RV Black Water Tank Maintenance

Maintaining your RV’s “Black Water Tank” is one of the most daunting tasks for either the new or the most experienced RV’er. The black tank or “potty” water tank can be both difficult to empty and hard to determine when it has been emptied.

Let’s begin with tank usage. There are two styles of camping, full hookups and all others including: primitive, semi-modern, or even boon docking. With full hookups your campsite will provide you with a sewer connection. With the others you will need to take the RV to a sanitary station to drain the tank. In cases where it is not feasible to take the unit to the station (i.e. extended park stays) you can purchase what is called a honey wagon. This is a portable disposal tank on wheels. They come in various sizes.

This brings us back to the problems at hand. Black tanks constantly plug and the gauge that monitors the levels is notoriously incorrect. There are however a few things you can do to ease the pain.

Follow these tips:

Always dump your Black tank first, then your Gray tank. The gray water will have soap and also be a much more forceful flow to clean the hose. Follow by cleaning everything with water. Most sites have a special hose marked for this purpose.

Never empty the black water tank unless it is full or at least near full. This allows solids and tissues to partially break down. The tank will also flow out much better if there is sufficient force behind it. That means that if you are at a site with full hookups it is ok to hook up the hose but DO NOT open the flush valve until the tank is full. If the tank is not full, you can always add water to fill the tank sufficiently.

It is much better to leave your campground and head to another location before draining your tank. This will allow the solids in the tank to be agitated and break down while traveling. The rougher the road the better. The tank will then drain more easily. Another trick is to flush the left over ice from your cooler. This not only helps stir the tank but also aids in the cleaning of your tank sensor.

Never trust your tank sensor. And if, while draining, your tank is stops, that does not mean the tank is empty. Take it from me, THEY PLUG! Also never, I mean never try to unplug the drain from the valve without the hose attached. You will never do it again. One of the greatest gadgets in my arsenal of RV devices is called the “RV Hydro Flush”. This device goes between your tank valve and drain hose. It allows you to attach a water hose to the fitting. This gives you the ability to spray into the tank loosening any obstructions without ever removing the drain hose, thus keeping the flow directed toward the septic where it belongs. It is also made of clear plastic allowing you to see what is going on.

Larger RV units may have a spray system like the one described above built into the tank itself. There are aftermarket spray attachments you can buy if you would like to add one yourself. Keep in mind that you must be able to access the tank itself in order to add one of these.

Black tank treatment additives should be added every few days while the tank is in use. I have not found one type to be any better than the other in controlling odors. I personally like the liquid individual bottles for their ease of use.

Every so often you should rinse your system out. If you have a built-in sprayer that is a snap. If you do not, you can purchase a tank wand which will allow you to flush the tank and sensor out with water. Remember a clean tank is a happy tank.

Hope this eases some of the difficulties when it comes to the black tank.

Article Courtesy of : www.BugSmacker.com : Copyright © 2007

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