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Maintaining Your Black Water Tank

The black water tank might be smelly, gross, and a pain to deal with, but having the convenience of your own indoor toilet sure beats taking a walk to a camp toilet or finding a place to go in the woods. Maintaining your black water tank is important for making sure your Travel Trailer is in good shape and is safe to be around. Here at Ryan’s RV Town, we understand that this dirty job is just part of life on the road. That’s why we’ve prepared this brief guide to help you maintain your black water system. If you have any questions or needs parts and services for your RV, don’t be afraid to stop by our Everett, Washington location.

What’s a Black Tank For?

A black water tank, sometimes called a holding tank, is essentially your RV’s version of a septic tank. It holds waste that comes from your toilet before being emptied into a wastewater treatment system. A well maintained black water tank will also help to break down the waste to make it easier to clean, and also to prevent the major problem you will be battling as you maintain your black water tank: odor. Yes, this is the tradeoff for having the convenience of an on-board toilet. A poorly maintained black water tank can smell bone-chillingly awful, and can make spending time in your RV a nightmare.

An RV black water tank starts out with a little bit of water in it in order to help control odor and keep waste moving. You should also make sure to put a holding tank chemical in to help break down the waste and stop odor. There are many commercially available holding tank chemicals, but make sure to use whatever your RV manufacturer or dealership recommends.

Cleaning Out Your Black Tank

After a long stay at a campground, you’ll want to clean your black water tank as you’re leaving your destination so that you don’t have to take the extra weight with you on the road. Your campground probably offers an approved waste disposal site, so this should be your first stop. If not, you’ll want to find the nearest one with public access. Once you find a location, hook up your waste hose. A waste water hose is not something you want to cut costs on by buying cheap. Spend the extra bit of cash to make sure you don’t end up giving yourself a brown shower because your hose broke.

Make sure you empty the black water tank first. Open the valve and let the tank empty. Then, empty your gray water tank. This will help flush out your hose so that there’s no waste residue making it stink.

Flushing Out Your Black Tank

A necessary step for maintaining your black water tank is to flush it out with water. You should flush it with some water every time you empty it in order to keep things from building up. Every few months, though, should thoroughly flush and clean it out. This will prevent build up on any sensors that tell your how full your tank is. If your tank has a “Black Tank Flush” port, simply hook a fresh water hose up to it and turn on the water. If your trailer is older, you’ll need a black water wand, which allows you to spray all the hard to reach areas around the inside of your tank. First, make sure the water is turned off to the wand. Then open the toilet valve by holding open the flush pedal. Stick the wand inside and then turn on the water. Multiple jets of water will spray out, and you can turn the wand around to make sure you get every possible area. It’s best to travel with an empty tank. But don’t forget to refill the water and add more chemicals before your next trip.

No one likes thinking about the black water tank, but it’s an important chore to take care of. Make sure not to neglect maintaining your black water tank, as you could be left with a horrible smell before long. If your black water, gray water, or fresh water systems need parts or servicing, stop by Ryan’s RV Town. We proudly serve Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Bellingham, and Vancouver, Washington, and we can make sure your wastewater system is in great shape.