4 Tips for RV Waste Holding Tank Maintenance

Emptying and cleaning your RV waste holding tank isn’t the most pleasant job, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult! ! Understanding proper RV waste holding tank maintenance will undoubtedly make your RVing experience more pleasant. Learn our top tips for keeping your waste tank fresh and clean below.

RV Waste Holding Tank Maintenance

How to Sanitize Your Waste Holding Tank

It is a good idea to thoroughly clean and sanitize your RV waste holding tanks especially before winterizing. Build-up of bacteria and other waste can cause unpleasant odors. The best way to rid of this smell is to sanitize your grey and black water tanks. In this video, David Solberg instructs on how to use a bleach and water solution to sanitize your RV’s waste holding tanks.

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RV Waste Holding Tank Maintenance

Which RV holding tank chemicals are right for me?

There are several approved RV holding tank chemicals. These are chemicals that will not destroy seals and lubrication and will still allow for good bacteria, which helps break down solids. All are liquid, biodegradable, and come in convenient packaging. In this video, David Solberg makes some recommendations on proper chemical use.

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RV Waste Holding Tank Maintenance

Maintaining and Cleaning Your RV Holding Tanks

In this comprehensive video, you’ll learn how to dump the two RV holding tanks – the black and gray water systems. You’ll learn safety tips for preventing bacteria and pathogens from escaping into your environment, and you’ll show you which order you should empty your tanks. Being knowledgeable about dumping black and gray water systems is essential to RV ownership. Here are some safety tips and tricks to prevent the escape of exterior pathogens and interior odors.

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RV Waste Holding Tank Maintenance

Eliminating Odors Caused by RV Holding Tanks

Most of the foul aromas in an RV originate from faulty vents that lead odors up and out of the roof from RV holding tanks. In this video, David Solberg teaches how to find the faulty vent and come up with a solution to the stinky problem. Solberg’s methods are quick, easy, and best of all, inexpensive. Ridding these odors will provide a better RVing experience for yourself and all travelers.

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31 Responses to “4 Tips for RV Waste Holding Tank Maintenance”
  1. Steve St Martin
    Steve St Martin

    RV Make: Tiffin Allegro, RV Model: 32SA, RV Year: 2016

    I don’t put the towlet paper down the tank I throw it in a trash can and change it every day. Keeps the black tank from getting clogged

    Reply
    • Tammy
      Tammy

      RV Year: 2012

      Our black tank tank is clogged now. We don’t put toilet paper down the commode. Any ideal how to unclog it

      Reply
      • Customer Service
        Customer Service

        Hi Tammy,
        I would start by putting some black water conditioner into it and add water unless it’s already over 1/2 full? Thetford and Dometic both make a very good product that has “good bugs” meaning they break down the waster aerobically rather than chemicals that allow the bad bugs to work anaerobically and smelly. If that doesn’t help, next I would add some residential drain cleaner to see if that helps break up the clog if it’s in the drain pipe. If all that still does not break up the clog, you can use a hand snake from the outside and try to snake it up through the dump hose, past the valve and to the clog? This is very messy and you will need sanitary gloves with high sleeves as well as a large basin to catch the sewage once you get the clog busted up! Not a fun job!
        David- RVRC

        Reply
  2. Marta
    Marta

    RV Make: Evergreen, RV Model: Bayhill, RV Year: 2014

    I have tried everything to thoroughly clean our waste tanks, even Borex and Calgon. Our gauges are always off even we I know they are empty. I’ve even tried the gauge Cleaner. And recommendations?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Marta,

      You could try a black water flush valve or just the flush tube inserted down the toilet? This is a very common issue with RVs and most people replace the probes. There is a new brand on the market that claims to eliminate the problem with a probe that is protected from the sludge on the side by a teflon guard. Check them out here: http://www.rvprobes.com/howitworks.html

      Another probe that manufacturers are using is a type that uses ultrasound rather than a probe inside the tank. Winnebago has been using these for over 10 years and have had no false readings. Check them out here: http://levelguardproducts.com/marine-rv/rv-marine-multi-tank-monitor.php

      Thanks,
      David RVRC Video Membership

      Reply
  3. Jim King
    Jim King

    RV Make: Fleetwood, RV Model: Pace Arrow, RV Year: 1991, Brand: Dometic, Model Number: Designer Series 2804

    How can I adjust the door so it closes correctly? The bottom doesn’t seal completely. The top has the latch.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Jim,

      To provide more specific troubleshooting information on your door issue we need the make, model, and year of your RV. And are you referring to the entrance door or a compartment door? If it’s the entrance door, they do have a tendency to warp at times and the best way to adjust it placing a hard object such as a rod or I’ve used a 2×4 at approximately the middle of the door inside and pushed the bottom of the door enough to bend it back into shape! If you don’t want to chance that, take it to a body shop and they can adjust it as well.

      Thanks,
      David RVRC Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first year membership.
      http://go.rvrepairclub.com/C10742

      Reply
  4. Darrell
    Darrell

    RV Make: Redwood, RV Model: 38FL, RV Year: 2014, Brand: Redwood, Model Number: 38FL

    I had a shackle bolt (wet bolt) break on my Redwood. In repairing it, it was suggested I have heavier hardware installed given the weight of our Fifthwheel. Lately, I have been hearing a lot talk as the manufactures putting just enough suspension hardware on rigs just to roll them off the line. I am considering putting a heavier idler between the axles (SRE 4000) and a crossmember to add strenght to the suspension. However I am wondering if this is overkill or hype. Guidance here would be helpful. How do I know if anything really needs to be done.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Darrell,

      With all the forums and social media available today, you’ll find just about any issue that comes up on a rig becomes an epidemic! Tires are no good, refrigerators are no good-put in a residential one, everything spreads like wild fire anymore. Manufacturers do a tremendous amount of research and testing when it comes to suspension and structure, however one thing they don’t do is overbuild a coach to create what we call the “fudge factor”. This means that the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) posted are the MAX weight that can be on that rig. Exceed it and there will be issues! I would suggest getting your rig weighed to find out what you have on the individual axles and even wheel position before blaming the suspension? RV Safety and Education Foundation provides individual wheel position weighing and are still finding almost 50% of the rigs they weigh are exceeding recommend ratings in one or more categories. You can find their weighing schedule here: http://www.rvsafety.com

      I have not heard of many issues with the suspension and typically if there was an overwhelming number of failures, NHTSA would force the manufacturer to conduct a recall. You might also check with the axle manufacturer which is probably Dexter or Lippert? I think going to heavier hardware is overkill and might be masking other issues such as the weight?

      Thanks,
      David RVRC Video Membership

      Reply
  5. Jim
    Jim

    RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Fusion M-393, RV Year: 2009

    The brochure mentions spare tire storage. There is none on mine. In fact it didn’t even come with a spare. So, now that I have spares is there a way to store them out of the way underneath somewhere?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Jim,

      To provide more specific troubleshooting info on your spare tire storage question we need the make, model, and year of your RV! Several manufacturers are not providing a spare due to weight and cost and claim; “Most owners don’t change a tire in an emergency, they let the road service company do it”. To me this is a cop out because when the road service company gets there and the tire is flat or even shot, there isn’t a spare to change and they will not patch a tire on the road. So it’s either a tow or another trip to get a new tire put on the rim at the shop and back. I would suggest contacting your selling dealer or the RV company and ask exactly where they designed storage for a spare? Most of the time it’s just inside an exterior compartment taking up cargo space!

      Thanks,
      David RVRC Video Membership

      Reply
  6. Rick S
    Rick S

    RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Residence, RV Year: 2018

    Concerning best ways to keep black tank flowing: We also DO NOT throw toilet paper down there. We wrap our used tp in additional tp and throw into paper garbage bag. Our nightly campfire will burn it all. Also, if your septic system can handle it use alot of water and dump the tank only when it’s full. Close the tank, run water to ensure the bottom of tank is wet, add some deodorizer that breaks down solids, and buy more toilet paper and small paper bags. Live stress free!!

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Ray,

      There are rubber gaskets in between the valve and the brackets. It is possible the gasket is bad or some debris got logged in between. You will have to take apart the valve holding bracket to see if something needs cleaned or replaced. Inspect the plumbing as well and make sure it isn’t a piece of it broken or cracked causing the leak. Most of the time it is the gaskets and this can be replaced by removing the 4 bolts and pulling apart the valve housing. Again, there should be two gaskets so make sure to replace both.

      Sincerely,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  7. William Norva
    William Norva

    RV Make: Ford Airstream, RV Model: B-190, RV Year: 1996, Brand: Ford, Model Number: Airstream

    It helps me understand how the system works. Thank you!

    Reply
  8. don paulin
    don paulin

    RV Make: a c e, RV Year: 2020

    WOW! Learn new all tthe time – several people do not put TP down the tank, saving for other disposal. I have owned various models and sizes since 1978 and use household TP. Never had a problem.

    Reply
  9. Bill Evans
    Bill Evans

    RV Make: Skyline, RV Model: Weekendee, RV Year: 1984

    Wiuld like to know how to take care of both dark and black water tanks.

    Reply
  10. Greg Nicholas
    Greg Nicholas

    RV Make: Itasca, RV Model: Sunstar, RV Year: 2010

    If you have your black water tank directly below the toilet, then you can use our method.
    We use a Flexible Swivel Stick, that is inserted through the toilet’s, hand-operated type, open flush valve, on a ten foot hose, that is connected to it’s fresh water supply by a double valved Y connector, that goes in the window nearest the bathroom. Also a Sewer Solution (SS) system, connected to it’s water supply through a very short hose to the other branch of the second valved Y connector, that has its own back-flush feature. We also needed a 7 inch sewer extension, so the 1 inch SS drain hose is lined up with the utility compartment port. My wife handles the inside duties while I man the outside. We get all the level indicators back. After the dump valve is closed, toilet flush valve is left open for 1 1/2 minutes and the Orange TST tank treatment is added. I then dump the gray water tank. (Back info, I have my water filter connected directly to the fresh water intake, then through a valved Y I connect the fresh water hose. All inside the utility compartment.)
    I also installed a Cyclone Sewer Vent on the roof in place of the standard black tank vent cover. We have no odors. Hope this offers invite.

    Reply
  11. Mike Marshall
    Mike Marshall

    RV Make: Rockwood, RV Model: 8280, RV Year: 2012

    Video for waste holding tank Maintenance.

    Reply
  12. Remi Zecman
    Remi Zecman

    RV Make: Fleetwood, RV Model: Discovery LXE, RV Year: 2020

    Any recommendation on what hind of chemical to use in the Black tank? Liquid or what I bought which is BIO-PAK by Walex ? it is a pre- package I bought at camping world. Thank you

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Remi!

      We’d love to help!

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members to our online community. We do have a promotional offer if you are interested. This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Please feel free to take a look. You can message us right back with your question if you decide to become a member and you will have a response within 1-2 business days from our experts!

      Please follow the steps below to receive the annual membership at the introductory rate:

      1. Click on the email link: https://go.rvrepairclub.com/C22462
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      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  13. Carol
    Carol

    RV Make: Forest River , RV Model: Pull trailer , RV Year: 2006

    What can you use to clean the sensor in the black water tank?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Carol!

      That’s a great question!

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members to our online community. We do have a promotional offer if you are interested. This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Please feel free to take a look. You can message us right back with your question if you decide to become a member and you will have a response within 1-2 business days from our experts!

      Please follow the steps below to receive the annual membership at the introductory rate:

      1. Click on the email link: https://go.rvrepairclub.com/C22462
      2. Click on the Premium Membership offer.
      3. The Checkout page will display your Premium Membership purchase.
      4. Fill in your Billing Details and create an account password.
      5. Fill in your debit/credit card information.
      6. Finish by clicking Complete Order.

      If you have any further questions, please contact Customer Service at 1-855-706-3536 at your earliest convenience, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  14. Roxi Rykal
    Roxi Rykal

    RV Make: Keystone cougar, RV Model: 341 RKI, RV Year: 2017

    After using our black water back flush after draining black tank religiously for 2 1/2 yrs it has suddenly stopped working. Water goes into hose but does not enter black tank. We cleaned out the screen on the outside outlet but from there we have no idea on what step to take next.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Roxi!

      That’s a great question!

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members to our online community. We do have a promotional offer if you are interested. This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Please feel free to take a look. You can message us right back with your question if you decide to become a member and you will have a response within 1-2 business days from our experts!

      Please follow the steps below to receive the annual membership at the introductory rate:

      1. Click on the email link: https://go.rvrepairclub.com/C22462
      2. Click on the Premium Membership offer.
      3. The Checkout page will display your Premium Membership purchase.
      4. Fill in your Billing Details and create an account password.
      5. Fill in your debit/credit card information.
      6. Finish by clicking Complete Order.

      If you have any further questions, please contact Customer Service at 1-855-706-3536 at your earliest convenience, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  15. Gary Gray
    Gary Gray

    RV Make: Jayco, RV Model: Eagle, RV Year: 2004

    My remote isn’t working. I changed the battery and it still doesn’t work

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Gary!

      We’d love to help you out with your remote!

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members to our online community. We do have a promotional offer if you are interested. This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Please feel free to take a look. You can message us right back with your question if you decide to become a member and you will have a response within 1-2 business days from our experts!

      Please follow the steps below to receive the annual membership at the introductory rate:

      1. Click on the email link: https://go.rvrepairclub.com/C22689
      2. Click on the Premium Membership offer.
      3. The Checkout page will display your Premium Membership purchase.
      4. Fill in your Billing Details and create an account password.
      5. Fill in your debit/credit card information.
      6. Finish by clicking Complete Order.

      If you have any further questions, please contact Customer Service at 1-855-706-3536 at your earliest convenience, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  16. Karly Murrel
    Karly Murrel

    RV Make: columbus, RV Model: 340 RK, RV Year: 2016

    Help. I purchased a used 2016 Columbus 5th wheel from an individual and unfortunately no training on how to do anything. Im very new to the RV community. I’m struggling with dumping the Black and Gray tank. My control panel shows Gray tank 1 gray tank2 and Black tank 1 and Black tank 2. The water is backing up in the shower when running water facet in the bathroom sink. When running water in the kitchen sink there are no issues. I have had issues with the toilet but feel Ive isolated that issue to being in the pipe before it reaches the black tank. Hopefully someone can help me. Due to covid, ive been unemployed so taking it into a rv repair shop just isnt an option at this time. help

    Reply