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Do RV Holding Tank Temperatures Effect Odors and Clogs?

October 05, 2020

Do RV Holding Tank Temperatures Effect Odors and Clogs? Unique Camping + Marine

Many RVers enjoy camping in environments where temperatures can reach extraordinary highs, such as desert landscapes with magnificent rock arches. But even if you’re tucked away into a mountain glen, summer temps can rise quickly and sometimes unexpectedly, and as the temperature rises in your holding tank, so do odors. 

The fact is that tank temperature absolutely has an effect on odors and clogs. In this article, we’ll explore why this is the case and how to solve these issues!

High tank temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit will increase the likelihood of odors. The solutions to this problem are to 1) use more water and 2) possibly increase the dosage of your high-quality holding tank treatment.

Odors are definitely problem #1 when it comes to hot temperatures in your holding tank. Clogs can result as a secondary issue if you don’t implement the proper solutions, but typically odors will be your main issue. The reason is that heat increases energy, encouraging more gases to form as a result and those smelly vapors to rise up into your RV. Additionally, heat causes the population of odor-producing bacteria (anaerobic bacteria) to grow faster, which leads to the production of more disgusting hydrogen sulfide gases. (To view the source of this information, please touch or click the link included here!)

Instead of odor-producing anaerobic bacteria, you want to have odorless aerobic bacteria in your tank! These bacteria can be added to your tank via a high-quality holding tank treatment that will force anaerobic bacteria out of your tank and replace them with aerobic bacteria. (To learn more about anaerobic vs aerobic bacteria, please check out our article on Eliminating RV Holding Tank Odors.) Unlike anaerobic bacteria, which multiply in hotter temperatures, aerobic bacteria thrive in cooler environments (more on this below). If the aerobic bacteria in your tank can properly function and do their job, you will eliminate odors and decrease the possibility of running into any clogs. 

With all that preliminary information out of the way, there are two basic solutions to increased odors in hot temperatures that we’ve already mentioned: 1) use more water in your tank and 2) potentially increase the dose of your high-quality holding tank treatment. 

Solution #1: Use More Water

Using more water in your tank during hot spells is crucial to reducing odors. Water allows the aerobic bacteria in your high-quality holding tank treatment to work to the best of their ability. Aerobic bacteria need water to thrive. Water hydrates the bacteria and cools the tank, allowing the bacteria to properly break down waste without releasing odors. (Aerobic bacteria only release carbon dioxide and water as byproducts of waste breakdown!) As a secondary effect, when aerobic bacteria thrive in a water-rich environment, you will decrease your chances of running into a clog!


Water can also form a barrier between you and the waste inside your tank. Just like a p-trap on a toilet drain, which blocks odors from seeping up into your home, water can help keep any odors inside your holding tank where they belong!

Solution #2: Increase Your Treatment Dosage

Oftentimes, using more water will solve your situation, but if it doesn’t, you can consider increasing the dose of your high-quality holding tank treatment. This can help to infuse your tank with more aerobic bacteria, forcing smelly anaerobic bacteria out of your tank. We recommend that you use RV Digest-It, a product specially formulated to help reduce odors and break down waste with the best strains of aerobic bacteria and enzymes. 

For more troubleshooting solutions to odors, please see our comprehensive article, How to Fix RV Odors!

The Unique Method

Many RVers go through their RVing career without ever implementing the proper care procedures, and they wonder why they continuously run into odors and clogs. Today we’ve covered one of the pitfalls these RVers encounter, but there are many others. A comprehensive process for RV holding tank care will address all the issues an RVer is likely to face. 

That’s why we developed The Unique Method, an all-inclusive process for holding tank maintenance and care! The topic we’ve covered today corresponds to rule #6 of The Unique Method: keep your tank temperatures below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. While a crucial component of a comprehensive process, this rule is only one out of many. We encourage you to check out The Unique Method if you’re tired of dealing with nasty odors, frustrating clogs, and annoying misreading sensors and tank level gauges. While holding tank maintenance can seem overwhelming, we’ve boiled it down to the essentials and made it easy-to-understand and even easier to follow!

If you have any questions about this topic, please reach out to us at support@uniquemm.com. We’d love to help you clear up your issue!

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