What Is A Black Water Tank For An RV And How To Maintain It
Owning an RV is the only hobby where you should openly talk about proper waste disposal, and one of the things that you need to be familiar with is what is black water tank for RV and what it is used for.
The black water tank is a container in your RV that collects the solid and liquid waste from your RV’s toilet. It is positioned underneath the RV carriage, right next to the gray tank and the freshwater tank. The black tank should only contain solid and liquid waste as well as a biodegradable enzymatic product to help degrade the waste. You should never flush down solid items such as tissue, wet wipes, diapers, or Q-tips, or you can risk clogging your RV's plumbing system.
The main purpose of a black tank is to contain your waste as you travel until you can reach a place to dispose of the waste properly.
Does my RV have Other Water Tanks?
Aside from the black tank, RVs have two other tanks, which are also located under the RV carriage.
- Gray Water Tank – this tank holds the water from the shower, bathroom sink, and kitchen sink of the RV. The combination of soap residue and dirt gives the water its color. This tank is not designed to hold any solid waste, so if you regularly cook in your RV, make sure to use drain stops for your shower and sinks to prevent hair and food particles from flowing into your gray water tank.
- Fresh Water Tank – as the name suggests, the fresh water tank contains the fresh, clean water that you use in your RV.
How Often Should I Empty my Black Water Tank?
use the toilet in your RV. Simply put, the more frequently people go in your RV, the more often you would need to empty out the black water tank.
Let’s use an example: if you are traveling along in your RV and spend most of your days outside, you’re probably not using the toilet in the RV much. Thus, you would only need to empty it out every couple of weeks. However, if you are traveling with family and you’re all using the RV toilet to relieve yourselves, you’ll need to empty it out every other day.
Most modern high-end RVs have a sensor in both the black water and gray water tanks to let you know if you need to empty out the tanks. However, older models don’t have these sensors, so you might need to gauge the need to empty out the tank based on the water level and the smell.
You will also need to empty out your black water tanks after every camping trip, regardless of the frequency it was used; you don’t want to store waste in your RV’s tanks!
How Do I Clean my Black Water Tank?
Now that you know what is the black water tank for RV and what it contains, you’re probably looking for ways to thoroughly disinfect, clean, and remove the smell from your tank. Luckily, there are many commercial products available that allow you to keep your black water tank as clean and fresh as possible.
Before you go on any camping trip, you need to add a black tank water treatment product to your tank. These come in either liquid form or pod pockets. Mix the treatment product with water and pour it down your toilet. The solution helps break down solid waste and keeps odors down, making it easier when you finally empty your tank.
Aside from black tank treatment solution, you should also use a soap solution to help clean the black tank sensor clean and running smoothly.
How Do I Dump Waste from My RV’s Black Water Tank?
Here are three simple steps that you should follow every time you want to dump waste from your RV’s black water tank:
- Find a sewer hose and connect it to the outlet drain of your RV’s sewer system. Never dump your waste outside of a sewer system because this constitutes a health hazard. It also signals that you are an irresponsible and inconsiderate RV owner!
- Remove the black water tank valve and allow it to drain completely. Once it has drained completely, close the valve. If there is solid waste stuck in the hose line, you can open your gray water line to help flush out the solid wastes.
- Slowly disconnect the sewer hose from your RV’s sewer system, ensuring that all the liquid and solid waste has gone through. Make sure that your tank’s drain is properly closed.
What is Black Water Tank for RV Flushing?
After you dump out all the solid and liquid wastes from your RV, the next step is flushing out the black tank. This ensures that your black tank is fresh, clean, and removes all traces of wastes and biodegradable enzymes inside.
Most modern RVs have a built-in black tank flushing system, although you can also install one if your RV does not have it. You simply need to attach a hose to the flushing system and allow clean water to circle inside your black water tank to remove all the remaining waste and impurities inside. As with dumping the waste, make sure that you properly dispose of the dirty water produced during the flushing process.
What Kind of Chemicals Should I Use with my Black Water Tank?
Whether you're looking for black water tank treatments, biodegradable enzymes, or tank cleaners, make sure that you look for products that are specifically designed to be used for black water tanks. If you use harsh products, it can ruin the interior of your tank by making it brittle or dry out the seals and make your tank leak.
Now that you know what is black water tank for RV, you also know that it is your responsibility as an RV owner to it clean and dispose of your waste properly. Take care of your RV’s black tank to ensure that all your camping trips will be enjoyable, hygienic, and odor-free.
Many people who love the idea of the freedom of movement and flexibility offered by owning an RV camper get turned off by one aspect: the issue of plumbing.