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Old 11-12-2012, 08:23 AM   #1
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Black Water Tank Cleaning

I took my first trip with my new to me 2006 Surveyor SV264 to Pigeon Forge, Tn this past week and I loved the whole RV thing but I have a question about cleaning the black tank. I had found out about the Geo method touted on these forums so I made a mixture of it in a 5 gal. bucket and added it thru the toilet prior to my trip so it could slosh around while pulling it to the campsite. Later I was amazed at how quickly the tank fills, within 2 days it was ready to be drained. I noticed a lot of RV'ers using the onsite restrooms and maybe that's the reason I'm not sure. I decided to run a rinse cycle thru the tank after the initial dumping so I ran a hose inside the camper to the toilet and refilled the tank and then dumped again and I was surprised at how much didn't come out on the first try. Since as I mentioned I purchased the camper used I would like to do a thorough cleaning of it for the next trip but wasn't sure which chemicals would be best to accomplish this, should I stay with the Geo method for my next trip or use another type of chemical in-between using the Geo method that would break down the waste better?
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:04 AM   #2
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I found the best way to clean the is to buy a tank flusher wand. It attaches to a hose and then you hold it down the toilet into the tank and turn on the water. It really works well. After I used ours a few times, I grew tired of dragging a hose through the camper so installed a black tank flush on the outside.

Good luck
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:29 AM   #3
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I've never used chemicals in my tank and have never had any odor or cleaning issues. I'll squirt a little dawn in the tank when we arrive to keep things slick but thats about it. You may want to get a Tornado tank flusher. It works extremely well without dragging hoses and dripping wands through Rv. I installed mine in about 2 or 3 hours. I'm currently pulling up stakes to head home and my Tornado did an incredible job rinsing my black tanks with minimal effort by the operator. Squeaky clean!
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:48 AM   #4
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I hope that your not relying on the tank level monitor to tell you if the tank is full or empty...they are notoriously inaccurate. It'd be hard to believe that you can fill the black tank in 2 days even when starting with 5 gal in the tank. The black tank is probably about 30 gal and should be enough capacity for 7 -10 days for 2 people.

With you camper, you should be able to look down the hole into the tank and see how full it is.

Black tanks empty best with lots of water...don't try to save on water when using it.

Dave
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:56 AM   #5
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Black Tank cleaning

X2 What Dave said! Its best to leave for the CG with at least 5 gals. of water in the tank. I use the geo method and suggest you do the same
Herk will chime in here and say the same thing, and suggest that you fill the tank and let it set for a few days and then drain it with a clear elbow to see just how much you are getting out. The Geo Method cannot hurt a thing no matter what people will tell you, after all its the same stuff you run down your sewer at home. jdadoug
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:03 PM   #6
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you have no idea how well the previous owners maintained the black tank. so, expecting the GEO method to clean out a tank that you have no idea how clear it is, is asking too much.
you need to get a tank wand and use lots of water. also, as others said, if you're using the infamous tank monitors as a true indicator of full, forget using them.
i would shine a light down the toilet and see how clear it is. who knows, the previous owner could have left a huge pyramid that's now hardened.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:51 PM   #7
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Dave_Monica, thanks for "don't try to save on water when using it" as I am always trying to flush as fast as I can, thinking I am saving water......but it makes sense to use water so it helps flush out the BW tank!
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:16 PM   #8
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Cant say enough about the clear 90 or 45 fitting. Also Dave is right on about using plenty of water.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:46 PM   #9
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Another tip to try. If heading to the dump station and the black tank is only partially full, I empty from the gray water tank into a 5 gal pail and pour down the toilet into the black tank until it's near full. A full tank emtpies much better and the dump station water hose seldom has any fitting on it to be of use.

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Old 11-12-2012, 06:55 PM   #10
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That's a great idea, especially when the dump station has no water source nearby.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:06 PM   #11
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Thanks for all of the helpful comments and yes I was relying on the lighted indicators to let me know when the grey as well as the black tanks were full. I had never read on the forums not to rely on them but I will keep that in mind for the future. Looking down the discharge of the toilet I can see a black seal approx. where the floor level is and then below that is a piece of pvc pipe extending into the tank about 4 to 6 inches (the inside of the tank appears to be just a few inches from the end of the pipe extension with it sloping away from the extension so I'm assuming that the tank would be full with the water level just below the seal inside the pvc pipe. I can see the reasoning on looking down the toilet to check the level of the black tank but how do I determine the actual level of the grey tank? Since I'm not sure how well the previous owner maintained his tanks I was hoping to use some chemicals to try and break down whatever remains were left and once I was confident that I had it clean then I would maintain with the Geo method. I am currently using a clear 45 degree hydroflush elbow so I was getting the expected results with the initial dumping but I noticed it didn't seem to clear out the majority of the toilet paper and so I ran the hose into the camper and filled up the tank twice again with each time clearing out a little more until the water ran pretty clear on the last fillup. I have also ordered a twist on gate valve to use in combo with the hydroflush so I can backfill the tanks without having to carry a hose into the camper. Also I just ordered the Camco rv quickie flush to mount on the black tank for future use next spring so with everyones helpful suggestions I'm slowly learning what it takes to maintain a trouble free rv. Thanks again for all of the comments.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:38 PM   #12
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I love learning from these forums and I trust the advice and opinions!
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:55 PM   #13
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My advice:

For a complete cleaning of your black and gray tanks I do the following:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...-it-21920.html

I have had great results.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:42 PM   #14
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From my experience the cleaner you get the tank after every use the better chance you have of the gauger reading accurately. I am a firm believer in the Tornado tank rinser.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stingingfork View Post
I can see the reasoning on looking down the toilet to check the level of the black tank but how do I determine the actual level of the grey tank?
Once you've used the camper for a while, you'll learn the tank capacities in days (not gal) of normal use. The black tank you can see into...the gray tank will start filling the shower base when full.

You can search on the forum for Horst probes for tank level indication. Herk has them an has had good luck with them.

Dave
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:53 PM   #16
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Dave is correct. I love mine.

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ion-16089.html
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:57 PM   #17
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I ordered some of the additive that Herk had mentioned (Unique RV Digest-It) and it should be in by Friday of this week. My question is since I just winterized my water system should I wait until next spring to add to the black and grey tanks and after flushing continue with the Geo method or would you go ahead and add now and flush before the onset of winter? Also what amount of water or antifreeze do you normally leave in the tanks for the winter to help maintain the seals on the gate valves?
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stingingfork View Post
I ordered some of the additive that Herk had mentioned (Unique RV Digest-It) and it should be in by Friday of this week. My question is since I just winterized my water system should I wait until next spring to add to the black and grey tanks and after flushing continue with the Geo method or would you go ahead and add now and flush before the onset of winter? Also what amount of water or antifreeze do you normally leave in the tanks for the winter to help maintain the seals on the gate valves?
I don't know if the Digest It has a recommended temperature range...it probably does and it's probably too cold now.

You could do it now if it's not temperature dependent by pouring it into the toilet/shower drain and adding water with a hose in the toilet and shower drain. Where would you dump the tanks when you're done?

Best to leave the tank drained as much as possible...no anti-freeze required.

Dave
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:35 PM   #19
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I would also wait till spring now as the bacteria in RVDI require warmth to "wake up and get busy." I would do the 72-96 hour soak in the spring as part of your "unwrapping party."
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:32 PM   #20
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I know it attaches to a hose, but what I have been doing is.... I hold the other end under the bathroom sink faucet. I can't screw it on, but I just hold it there, I get enough pressure to use the toilet wand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtstromsburg View Post
I found the best way to clean the is to buy a tank flusher wand. It attaches to a hose and then you hold it down the toilet into the tank and turn on the water. It really works well. After I used ours a few times, I grew tired of dragging a hose through the camper so installed a black tank flush on the outside.

Good luck
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