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Old 01-17-2015, 08:55 AM   #1
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How often to dump black water tank

I am a new owner. Just made a long delivery trip. Not much in black tank and nothing in grey water tank. It is still winterized.

Should I wait until I have half a tank or so to dump? Or does it really matter.

I've had boats all my life and never worried about emptying the tanks until they were full. Is this any different?

I am in Houston so in a couple of weeks I am going to clear out all the antifreeze. We've probably had our last freeze but I will wait to make sure.
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:18 AM   #2
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If your not going to use the trailer for a week or so I would fill the black tank with fresh water and then dump a full tank. If you dump a partial tank it will have the tendancy to clog the dump valve. Then rinse the tank and your all set.
A clogged or partially clogged valve is something you'll want to avoid at all costs.
I would just run a hose thru the trailer to the toilet to fill the black water tank. Then dump when full.
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:30 AM   #3
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Regardless of how much is in the black tank, I would suggest that you dump it at the end of each trip and as often as you can while travelling. Same for the grey tank, for that matter. I just don't like leaving anything in them any longer than I have to.
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:38 AM   #4
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I agree with all the above. We've gone 4-5 days without dumping either because we're dry camping or there's a long line at the dump station and I wanted to move on. I always plan to arrive home with empty tanks. Even the fresh water. That is unless we're going out again in a few days. I sometimes put some bleach into the fresh tank and let it slosh around and dump it when I get home. That way it's ready for the next trip. Now the grey tank is another matter. If you follow serious water conserving usage we've gone 4 days easily. This is usually the more limiting issue so plan accordingly.
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:45 AM   #5
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Yep, good advice sofar.

My rule is to dump at the end of every trip, and as infrequently as possible during the trip.

Don't let the trailer sit with anything in the tank as things will settle to the bottom and cause backups and other nasty problems.

When you do dump, you want a mostly full tank so there's lots of liquid to flush things out, it it runs slow, solids will backup in the hose and the drain pipes. I always top the black and grey tanks off with fresh water before I dump.

Last trip of the season before i winterize we dump before leaving the campground, then add a bag of ice and a bucket of water to the black tank and a bucket of water to the grey tank. As we drive home it sloshes around and knocks anything accumulated in the tank loose. Then we stop at the city yard, top off the black and grey tanks with water and dump.
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:53 AM   #6
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Both the gray and black tanks contain human waste from shower and toilet. Thus, with my desire to keep the oder down, and I will flush my tanks at the end of each trip, usually within an hour of coming home. I do have the convenience of a garage with dump site where the AS is parked, so it is convenient. The worst problem might be to have solids settle on the bottom of the black tank, and not be so easy to dislodge when flushing. I flush my black tank with water until the effluent is clear. My gray water tank is drained and then a small amount of water is restored so as to prevent a drying out of the valve seal.

Also, the black tank is given about five gallons of water and my deodorizer fluid is added.

About a half cup of deodorizer is added to each drain, shower, sinks, etc. and two cups to the black tank via the toilet, then some water run down each drain. This keeps things much more fresh than if waste is allowed to remain in the waste water pipes.

FYI, this is what I use for my holding tanks:

Mix in one gallon jug

Holding Tank Deodorizer

1 CUP Purex 2

1/2 CUP Pinesol

3 TBLS household ammonia

Mix in one gallon jug, add half gallon hot water, swish around and add hot water to fill.

Place two cups in holding tank after dumping and filling with a few gallons of water. Makes 8 treatments for 55 gallon tank.

I also will occassionally dump kitchen cooking grease into the toilet so as to lubricate the seals.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:22 AM   #7
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Please note that this was posted in the Interstate forum and they have macerators so the replies from trailer users which don't may not be exactly what an AI owner wants to do. Personally, since I consistently use my AI around town a couple of times a week (largely because I like having my own private toilet) dumping "after every trip" would be preposterous. I dump about once a month whether I need to or not or any time I get up to past 2/3rds full. Before dumping I add water on top and drive around a bit if I'm concerned that there is not much in there or it is mostly solids.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:49 AM   #8
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Heads up!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Msmoto View Post
Both the gray and black tanks contain human waste from shower and toilet. Thus, with my desire to keep the oder down, and I will flush my tanks at the end of each trip, usually within an hour of coming home. I do have the convenience of a garage with dump site where the AS is parked, so it is convenient. The worst problem might be to have solids settle on the bottom of the black tank, and not be so easy to dislodge when flushing. I flush my black tank with water until the effluent is clear. My gray water tank is drained and then a small amount of water is restored so as to prevent a drying out of the valve seal.

Also, the black tank is given about five gallons of water and my deodorizer fluid is added.

About a half cup of deodorizer is added to each drain, shower, sinks, etc. and two cups to the black tank via the toilet, then some water run down each drain. This keeps things much more fresh than if waste is allowed to remain in the waste water pipes.

FYI, this is what I use for my holding tanks:

Mix in one gallon jug

Holding Tank Deodorizer

1 CUP Purex 2

1/2 CUP Pinesol

3 TBLS household ammonia

Mix in one gallon jug, add half gallon hot water, swish around and add hot water to fill.

Place two cups in holding tank after dumping and filling with a few gallons of water. Makes 8 treatments for 55 gallon tank.

I also will occassionally dump kitchen cooking grease into the toilet so as to lubricate the seals.
There's some possible dangerous chemistry in the list of ingredients.


Why You Shouldn't Mix Bleach and Ammonia
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Old 01-17-2015, 12:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drathaar View Post
There's some possible dangerous chemistry in the list of ingredients.


Why You Shouldn't Mix Bleach and Ammonia
Hi, yes; I was wondering about that too.
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Old 01-17-2015, 12:09 PM   #10
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Hi, we try to dump the black tank when full, or once a week. In over ten years, my black tank has never been full except when we fill it to the top, then drain it. More than a week, in hot weather, or without adding more chemicals will start to stink. We don't like stink.
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Old 01-17-2015, 12:19 PM   #11
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Your next decision

Is whether to use enzymes or chemicals as a tank treatment. ( Hint,,,,I use enzymes )
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Old 01-17-2015, 12:28 PM   #12
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Sensors

Keeping those tanks clean as everyone says is important. The tank sensors that show how full/empty they are can become a problem if not kept clean. In addition I would think you have a black tank flush system builtin where you attach a water hose to it outside in one of the compartments and use that to not only load fresh water in it and it also stirs it up which once reasonably filled will prove to be a better flush of the system. Doing it twice is a good idea if storing it for a while. In addition you may want to fill with extra water and drive around to help loosen anything that may have settled.
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:21 PM   #13
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Do not dump too often - it needs to sit and work.

I learned from some experienced Airstreamers that the stuff in the black tank needs to sit and work for a few days in order to come out easily. So dumping every day or every other day is too often. Of course there is always some that has gone in recently, but as long as the majority is more than a day old, most of the solids will have become soft and your tank will become clean much more easily.

Right after dumping, we flush the tank with fresh water (there is a special connector on our dump tube for this) so that the tank and the sensors are clean again.

Of course, if you have a macerator, things are a bit different. Then you do not need to wait for the solids to get processed and you can dump more often.
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:30 PM   #14
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