RV black water tank is one of the quintessential installations. It serves an important purpose of holding and subsequently removing the unavoidable human waste from your recreation vehicle. As unpleasant and yucky the topic may be, you have to understand everything about an RV black water tank. No one wants a disaster in the making and there will be one if you are not familiar with an imperative component of your RV lifestyle.
RV Black Water Tank Guide
As integral as it is, you can avoid the whole premise of using or even having an RV black water tank. There are many people who prefer to camp in places that have private or public bathrooms. Having access to such facilities, even if it requires a short drive or hike may suffice for some people.
There can be more than one reason for preferring such access or facilities. Not everyone is comfortable dealing with an RV black water tank, especially emptying it from time to time. Many people simply prefer a more traditional bathroom than the compact one in a recreational vehicle. Some may not like the idea of using the bathroom in a vehicle that is so close to the living quarter, bedroom and kitchen.
It is as normal to not use an RV black water tank as it is to have one and use it every time. A solid and liquid waste holding tank should not only be emptied but also cleaned at regular intervals.
There are two types of tanks used in a recreational vehicle. These are gray and black water tanks. An RV gray water tank captures and holds the water drained down from the sinks and showers. This is also basically waste matter but mostly water and includes everything from dirt to residues of soap and other products. The choice of the word gray is because of the color of the waste. An RV black water tank captures or accumulates and holds waste from the toilet. The choice of the word black is owing to the obvious reason.
An RV black water tank holds liquid and solid waste. The gray tank rarely holds solid waste. Even if it does, it is inadvertent as some solid matter may get drained down the sink or during a shower. The RV black water tank holds human waste and also water that is flushed down the toilet. It also holds toilet paper. An RV black water tank should have a proper base.
The internal surface at the bottom of the tank cannot be bare. There is a reason why toilets have some water in them when not in use. The water prevents the waste from sticking to the material. The water also traps foul odor so it does not spread and contaminate the bathroom, possibly nearby rooms. This is crucial in case of a recreational vehicle as it is already small space and any odor will easily spread all around.
An RV black water tank should not only have some water at the base but also some chemicals. There are many types of chemicals available today. These are mostly in the form of liquid and they can be flushed down the toilet without any waste to accumulate at the base of the tank. These chemicals serve two important purposes. You do not have to use more than one suitable chemical for both functions.
The first function of the chemical is to facilitate the breakdown of human waste, including solid and liquid matter, and other materials such as toilet paper. The second function is to ensure the odor does not spread beyond the tank, up the drainpipe and through the toilet upwards to contaminate the bathroom. You may choose chemicals that can not only treat the waste but also have some scent to combat the problem of odor. You can choose eco-friendly chemicals these days.
The most challenging aspect of an RV black water tank is emptying it. This is unavoidable. Unless you have the money to pay a technician to service your entire recreational vehicle including the emptying of the tank, you have to do it yourself and it can be quite an unpleasant experience if you do not have the know-how.
First, you should find a place where you are legally permitted to dump the waste from the tank. You will need a waste hose that should be connected to the tank in your recreational vehicle. Every manufacturer has a recommended waste hose for their tanks. You must not use any incompatible hose. Else, a disaster is waiting to happen. Choose a dump station and then set up the waste hose, securing it properly and double-checking the apparatus to ensure it is absolutely fine.
Your recreational vehicle will need a gray water tank, regardless of your preference of using or not using the toilet facility and hence having or not having the black water tank. The gray water tank must also be emptied from time to time. You can empty the gray water tank at every dump station where the black water tank can be emptied.
You should empty both the tanks at the dump station whenever you swing by one or when you know the tanks are sufficiently loaded. Always empty the RV black water tank before the gray water tank. The actual act of emptying is quite simple really. Secure the hose and then open the valve that will let the waste out. Close the same valve after the black water tank has been emptied and then turn on the valve of the gray water tank.
You may wonder why the RV black water tank should be emptied before. This is to use the comparatively cleaner water out of the gray water tank to flush out any waste that may remain in the hose. The gray water is definitely going to be cleaner than the black solid and liquid waste.
A bit of this waste getting stuck or lining the inside of the hose is not only natural but also obvious. Since gray water tank has mostly water, it is emptied quickly and the waste gushes out so to speak. This pressured emptying gets to wash the inside of the hose to a large extent.
This does not mean you do not have to flush the RV black water tank. You must clean and flush it after emptying the tank. There is a possibility of some leftover waste in the tank. Some of the waste may clog parts of the tank. All modern tanks have sensors indicating if they are nearly or completely full. These sensors may not work properly if you do not clean and flush the RV black water tank.
Flushing is also crucial to avoid a buildup of waste that may not get emptied on its own. Your recreational vehicle may have a valve that can be used to flush the black water tank. You will have to use a hose and a rinse valve will run water through it to flush the entire tank. This is the simpler way to flush an RV black water tank.
Your recreational vehicle may not have a flush and rinse valve. You can install one if you want. There is no dearth of aftermarket options to upgrade. Ideally, you should have the flush valve as this feature can make life simpler, easier and more comfortable. If you cannot have a flush valve for whatever reason, the only other options is manual cleaning. You cannot avoid cleaning and flushing the RV black water tank. You may get a professional specializing in it to do the job.
Some of the companies that make RV black water tank also manufacture cleaning essentials. There are hoses, extensions and rinsing tools. You can use some of these products to clean and flush your RV black water tank. Make sure you have a reliable source of water.
The water supply should have sufficient pressure to effectively clean and flush the tank. You need to clean the entire tank, not just the base. The sides and the top of the chamber must also be cleaned effectively. The water has to be sprayed at a substantial pressure to scrape waste off the surface.
You will have to empty the tank again after you have cleaned and flushed it. This will again require you to drive over to a dump station unless you are doing the cleaning and flushing then and thereafter emptying the tank and getting rid of the waste the first time. There are times when recreational vehicles are on a long exploration and the tanks cannot be emptied anywhere due to lack of access to sewer hookups or dump stations.
This necessitates using a portable waste tank. Such waste tanks are basically a backup. You can empty the RV black water tank and the gray water tank into the portable waste tanks and they can be dumped at appropriate places. These tanks come with wheels so they can be moved around to get to the dumpsite.
Some other options are Custom Roto-Molding H42 RV Holding Tank, RecPro Fresh and Gray Water Holding Tank and Icon 437 Bottom Drain Holding Tank.