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Old 05-10-2015, 01:18 PM   #1
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Need info on black water

We purchased a used 5th wheel and am learning as we go, because we did not get an owners manuals and little or no instructions from previous owners. My question is with the black water tank. If we are on the road and use the toilet should there be some water ran first? If there is a sewer hook up available, should the tank valve be kept closed and dumped all at once or should it drain as it is used? Thanks for the help. Bill
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Old 05-10-2015, 01:24 PM   #2
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Put at least a couple gallons of water in it each time. Leave closed till you dump. The grey tank can be left open while hooked up though.
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Old 05-10-2015, 01:29 PM   #3
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Never leave black tank completely empty. Always add a couple of gallons of water each time you dump the tanks. Wait until the tank is at least 2/3 full before dumping. Never leave the valve open when hooked to sewer.
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Old 05-10-2015, 01:31 PM   #4
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Opinions vary on black tank care but IMHO you should ALWAYS have some water in the tank at all times. This helps in voiding the brown mountain of death. Additionally I like use a couple oz of Dawn to break things down and avoid paper sticking the sides and messsing up the sensors. I do this as we break camp the ride home will "wash" the tank walls.
Do not leave your valves open when camping!
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Old 05-10-2015, 02:32 PM   #5
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After dumping the black tank I close the dump valve and let the flusher hose continue to put water in the tank for about 30 seconds. Not sure how many gallons that puts in. If your rig doesn't have the flusher that would be a great item to add on!
http://www.amazon.com/Camco-40123-Qu...s=rv+flush+kit

I would also highly recommend the clear 45-degree fitting to put between your dump outlet and the sewer hose. That lets you know when you have it clean! This one has the water hose connection that shoots water directly into the sewer outlet just in case something clogs it up!
Amazon.com: Valterra F02-4100 45 Degree Hydroflush With Removable Anti-siphon Valve: Automotive

I then add Happy Camper (no relation) tank treatment. We have been using this for 14 years and never had any odors. It does a great job of breaking down the waste! If you buy it in the 130 oz tub it's much less expensive!
Amazon.com: happy camper rv treatment
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Old 05-10-2015, 03:40 PM   #6
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The vast majority of rv newbies will assume that an rv toilet operates like the one they have at home. This assumption will lead to dastardly results. Keep in mind that your rv toilet will only have about a quart (or less) of water in the bowl (this keeps down the sloshing while traveling) whereas a home toilet will have at least 1-1/2 gallons of water...many have much more. The additional water in your home toilet provides a medium to insure the solids go down the pipe as designed and into the sewer or septic tank.

With an rv, the small amount of water is all that is needed (typically) to flush the toilet and contents to the black tank which is normally directly below the toilet (not always). However, being that the contents are not flushed further than the black tank and with the small amount of water used to flush it....the solids will go down the pipe and pile up on the bottom of the tank directly below the toilet. This is commonly known as the dreaded poop pyramid! Not Good!

So, as others have mentioned, always keep several "gallons" of water in your black tank so that the solids will NOT form a pyramid and will float (mostly) in the water that is all across the bottom of the black tank. Most of us will also (prior to flushing the toilet of solids), add water to the toilet bowl (half full, sometimes more) which will add even more water to the tank. Granted, this causes the tank to fill more quickly and you will have to drain it more often, but it will promote a healthy black tank that is free of pyramids.

And....obviously, if you leave the tank drain open to the rv park's sewer, the water will drain out of the black tank leaving the solids to do their nasty thing. So, ALWAYS keep your black tank drain closed until the tank is about 2/3 rds full before emptying it. In addition, if you have a black tank rinse device (garden hose connected to black tank), add even more water to the tank until 3/4 qtrs to full prior to draining. The more water....the better the drain operation will go.

I have mixed feelings about leaving the gray tank drain valve open as it will provide a direct connection to the sewer. Odors and bugs "may" find their way back up into your gray tank. I therefore, always keep my gray tank closed until I'm ready to dump. Once I dump my black tank, I will use the soapy water in my gray tank to back flush into my black tank. This helps in keeping the black tank free of solids and tp.

The clear connector recommended by HC above is a great recommendation. As for the chemicals he also recommended, I use only water and have had no odors or blockages in my rv's. However, to each his own.

Hope this helps

Ron
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Old 05-10-2015, 04:55 PM   #7
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If I am in a park for a long time I keep the gray open but loop the hose at some point to make a home made P-Trap. Then when my black hits 3/4 I close it and catch gray for a couple of days. After I dump the black and rinse it I use the gray to flush the hose. Then back to black closed and gray open. The ptrap stops flies etc from entering my gray tank. YMMV


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Old 05-10-2015, 05:21 PM   #8
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There are two books..one is The RV Book
The other The RV Owners handbook

I recommend ONE of them, either one,, but get one CW has the one Affinity group publishes (Woodalls Publication) Other RVdealers will have one or the other if they are big enough.

Both are Generic Owner's manuals and WILL answer many of your questions.
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Old 05-13-2015, 08:31 PM   #9
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Thank you for all of your responses. I would have replyed sooner but a terrible thing called work got in the way. I enjoyed the names for bad situations if things are not done properly. I am going to order the sewer fitting with wash out. When checking out Amazon I noticed they have a plasic sewer pipe support to give the hose grade. Have anyone tried these and are they worth buying. BTW, my camper does have the rinse out on the black tank. Thank you again for all of the help.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Playmor View Post
Thank you for all of your responses. I would have replyed sooner but a terrible thing called work got in the way. I enjoyed the names for bad situations if things are not done properly. I am going to order the sewer fitting with wash out. When checking out Amazon I noticed they have a plasic sewer pipe support to give the hose grade. Have anyone tried these and are they worth buying. BTW, my camper does have the rinse out on the black tank. Thank you again for all of the help.

Yep, you definitely need a sewer hose support of some kind!
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:34 PM   #11
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Welcome to the RV world Playmore. I do believe your specific questions have been answered so I will add no further. You could possibly get a manual for your RV by checking the manufacturers website. Many manufactures have their old manuals available for download.... Good reading when your filling the black tank.

Enjoy your RV.
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:52 PM   #12
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I'm feeling disagreeable. ;-)

We find the black tank and the gray tank fill more or less evenly. A full gray is a very good idea because it flushes the black contents down the pipe so there is minimal spillage and cleanup. For that reason I leave both closed. IMHO you would be better off starting out that way. If you find a reason to change then do it later.

The cutesy little elevation brackets are somewhat dependent on how long you plan on being somewhere vs how fast you fill your tanks. If you are setting up for a long stay they are nice. If you are traveling it is faster and less work just to dump the black then run a hand under the hose to raise it enough to let contents flow into the hole then dump the gray and repeat. I usually do the gray twice then uncouple, rinse out the hose, disconnect, rinse again and stow. All the elevators would add is something to take out, deploy, pack up and take up space in the latter case.

Several people already mentioned it but here it is again. It pays to keep the tanks wet and soapy. Calgon also has a good reputation for helping soften up any residue. When in storage I add water or water&antifreeze as part of the storage process. It off sets the water lost via the vents. ;-)

If you wonder how your tanks are doing it is very easy to dumo in a 1/4 tank or so worth of water with a generous load of detergent before a trip. That gives plenty of soak and slosh while still having the facility available. When you get to a campground dump as needed.
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:52 PM   #13
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1) more 'water' in both tanks at the time you are ready to dump is GOOD - gravity works best if there is a lot of weight and water 'pressure' behind it.
2) always keep BOTH valves CLOSED until you are ready to dump; this allow no sewer gases to seep up from the sewer to your living area when you flush the comode - you can also combat this by creating an 'S' trap in your sewer hose, like behind your residential comode and sinks, which holds water and prevents odors
3) when you are ready to flush tanks, run both your comode and sink for a few minutes first, then...
4) always flush BLACK tank until empty, THEN the gray tank, which cleans out your hoses as it exits
5) you rarely have to ever wash out your hose or your black tank since your gray water does a nice job itself
6) now flush the comode several times to 'wet' your black tank - and also to provide some 'sloshing' to help clean it while traveling
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