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Old 01-17-2012, 10:17 AM   #29
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Hi Ken. You mentioned above to never leave your black tank completely empty. I've never heard that before and wonder why ????? Once flushed and empty I can't see why not so please help me out. Mine has been empty since we parked it so hopefully things are OK. If it's somehow related to unpleasant odors we have none. I step inside every now and then just to look things over and observe no bathroom odors.

Thanks,
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:34 AM   #30
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When I clean mine out for long-term, winter storage,
After I have used a wand to really ensure it's clean, it's okay to leave it empty.
But I put a sign on the toilet to remind that it's winterized and not available for use.

During the camping season, it's best to leave a gallon or two of water with a cup of Campa-Chem in the black tank between uses for a couple reasons:
1.To prevent residues from solidifying into a build-up inside your tank.
2. So there is something in the tank in case you need to go when you are doing maintenance.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:42 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
...as illustrated beautifully above.
Thread it in.
Provide slope with a slinky as shown.
Keep black (main) valve closed until you are 3/4 full.
Keep gray (auxiliary) valve open until you anticipate a black water dump. Then, let the gray fill up a bit for a good, apres-black rinse.
Dump the black.
Then dump the gray.
Close your black valve.
Add 1/4 cup CampaChem* and 2 gal water through the toilet.**
Leave the gray water valve open.
Begin the cycle anew.
Sewer gas is not an issue if you have water in your P-traps.

We are living part-time in our Airstream here in Mesa, AZ and this system works great!

There's nothing like a good dump!
* I prefer the environmentally-destructive, formaldehyde-based brand; but it is prohibited in CA and some other states. It should not be used if you dump into a septic tank.
**Never leave your black tank completely empty.
I assume I turn on the water hose connected to the trailer flush port right after opening the dump valve? Or just after it stops draining on its own?
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:55 AM   #32
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We learned quite a bit about waste tanks in our first year.

Firstly, there's a product called "RV Boss" which we put small amounts into both grey and black tanks and it really keeps the odours down. It's a natural, enzyme based product and we swear by it.

Secondly, we camped mostly at sites with no sewer hookup but with a dump station. In Canada, few dump stations appear to have a hose that's connectable to the on-board black tank flush system so a bucket of water down the toilet after using the dump station is a good idea to help prevent any solidifying.

Thirdly, stinky slinkys are not that bad, if you treat them with respect. Thorough rinsing after use and when dumping, keep your foot on the dump tank lid; the gloop can come out at quite a pace and make your slinky jump. It's not happened to me, I might add!

Fourthly, when using a full sewer hookup at your site, keeping both valves shut all the time seems to me to be a sensible solution. To go out daily and pull the valve is no big chore.

Fifthly (!), we found that a couple of sewer hookups at campgrounds were higher than our outlet pipe so wouldn't work. I guess you could get your trailer up on Lego blocks but I think a Sewer Solution or Flush King is a good think to have on board (says he who still hasn't bought one!)

Sixthly, we really could have done with sewer hose support on every occasion we used the full hookup. Santa was nice and brought us one.

Seventhly, when using a dump station, the thought of wearing flip flops might not be appealing in case of spillage accidents but remember, feet are easier to clean than shoes!
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:25 AM   #33
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This seems like a good time to post the mandatory dump station disaster video.

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Old 01-17-2012, 11:43 AM   #34
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Sewer Solution has been mentioned here but I will 2nd its reference. You will not go back to a 3" hose after using one. I do carry a 10 foot section of 3' hose for an "emergency" dump if necessary, but after 2 years that has not happened.

BTW: that video above causes me to turn green............ I had a past experience with a hose clog - it was not pretty. I think that campground has my face pasted at the entrance to deny me access, forever.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:53 PM   #35
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Thanks Ken for the explaination. We're on the same wavelength. I thought there may have been a reason to leave liquid in there during storage.

Appreciate your willingness to share.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:40 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Mr.Bill View Post
I don't have a trailer yet, so that puts me one step below newbie. Maybe this is a dumb question, but from looking at the many posts concerning toilet issues it seems to me that the minute that you put a toilet in a trailer you increase the maintenance issues about threefold. If your plan is to live in the trailer for weeks/months at a time it's worth it, but if you're only going to use the trailer a week at a time a few times per year it seems like you'd be better off just using the bathroom at the campground and not having to deal with having a toilet in the trailer.
AND - given that many owners may never camp in a location that doesn't have a sewer hook-up it seems like the standard trailer toilet set-up is backwards. Instead of having the toilet empty directly into the holding tank it should be connected to a pipe that leads to a Y-valve (like on a boat). Turn the valve one way and the sewage would flow to the black water tank, turn it the other way and it would flow directly out the pipe and into the campground sewer system, just like your toilet at home does. To my unschooled mind it looks like the current system is a holdover from when campgrounds didn't have sewers.
Good thoughts, but an RV toilet doesn't use enough water to flush like a home toilet... which is also why the issues needing to manage extra water flow to clean them properly. You are spot on - for people with access to bathrooms, they will often use the RV toilet for night-time pees, and emergency poos... but use the site toilets for everything else.

It does seem ironic though, that some people essentially turn their Airstreams into an aluminum tent... and do nothing but sleep in them and use everything else outside.

Personally... I don't use the RV toilet any more than needed. I have a sensitive nose and even with odour blockers, I don't like the smell of an RV toilet. I specifically bought an FB design to avoid having the toilet next to the bed.

It's not rare to find used Airstreams with people proudly proclaiming they've never used the toilet or stove/oven... like mine when I bought it...
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:49 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Rich of SCal View Post
I assume I turn on the water hose connected to the trailer flush port right after opening the dump valve? Or just after it stops draining on its own?
It depends on how much you can manage on your own... my local sani-dump is set up so I can easily hold the flush hose and manage the slinky... there is nothing wrong with running it right from the start...

They are a neat idea, but I'm not sure the little spray thing in the tank is really doing a whole lot... RV tanks are so wide and flat that unless you had some kind of multi-headed high pressure contraption, they aren't ever going to be any cleaner than just filling them up with fresh water, going for a short trip to swish the tank around, and dumping.

I think people just get to get used to the idea that there will always be a certain amount of poo in the system, which is fine... it's not like it doubles as a hot tub or something...
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:15 PM   #38
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Liquid Rid-X is much better at supplying the organisms in the tanks for digestion than most of the RV stuff. I add a "shot" and one gallon of water for the ride home and storage to keep things "loose" in there.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:32 PM   #39
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Sewer Solution

I've been fulltiming since 2005 and quickly got grossed out by the stinky slinky. The one the dealer supplied with the A/S was the cheapest possible model and quickly developed pinholes - like in six weeks. Buy top of the line if you choose a slinky - and know that the UV rays will require a replacement in a year or two if you camp a lot. Slinkies can fail with pinholes... or just split wide open. First trip out every season, watch with one hand on the dump valve and your eyes on the slinky!

*** there was an educational thread a couple of days ago that described a situation where only a slinky could solve a problem: You buy a used Airstream or have to be away from yours for months (illness perhaps) and find a black tank full of solidified poo where nothing comes out when you open the gate. A LONG slinky full of clean water, then lifted high can create enough back pressure to pop the poop plug loose. (In that case I'd want to keep the middle of the slinky high in the air while someone else got the elbow into the dump before dropping the middle and letting gravity do it's thing.) Duct taping a plastic bag over the elbow until it was safe to remove was also advocated.

The Sewer Solution WILL move water uphill (within reason) simply because the inside diameter of the hose is 1". The inside walls have no ridges like the slinky so there's nothing for paper, etc. to catch on.

You DO NOT actually need to use water to drain a tank with a Sewer Solution - most of the time. There is a water powered mascerator in the fitting that can bust up clumps of paper or biologicals. If you use resonable toilet paper (cheap stuff) that degrades quickly, and you've let the "stuff" in the black tank soften for 2-3 days, it will go down on it's own, followed by a water chaser via bucket down toilet, or use of the tank washer. There are no tank washers on the gray tank, so if it's getting funky or has just been a while, I'll fill both sinks and the shower pan with water, then whoosh out the gray tank after it's drained to get the hair, soap, grease and general crud out of it. Prior posters are correct, it can smell nearly as bad as the black tank. I also use Rid-X - it's much cheaper than the equivalent RV chemicals and has the same enzymes.

If your kid flushes the Barbie doll's head down the toilet, or you have guests, assume they are ignorant and explain very frankly why disposable feminine hygiene supplies, condoms, disposable diapers, paper towels, cigarette butts, etc. cannot go down the toilet. Have a spring top trash can with bags, etc. for unmentionables, and get rid of them daily. NEVER invite guests back if you later find evidence that they "forgot" and flushed something inappropriate!

The mascerator would probably take care of everything but the Barbie Doll head or a tampon. (I actually saw someone find a Barbie head in their slinky. The son "the perp" thought it was funny, the daughter will need therapy!)

I did let company use my trailer for a week while I was traveling - a "captain's log" definitely needed masceration. Gotta get that kid on some more high fiber food!

happy trails, Paula
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:42 PM   #40
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Toilet Paper test

Quart jar of cold water - two sheets of your chosen brand of buttwipe. Drop in jar, secure lid, shake for 15-30 seconds. Observe your "snowglobe". Choose one that you like that does break into many many pieces - but not while you're using it.

You'll find that some NON RV brands perform as well or better than the higher priced specialty RV papers.

Avoid anything that says "extra strength" or that contain "lotion" - last thing you need is a grease slick in your black tank.

On a related note, I bought one treatment of an orange scented chemical that "guaranteed" absolutely no odor - odors would be sealed under a layer of orange scented oil.... It worked perfectly BUT every sheet of toilet paper that hit the oil slick was transformed into a leathery sheet that would NOT break up without mascerating it. Not thrilled to spend 45 minutes dumping the black tank.

Paula
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:17 PM   #41
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Quote:
You DO NOT actually need to use water to drain a tank with a Sewer Solution - most of the time. There is a water powered mascerator in the fitting that can bust up clumps of paper or biologicals.
Paula, so the gravity fall of the black tank contents is enough to macerate those contents for the most part? I hadn't realized that, and may actually look at the SS more carefully if that's the case.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:12 PM   #42
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This is our treatment for the black tank:

RV-BOSS

We find it works very well, indeed, as far as I can tell it liquefies pretty much everything. Being a curious sort, I have watched the outflow from the black tank on more than one occasion and it's just been brown soup; no solids or paper at all. Mind you, we do use that RV paper that dissolves easily so that's one thing that helps with the potential sludge issue. We also dispose of the washing up water into the black tank, to keep the liquid level high; it's a big tank and can take the quantity and it also allows more room for shower waste in the grey tank.
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