Every tank is a little different, but there are a few things that every RV'er should know and do consistently regardless of your specific system. Doing these 8 things will dramatically decrease your chances of foul tank odors and backups. That means you can travel in comfort without embarrassing odors and gross repairs.
Rule 1: Keep your valve closed
Leaving your black water tank valve open can result in your liquid wastes draining into the sewer while the solid waste gets left behind to clog your tank. This is known as a pyramid plug and will lead to backups and odors. It may also lead to costly repairs.
Rule 2: Don't allow caustic chemicals or anti-bacterial products in your tank
Your holding tank remains clog and odor-free from naturally occurring bacteria that are present in your tank. Killing those beneficial bacteria will increase your chance of odors and backups.
Rule 3: Treat after each dump
Treating your system with more beneficial bacteria after each dump will greatly lower your risk of odors and backups.
Rule 4: Clean your toilets with an RV toilet cleaner
Cleaning your toilets with bleach or chemical toilet cleaners will kill the beneficial bacteria in your tank and increase your likelihood of backups and foul tank odors.
Rule 5: Watch your tank temperatures
The beneficial bacteria that keep your tanks clog and odor-free are inhibited by extreme heat and cold. Regulating your tank temps will allow those bacteria to flourish.The beneficial bacteria that keep your tanks clog and odor-free are inhibited by extreme heat and cold. Regulating your tank temps will allow those bacteria to flourish.
Rule 6: Use plenty of water
We recommend holding down your flush peddle for 10 seconds each time you flush your toilet. Keeping ample water inside your RV's black water holding tank is absolutely necessary for a few reasons.
Rule 7: Keep water in your toilet bowl
As we mentioned above, water is a great odor barrier. By keeping several inches of water in your toilet bowl you will prevent sewer gases and odor from seeping into your RV.
Rule 8: Flush your tank often
Most sewer holding tanks are not mounted perfectly level, nor are most RVs parked completely level, so waste can build up in the nooks and crannies of your black water tank. Flushing regularly (at minimum every 3-5 dumps) and for extended periods (15 - 20 minutes) will help clean out waste that may have accumulated in those areas that don't flow out with gravity when you are dumping your tanks. It will also help knock off any residual waste that could be clinging to your black tank walls and sensor probes.
Interested in learning how to properly treat your gray water holding tanks? Read our Guidelines For Proper Gray Water Care.