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Old 03-26-2011, 09:08 AM   #1
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Smile How best to clean ALL holding tanks??

Good Morning All,

The delivery of our "pre-enjoyed" Revolution is still scheduled for next week and when I have it in my driveway...or "dooryard" as they call it in Maine...I want to clean and disinfect all my tanks; freshwater, grey water, and black.

I have used a bleach solution to freshen my freshwater tanks every spring when I de-winterize, but can I use a similar process to clean the black and grey tanks. I want to start them off in our use as clean as possible.

Any advice or helpful hints???

Thanks again to all the experts who have consistently given me great advice.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:16 AM   #2
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Filling the black tank about 1/4 full and adding a couple of bags of ice cubes then driving around will scour the tank safely. I don't think bleach can hurt the grey and black holding tanks. Good luck and congratulations on your pre-enjoyed coach. We are former Mainers now fulltiming.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:21 AM   #3
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Yours should have a tank flush valve to flush either tank and they make a tank digester add to tank add water slosh and drain.
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:25 AM   #4
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Fill both black and gray tanks about 1/4 full of water then put 2 cups of dishwasher soap like Dawn in each tank. Drive around for at least 20 mins. turning and stopping to slush the water around in the tanks. Dump and do it again it necessary. You can look down through the toilet with a flashlight to see if the black tank is clean. Worked for me.
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:42 AM   #5
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I am not sure I'd want to disinfect the tanks but ... To clean them.

There are basically two ways.. hire a pro or the Geo Method

The Geo method is well described.. Some folks add ice but I don't.

Start by dumping if needed.

I use 1/2 cup each Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (Regular, NOT antibacterial) and Calgon Water softener,, Your choice of poweder or liquid. In my 36 gallon tanks I will add 5-6 gallons of water.

Then drive, drive, At least 50 miles.

Then dump again

When you do this the tank level indicators will indicate FULL, and FULL the tank is.. (As will be your dump hose) Full of SOAP BUBBLES.

As the bubbles pop over the next few days you will see the indicators go down, hopefully to empty.

OF course,, Unless you have some upgrade sensors,, they will false at usually 2/3 the next time you fill the tank.. this is normal.

Why not disinfect (Bleach water will do that by the way if you insist)

Bacterial action in the tank helps to break down the waste, actually IMPROVES sensor performance and controls odor. Killing the bacteria off won't improve performance of the system..
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:50 AM   #6
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IMHO all the above is good advice and at one time or another I've used them all. There's differing opinions on the wisdom of using bleach in the black/gray tanks. I've done it a few times but not regularly. If you do decide to use bleach don't let it sit in your tanks for very long because it will attack the rubber seals in your dump valves but I think it would have to be a pretty strong solution and would have to remain in the tank for a long period to do much harm.

Good luck...

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Old 03-26-2011, 11:31 AM   #7
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Wa8yxm,

Why will my sensors read full at only 2/3 fulls? Is this a permanent condition and is there any way to solve this? We plan on doing more boondocking in the new coach than ever before, and I would like to have accurate sensor readings on all tanks.

Thanks again for your postings.
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fansill View Post
Wa8yxm,

Why will my sensors read full at only 2/3 fulls? Is this a permanent condition and is there any way to solve this? We plan on doing more boondocking in the new coach than ever before, and I would like to have accurate sensor readings on all tanks.

Thanks again for your postings.
Install external sensors. That's probably the only way you'll get accurate readings. My rig has them and what a welcome change from what I had before
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:50 PM   #9
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hi Faith and Bob:

as mentioned...we use the Dawn soap and water, then drive method (we learn of this on one of the forums)

what we do on the day we are leaving the park;
- empty the grey & black tanks
- add the soap and water
- drove to our next destination
- once set up, drain the tanks
- voila!

this works for us
note - i would not use bleach as this can do damage!

regards, pdq
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:57 PM   #10
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PDQ - I certainly agree with avoiding bleach for the reasons you mentioned. I have recently started using ammonia . . .2/3 bolttle in black tank, remains in grey tank. add 2-3 gal of water in each tank and drive away. Next stop, drain. So far, it LOOKS like the sensors in the black tank are working, but only time will tell!! The theory is that the ammonia will clean all the collected grease from the tank walls and the sensors will be clean enough to be accurate...or so we hope.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:43 AM   #11
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I would never put bleach in my tanks, nor amonia. Although the black and gray tanks are not a septic system, they DO benefit from having active bacterial microbes. ,d the you dump the caustic mixture into a sewer/septic system... Best for the system to use a degreaser type detergent. And because of the concentration, avoid a germicide soap if possible. The original blue Dawn would be my choice.

But, other than using the tank flush system in my black tank, I have never "cleaned" my black or gray tank. They are WASTE tanks! I try to have some liquid in the tanks when driving rather than being totally empty. I replaced the tank sensors last year with Horst Miracle Probes. The original sensors were not coated or particularly dirty. The Horst sensors are much more accurate. The only "treatment/chemical" I ever put in my tanks is something biodegradeable that has coconut oil in it to lube the seals ...once or twice a year.

Oh, and I don't try to "clean" my dump hoses either, certainly not at the drinking water hydrant. I run a bit of clearer water through from the flush system, then drain the hose, compress it (easier if you use a Ramble, Rhino, etc), cap both ends, and stow it.
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:09 AM   #12
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Again; I have to side with the Owner's manuals here... bleach, ammonia, antibacterial products all kill the microbes that clean the tanks despite our efforts to kill em off !

READ THE DARNED BOOK FOLKS ! Homemade remedies only serve to destroy the microbes, damage the rubber or synthetic seals, and make life awful. Most owners who gripe about foul smells from the tanks most likely have outfoxed the manufacturer and outsmarted the chemists employed by tank treatment makers to their very own demise ! Common sense should apply here... all the "Extras" added to the tanks merely remove cash from your wallet and add only stink to your RV !!!
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:05 PM   #13
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I wouldn't worry about "disinfecting" black or gray tanks, since I don't plan to drink from them ... a good physical cleaning would suffice, using any of the methods above.

I use a little bleach (poured into the garden hose when filling the fresh tank) to disinfect it. I would never use bleach or ammonia on black or gray tanks, but most importantly in case some are not aware --

NEVER LET AMMONIA AND BLEACH COME IN CONTACT WITH EACH OTHER!!! I'll let some chemistry major explain why, but it has to do with releasing chlorine gas, with possibly deadly results.
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:16 PM   #14
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I add a cup of Calgon water softener to each tank and fill them with water. Usually leave for a couple of days and take rig for a run before emptying. This seems to keep the sensors clean, rubber seals soft and doesn't affect any bacterial systems. Been doing this once a year after de-winterizing... so far so good
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