What Is An RV Pyramid Plug?

  • 4 min read

Article 3 of 8 in Series: RV Toilet Clogs

Read series from the beginning

Key Points:

  • A pyramid plug is a literal pyramid of poop and toilet paper that starts building on the tank floor and eventually blocks the bottom of the toilet line.
  • Pyramid plugs are typically caused by leaving the black tank valve open.
  • Pyramid plugs share the same symptoms as a blocked plumbing line that connects the toilet to the black tank, so be sure you identify the type of clog before taking steps to clear it.
  • Clearing a pyramid plug can be accomplished by following our easy instructional steps.

We've all experienced a toilet clog at home. Even a simple plunge is something no one ever wants to deal with. In an RV, clogs can form into a whole other shape of annoying, specifically the shape of a pyramid. Yes, the name pyramid plug is an accurately descriptive name; perhaps even more appropriate: poop pyramid. It's the most typical RV toilet clog that plagues hook-up campers who leave their black water valve open. Even if you leave your black valve open on an occasional basis, a poop pyramid can get a foothold in your tank. In this guide, we'll describe exactly what a pyramid plug is, how it forms, and will provide resources so you can diagnose and unclog your RV holding tank if it ever becomes a problem.


What is a Pyramid Plug and How Does It Develop?

A pyramid plug is literally a pyramid of poop and toilet paper that builds up right underneath your toilet line. This usually happens when hook-up campers leave their black water valve open thinking all the waste will automatically flow right into the sewer. The problem is that most RVs have a relatively flat-bottomed black tank; if the black valve is open, any liquid that is added trickles out leaving a nearly dry tank, which means solid waste that is added starts piling up right under the toilet line. Because there’s no liquid in the tank, the solid waste has no way to easily slide out of a flat-bottomed tank. Toilet paper mixed in with the solid waste acts as a binding agent and helps the pile stay intact so that it continues building higher and higher until it is touching the toilet line and blocking the addition of anything (even liquid) to the tank.

Diagram of RV Pyramid Plug | Unique Camping + Marine

Clearing pyramid plugs doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful when using a bacteria and enzyme cleaner (like Unique Tank Cleaner), but you need to be sure about exactly what kind of clog you have. Sometimes you don't have a pyramid plug at all; a blocked toilet line shares the same symptoms, but there are different unclogging steps to take depending on the type of clog.


Diagnosing a Pyramid Plug

You may think you have a poop pyramid, but as we said in the previous article, a blocked toilet line shares the same symptoms as a pyramid plug and requires a different method for clearing it. Use the diagnosis tool below to confirm you have a pyramid plug or determine you have a different problem.

Add water to your black tank through your RV toilet bowl.

  • If the water quickly collects in the toilet bowl and you have left your black water valve open for any period of time, you probably have a pyramid plug
  • If the water quickly collects in the toilet bowl and you have kept your black water valve CLOSED, you probably have a blocked toilet line.

    Note: For more information on identifying the type of clog you have, refer to our guide, What Kind of RV Clog Do I Have?


Clearing a Pyramid Plug

So, you are sure that you have a pyramid plug and are wondering what you can do to get rid of it? When you use our easy-to-follow steps and Unique Tank Cleaner, knocking out a poop pyramid is not complicated or stressful. Refer to the Clearing a Pyramid Plug section in our guide on Clearing RV Toilet Clogs. And as always, if you are having trouble resolving your RV toilet clog issue after following our guide, contact us any time for assistance!


Review

Poop pyramids don’t have to be that thing you fear while enjoying your RV if you just remember a few things from this article:

  • A pyramid plug is a literal pyramid of poop and toilet paper that blocks the bottom of the toilet line, and it forms when there’s no liquid in your tank (typically because the black valve is left open).
  • Confirm that you have a pyramid plug before working to clear it as there are different steps for fixing different types of clogs.

Now that you are armed with more information on the most common type of RV toilet clog, let’s dive into how to fix it in the next article!





Adopt The Unique Method

You bought your RV so you could enjoy life and spend time with family and friends. The last thing you want to do is waste precious time and money on fixing wastewater holding tank problems. Keeping your tanks in peak operating condition doesn’t have to be hard, confusing, or expensive if you follow our proven process: The Unique Method.

The Unique Method is a comprehensive tank care plan that we developed after years of conversations with real customers facing real problems. The Unique Method provides you with simple, preventative steps to stop odors, clogs, and sensor problems before they start so you can spend less time worrying about your holding tanks and more time enjoying the freedom and adventure of RVing. Try it yourself and see why thousands of campers trust their RVs with The Unique Method every day.

If you need more help with anything covered in this guide or simply have a comment, we’re here to help you anytime!

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