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Old 01-26-2011, 05:35 PM   #1
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Yuck, black water overflow :o(

Have been camping at 3500' in Arizona for about 5 days. Every night it has dipped down to 29-30 degree's and during the daytime warms up to 65-70. I have not been disconnecting the fresh water hose and have not had any problems until last night. Seems it got a little bit colder, about 26 degree's and when I woke up there was no water. No big surprise. I turned on all the faucets and turned on the water pump. Everything inside the RV seemed fine except the water pump would not shut off. I left the pump off and opened the bathroom and kitchen faucets and waited for the hose to thaw. About 1 hour later the kitchen started flowing and it seemed ok. About another hour later I heard a pop noise and then I heard water flowing in the bathroom. I jumped up and ran inside, but too late, the toilet was over flowing. I flew outside to open the black tank valve and it drained out ok. After cleaning up the carpet in the bathroom, I now realize I am going to have to replace the flooring. Oh well, the flooring was 13 years old, too bad it still looked good until now.

It's a tough lesson to learn, but from now on I will disconnect the fresh water hose when night time temps dip under freezing. I still have no idea why the black water tank overflowed when the outside hose thawed out. I had drained the tank the day before, so I know it was nowhere near full. Maybe when the water pump turned on it forced water into the black tank somehow, but it was only on for about 30 seconds.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:15 PM   #2
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Strange story - I cannot imagine why the black tank overflowed, or why it somehow burst out of the toilet instead of going up the vent pipe to the roof. Did it actually break the flush valve in the toilet? If not, how did it get out?
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:24 PM   #3
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You didn't, by any chance, have the hose hooked to the black tank flush inlet by mistake.

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Old 01-26-2011, 08:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Strange story - I cannot imagine why the black tank overflowed, or why it somehow burst out of the toilet instead of going up the vent pipe to the roof. Did it actually break the flush valve in the toilet? If not, how did it get out?
I gave up trying to figure it out. It's possible the water went up the vent pipe a short ways then the pressure compromised the ball cock seal on the toilet. It has a Sealand model 910 toilet. The seal holds tight with water in the bowl, but it's not designed to hold pressure from underneath it. The seal lays on top of the ball cock, so water pressure from the other direction would just push the seal out of the way. Everything seems to be operating normally now, so can't find any valves or breakers that are not working.
I have been connected to city water (42 psi) all day and my black tank is still nearly empty.

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You didn't, by any chance, have the hose hooked to the black tank flush inlet by mistake.
I don't have a flush valve on the black tank (it's on my list to add one)
The only thing I can think of is if the city water has a check valve in between it and the black tank that somehow became frozen?
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:53 PM   #5
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Sometimes the shower or bathroom sink drains are connected to the black water tank to help even out the fill rates of the two tanks. Maybe you have one of the two configurations?
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:31 PM   #6
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Thanks Clay L,
Your right. I checked all sources and the bathroom sink is the only other drain that goes into the black tank.
Now I think I understand what happened. I left the kitchen and bathroom faucets on until the kitchen faucet was running. I went into the bathroom and found it was still not running, so I left it on. It must have started flowing unbeknownst to me. The pop noise I heard must have been the toilet seal popping open from the reverse water direction.
The rest is filthy history.

I was able to remove all the bathroom carpet today and disinfected the sub floor. Luckily it still looks OK. Next I will decide what type of flooring to look for.
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:53 PM   #7
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The Sum of All Fears




Why do lessons always seem to be so hard... and smelly... to learn?

Thanks for sharing and maybe helping one of us to learn something.

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Old 01-27-2011, 06:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
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...Next I will decide what type of flooring to look for.
Probably not carpet, huh?

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Old 01-27-2011, 06:23 PM   #9
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I'm not so sure about that.
If it wasn't for the carpet soaking up the overflow like a sponge, it could have easily gone into the hallway.
Tile would look nice, but if that ever happened again, it would go right into the hallway or under the bathroom walls into the bedroom.
I will give it a little time before I make a definite decision.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:30 PM   #10
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Finished the flooring today. For a couple different reasons I went with carpet.

1.) It's an older unit and I'm not willing to put in the time and expense of upgrading to tile.

2.) Carpet is cheap and I could do it myself.

I spent a total of $22.00 to complete the job. That alone makes me happy
but it actually came out great. A carpet installer sold me the carpet, padding and carpet tape (all remnants except the tape)
Spent 1/2 a day on it and surprised myself how nice it looks
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:57 PM   #11
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Glad you got it done. Hopefully, there will be no more "overflows".

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Old 02-12-2011, 10:36 PM   #12
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Why would the bathroom sink drain into the black tank?
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Why would the bathroom sink drain into the black tank?
I think there are different methods used for draining kitchen and bathroom sinks that vary by coach builder. It might be easier for the builder to make the shower and one sink drain into the grey tank and the other sink drain into the black tank. It could be simple economics, or there may be a reason like Clay L posted, to help balance out the amount of liquid going into each waste tank.
Whatever the reason, I found out first hand how important it is to know exactly how a particle rig is set up.
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:53 AM   #14
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Why would the bathroom sink drain into the black tank?
I'm on my third RV, from 3 different manufacturers, and they all have had that setup. One theory is that it ensures that a fair amount of liquid goes into your black tank, to help prevent the dreaded "pyramid building" phenomenon.
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