One of the things many new RVers seem to be baffled by is the care and treatment of their black tank and I’m not sure why. It’s really a relatively simple process but people make it difficult.
There are only four things to remember, and if you remember them and don’t listen to all of the nonsense you’ll hear around the campfire or read on RV forums on the internet, you won’t have a problem. So here you go, print this out and keep it handy until you know it by heart.
1. Don’t waste a lot of money buying that expensive toilet tissue at the RV store. You don’t need it. We have used two-ply Scott Extra Soft for 15 years and have never had a major problem.
2. Forget all of the chemicals the RV stores sell to break up solids in your holding tank and keep it smelling nice and fresh. We buy Doctor Drain at WalMart and it does the same job for a whole lot less money. WalMart in some states does not carry it, so we stock up when we find it.
3. Ignore your holding tank monitor and don’t spend a lot of time and money worrying about it. They ALL give false readings and none of the commercial products or homegrown solutions to keep the contacts clean and giving you accurate levels work. Just forget the monitor panel is even there. You’ll be much happier. Remember your Uncle Nicky’s method – if you flush the toilet and your butt gets wet, it’s time to dump. I don’t doubt somebody will reply to this comment saying that if you pour a certain brand of dish soap, or a bag of ice, or baking soda or whatever into your holding tank your monitors will give you accurate readings. Just remember Uncle Nicky’s rule, that’s all you need. You’ll begin to recognize the sound of your tank as it begins to fill up, and when it’s close it will burp to let you know it’s that time again.
4. Keep your black tank valve closed at all times and never dump your tank until it is at least 3/4 full. If you’re a weekend warrior and are putting the RV in storage for a while, hold the toilet pedal down until it fills with water and then dump. That’s it kids, it’s as simple as that.
Now, if you dump your holding tank before it’s full enough once, don’t worry, the world is not going to come to an end. But if you routinely do so, the solids will build up until you have what is known as the “pyramid (or cone) of death” in your black water tank, and you don’t want that to happen. It’s an ugly problem at best, and if you can’t flush your tank enough to break it down, it can be expensive to fix if you have to call in an RV tech.
But never fear, I have solved that problem for all RVers from now on. If you’re ever plagued with the pyramid of death, don’t call the nearest RV repair shop. Instead, go to the pharmacy and get yourself some of the stuff they give you to prepare for a colonoscopy, and pour it down your toilet. Then open your black water valve and stand back. I guarantee that no matter what’s down there, it will move! You could pour wet cement or molten lead into your tank and this stuff will break it up and move it out. Trust me, I speak from experience.
I have a colonoscopy scheduled for today and I had to drink a gallon of the mixture yesterday to cleanse myself. And Lord, am I ever clean! I won’t go into all of the gross details, but let me just say that when I was a teenager I foolishly got a tattoo on my arm, and I have always been glad that it was high up on my bicep that nobody could see it if I was wearing a shirt. It’s gone now. I believe it was flushed down the toilet in the last few hours, along with everything I’ve eaten since preschool, and memories of my first wife.
While I was busy with that, Bad Nick posted a new Bad Nick blog titled Same BS, Different Day. Check it out and leave a comment.
Well, it’s Wednesday, and that means it’s time for a new contest! This week’s Free Drawing is for an audiobook version of my friend Judy Howard’s COAST TO COAST WITH A CAT AND A GHOST. I’ve read it, and this is a very moving book. All you have to do is click this Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section below. Only one entry per person per drawing please! The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday evening.
And finally, if you are doing any of your Christmas shopping online, please consider clicking the Amazon link at the top right side of this blog. When you purchase an item on Amazon from our link we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.
Thought For The Day – I’m guessing that whoever decided to call it common sense didn’t know that many people.
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Thanks for the gut wrenching laughs this morning!
Thank you for making the :Black Water Tank” an easy task. I have followed these same rules for many years and never had a problem, even as to the toilet paper. So many campers fall pray to all of the BS that is being told them, and it is coming out of their wallets.
So I say to all on this one “Follow Nick’s rules”.
Wow, I just have to say, this was one of the best blog posts I’ve read in a while. It was funny and informative, a pleasure to read. I have been around RV’s all my life, and I’ve had the job of draining the black tank several times, but I never thought to use a cleansing mix that you DRINK. if that works, man, that is genius.
Good luck with the colonoscopy, Nick.
I never, EVER, really thought you were “full of it”, but now I’m SURE you aren’t.
We don’t use any additive in the tank; we just use lots of water.
On travel days, we do water the tank to about 25%, and add some soap and calgon and let it slosh wash as we go down the road. It seems to loosen up more stuff (we watch the clear neck we have in the drain system when we drain it at the next campgfournd) and at least for us keeps our sensors clean.
You are SO right, If only everyone would read your blog and follow it.
Thanks for the info. Nice to know I don’t need all that expensive stuff!
Now, If you could just come over to my house and teach me how to “easily” back my fifth wheel into the RV spot at the side of my house I’d be set! It seem to be something my brain just doesn’t want to cope with. 🙂
I agree. Your 4 rules are right. But Im going to take your word for it on eliminating the cone. We rarely use any chemical and always try to use Angel Soft paper. Works good for us.