RV toilets are a little different than your average home toilet. They’re less powerful and using them on the road requires carrying your waste with you. Therefore, they come with their own set of challenges.
Most RV toilets are most commonly made by one of two makers – either Dometic or Thetford. Several other brands are out there, including some generic options. Purchasing parts and understanding the inner workings of your RV toilet plumbing will come down to which type of toilet you have.
How to Use an RV Toilet
Most toilets are either foot flush or hand flush. Flushing with the lever on the side will fill the toilet bowl with water then flush it all away through the hole as it opens. The foot flush has two levels. When you push the flush down part way, the bowl fills with water. When you push the pedal to the floor, the toilet opens up and flushes the waste away into the tank. RV toilets are equipped with RV toilet valves which seal off the black tank so odors are locked away.
The waste is held in what folks call a black tank. These tanks must be emptied regularly and there are approved sites and locations to do this. They’re typically found at campsites, but certain rest stops will have stations for waste dumping as well.
How to Remove an RV Toilet
Removing your toilet for replacement and repair is an easy task. First, you’ll want to disconnect your water lines. Make sure you have towels and buckets in place to catch any extra water that seeps out. You’ll then want to remove the toilet by loosening bolts securing it to the floor, then lifting up on the entire piece. On the underside of the toilet, you’ll find bolts which connect the bowl to the seat. There is an RV toilet seal between these two parts.
A separate seal, called an RV toilet flange, is the seal that keeps the toilet anchored into the floor of your RV. This part is easily found online and replaced should it have problems.
RV Toilet Parts and Replacements
One of the most common repairs your RV toilet will require is a new RV toilet seal. Common wear and tear will necessitate this repair, but it’s one of those tasks you can easily accomplish yourself without having to pay a professional.
First, you’ll want to purchase a replacement seal. These are commonly available online and most are universal fits. Seals can be replaced once the toilet has been removed and separated as described above. Seal kits are usually just $15 to $20 online.
Once reassembled you can test the toilet for leaks by reconnecting the water lines.
RV toilets are usually lower to the ground than toilets found in the home. This is an easy way to save space. But RV toilet risers are available to add a few inches to the tank so that taller individuals are able to sit comfortably. Seat risers are available online and can be added to the seat itself or to the base of the toilet. You can make this improvement on your own rather easily.
Cleaning your RV Toilet
Should you encounter an RV toilet smell, you might need to clean your black water valve. Some folks have found that an at-home remedy mixing Dawn soap and Calgon water softener will easily flush the smell right away. Commercial cleaners are also available.
You might also need to replace the RV toilet vent cap. Replace a vent cap with 360 siphons. This will pump the odors up out of the holding tanks and out of the RV before they can make your motorhome smell. This is another easy DIY method and parts can be found online.
Because RV toilets are weaker than average toilets, it may be difficult for the water to keep the bowl clean of solids and stains. RV toilet wands are used to spray pressurized water into the bowl for occasional cleaning. You can purchase these inexpensive upgrades online.
Emptying the black tank regularly will keep your toilet working and smelling fresh.
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