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Why It's Crucial To Keep Your RV Black Water Valve Closed

October 02, 2020

Why its important to keep your black tank valve closed, prevent clogs and odors! Unique Camping + Marine

Your black tank valve can be the source of much RVing hardship if it’s used incorrectly! Most people don’t fully realize just how crucial it is to keep your black tank valve closed during regular RV use. In fact, you should only open your black tank valve when you dump your tank. 

In the interests of putting this question to rest, this short article will lay out exactly what can happen if you don’t keep your black tank valve closed.

An Open Black Tank Valve Can Cause A Pyramid Plug

A pyramid plug forms when all the water runs out of your black tank (because your valve was left open!), leaving only solid waste behind. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. With no water left in your tank, nothing will break up the solid waste. During regular use (with your valve closed), water sloshes around inside your tank, keeping waste from coagulating. But without water, the waste will slowly build up into a pyramid until the top of the pyramid is blocking your toilet! (To learn more about pyramid plugs, how to prevent them, and how to fix one if you already have it, check out our article, What Is An RV Pyramid Plug?)

An Open Black Tank Valve Will Leave Solid Waste In Your Holding Tank

Most RVers understand that they need to use some sort of holding tank treatment to keep waste liquified. Here at Unique Camping + Marine, we recommend that you use a high-quality, bacteria + enzyme product like RV Digest-It, which will break down waste while eliminating odors at the same time. But the catch is that a high-quality, bacteria + enzyme holding tank treatment must be able to reach all the waste inside your tank. By keeping your black tank valve closed during regular use and adding ample amounts of water to your tank, you will allow your bacteria + enzyme product to reach and break down all the waste inside your tank, preventing pyramid plugs altogether!

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An Open Black Tank Valve Will Likely Cause Disgusting Odors.

Dealing with nasty odors in an RV is one of the most common and frustrating complications RVers run into when out on the road. This problem has even caused some RVers to throw up their hands in despair, believing that there is no fully workable solution to odor problems. Like we’ve mentioned a few times in this article, using ample amounts of water is crucial to proper black tank care. In addition to breaking up waste in your black tank and allowing your holding tank treatment to reach all the waste, using plenty of water will help suppress odors by creating a water barrier between those odors and you and allowing your high-quality, bacteria + enzyme holding tank treatment to eliminate odors. But in order to hold enough water in your black tank, you must keep your black tank valve closed during regular use!

By keeping your valve closed, you will make sure that all the water stays in your tank, preventing the waste from drying out and causing disgusting odors.

(Note: Holding tank products that use aerobic bacteria + enzymes are the most effective all-round solution for both odors and clogs. To learn more about the types of bacteria out there, please check out our article, Eliminating Holding Tank Odors in Your RV.) 

The Unique Method

This article has framed these issues from the negative perspective, showing what can happen if you keep your black tank valve open during regular use. But of course the root solution is very simple: keep your black tank valve closed during regular use!

As you can see, keeping your waste valve closed absolutely crucial, which is why we’ve incorporated it into our comprehensive guide for RVing, The Unique Method. In fact, the question we’ve answered today corresponds to rule #1 of The Unique Method and informs all the rules and tips that follow. The Unique Method is simple, easy-to-follow, practical, and worthwhile, virtually eliminating all toilet and tank clogs, nasty odors, and annoying misreading sensors. If you’re tired of tank issues while RVing, we encourage you to check out The Unique Method today!

If you have any further questions, please reach out to us at We’d love to help you out!

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