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Old 11-24-2020, 12:39 AM   #1
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2013 16' Sport
SEATTLE , Washington
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First time toilet use questions

Hello! Long time lurker, first time poster here. Just purchased a 2013 Bambi Sport and will be taking it on our first trip to a full hookup campsite over Thanksgiving.

Looking for some reassurances on first time use of the toilet. If I understand right, we'll fill the tanks part way with some water in case we need to use the toilet on the road before we arrive to the full hookup campsite. Before we use the toilet, I think we need to make sure there is some water already in the grey/black water tank (it's combined on our 16' Bambi). Do we just flush the toilet a few times to get some water down there?

Next, I'm aware of some sanitizing pucks that came with the Airstream, where and when do we add one of those in?
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Old 11-24-2020, 04:58 AM   #2
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Flush chemicals down toilet after adding water and first "whatever". Be aware combined tank is very small. Get a full hookup site on your first trip and dump the tank every day or two. Flashlight down the toilet drain hole to verify that the tank sensors are accurate. If the toilet burps when you flush it, drain the tank immediately.

If you do camp without hookups, shower and do dishes outdoors, or sponge bathe and use paper disposable dishware. Dump gray water on the ground only if you are in an isolated area where it is also legal. Coffee & grounds are actually good for pines and other evergreens but don't leave visible traces that the next people will see.

Keep fires small and smokeless. Use dry wood, do not burn TP etc. (S'mores in the same fire? Uck!) Seal all hygiene supplies in ziploc bags, and put in trash boxes.
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Old 11-24-2020, 06:34 AM   #3
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Traveling with some water in the tank is a good way to prevent buildup. Especially if your next overnight has a hookup or you have access to a dump station. It is not required, but it helps keep things easier. If your tank is generally clean, 5-20% water does an okay job. If the tank needs more cleaning 70% full is more effective. Any drain will add water to the tank. Makes no difference for you. I have found for chemicals, Happy Camper is very effective, by far the best. It reacts with and removes the primary odorant (H2S) and digests paper. Charmin Ultra Soft falls apart better in online tests than even the expensive and uncomfortably thin RV paper. Not sure what to think of the pucks you were given.

Bringing along some fresh water is always a good idea as mentioned. Filtering all fresh water going into the trailer is a time tested best practice that avoids several possible future issues.
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Old 11-24-2020, 07:05 AM   #4
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First of all welcome to the forum and congrats on your new (to you) Bambi. Hopefully it will bring you a lot of joy and make great memories!

We always travel with some water in the fresh tank for on the road use. And having a little water in the waste tank is a good idea. No special prep needed just flush your toilet.

We also use Happy Camper deodorant and add a scoop after each tank dump. And we also use Charmin Ultra Soft as BayouBiker mentioned.

Maybe you already know this, but when you are at a full hookup site don't leave the waste tank valve open. Otherwise the water will drain leaving th solids. You want the water to flush everything so empty it when it nears the full point.

Have a safe trip!
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Old 11-24-2020, 07:08 AM   #5
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One thing that was mentioned to me when we first got our trailer was about tank chemicals regarding whatever brand you decide to use to control waste breakdown, stick with the same brand going forward.....the service rep mentioned that different brands can have cancel effects while all trying to do the same thing.

In our case we use the Rhino chemicals and have bought it in mass quantity to always have on hand.

While I'm not a chemist, I understand why the recommendation was made.

We don't have any odors or smells that come from our tanks.

The person who told me this from the dealer and has been in the industry for many decades, so I trust his judgement & experience.

Welcome to the club.
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Old 11-24-2020, 07:24 AM   #6
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The Camco Rinoflex is an buffer stabilized enzyme and natural bacteria (the good kind) product. It is quite similar to the many other brands of enzyme formulas. They all do a good job. the enzyme formulas are compatible with Happy Camper and I use the enzymes when the camper is not in use to digest any remaining organics over time. They work very well, even alone but they are slower to act, especially if you happen to overtax the system or make your bugs sick with too much fat/grease/oil. Your approach is sound if you stay in front of the process, but Happy Camper is the the "gentle and natural" brute force method.
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by br00ksie View Post
Looking for some reassurances on first time use of the toilet. If I understand right, we'll fill the tanks part way with some water in case we need to use the toilet on the road before we arrive to the full hookup campsite. Before we use the toilet, I think we need to make sure there is some water already in the grey/black water tank (it's combined on our 16' Bambi). Do we just flush the toilet a few times to get some water down there?
Hi Br00ksie, greetings from central Kentucky and welcome to the forum. Congratulations on your new to you Airstream. May you have many miles of good times and adventures.

This time of year I don't like to carry fresh water in the FW tank. When traveling we keep a couple of gallon jugs of water in the shower in case we need to use the toilet on the road. That way I don't have to worry about draining the FW tank when we head for home. When you are hooked up to city water, to get water in the holding tank, just hold down the flush pedal. The trap door opens and water will go into the tank until you release the pedal.

I don't know if you've used this style of toilet before. Our group of guys has rented houseboats with the same style of toilet. It was a learning experience for us and helped with my first outing in the AS. Here's a few notes.

1. Don't travel with water in the toilet bowl. It will slosh out.
2. Before doing a, er, "solid", put water in the bowl just like a normal toilet bowl would have or you'll have a problem.
3. If your shower sprayer will reach, that's a handy tool for cleanup.

Good luck
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Old 11-24-2020, 10:18 AM   #8
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

First: It's now the time of year when it *might* get below freezing. You very much do *not* want water to freeze in your pipes or tanks. If you go on a trip this time of year, you likely will de-winterize at the start and re-winterize at the end of the trip. That generally involves flushing RV anti-freeze out of the lines.

Since this is a previously owned trailer, best not to *assume* anything about anything. I'd fill the fresh water tank with the "normal" bleach solution and let it sit for a while. Then I'd run that out through both the cold and hot water piping. After that, I'd do a tank or two of fresh water to flush out the bleach. Maybe it's not needed .... who knows ....

When you go to dump the "combined" tank, there likely is a flush setup. It's a second water input only for flushing out the tank after it's empty. If you have one, best to try it out as you do the fill / dump / fill / dump process.

Further down the road you might want to consider some chemicals to knock out hard water deposits in the black/gray tank. Minerals of various sorts do build up in there. It's a put it in and leave it for a day or two sort of process with most chemicals. Needless to say, follow the directions for whatever product you decide to use. ( that's often decided by "what's on the shelf at the local RV store ...).

Yes this all sounds like a bit of work. It's really more going over it all so you *do* understand what's involved. The amount of actual work at a full hookup site is really not all that much.

Enjoy !!!

Bob
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Old 11-24-2020, 10:32 AM   #9
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2019 26' Flying Cloud
Grapevine , Texas
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Unhappy First time toilet

Something you might consider, convert toilet to a compost toilet and you will have your entire tank available for grey water. Gets ride of the nasty black water.
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Old 11-24-2020, 12:31 PM   #10
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2018 22' Sport
Healdsburg , California
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Lingering ‘bits’

We keep A Portable Toto which can be used to spray away lingering bits as well as for its primary purpose as a portable bidet.
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Old 11-24-2020, 01:18 PM   #11
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Napa , California
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40 years of trailer experience here...and along the way we made every mistake.

You can use whatever you want (Happy Camper is our favorite), or use common household stuff (2 cups of Calgon into 1 gallon of warm water and add in 1 cup of laundry detergent or dish soap and chlorine or bleach as needed) for "chemicals" and NO NEED to fret about trying to always use the same stuff.

Once the tank has been cleaned out, you can go with something else as long as it was cleaned in between. Yes, some chemicals do cancel each other out...but, once they are removed it no longer matters. Really cold? Some of the encapsulated types of toilet chemicals won't melt open -so use warm water to start if you have opted for that type.

Prefilling? Not much is needed, a gallon is more than enough to slosh around and keep things clean to start.

Emptying daily? Naw, empty when you need it. The toilet burp is a clue, so are nasty smells or sensors screaming "full". You want to get it almost full BEFORE you dump. The more water and stuff in there, the better it rinses out. If you are dumping with a low fill, add lots of water to rinse things away. And hey, sometimes it is better to travel before dumping so it agitates the contents and cleans better.

When we had a tinier trailer, we had a "wand" that we stuck down the toilet to rinse off the sides (it hooked up to the sink or a hose). A clear connection to the sewer is really helpful, you can see what is getting out of your trailer...gotta love "Poop TV". That facination aside, I can't imagine EVER putting a flashlight into the toilet to see what is going on. I have however, been part of a rescue party trying to recover a flashlight from an RV toilet...no, just no!

Toilet paper? You want something that will dissolve easily, RV paper is fine but there are other types that work. To test put a wad of toilet paper in a jar and add some water then shake the jar. If the wad starts to fall apart-yeah! If it steadfastly holds together -oh no, not exactly what you want. The horrible stuff you find in roadside rest stops is just about perfect, some of that stuff dissolves before you even get close to water.

Don't leave your sewer lines open if you are not dumping! Rookie mistake, sewer gases can enter your trailer and make your life miserable. You can leave the hoses in place, just be sure to close off your valves.
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Old 11-24-2020, 03:42 PM   #12
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2010 23' International
Tucson , Arizona
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Don't know what chemicals you were given but be wary of tank products that use formaldehyde, they do kill the smells (and the bacteria, including good ones) and are not compatible with some camp site septic systems. We find that a little fabric softer liquid does the trick and keeps smells contained in an environmentally friendly way.
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Old 11-25-2020, 10:14 AM   #13
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A lot of your questions can be answered by this article:

https://www.doityourselfrv.com/rv-to...tiquette-tips/

I especially like the “Sign of the cross” method of reducing the water requirement for #2.


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Old 11-25-2020, 10:45 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by greghoro View Post
A lot of your questions can be answered by this article:
https://www.doityourselfrv.com/rv-to...tiquette-tips/
I especially like the “Sign of the cross” method of reducing the water requirement for #2.
Greg
A good article, never heard of the sign of the cross method; a good idea.
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Old 11-29-2020, 11:17 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
If you do camp without hookups, shower and do dishes outdoors, or sponge bathe and use paper disposable dishware. Dump gray water on the ground only if you are in an isolated area where it is also legal. Coffee & grounds are actually good for pines and other evergreens but don't leave visible traces that the next people will see.
If you have a combined gray/black water tank you should NEVER dump on the ground. Even if all you've put in the tank on a trip is gray, there will still be lingering "black water material." We're also talking a used trailer in this case, so who knows what is in the tank left over from the previous owner.

Steve
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Old 11-29-2020, 12:45 PM   #16
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I find it saves fresh water and black tank capacity by using a cup filled from the sink to water the bowl (pre- for #2 usage and post-use when necessary). This requires turning off the valve feeding the toilet.
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Old 11-29-2020, 12:54 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by stevejones View Post
If you have a combined gray/black water tank you should NEVER dump on the ground. Even if all you've put in the tank on a trip is gray, there will still be lingering "black water material." We're also talking a used trailer in this case, so who knows what is in the tank left over from the previous owner.

Steve
Even if you have separate tanks you don't want to dump gray water contaminated with food. It attracts creatures up the food chain and you can get "visited" when least expecting it. The smell is really bad too, rotting food in the water produces a smell that is nearly nauseous for me. I wouldn't want to leave that for the next person nor would I like to find it on my arrival.
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Old 11-30-2020, 12:52 AM   #18
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Thanks everyone! We successfully did our business and conducted our first black water dump today. Three cheers! 😂
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