There are a number of ways that clogs can form in your RV black tank, but the most common mistake is that people forget to, or aren't in the habit of, following a few simple steps to keep their RV clog free. The following simple tips will save you hours of valuable time and potentially hundreds of dollars in service fees and man hours!
We get calls all the time from customers asking about this one simple issue. What it really comes down to is habits—making sure that you’re following the correct steps to ensure that you don't get clogs. By far, the biggest mistake people make is leaving their black tank valve open. This alone is the culprit for 50% of clog and odor issues. The other 50% comes from not using enough water and/or using an RV tank chemical that is counter-productive.
When you leave your black tank valve open, any liquid inside your holding tank drains out and all that you're left with is the solid waste. While it was in your tank, that liquid was helping to break down the waste and cover the odors. Without the liquid, pyramid plugs are common. In fact, this is how most pyramid plugs are formed.
For those of you who are unaware, a pyramid plug is literally a pile of poop that has accumulated inside your tank! Without the right tools, a pyramid plug can be one of the most difficult issues to fix. Many people don't realize that their black water holding tank is most likely flat across the bottom. This means that if there isn't a large amount of water for your poop and toilet paper to fall into, it simply lands on the bottom of the tank, eventually building up into a pyramid. Graphic, we know! But the reality is that this is a huge problem for far too many RVers who have been improperly instructed to leave their black tank valve open. The simple takeaway: keep your black tank valve closed!
You might be one of those campers who habitually leaves your black tank valve open and you've never experienced any problems. First, you're lucky! Second, our experience helping hundreds of frustrated RVers deal with clogs tells us that you're sitting on a ticking time bomb! It's probably only a matter of when you finally experience a clog, pyramid plug, or back-up. We strongly recommend that you change this habit while you're still ahead!
(note: make sure you read the full rules at the bottom of this blog post)
These are the basic steps, but let's get into this a little more.
Here’s why bacteria-based RV toilet products are your best choice for preventing clogs: they completely break down and liquefy solid waste. In essence, bacterial-based products leave nothing behind to clog your tank in the first place. If you are curious what that waste breakdown process looks like and why Unique products out-perform all other bacteria treatments on the market, click here. Many common RV tank treatments on the market today are strictly meant for treating odors and not waste. In fact, many treatment products even have ingredients (e.g., formaldehyde) that actually preserve solid waste by encapsulating the poop in your holding tank! Remember high school science class? That fetal pig you dissected was soaked in formaldehyde to preserve it! This clearly defeats the purpose of having a tank cleaner in the first place, especially since the goal is to digest the solids inside your tank and prevent clogs and odors.
When it comes to using bacteria-based holding tank treatments like RV Digest-It, there are a few tricks that you will need to know. Regulating your tank temperatures and staying away from caustic toilet cleaners are the two big ones. Although they can survive high heat and deep cold, bacteria are sensitive organisms, and it significantly affects their efficiency. To control this, heating or insulating your holding tank during winter months, increasing your treatment amount, and using extra water with each flush during summer months is crucial.
Note: Odors in your tank are caused by anaerobic bacteria, which come from your stomach. Anaerobic bacteria are different from aerobic bacteria—like you find in RV Digest-It. Anaerobic bacteria are unfortunately the more resilient of the two bacteria types. As a result, when you add chemicals to your tanks (in the form of toilet cleaners, deodorizers, or toilet treatments), you’ll most likely kill off all of the good aerobic bacteria first, since they tend to be less resilient, and leave only the bad anaerobic bacteria behind to make the smells in your RV unbearable. Simply put—don't do it! Avoid chemicals of all types if you truly want an odor-free RV experience! If you are interested, you can read more about this topic here.
Lucky for you, plenty of water—combined with RV Digest-It—is a match made in heaven! Ample water allows the bacteria in our product to reach all the waste that’s inside your tank. That way, instead of just dealing with clogs and odors as they come (and they will), you can just cut out the middle man and prevent them from being an issue in the first place. On top of helping prevent clogs, using enough water will keep those nasty tank odors under water and under control.
Preventing clogs is much easier than trying to unclog a backed-up holding tank. Not only is it expensive to hire a service to clean out your compacted tank, but it's frustrating and difficult if you don't have access to restroom facilities—or if you simply don't like using public toilets. After all, isn't having your own bathroom one of the luxuries of owning a camper or trailer?!
Preventing clogs is actually quite easy and painless. With a few simple adjustments to your holding tank habits, you can ensure a clog free RV in no time! This blog fits into the bigger picture of overall holding tank care and maintenance, part of a step by step guide we call The Unique Method. To learn how to maintain both your gray and black tanks and get the most out of your RV travels learn how to use The Unique Method.
If you do ever deal with a nasty clog, no worries! We’ve got your back! Unique Holding Tank Cleaner is a perfect, effective, and safe solution that will save you hundreds in service fees and charges. Plus, it comes with a satisfaction guarantee, so if it doesn't work, it’s on us! We hope this article has helped answer your tank clog questions! Feel free to email us if we missed anything or if you need help. We're always here for you!