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Old 07-30-2020, 10:46 AM   #21
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McHenry , Illinois
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Originally Posted by switters View Post
This is my first time dumping the tanks, and I'm a little nervous about it! Just want to clarify the full process:

1) Attach black tank flush hose and let run for a few min with valve closed.
2) Pull black tank valve and drain
3) Close black tank valve
4) Pull grey tank valve and drain

I have always been told that I should first open the black tank valve, then flush it using the hose, then drain the grey tank.
Sorry for the confusion! I was responding to your question about leaving the black tank partially full and forgot to include the grey tank process.

Yes, you should drain the black tank first followed by the grey to clean the sewage hose. Run the black tank flush after draining the black tank before dumping the grey. I’ve also flushed it after draining the grey if I forget to do it before. Take a garden sprayer along and attach it to the flush hose and spray the dump hose. It’s not a terrible process just make sure you’ve got that dump hose securely attached!
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Old 07-30-2020, 10:54 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by switters View Post
this is my first time dumping the tanks, and i'm a little nervous about it! Just want to clarify the full process:

1) attach black tank flush hose and let run for a few min with valve closed.
2) pull black tank valve and drain
3) close black tank valve
4) pull grey tank valve and drain

i have always been told that i should first open the black tank valve, then flush it using the hose, then drain the grey tank.
gloves gloves gloves
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:17 AM   #23
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1988 32' Excella
Robbinsville , New Jersey
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\Also, I understand the logic behind not dumbing the black tank unless it's 2/3 full. But if the trailer is going to sit for a month before our next trip, does that mean I should fill the black tank with water (via the toilet) and dump after this trip, even though it won't be nearly 2/3 full? Will not dumping it lead to a sewer smell if it sits for a month?
Well on the 2020 23' AS the black tank isn't much more then 1/2 the size of the 25'+ AS, if yours is also under 25 gallons it might be close to 2/3 with two people using it for 3.5 days. You said you could dump at a place on your way home. If you tow more then 40 miles then dump, having the tank at least 2/3 full isn't nearly as important as towing a couple 100 yards and dumping still at the campground. As far as the smell, it depends on the weather, over 90* each day you'd be lucky to go much more then a week unless you use strong chemicals. If it never goes over 80* you might make it a month. The really bad possibility with not dumping after each trip is the liquid not staying in the tank (evaporation and/or slow leak only letting liquid out) and the solids becoming one big solid.


Note: I have an 88 and while staying at a campground with full hookups I realized I hadn't dumped the black tank for 3 weeks and still only 1/2 full. Slow leak needed to replace valves after a lot of flushing the tank.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:23 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Wazbro View Post
Well on the 2020 23' AS the black tank isn't much more then 1/2 the size of the 25'+ AS, if yours is also under 25 gallons it might be close to 2/3 with two people using it for 3.5 days. You said you could dump at a place on your way home. If you tow more then 40 miles then dump, having the tank at least 2/3 full isn't nearly as important as towing a couple 100 yards and dumping still at the campground. As far as the smell, it depends on the weather, over 90* each day you'd be lucky to go much more then a week unless you use strong chemicals. If it never goes over 80* you might make it a month. The really bad possibility with not dumping after each trip is the liquid not staying in the tank (evaporation and/or slow leak only letting liquid out) and the solids becoming one big solid.


Note: I have an 88 and while staying at a campground with full hookups I realized I hadn't dumped the black tank for 3 weeks and still only 1/2 full. Slow leak needed to replace valves after a lot of flushing the tank.
Thanks. It's in the high 80s or low 90s around here right now, and we're storing it in an uncovered lot during the summer. So, it sounds like we should probably dump after each trip.

We have a 2018 FC 23FB. Our black water tank is 18 gallons.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:26 AM   #25
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1) Attach black tank flush hose and let run for a few min with valve closed.
This was only for when you don't have much in the tank and until you get the hang of this you should have someone in the trailer watching the tank level. Pumping too much water in the black tank this way can overflow the tank through the toilet or through the vent all over roof and sides of your trailer.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:31 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by switters View Post
Thanks, everyone. I don't have Happy Camper on hand, but I do have a bottle of TankTechsRx that the previous owner had. The black tank is now empty. Should I add some water and some of the TankTechsRx to the toilet and flush so that the black tank is not completely empty before we start using the toilet?

I plan to use Happy Camper plus a little Dawn and Calgon (we have very hard water) in the future, but just wondering what to do for this trip.

Also, I understand the logic behind not dumbing the black tank unless it's 2/3 full. But if the trailer is going to sit for a month before our next trip, does that mean I should fill the black tank with water (via the toilet) and dump after this trip, even though it won't be nearly 2/3 full? Will not dumping it lead to a sewer smell if it sits for a month?
I bought a bottle of TankTechsRX at the Salem International in 2018. Just ran out in March. It works great! Before that I used the Geo Method which worked OK and before that various products including Camco and stuff from WalMart. I understand Happy Campers is good. I was going to buy some but decided to try the TankTechsRX and it worked so well I'll be buying some more. And yes, put a couple of gallons of water and some treatment in the tank before using it. Follow the directions for the TankTechsRX. you need a starter dose and then you don't completely drain the tank and add a "booster" dose when you dump. I have left it in the tank for months without any smell.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:48 AM   #27
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!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazbro View Post
1) Attach black tank flush hose and let run for a few min with valve closed.
This was only for when you don't have much in the tank and until you get the hang of this you should have someone in the trailer watching the tank level. Pumping too much water in the black tank this way can overflow the tank through the toilet or through the vent all over roof and sides of your trailer.
Yes, I thought about that! Doesn't seem like a good idea!
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Old 07-30-2020, 12:01 PM   #28
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Little falls , New York
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Pleeeeease

Please don’t be the person who flushes for 20 mins at the dump station when there’s a line. These rigs aren’t as delicate as these forums would want you to believe.

You also don’t need a 90 thousand dollar dully diesel to tow a 16 footer. But that’s another discussion.
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Old 07-30-2020, 04:46 PM   #29
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Park City , Utah
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Quick question: the forecast is for unusual heat where we're camping this weekend, even at night. If we have 400 w of solar on the roof and 2x 6v AGM batteries (200 amp-hrs each, total capacity of 100 amp-hrs because of 50% reduction) then we should be fine running both fantastic fans all night, right?

Feels like I read somewhere that both fans on draw 3-3.25A.
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:55 AM   #30
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2018 23' Flying Cloud
Hamilton , Ontario
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Some Hints

Hello. We have a exactly the same AS, exactly the same year. There are 2 of us, we have solar panels and we can go for 5 days without any water problems and , yes, it usually is the grey tank that is getting full.

For what it’s worth, here are my hints;

1. Just run the fridge on propane. It really doesn’t use much. We were away 64 days straight last year and didn’t even have to switch to the second propane tank.
2. Turn your hot water tank on in the morning (propane), switch off after you’ve done dishes/ showered etc. Turn on before supper, turn off for the night. ( no point in continually heating water you’re not using. )
3. Showers. Put about 4-6” of warm water in a bucket. Take bucket into the shower, soap yourself up, briefly rinse with the hand held shower. I find if I use the shower head to put water in the bucket, the bucket water is lukewarm but then the shower water is perfect when you are ready to rinse.
4. Toilet. Before doing anything solid, make the sign of the cross with toilet paper. Everything slips away more easily. We use RV toilet paper. It’s more expensive but we’ve never had a problem. Here in Canada we get it at Canadian Tire. We always pump out both tanks when we pump out - why not?
5. Pump out. On the day we’re going to pump out, I pour a bit ( 1/2 cup?) of fabric softener in the tank. We drive around a bit to stir things up. Usually we drive to our next campground and pump out as soon as we get there. Put a half a bucket of water down the shower drain. ( this fills the trap so you won’t have strange smells) Then, gloves on! We attach our sewer line to the bayonet fitting on the trailer, we stick the 90 degree fitting down the hole of no return. I put my foot on the fitting. Husband slowly pulls the black valve. Make sure everything is going down the hole of no return. Then, with black valve open, attach the not potable water hose to the Inside sprinkler and run for 2 minutes. ( it warns in the instructions not to run it with the black tank full as it’s not strong enough to go against the weight of the water) Turn the hose off and close the black valve, and open the grey. When nothing more seems to be coming out, detach the bayonet fitting, hold it high and run not potable water through it to rinse it out. We also rinse the common pipe on the trailer before putting the cap back on. Keep holding the sewer hose high to empty it. Then remove the 90 degree fitting and your foot, put it in a plastic bag (The fitting not the foot) and store the sewer hose in the compartment under the trailer. Meanwhile, inside put whatever black tank treatment you are using down the toilet and pour a bucket of water down. Put grey water treatment in the sink and pour a bucket of water down the sink. Gloves off!
6. A couple of random things, turn the pump off before you travel and flush the toilet once and turn the kitchen tap on and run the water out. This stops water from sloshing around if you are on a rough road. We also turn the pump off when we go out and overnight as it wakes us up when it cuts in.
7. Fantastic fans, they are fantastic and we leave them open and set whenever we aren’t traveling. We rarely use the A/C, just park in the shade and use the fans. When traveling, close the fans and turn the toggle switch to off.
8. Dishwater. We find this uses grey tank space quickly so if we are really trying to skimp on water, we wipe dishes with paper towel and wash in a dishpan with as little water as possible. This water can be dumped at the back of your campsite as it should not have food particles to attract animals.
9. Brush teeth using a small amount of water in a cup, do not run the tap.
10. I really wish I could think of another hint to have a nice tidy list of 10! Have fun on your first trip.
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Old 07-31-2020, 08:50 AM   #31
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Pour it into the toilet
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:57 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John & Roberta View Post
“First Trip in New Airstream”
Switters of Park City
John & Roberta here
We see you have lots of four- and five-rivet advice, and maybe we could add something, but probably not. While this sterling panel is assembled, we’d like to put a question of our own out there—are we Airstreamers stuck with the rapid pounding sound that accompanies operation of our Pentair Shurflo by-pass pump? A secondary problem is the failure of the incorporated check valve(s) to block flow of city water into the fresh water tank, to the point of overflow down the side of the trailer.
I don’t know if I have the bypass pump, but yes, there is knocking when using the water pump. Also I just had to replace the water pump due to the check valve sticking and water flowing into the fresh water holding tank.
I dry camp mostly and find it fun to see how conservative I can be with water and waste water. I never put any toilet paper down the toilet. That water goes fast and the black/gray combo tank fills fast too! Also, if you are camping where it’s hot, the fridge will have trouble keeping up. Bring an ice chest or 2 for your food just in case.
Have fun!
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:20 AM   #33
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2020 23' Flying Cloud
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Switters, I have a 23FB with a similar fridge. I checked the power draw using the meter on my Hughes Power Watchdog (mistakenly called it Guarddog elsewhere) and the fridge pulls 180 W on startup (heater element running). I believe about 10 to 15 W of that is for the fridge control circuit. So, running on a 15 A circuit (about 1800 W) is no problem.
FWIW, the compressor (electric only) fridges pull about 50 W. They are not the power hogs everyone seems to think.
Also, if you run the black tank flush with the drain closed, have someone watching the level! Easy to overfill the tank with VERY unpleasant results!
- Don
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:08 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by GetawA-S View Post
....
FWIW, the compressor (electric only) fridges pull about 50 W. They are not the power hogs everyone seems to think.
...
- Don
From the Nova Kool website, 5.2 amps when the compressor is running. Assuming a 60% run time and that is optimistic in our experience, that is 75 amp hours a day or about 100% of the available battery capacity of your Available battery capacity unless you are using Lithium Iron batteries.
Of course if it is a sunny day and you have solar, you will add some back so maybe you can get through a second day if you use nothing else electrical...
My comment about the 60% being optimistic comes from living with refrigerators like this one on boats.
In hot weather, our fridge will run more like 75% of the time.
This is in an installation with superior condenser ventilation too.
In fact, we ordered our boat with a different, more expensive refrigerator after hearing of complaints about the exact same model Nova Kool running almost 100% of the time in warm climates and not being able to cool things. Of course we have a 600 amp hour battery bank on our boat so we can survive this level of power consumption...

We learned, after we had a deposit on our yet to be built 2021 Globetrotter, of the switch to Nova Kool. As we like to spend time boondocking, we will be making some changes to the trailer...
Either a much larger Lithium Iron battery bank or perhaps a refrigerator swap...

We will have to see.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:14 AM   #35
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Since you mentioned you have a Berkey filter, when you take showers, use a pitcher or something to catch the water you are running while waiting for the shower water to get hot. When the water warms up, hand the pitcher out to your partner. Your partner can pour this water into the Berkey so it can be used for drinking water. Otherwise it is wasted water.

Regarding tank dumping, recommend:

1) Pull black tank valve and drain (what you listed as your first step could be a terrible mistake... dump first before doing your flush)
2) Close black tank valve
3) Attach black tank flush hose and let run until tank is about 75-80% full. Have someone inside check the monitor to let you know when to shut off water.
4) Pull black tank valve and drain
5) Close black tank valve
6) Add three gallons of water and tank digester to tank, dumped down toilet (someone inside can do this while you are dumping gray water)
7) Pull gray tank valve and drain
8) Use hose at dump station to rinse inside of stinky slinky

And like someone else said, wear disposable gloves.

When flushing or hooking up city water, important to distinguish between the port for city water and the port for the black tank flush. Airstream does not do a good job of labeling these.

If you can, do the rinse step each dump. But as someone else said, if there is a long line at the dump station, maybe skip the black tank rinse step and do it at the next stop. But make sure you do it at the end of your trip. You can usually avoid the long lines by not hitting the dump station at "peak time" when everyone is leaving the campgrounds. You can also choose to do your dump at the next campgrounds if you're moving to another place -- but that means traveling with the weight of full tanks. The dump station usually isn't busy in the afternoon which is when you'd arrive at the next place. If you camp somewhere with full hookups, you can do a dump and rinse, dump and rinse a few times at your leisure without holding anyone up.

If you do camp at a place with full hookups, don't leave your valves open and let stuff just drain out as you use the plumbing. This leads to solids deposits in your black water tank that are hard to remove. Instead let your tanks fill and then dump them.

Most folks flush their toilet paper down the toilet like they do at home. In your black water tank there is a rotating sprayer mechanism that turns around spraying water when you do a black tank flush. Toilet paper will get all over this, hanging from the spray arms like Christmas tree tinsel, and will impact its ability to do its job. I'll probably get flamed for this, but you may choose to instead put your toilet paper in the trash. As we use it, we put it in ziploc sandwich bags and place the bags in our trash can.

Steve
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:44 PM   #36
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...
Most folks flush their toilet paper down the toilet like they do at home. In your black water tank there is a rotating sprayer mechanism that turns around spraying water when you do a black tank flush. Toilet paper will get all over this, hanging from the spray arms like Christmas tree tinsel, and will impact its ability to do its job. I'll probably get flamed for this, but you may choose to instead put your toilet paper in the trash. As we use it, we put it in ziploc sandwich bags and place the bags in our trash can.

Steve

I believe that this is the actual flush system used on modern Airstreams. It is what was used in our 2012 Bambi and I’ve seen it on larger models too. No need to worry about toilet paper with one of these!
I do know people who feel that toilet paper can wreck havoc with some tank sensors but Airstream has moved away from internal tank sensors so feel free to just flush the paper...

https://highskyrvparts.com/New-Airst...STEM-601441-02
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:35 PM   #37
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First trip in new AS today — last minute questions

I think that if toilet tissue were to hang from the spray head, in a short period of time it would be dislodged by water pressure or disintegrate. But definitely don’t use paper towels or so called ‘wipes that are Safe for Septic Tanks’ they are not.
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:46 PM   #38
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We only use Charmin Ultra Soft.

It dissolved faster in tests ** than the so-called RV toilet paper brands. My SewerSolution system easily pumps it out and quickly shreds the paper if it finds a wad of stuff.

Absolutely no issues over years of use. Paper towels or so called ‘flushable wipes’ are an absolute no go. (Pun intended)

Besides, SWMBO prefers Ultra Soft, and I much prefer keeping her happy.

**Quick test: quart jar half full of water, two sheets toilet paper under test into the water. Lid on. Shake gently for 30 seconds, let sit undisturbed for two minutes. If the paper falls apart totally into a fog of paper fibers in the water when you shake it again gently after the two minute wait, it’s safe to put in your black tank.
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:52 PM   #39
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Park City , Utah
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Just got back from our first trip. We had a blast! Observations:

- Yep, as you all said, grey water is the limiting factor. We were doing pretty well, after 2 days I think we were still at 24% or something. Then my wife took what she says was a Navy shower. Ha ha, it went up to 60% or something. We have some work to do here.

- Energy consumption was a non-issue with 400 w of solar. We didn't try hard to conserve and never got below 12.2 on the meter.

- Black was about 50% full after 4 days with 3 people.

- Fresh water was down to 25% after 4 days. We brought two 6 gallon jugs for drinking water, and didn't run out of that.

I think we could quite easily do 5 days with the 3 of us, provided we figure out the shower piece. We did buy a privacy tent for the outdoor shower, but it didn't feel appropriate to use that in a developed campground.
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