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Old 06-02-2013, 09:30 AM   #1
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Black water tank on full hook hookup

We are still new to all the ins and outs of RV'ing and had this questions. when on full hookups, do you leave the tank handle out so all flows through or do you still leave it closed and drain before leaving? We currently only stay a few days at any place and then the RV goes back into storage for a week or more. I am concerned that with that little use, the solids will accumulate and become a problem.

How do people on weekend trips best handle this?

thanks!
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:41 AM   #2
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You can leave the grey tank open. The black tank closed. Dump the black tank when it gets above 3/4 so you have a full flush and some water accumulation to carry solids out. I like to rinse then by filling about half way with fresh water and dump twice for good measure. If you are set to leave and there is little accumulation then fill the tank with water and flush. Again I do this several times.

The key to black tank is to flush when full or there about and to use lots of water when you use the toilet.

I also use chemicals to clean as I go, lots of differing ideas about this so if you search the threads you can read the many differing opinions.

Both tanks can use a periodic cleaning, say at least once per year. Use either a commercial cleaner or a home brew (plenty written about in the threads).

My only claim to fame in all this is that after ten years of use my internal black tank sensors still work properly. It is a good indicator of proper black tank maintenance.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:14 AM   #3
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osgoor,
You can do as mentioned above and, it will work. RVers have different ideas on how they do certain tasks. What we do in "hook up" situations is, we keep the black and gray closed. We shower, do dishes, and all the normal stuff which, eventually will fill the gray water tank. Now, here's something I kind of developed on my own. Since we, like you, may only stay in one place for short times, (1-4 days plus or minus) when we flush the toilet after business, I fill it to almost capacity. Then, flush. That puts a larger amount of water in the black tank when it comes to dumping it. And, more importantly, it helps prevent the build up of solids, directly below the flush valve. In other words, it "Spreads the load out" so to speak.

Now, if and when the gray tank gets near capacity, and, it may or may not be near the time for departure, I'll dump the black tank which, by adding more water for each flush, does a much more thorough emptying of the that tank. Then, by having a fuller gray water tank and then emptying that one, it has a higher volume of flow for carrying away waste(solids) that may be lodged in the hose from dumping the black tank.

You can still rinse either tank which, is a good practice in and of itself but, less water may be needed due to the fact that both tanks had high volume in the first place and when it came time to empty them, they both had high volume/fast flow characteristics during the empty process. Hope this helps some.
Scott
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:29 AM   #4
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Here is a site with a few "RV How To" Videos that might be helpful.

http://www.google.com/search?q=rvgeeks%20youtube
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:50 AM   #5
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I keep both grey and black closed while camping - dumping as needed if extended stay.

When leaving dump the black, next rinse the black for a few minutes while I put away other things, then dump the gray to flush the hose, lastly add chemical and a few gallons of water to the black tank.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:43 AM   #6
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As Scott mentioned, everybody seems to have different ideas on how to manage their tanks. You'll get all kinds of different procedures pertaining to using chemicals, not using chemicals, procedures to clean the tanks, etc., etc.

As others have mentioned, things I think we all agree are 1) never leave the blank tank valve open or, and the most polite way to put it is, you'll definitely acquire the dreaded "pyramid of poop" ...we can explain it further or you can imagine how it is acquired and how difficult it is to get rid of, and 2) always dump your black tank before dumping your grey in order to make it easier to keep your hose clean and as sanitary as possible.

Otherwise, I think in time, you too will formulate your own method on how you want to manage your waste tanks by trial and error and from advice from others.

Good luck!

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Old 06-02-2013, 02:15 PM   #7
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We used to keep both closed while hooked up for any length of time. But friends of ours who are full timers said it is fine to leave your grey tank open. Esp. if you are doing a lot of laundry, showering and kitchen sink tasks. It keeps from having to run out and empty the grey tank late at night or early in the morning when you realize it's full and you are getting ready to shower However, if we are nearing full on the black tank I do close off the grey so shower and laundry water accumulates. Then I have that water to flush out the hose after I empty the black tank. This has worked well for us. NEVER leave the black open though. Gas will come into the coach from the bowl
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:26 AM   #8
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in addition to leaving the black tank closed and dumping it when it is nearly full, i fill my gray tank to at least 2/3 prior to dumping black tank and flushing it.
then i add 2 cups of bleach to the gray tank and dump it to flush out the stinky slinky so it is not so stinky.
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Old 06-04-2013, 04:59 AM   #9
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Lot's of great suggestions. I'll throw in my technique. We like many others leave the gray valve closed most of the time. After a few showers I'll dump it off a little. No scientific method to it, I just make sure there's enough space for more showers and kitchen tasks. The black stays full for the duration of our trips, most of which are 2 to 4 nights. The morning we start break down for heading home I open the black tank and wedge a toilet bowl brush on the flush pedal of the toilet. Break down of camp will take around 40 minutes, all the while fresh water has been flowing into the black tank through the toilet. Once break down is complete I'll take the brush off of the toilet, close the black valve and do a final full dump of the gray tank. Last step is to fill the toilet bowl to the rim 2 times and drop in a chemical tablet. It leaves a few gallons of water to slosh around, with a higher concentration of the chemical in it as we head home. That little bit of water stays in it till next time we go camping.

My black tank sensor hasn't worked for some time and no amount of different types of flushes has resolved it. I think it's another issue. I can say though that odor control while camping is good with the technique I use now. It used to be that the smell of the tank would come up from the toilet bowl when you'd press on the foot valve. It's barely even noticeable now. Unless of course you're putting your face down next to the bowl. And who would wanna do something like that.
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:28 AM   #10
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We do about the same dance with the tanks as others. The black tank can easily go a week so we leave the gray open until a day or two before dumping it, close it and take showers, run the dishwasher or whatever.

One CG we stay at that has a honey wagon instead of sewer connection on each site will pump the black, shut off the pump then open both so the gray will wash back up into the black tank for a quick rinse. I thought about trying that with a sewer connection but figure the slinky is big enough so that not much would back up into the black tank.

An unpleasant task we have to deal with.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:15 AM   #11
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Usually we can go up to 2 weeks on our black tank but we find its best to dump once a week when on a sewer hookup. I use a clear fitting on my dump valve, dump then close the valve and fill the black tank through the flush fitting several times or more until the water runs clear. Sometimes I do this this for 30 minutes or more as long as it takes for the water to run clear. Our problem is the gray tank, my wife does a lot of cooking and a varity of waste oils go down the drain this is unavoidable, we find that the gray water tank sensor reads full all the time after about 2 months on the road. I have been using a product made by Roebic Industries for drains and holding tanks which works pretty good but after a few months the gray tank still gets residue on the inner wall causing the sensors to malfunction. Once we are home after 4-5 months on the road I use a flexible hose that swirls around on the end and insert it up into the dump valve of the gray tank and rinse over and over this finally get the junk off the walls and thegray sensor works again.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:29 AM   #12
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I treat both tanks the same way. I keep them both closed until full and then dump the black first, turn on the black tank flush, once that tank is empty, I pull the gray tank valve. Shortly before the gray tank is empty, I turn off the black tank flush, close the black tank valve which has been lubricated with soapy water from the gray tank and finally close the gray tank valve.

I've been using that method for 10 years while full-time living in my coach and never have any problems.

Without the "whoosh factor" your tanks do not get as clean. By leaving the gray tank open, I can guarantee that you will have a waste buildup on the bottom of your tank of food particles, grease, oil, etc. The "whoosh factor" prevents that from happening.

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