Posts tagged: black water

Things You Can Learn In An RV Resort

By , December 29, 2009 12:28 pm


What you are looking at above is the correct way to hook up a sewer hose in a 2001 Newmar Dutch Star motor home.  The reason you are seeing it is because it’s not quite as obvious as you might think it is. 

The purplish tint is applied to stuff that’s not really important in this post.  What’s important is that are usually two valves in a motor home waste system and they empty into a sewer hose that normally goes through the floor and then into a sewer cap.  IMG_8934

In the picture to the right, you can see the different valves and labels.  The “sewage water holding tank” (commonly called black water) is the valve for dumping everything from the toilet.  The gray water valve on the right dumps the waste water from all the sinks and the shower. 

When we got the Star and I started checking everything out, I couldn’t get the clear elbow to attach to outlet correctly.  I also couldn’t get a sewer hose to attach and then bend backwards to go through the big hole in the floor.

IMG_8936 In this picture, you can see the clear elbow attached, but it sticks out too far.  Normally a sewer hose goes on the bottom of that elbow and then goes through the hole in the floor.  The elbow sticks out too far and there isn’t enough room for the hose to come up through the hole.

I figured that someone had damaged the original pipe system and then replaced it all with the stuff we have now.  I was planning on ripping it all out and rebuilding it.  But first, I wanted to see what the original system was supposed to look like. 

Luckily, while we were at Sun N Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, we spotted another Dutch Star that was very similar to ours.  We stopped as the owners were coming out so I asked if I could look at the guy’s sewer system. 

As we were walking around to the sewer bay, I started to explain my issue.  The gentleman mentioned that his outlet pipe swiveled down to line up with the hole.  When we got to the bay and started looking, I instantly realized it was exactly the same system as ours.  Hmm…

IMG_8937So, here’s what our sewer pipe outlook and elbow look like if you swing the whole assembly down into place…  perfect!

We probably would not have figured this out.  I might have gotten lucky and realized it moved when I went to rip it out, but that’s not really very likely.  Just talking to another owner and doing a bit of exploration saved us a lot of time, effort, inconvenience and probably a fair chunk of money too.

In short, if something doesn’t seem right on an RV, ask others who would have had to deal with the same issue.  If you can find someone with the same unit, that’s even better!

RV Toilet and the Geo Method

By , December 28, 2009 11:48 pm

RV water tanks (fresh, gray and black) are critical to the RV house system. The fresh water is self explanatory. The gray water is waste water from your sinks and shower. The black water is water from the toilet. The smell from the black water tank can be quite challenging and absolutely odorous (“I don’t want to go in the RV,  I’ll stay out here”), especially on a hot day. The goal for the black water tank is to have no blockage and no odor… And to keep it clean.

To address the smell from the black water tank, we have used various blue chemical solutions (that we have purchased from both Camping World and Walmart). During our visit in Sarasota, we met up with Jessica and Duncan from Traveling On the Skirts. We asked them what they do to treat the black water for their old fifth wheel. They clued us on the Geo Method for maintaining the gray and black water tank.

After some research, we decided we definitely want to try this method.

The Geo Method uses three basic household products:CalgonDetergent

  • Water softener (some recommend the non-precipitating type like Calgon, White Rain, Blue Raindrops, and Spring Rain)
  • Laundry detergent
  • Chlorine bleach (used infrequently compared to the other two ingredients)

Water softener helps remove the gunk from the tank and prevent it from sticking to the tank. Laundry detergent cleans the tank. Chlorine bleach is used to deodorize, sanitize and disinfect.

Water softener falls into two groups:

  • Precipitating (Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, Raindrops, Blue Dew, Borax, Climalene, Melo, White King Water Softener, and Borateem). This group is not recommended for the Geo Method as it does not work quite as well but you can use them if you cannot find the non-precipitating kind.
  • Non-Precipitating (Calgon, White Rain, Blue Raindrops, and Spring Rain). This group is recommended for the Geo Method.

The Geo Method is not necessary for every time you dump the tank. Once the tank has been “cleaned”, reduce the frequency as appropriate.

Regarding the toilet bowl, the Star manual specifically states:

 Do not use chlorine or caustic chemicals, such as laundry bleach or drain valve opening types, as they will damage the seals in the toilet and dump valves.

So, we will be foregoing the use of bleach in our implementation of the Geo Method for the black water tank. 

Thus far, we have emptied the black water tank and used the Geo Method (minus the bleach) three times. On the way from Sarasota back to Ocklawaha; the black tank had only water, detergent and water softener. It had a good sloshing on the way home.  

It’s still too early to judge its effect but we are hopeful…

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