RV Black Water Tank – 7 Things You Need To Know

Montreal Gazette

Every now and then, we’ve got to talk about the not-so-glamorous parts of RVing, like black water tanks. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s essentially an RV septic tank, designed to hold your waste.

While some motorhome owners prefer not to use their RV black water tank at all (instead, choosing to only camp in places with bathroom facilities), others praise it for its ability to give them their very own, private toilet in the comfort of their RV.

Today, we’re going to discuss 7 things you need to know about RV waste holding tanks, whether you’re a seasoned motorhome owner or new to the RVing game!

  1. Your RV Black Water Tank Needs Water

You know how your toilet at home is never without water sitting in the bowl? Well, this strategy applies to your RV black tank as well. Without water constantly sitting at the base of the tank, your waste’s odour will be more pungent, plus certain things may stick to the bottom of your tank, making them more difficult to remove (if you know what we mean…).

  1. Get Some RV Holding Tank Treatment

To further control your RV black water tanks’ odors and help break down its contents, we also recommend you add a holding tank chemical to it. These chemicals are environmentally-safe and can easily be purchased online (such as this popular organic version on Amazon).

  1. You Can Also Buy a Portable RV Waste Tank

What about those times you camp without sewer hookups for extended periods of time? This is where a portable RV waste tank comes in handy, as it allows you to empty the contents of your black water tank into an external tank, which you can then transport to a dump station. These portable tanks also come with wheels and a handle, making transportation simple and mess-free.

  1. RV Black Water Tank Cleaning

Many RVers believe that regularly emptying their tank is enough to keep it clean, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Along with always ensuring there’s water in your tank and adding holding chemicals to assist with breaking down the waste, you’ll also want to perform a thorough RV black water tank cleaning once a week. The materials used for a deep clean vary among RV owners, but the method usually stays the same: drain your waste tank completely before filling it ¾ full with fresh water and either a small amount of bleach or Pine-sol, or laundry soap. Then, drain the tank, before filling it ¾ full again with fresh water. Repeat this last step until the water runs clear.

  1. How to Empty Your RV Black Water Tank

They call this the unpleasant part, but when you have to empty your RV black water tank, it really is easy. Find an approved dumping area, then hook the waste hose to your RV (according to your manufacturer’s specs), before securing the other end to the dump station. Always empty your black water tank before your grey water tank, as the grey water can flush out any waste left in the hose.

  1. When to Empty Your RV Tank

Speaking of emptying your RV black water tank, the general rule of thumb is to wait until your tank is about two-thirds full before emptying it. Depending on how many people you’re traveling with, this might range between every two days, to just once per week.

  1. RV Black Tank Flush

Another way you can give your RV black tank a deep clean is to flush it. This removes waste and tissue build-up, both of which can cause clogging or interfere with the tank’s sensors. In order to flush your tank, you’ll need an RV black tank flush valve (like this one). Most RVs come with one already installed, but if you don’t have one, you can always add an after-market flush valve to your black water tank. A hose is then hooked up to this valve, where water can enter the tank and flush it out.

That wasn’t so bad, was it? Dealing with your RV black water tank is often a necessary part of RVing, but it doesn’t have to freak you out. With your newfound knowledge of all things ‘waste tank’, we hope you have the courage to go forth and enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of your RV (even when nature calls).

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