In this free video lesson, RV repair expert Dave Solberg discusses the common mistakes RVers make when caring for their black water tanks, and teaches you how to use RV black water tank chemicals. If you find you’re having trouble maintaining your black water tank, whether you keep noticing a foul odor or consistently encounter unruly clogs, you might be making one or many of the most common mistakes regarding sewer system maintenance. Here are the five biggest mistakes Dave has noticed over the years:
You’re using the wrong chemicals. Depending on the type of RV black water tank chemicals you use, you can either encourage or hinder quick sewage decomposition. Be sure that you apply the right chemicals for your tank.
You’re using the wrong toilet paper. Not all types of TP are made for RVs. If you’re using the standard household variety, you might be putting your black water tank at greater risk of clogging and faulty level readings. Get yourself RV-specific toilet paper that dissolves quickly.
You’re not cleaning your tank correctly. Manufacturers such as Thetford have a huge line of products geared toward helping you to get your black water tank thoroughly emptied each time you dump.
You’re emptying the tank too soon. Your tank should be at least half or even two-thirds full before dumping. Letting the level rise allows paper to dissolve and the RV black water tank chemicals you use to fully break down waste.
You’re leaving the roof vent open. More often than you might think, that lingering smell in your RV is due to a roof vent that ought to have been closed. When you leave the vent open, airflow pulls odors up into the bathroom. So shut the vent and see if that helps; it might be the full extent of your issue and you’re not doing anything else wrong!
Sorry, but your 5th bullet point “Leave the roof vent open” and the associated discussion just confused me. Firstly, are you referring to the black tank vent (small circular one) or the larger square vent in the bathroom ceiling? After explaining which vent you were speaking of, please explain exactly what we are supposed to do to prevent odors. Also, are you recommending this for an RV in storage or in active use (while traveling & camping?)? Thanks
He was talking about the standard roof vent in the bathroom, not the vent of the black tank itself. You just want this closed when you flush the toilet since most of the time the black tank vent is very close to the roof vent of the bathroom and can cause vapors to come in. A lot of times the wind blowing can cause wind and the air can go down the tank vent causing air to push up from the toilet creating a very bad smell to linger inside. You just want this vent to be closed when flushing the toilet. We can send a diagram as well! I hope this helps!
RV Repair Club Technical Expert
Thanks for info on black tank