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Old 03-14-2015, 01:37 AM   #1
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Cleaning The Black Tank!!!

Hello! Just arrived from picking up my new MH, I bought my rig at Colton RV and I drove it back to Phoenix AZ. My question once drain and clean the black tank if I'm not going to use the RV for a month or so do I just leave the tank empty?? Or do I leave it with water and chemicals while is not in use, I'm new at this and do not want to do the wrong thing! Thank You!!!
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:28 AM   #2
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Clean & drain.
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Old 03-14-2015, 03:25 AM   #3
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Black tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by TechWriter View Post
Clean & drain.
these seem to have more controversy than almost any topic.

There seems to be agreement that you don't want "caked up deposits" forming in the tank. People go back and forth on use of chemicals vs soap, etc. My view is to clean it as fully and as often as possible but always keep som liquid (water or antifreeze) in it to keep deposits from hardening. In other words I don't think you can ever get all deposits out even with cleaners and back spray devices. Personally I follow the "use soap frequently and not chemicals" approach.

You'll run into those who think the tank is like a septic and you keep "microbes" alive in it to decompose but it's really just a temporary holding tank so why try to use it with it full of "stuff" all of the time to allow it to break down. If it's aseptic you don't drain it every few days.

Similarly why use a lot of chemicals except as a last resort if keeping it washed and clean keeps the smell down. There are those who say soap creates a film that harms the ability to keep it from getting clean and to those I say "tell me exactly how you use your clothes or dish washer?" We, in fact, follow the plan of adding a cup of cheap soap regularly as we use it and that works well to keep any smell under control (and cleaning as we travel).

Maybe more than you wanted but mtcw.
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Old 03-14-2015, 05:25 AM   #4
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Here's what I've done for 13 years now, when I dump it I make sure that it's at least 2/3 full, you can just run water in it to achieve that, 2/3 or more full means it will purge better. Dump it. Put about four to six gallons of water in, during the last gallon put your chemical load of choice in. You do that last because if you do it first then the chemicals will end up in the drain pipe against the dump valve, depending on design.

You want a liquid layer on the floor to help prevent building a monument under the toilet, that's why we put 10%ish tank capacity in initially.

That's pretty much it. I now have a tank flusher, so every now and then once I dump it I'll leave the valve open and let it flush for 10 minutes or so.
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Old 03-14-2015, 05:40 AM   #5
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If you can dump the tank at home before heading out on an adventure than filling the tank will certainly be an option. Traveling with the extra water won't hurt anything except maybe a tenth or so decrease in fuel mileage with the added weight. Just leave some room in the tank for usage when traveling.

If your coach as an in tank flusher/sprayer capability getting the tank clean is a simple and usually an effective process after which you can just leave them dry or with a gallon of two of water which is what I do. The post dump/flush water will insure that the first use doesn't dry out on the bottom of the tank.

I don't use chemicals or anything else in my tank. Tank flusher system I installed has been very effective at getting stuff out that a gravity dump sometimes leaves behind.
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Old 03-14-2015, 05:40 AM   #6
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You will get many opinions on what's the correct way. I usually dump and then flush a couple bowls full of water with the chemicals in the tank. If I have a full hook up, I'll run the tank flush until I get clear water coming out.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:05 AM   #7
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I usually dump and then flush a couple bowls full of water with the chemicals in the tank. If I have a full hook up, I'll run the tank flush until I get clear water coming out.
That's what I do, but just try this; when you get to your next dump opportunity, check what is coming out even though you didn't use it since the last time. Most black tanks will retain considerable solids despite all the flushing. I think that a wand is the best for complete cleaning and I do use one at the end of the season.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:17 AM   #8
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A big concern about proper flushing, is keeping the "sensors" clean. Most "sensors" get coated with a wet film and that contact with water turns on the indicator lights. This is so frustrating. The lights say 3/4 full, yet it was just emptied. Proper flushing, and use of chemicals, can keep those sensors clean, and optimize the accuracy of the indicators.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:25 AM   #9
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I have never "cleaned" the black tank in our coach. Most of the time when dumping (when the tank is at least 2/3 full) I use the in-tank flush system, then add a few gallons of water after closing the dump valve before turning the flush system off. Traveling with an empty tank would tend to dry out any residue in the bottom of the tank, and the scum on the sides. I prefer to have sufficient liquid sloshing around that the natural air flow out the tank vent can't do much drying of the crud. Driving with sloshing liquid also helps to break up the solids. I heard a seminar presenter years ago suggest that dumping AFTER the drive to a new location would be better for the black tank than dumping BEFORE that drive ...made sense to me. Now that we are no longer full timing, I not only make sure there is sufficient liquid in the tank before parking the coach for an extended period, but I also use the system occasionally while the rig is "stored" because there is no bathroom facilities in my shop located right next to the rv location.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandcanyon View Post
Hello! Just arrived from picking up my new MH, I bought my rig at Colton RV and I drove it back to Phoenix AZ. My question once drain and clean the black tank if I'm not going to use the RV for a month or so do I just leave the tank empty?? Or do I leave it with water and chemicals while is not in use, I'm new at this and do not want to do the wrong thing! Thank You!!!

I would ALWAYS leave water and chemical in the tank, whether using it or not. I highly recommend the Happy Camper Tank Treatment (no relation). It is the best I have ever seen, money back satisfaction guarantee, and costs only about .50 per application if you buy in the larger containers.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:35 AM   #11
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We always have some water in the black tank with our tank treatment of choice when we are storing it. Even though we are vigilant about cleaning it out after each trip, there's no way to see what might have lingered and resisted the dump, rinse, dump, wash on the drive home, dump, rinse process we use. We don't want anything drying out and clumping up in there.
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:00 AM   #12
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Hello Friends! Thanks for all of your advice, once I dump on Monday I will clean the tank the best I can and I will add five or six gallons of water in the tank, as I live in Arizona and the temperature is already close to 90'F I do not want the tank getting dry before my next adventure! Again Thanks for all of your advice!
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:32 AM   #13
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I've been RV'ing since before they had toilets or septic tanks. I've always dumped when at least full or more. I've always used the chemicals. In that time I've never had a blockage or build up.
Now, on the Magna we just bought I've found that the previous owner didn't know much about taking care of the tanks and the black tank reads full if I add just a gallon or so of water. Since it has exterior sensors the tank must have a buildup and my two experiences dumping bear this out as I never did get "clear" water out. There was always residue coming out.
I plan on taking care of that as soon as Cummins gets the engine fixed and I can get it home. Luckily it's a straight drop into the tank so I'll have easy access through it.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:02 AM   #14
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I'll jump in here to add my 2 cents. We fulltime, so a few times a year I'll flush the black tank really well just before we're leaving to go to our next stop, at least until it's running clear. Then I'l add 5gal. or so of water, and dump some liquid laundry detergent in. The sloshing seems to do a pretty good job of cleaning, because when I get to our next stop, I'll flush the tank again, and the water that comes out is usually clear.
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