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Old 09-13-2013, 10:46 AM   #57
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Smile Chlorine hard on gaskets and seals

Not only is chlorine hard on gaskets, it counteracts the common holding tank treatments. The common holding tank chemicals use enzymes to break down waste matter and neutralize odors. Adding bleach along with enzymes kills the enzymes so you then have nothing to break down the solids and diminish odors.

Unfortunately, many RVers don't give their holding tanks a second thought, (though they should). While some find that they're a complete mystery, others are unnecessarily obsessed by what may lurk in the murky and inaccessible recesses of their holding tanks. Holding tanks are part of the water system in our RVs. The fresh water tank holds potable, clean water for consumption while not hooked up to city water. gray water tanks handle drains from sinks and showers while the toilet flushes into the black water tank. The latter two are called holding tanks because that's their purpose - to hold the waste and sewage till both can be safely dumped. Their capacity is generally from 30 - 45 gallons each. The gray water drain is usually a 1-1/2 inch black ABS pipe with a slide valve to open and close it and the black water drain is a 3-inch ABS with its own slide valve. Both of these pipes drain at the 3-inch sewer connection on the lower driver's side of the RV. Some are located at the rear.
When connected up to the sewer in an RV park, you should keep the valves closed until you need to drain. This allows build-up of water in both tanks to help in drainage. Always drain the black water first followed by the gray water. Putting the gray water through last helps clean your sewer hose. Many newer RVs are equipped with enclosed, insulated and heated holding tanks which allows for three-season use with-out the worry of freeze up. An enclosed plumbing system underneath the RV also prevents accidental damage from road debris.
there are several more practical things you can do to ensure they work properly. An understanding of the RV toilet and when to drain the holding tank are two of the keys to avoiding this problem. RV toilets don't work like the commodes you're used to at home. There's no reservoir that releases a rush of gallons of water to flush when you push and release the handle.
In fact, with the RV toilet you must push the handle or pedal half way and hold, to let water into the bowl, then fully depress to open the valve and complete the flush. If you Just push and release to flush like at home, not enough water is let into the bowl to carry the paper and wastes cleanly away which may foul the toilet valve. This in turn, allows less water in the holding tank and results in solid matter quickly building up in the tank and on the sensors. RV toilets use a fraction of the water. This is by design to conserve water and holding tank space when not hooked up to city water and sewer connections. Always remember to employ the "two stage flush" in your RV.
More often than not we tend to drain the black water holding tank prematurely. I guess we have aversion to hauling "Black Waste" around in our shiny new RVs. Unfortunately, constantly dumping with the tank only one-quarter or one-half-full only increases the solid build-up problem. A tank that is only half-full has half the mass of water and solids behind it than one that is full. When you pull the valve to drain it, the evacuating pressure is only half as much and some solid matter will be left behind in the tank. The less in the tank to be dumped, the more difficult it is to completely drain it.
Time is another factor that affects material build-up in holding tanks. The shorter the time between dumps the more chance of a solid build-up problem. They are called "holding" tanks for a reason. The longer you can hold the material in the tank, (a few days to a week is optimal), the more opportunity for solids to be broken down, and the more waste water volume you'll have available to help clear the tank.
But using adequate water and letting the lank fill up as much possible is only half the story in combating solid build-up. The most important element of a successful assault and eventual victory is the regular use of a holding tank additive
stay away from chlorine unless you like to replace gaskets.

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Originally Posted by RickO View Post
I've heard about bleach doing this but I used Pinesol for several years with no problems.

Rick
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:16 PM   #58
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I suggest using Camco RV toilet treatment. Good stuff. You can get it at Walmart for about 5 buck a bottle. It completely eliminates odors, breaks down waste, and leaves the sewage system of your RV completely clean. About a 24 ounce bottle. It's the orange stuff. You only use 2 ounces for every 40 gallons of waste water. I was amazed how clean my system was the last time I emptied my tanks, unhooked and went on the road. This stuff really works.
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:31 PM   #59
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Old 09-19-2014, 10:27 AM   #60
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Smile Holding Tank Smell

We bought an older Motorhome and the tanks had not been cleaned at all... so we had to clean all tanks. Gray was easy it was just fill with dishwater etc and empty.Drinking water tank same thing.. the Black tank however was another matter. Not only did it stink but it constantly filled only about 1/3 of the way and we had to empty every couple of days.. We tried all those chemicals they sell, they didnt work. Most of what you guys have said to use we can't get here in Canada.. so I found this recipe and it has worked fine for us for almost a year.. See the problem was not just the waste but the water. We were told we needed a pressure reducing valve on our outside water intake tap but after months of not having any pressure for showers and dishes I convinced my husband to finally take that valve off. Wow, what difference. Not only in our showers but in our toilet!! With lots more water our tank is now working more efficiently and lasts for about 9 days before emtying it.. and it is odor free with our recipe all that time.. my recipe is as follows,

1/2 cup Pinesol
1cup of dry dishwashing powder
3tbsp of ammonia

mix in a gallon jug... add ingredients then add hot water to fill half the jug, shake well then add rest of hot water to fill .. each time you need to use for black tank add about two cups to toilet.. shake bottle well each time.. this always works for me and my tanks are over 20 years old now so they have been really abused over time..also ingredients for recipe last for a few months so very cheap really.


Remember make sure your toilet has plenty of water to flush with because that is half the battle with odors..
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Old 09-19-2014, 10:35 AM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stampedelady View Post
We bought an older Motorhome and the tanks had not been cleaned at all... so we had to clean all tanks. Gray was easy it was just fill with dishwater etc and empty.Drinking water tank same thing.. the Black tank however was another matter. Not only did it stink but it constantly filled only about 1/3 of the way and we had to empty every couple of days.. We tried all those chemicals they sell, they didnt work. Most of what you guys have said to use we can't get here in Canada.. so I found this recipe and it has worked fine for us for almost a year.. See the problem was not just the waste but the water. We were told we needed a pressure reducing valve on our outside water intake tap but after months of not having any pressure for showers and dishes I convinced my husband to finally take that valve off. Wow, what difference. Not only in our showers but in our toilet!! With lots more water our tank is now working more efficiently and lasts for about 9 days before emtying it.. and it is odor free with our recipe all that time.. my recipe is as follows,

1/2 cup Pinesol
1cup of dry dishwashing powder
3tbsp of ammonia

mix in a gallon jug... add ingredients then add hot water to fill half the jug, shake well then add rest of hot water to fill .. each time you need to use for black tank add about two cups to toilet.. shake bottle well each time.. this always works for me and my tanks are over 20 years old now so they have been really abused over time..also ingredients for recipe last for a few months so very cheap really.


Remember make sure your toilet has plenty of water to flush with because that is half the battle with odors..
Yuck!! Someone left poop in your pipe. Not very nice. The previous owner obviously didn't know how to take care of the black water tank very well. If you are hooked to city water you do really need a water pressure regulator so the high psi of the city water won't damage your RV plumbing. If your running off of a well you might be able to get away with not using the regulator.
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Old 09-19-2014, 11:45 PM   #62
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Yuck!! Someone left poop in your pipe. Not very nice. The previous owner obviously didn't know how to take care of the black water tank very well. If you are hooked to city water you do really need a water pressure regulator so the high psi of the city water won't damage your RV plumbing. If your running off of a well you might be able to get away with not using the regulator.
No they weren't very nice at all.. the whole Motorhome is a lemon but slowly we are getting everything fixed..and nope we don't need a regulator for water.. We are hooked to city water, no wells here in campgrounds..as I said tank is working great now.. no one here uses regulators.. only in the USA do travellers need them so they Americans tell me... thanks for info though..
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Old 09-20-2014, 11:37 PM   #63
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Smell from holding tanks

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Originally Posted by Stampedelady View Post
No they weren't very nice at all.. the whole Motorhome is a lemon but slowly we are getting everything fixed..and nope we don't need a regulator for water.. We are hooked to city water, no wells here in campgrounds..as I said tank is working great now.. no one here uses regulators.. only in the USA do travellers need them so they Americans tell me... thanks for info though..
If I can make a suggestion. If you are going to be taking it to dump station anytime in the soon future like I said. Stop by Walmart and get a bottle of the Camco toilet treatment I suggested in my earlier post. The orange bottle. Fill both holding tanks to 3/4 fill with water if obtainable. since you are dry camping this might require you to empty your fresh water for a night. Pour about 5 ounces of toilet treatment down both tanks and let the RV sit for 24 hours. Then take the RV to a dump station and flush about 120 gallons of water through both tanks. I mean really flush those tanks out. Then make sure you give the system a through flush every time your done using the RV. And as with all RViers, DON'T forget your toilet chemicals. It is an absolute necessity in the RV world to keep your Motorhome's sewer system working right. Flushing your system out really good will have it's rewards in the long run. the problem is it's a bummer because it means making a trip to the dump station about once a week. Don't know if this is of any help but it's the only sure fired suggestion I can offer that will eliminate your odor problem. Good Luck
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:54 AM   #64
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And as with all RViers, DON'T forget your toilet chemicals. It is an absolute necessity in the RV world to keep your Motorhome's sewer system working right. Flushing your system out really good will have it's rewards in the long run. the problem is it's a bummer because it means making a trip to the dump station about once a week. Don't know if this is of any help but it's the only sure fired suggestion I can offer that will eliminate your odor problem. Good Luck
Different strokes for different folks, but many of us have found that just using large amounts of fresh water flowing through our tanks is sufficient and that "toilet chemicals" aren't absolutely necessary.

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Old 09-21-2014, 08:57 AM   #65
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Different strokes for different folks, but many of us have found that just using large amounts of fresh water flowing through our tanks is sufficient and that "toilet chemicals" aren't absolutely necessary.



Rick

Same here. Once I was convinced to try it , I never went back.
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Old 09-21-2014, 03:33 PM   #66
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Different strokes for different folks, but many of us have found that just using large amounts of fresh water flowing through our tanks is sufficient and that "toilet chemicals" aren't absolutely necessary.

Rick
I have to agree with you on one thing. Keeping the system well flushed is the key, because without enough water toilet chemicals won't work either.


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Old 09-21-2014, 05:25 PM   #67
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Not only is chlorine hard on gaskets, it counteracts the common holding tank treatments. The common holding tank chemicals use enzymes to break down waste matter and neutralize odors. Adding bleach along with enzymes kills the enzymes so you then have nothing to break down the solids and diminish odors . . . stay away from chlorine unless you like to replace gaskets.
What "gaskets" would chlorine attack?
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Old 09-21-2014, 07:41 PM   #68
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What "gaskets" would chlorine attack?
You have several gaskets in your toilet. The fresh water supply line, ball valve, and the floor gasket. You also have a couple of gaskets on your fresh water pump. Your faucets. Not to mention all the seals in your hot water heater. So to clarify what he said you'd be surprised how many gaskets and seals keep your RV plumbing system from leaking on a daily basis. On newer RV's I have seen warning labels on appliances in the RV that warn against using abrasive chemicals in the plumbing system which states damage could result. My RV also has such warning labels. Here's an idea though. I have heard of many people using vinegar to sanitize the system. It's a popular option for people who are getting ready to winterize too. Just in case you are in question as to what is and what isn't safe for the plumbing . Vinegar is certainly non toxic and I really doubt it could cause any harm to your RV's plumbing or tanks. I don't have to winterize because I go to Arizona every winter. So How much you have to add I don't know? You'd have to ask someone in the forums who has done it before. So just in case your curious you might give it twirl.


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Old 09-21-2014, 07:48 PM   #69
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Scrub it out!!
Once you empty it, put about 3 gallons of water in it and about 30-40 pounds of ice, go for a nice long ride, more turns and bumps the better. I usually do this on my first stop when I get on the road. The ice will scrub the tank for you!
Once it all melts just drain it out.
Works like a charm
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:04 PM   #70
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You have several gaskets in your toilet. The fresh water supply line, ball valve, and the floor gasket. You also have a couple of gaskets on your fresh water pump. Your faucets. Not to mention all the seals in your hot water heater.
How many of these gaskets would be affected by dumping bleach in your toilet? or by dumping bleach down a sink or shower drain? None.

However, the gaskets you failed to mention are the gate valves used to empty the holding tanks:


Gate valve gaskets should be the most likely to be damaged by bleach because they're in constant direct contact with the liquid in the holding tanks.

However, the gaskets used in these valves are probably made of Santoprene which is not affected by bleach.

Finally, the plumbing lines in an RV are PEX or ABS, neither of which are affected by bleach. Holding tanks are polyethylene or ABS, neither of which are affected by bleach.

So feel free to use bleach in your holding tanks. BTW, it's also recommended to use bleach to disinfect your fresh water tanks.
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