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Old 05-17-2015, 12:57 PM   #1
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Black water tank clogged....won't drain

Hey folks....

I'm a newbie to RV's and just started living fulltime in my Class A Forest River.

My black water tank is slowly filling up. The dump valve is open and the grey water drains fine, but not the black. I'm guessing it's clogged with toilet paper.

Should I not have been flushing the paper?

And what's a good way to open up the clog?

Thanks! :-)

Ron
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Old 05-17-2015, 01:12 PM   #2
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Your black valve should always remain closed. Only open to drain.
Do you have a tank flush system.

if you have left the valve open,you now have too much solid and not enough liquid.
Close the valve and insert a spray wand down the toilet and spray towards the drain.
Let the tank get full. Then open the valve and drain.
Make sure you get a clear fitting so you can see when the drain water is clear.
You can also fill the tank and add Calgon to help soften t he solid s before draining.

if this does not work, purchase a back flush fitting. It attaches to the drain, and allows you to attach a garden hose to force water into the tank to break the clog.
don't overflow your black tank.

Dan
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Old 05-17-2015, 01:15 PM   #3
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The black tank can easily clog , if the valve is left open , the liquids flow out and the solids, stick to the bottom of the tank and in the plumbing pipes.
To prevent this, ( after you get the present clog cleared ) always have the black drain valve closed , and put a few gallons of water into the tank after dumping; this keeps the solids off the bottom of the tank and starts to dissolve them, dump the tank every 3>4 days then add water again . Grey tank can be left closed and dumped after the black to flush the hose to the park sewer. You'll have to monitor levels till you figure a schedule .

For clearing your clog , you'll probably need one of these back flush fittings for your sewer hook up. Directions for use should come with the part.


Remember , don't use your drinking water hose to hook this up.


EDIT: I see Dan , types faster than I do. Everyone does.
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Old 05-17-2015, 02:14 PM   #4
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Thanks guys!

I closed the valves and added some RV toilet treatment for now. I will order the back flush fitting.

My black water tank is showing 2/3rds full but I don't see how that's possible since it's just me and I've been living in the RV for 9 days.

Is it worth getting the product that lifts the sewer hose off the ground?
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Old 05-17-2015, 02:21 PM   #5
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Ron Get your sewer line elevated. It helps with the flow and you don't develop any clogs in the middle of the hose. Plus it makes it easier to flush out when you pack up to go.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonInFlorida View Post
Thanks guys!

I closed the valves and added some RV toilet treatment for now. I will order the back flush fitting.

My black water tank is showing 2/3rds full but I don't see how that's possible since it's just me and I've been living in the RV for 9 days.

Is it worth getting the product that lifts the sewer hose off the ground?
3 things I know about plumbing,hot on left cold on right and poop runs down hill so if your sewer hose is going down hill it's not necessary to elevate it but it does help it run smoother. If its working right when you pull black valve it should come out like a fire hose then when it's finished pull grey to flush out hose. If you leave black opened or cracked it lets the liquids run off and leaves turd mounds.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:43 PM   #7
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Leaving the black tank open is a very common newbie mistake. RV toilets are not like home toilets due to the fact that with a home toilet you have at least a gallon and a half (sometimes up to 5 gals) of water to flush the solids and toilet paper down the pipe to the sewer or septic tank. With an rv, you only have about a quart (or less) of water which will only help the gravity flow of the solids down to the tank. Since the tank is much larger than a sewer pipe, the liquids will drain off and leave the solids where they lay. The solids will then hardened and also start to pile up (ever look down an outhouse toilet hole?) and create a pyramid. The pyramid will continue to build, reducing the available space in the tank, and will hardened into almost concrete.

Your best bet now would be to put as much water as you can in the black tank and put in some rid-x or other enzyme bacterial digester and let it set for a week.

Next time, leave the drain valves closed until tanks are almost full.

Good luck

Ron
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:05 PM   #8
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The other thing worth noting is that tank gauges are infamous for reading wrong. The probes are easy to contaminate with grease films and things like TP slime. The best approach is to figure out how to really clean the tank out and do it as needed. Part of that is adding detergent and maybe a water softener like Calgon to facilitate liquifying contents and getting them washed out. Here is one video to take a look at:
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:16 PM   #9
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Ron, be sure to check out some YouTube videos on black tank flushing.....in addition to the one just posted.
Good to get a visual of everything that folks said in this thread.

Dan
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:26 PM   #10
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This is the best one to backflush and clear the clog.
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:18 PM   #11
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Ron, I had a blackwater clog from hell when I bought a used GeorgieBoy 35' - Like yours, I could SEE the blackwater tank was FULL just by looking down in the toilet. Long story short, I very carefully prodded down the toilet to bust up whatever was clogging the bottom AND I jammed a high power hose nozzle on the end of my hose UP the drain as much as I could. This took NUMEROUS attempts, each time some would drain then stop...I kept at it until it FINALLY drained. Then I stuck the hose right down the toilet, put her on high and spun that hose all over the place. It was a red neck fix that took two days, ya, I got a bit messy but it's worked FINE ever since. FYI, We don't flush paper down our toilet.
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:20 PM   #12
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Flush the paper, you will be better off. Just buy the right paper and keep the slide valve closed.
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by nothermark View Post
Flush the paper, you will be better off. Just buy the right paper and keep the slide valve closed.
Right paper?
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:31 PM   #14
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To add to the wisdom on this thread; WATER is key to black tank health. Close that valve and use plenty of water- let the black tank fill until it is a minimum of 2/3 full, but try to get it all the way full before opening that dump valve (it will "burp" at you in an unmistakable way when its full to the tippy top).

Put a couple gallons of water in the black tank as soon as you've dumped- always keep water on the bottom.

Feel free to use toilet paper (Scott and Angel Soft do well in black tanks- no need to buy expensive RV TP) since it should break down into shreds within minutes- as long as you are using enough WATER.
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