. Forgot to mention that after all this I flush the hose by dumping the grey tank.

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Big Jim,

 

Not sure my exact tank size, (believe around 36 to 40??) but I USE A LOT OF FLUSH WATER which of course fills the blank tank sooner, but is a great method as far as tank maintenance and decomposition. Sure, you buy more time if you flush using less water, but Id rather be safe then sorry. I also have a clear fitting to observe the discharge and yes dump my grey last to help flush the hose. In nearly 40 years of camping I've never (knock on wood) had any clogging or build up or other black tank problems, but I use a lot of water and have used different brands of toilet chemical. Even though I never had a problem (always used plenty of water and chemical) I was just wondering if any of the gents here had experience with Happy Camper. One other thing Ive done after the initial dump when I then routinely re fill and dump again (more then one time) to help clean the tank, is to use very hot water when re filling the tank for the follow up fill and flush. I know if it aint broke don't fix it lol but always like to be safe and if there's a better method out there check it out on these RV forums where there's a world of experience.

 

Thanks Jim and all, happy travels

 

John T

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It looks like we do pretty much the same except for chemicals. I admit trying a couple early on in rv'g but never any more except when I have really hot weather I occaisionally use an odorant or sometime just add a little more. I use a pretty good amount of water because I use a little more paper than average for reasons I won't bore you with so I am cognizant of using enough water. I have only done a multiple dump and fill once last year when I had some tank damage that caused me to lose a good bit of the "liquid" in the tank when the tank wasn't very full. I did a multiple fill and dump then. I have never done a clean and flushout and so far have never had an issue. I am a single rv'r so I guess you just use more water than I do or if there are 2 or more of you in your rig that would make sense.

I have not used the Happy Camper and don't remember even hearing of it. I will be googling it shortly.

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Someone a while back introduced us to the Geo Method. I looked in to it and it made sense. Been using it ever since.......

It is mostly mythology, but as long as you use plenty of water it won't harm anything. I made contact with the technical side of the parent company of Calgon products several years ago and they were astounded at the claims of that inventor and declined any support for it.

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Q: How does RID-X® work?

 

A: RID-X® Septic Tank System Treatment contains billions of 100% natural active bacteria and enzymes to break down household waste. By adding RID-X®, you restore the delicate balance of beneficial bacterial and enzymes needed to help keep your system operating at full efficiency. Each box and bottle of RID-X® contains the following ingredients scientifically proven to break down household waste:

•Cellulase breaks down toilet paper, vegetable matter and some foods

•Lipase breaks down fats, oils and grease

•Protease breaks down proteins

•Amylase breaks down starches

 

>> BACK TO TOP

 

Q: How soon does RID-X® begin work?

 

A: The enzymes in RID-X® begin working as soon as they come in contact with water. The bacteria take 2-4 hours to germinate and then begin to break down solid waste. If the temperature and conditions are favorable, then the bacteria will multiply to the maximum level that the environment will allow in about 2-4 days. Since septic systems vary, the speed at which the bacteria and enzymes break down waste varies.

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RID X

 

I was under the impression Rid X had one product for home septic systems but another product designed for RV holding tank use, that correct????

 

Regardless I will continue my over 40 years practice to use plenty of water and re fills and flush outs when I dump, as that has worked and I don't see any harm in additional re fills and flushes to help clean the tanks, whatever I may learn about Happy Camper or Rid X for RV's lol

 

John T

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The only time we used RidX was when leaving or returning to our winter spot, we thought to give the tank a nice dose of bacteria to start it off in the fall and a farewell dose in the spring that could work through as much of the summer as it could.

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