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Old 07-17-2011, 09:42 AM   #1
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345 Shower filled with gray water!

I am out camping for the first time in my 1987 345. I have been out at an rv park with electric and water hook. I've been here 3 days now. Last night we found the shower filled with water and the carpet was wet. We bailed the water out into the toilet, but when we brush our teeth the water starts to fill up in the shower again. What do we do? Would it help to drive it over to the dump and empty the tanks? How do we prevent this from happening?
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:10 AM   #2
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I presume that a motorhome is no different than a trailer in that when you fill up your gray water tank, the first sign will be gray water backing up into your shower pan.

Just dump the gray water.


We don't camp without sewer hookups very often, but there are a couple of things that I do that help us extend our ability ...........


(1)

We have found that our gray water tank fills up way quicker than our black water tank, so it made sense to try and divert some gray water into the black water tank to maximize our total waste water capability.


We found some plastic sink tubs that are a perfect drop in fit into our stainless galley sinks. If we are camping at a place with no sewer hookups and now we will be there more than a couple of days, we drop the plastic tubs in the sink.

Rather than let the dish water go down the drain into the gray tank, we dump it into the toilet so it goes to the black tank.

(2) Even though I prefer using the shower in our trailer, unless the campground showers are really bad, we use them to save gray water space. If we do use the shower in teh trailer, then we take "navy showers." IE keep water use to a minimum by wetting down, shutting the water off to soap up, then on again for a quick rinse and off as soon as possible.

(3) I though about buying one of those portable "blue boy" waste tanks on wheels so that if we did fill up the gray tank I could dump some water without having to move the trailer to a dump site.

In the end though, I decided the chances of ever needing it would be pretty remote and we'd by stuck with lugging that thing around with us all the time. Soooooo........

I bough a sewer cap for the trailer that has a hose connection on it. Then i bought one of those collapsible 5 gallon water carrier bags for a few $. With a short (6') length of old garden hose I can connect my sewer cap to the bag and tap of 5 gallons at a time. Not much, but it would still do the trick n a pinch.

If course if conditions were such as to permit it I could always direct the hose to a spot where the water wouldn't be an issue and just dump a bit of gray water.

I think this used to be common practice, but these days I'm pretty sure most campgrounds won't allow it. There may be some very dry areas of the country where it is acceptable I'm not sure. I can't see it would do a whole lot of harm frankly - if done in moderation and with a little thought. Guess it would leave some food partiles and some soap residue though which I suppose is less than ideal.

I did meet one guy with a motorhome who had tapped a small 1/2 pipe with a valve into his sewer outlet pipe. the 1/2" pipe was open ended at a point someplace under the middle of his motorhome near the back axle. He told me that if he needed to he would just open the small valve and let gray water slowly trickle out overnIght. Of course I wouldn't do that!


Brian
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:40 AM   #3
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The only way to prevent this from happening is to take shorter showers or use the campground shower for those real soakers. Wash dishes with min. water and never let the faucet run during dish washing.

With a 30 gallon gray water tank we have gone 14 days without having to dump. Another secrete is to wash dishes in a small tub and dump that water in the toilet, that is often also a 30 gallon tank and unlikely to fill from normal use.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:30 AM   #4
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The gray water problem is always an issure with our 34.5 but as with the airstreamers above we try and use the showers at campgounds. It is amazing how fast that tank fills up and we keep the litter box in the shower so after having a floating litter box and wet cat tails we try and dump often. when we travel with our 1972 which has no grey tank we always get full hook up
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:36 PM   #5
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We did that too on our first ovenight in a new Airstream. Two ten minute hot showers just about did it.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:47 PM   #6
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You live on an island...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
We did that too on our first ovenight in a new Airstream. Two ten minute hot showers just about did it.
I looked quickly at your blog to see anything regarding AS but I did not...

do you have your AS with you or did you leave that behind with the rats and cold weather?
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Old 07-19-2011, 12:43 PM   #7
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Thank you for this thorough post. We dumped the tanks and we were able to continue our maiden voyage with increased knowledge.

Now we will just have to figure out how to keep the pilot light on to have enough hot water to shower with and wash dishes. It kept going out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
I presume that a motorhome is no different than a trailer in that when you fill up your gray water tank, the first sign will be gray water backing up into your shower pan.

Just dump the gray water.


We don't camp without sewer hookups very often, but there are a couple of things that I do that help us extend our ability ...........


(1)

We have found that our gray water tank fills up way quicker than our black water tank, so it made sense to try and divert some gray water into the black water tank to maximize our total waste water capability.


We found some plastic sink tubs that are a perfect drop in fit into our stainless galley sinks. If we are camping at a place with no sewer hookups and now we will be there more than a couple of days, we drop the plastic tubs in the sink.

Rather than let the dish water go down the drain into the gray tank, we dump it into the toilet so it goes to the black tank.

(2) Even though I prefer using the shower in our trailer, unless the campground showers are really bad, we use them to save gray water space. If we do use the shower in teh trailer, then we take "navy showers." IE keep water use to a minimum by wetting down, shutting the water off to soap up, then on again for a quick rinse and off as soon as possible.

(3) I though about buying one of those portable "blue boy" waste tanks on wheels so that if we did fill up the gray tank I could dump some water without having to move the trailer to a dump site.

In the end though, I decided the chances of ever needing it would be pretty remote and we'd by stuck with lugging that thing around with us all the time. Soooooo........

I bough a sewer cap for the trailer that has a hose connection on it. Then i bought one of those collapsible 5 gallon water carrier bags for a few $. With a short (6') length of old garden hose I can connect my sewer cap to the bag and tap of 5 gallons at a time. Not much, but it would still do the trick n a pinch.

If course if conditions were such as to permit it I could always direct the hose to a spot where the water wouldn't be an issue and just dump a bit of gray water.

I think this used to be common practice, but these days I'm pretty sure most campgrounds won't allow it. There may be some very dry areas of the country where it is acceptable I'm not sure. I can't see it would do a whole lot of harm frankly - if done in moderation and with a little thought. Guess it would leave some food partiles and some soap residue though which I suppose is less than ideal.

I did meet one guy with a motorhome who had tapped a small 1/2 pipe with a valve into his sewer outlet pipe. the 1/2" pipe was open ended at a point someplace under the middle of his motorhome near the back axle. He told me that if he needed to he would just open the small valve and let gray water slowly trickle out overnIght. Of course I wouldn't do that!


Brian
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Old 07-19-2011, 12:44 PM   #8
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Hopefully we learn quickly, that was what this first trip was about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
We did that too on our first ovenight in a new Airstream. Two ten minute hot showers just about did it.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:26 PM   #9
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Back in the day you let gray water run out on the ground...still do on my own property. We actually direct towards our garden.

I wanted to install a gray water system on our soon to be built house to allow use of gray water from the washing machine or showers to flush toilets as well as be diverted to the gardens for watering. Codes won't allow it in fact codes are having an issue with collecting rain water to use for the gardens! We don't have water rights issues here in the Carolinas like they do out in Colorado and other arid states.

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Old 07-19-2011, 03:27 PM   #10
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how bizarre. Rain water is the ONLY water we get. 18,000 gallons of it stored in two cisterns. Our hot water is solar heated, and we never run out. Our sewage goes into a system with a compressor that bubbles air through it, and nothing comes out but clear water. That goes into a 2500 gallon holding tank with a submersible pump and a float switch. When the water level trips the switch the pump moves that water into the irrigation system piping.

When are they going to sue the planet for dumping rain water on the gardens?
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
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how bizarre. Rain water is the ONLY water we get. 18,000 gallons of it stored in two cisterns. Our hot water is solar heated, and we never run out. Our sewage goes into a system with a compressor that bubbles air through it, and nothing comes out but clear water. That goes into a 2500 gallon holding tank with a submersible pump and a float switch. When the water level trips the switch the pump moves that water into the irrigation system piping.

When are they going to sue the planet for dumping rain water on the gardens?
In some of the western states they have what are called water rights. You don't own the water that falls from the sky on your property, you have to let it run off. My brother lives in the Denver, CO area and was telling me about it. He had looked at buying a piece of property, but due to a falling aquifer they were only allowed to pump so many gallons of water a month out of it, and if it continued to fall the amount they could pump would be reduced. He smartly chose to purchase a house that is on city water, at least there they can only raise the rates.

Aaron
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:30 PM   #12
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We had the same overflow in the shower our first time out. Matter a fact a couple times since also as we are still learning. It sure seems that gray tank fills way faster than what we anticipate.

Glad to hear that you guys are finally out using your 345.
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