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Old 10-02-2013, 04:54 PM   #1
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A Black Tank Cleaning Story

I had an RVer asked me about cleaning his black tank. Seems no matter what he did, and/or added to it, there was always a foul odor a few hours, maybe a day later. This, even though the tank was not any where close to being full. I told him his tank was not completely clean. He told me it was because he had clear water running out after flushing the tank. Told him again, "your tank is not clean". Asked him if he had an hour or so to clean his tank, and he told me he did. Told him to go to the dump station and hook up his sewer hose that I would be there in a few minutes. I showed up with my swivel stick tank cleaner, and had him hook it up to his water hose. I ask him to fill the tank up, and then open the drain valve. Close the valve, and fill the tank up again. Even gave him some left over laundry detergent to use after the second flush. On the first flush, the liquid was very brown. He could not believe it because prior to me getting there, his drain water was clear. Long story short. He filled, and drained his black tank 8 times, using the swivel stick before he saw clean water coming out while using the swivel stick cleaner. What he was doing wrong was just filling the tank with water after the first dump. He would dump a second time, and get clear water. When he saw clear water, he would pack up and leave, with an empty, clean tank......he thought. Since he was just filling the tank, with very little water movement inside the entire tank, he was not getting all the sediment out. Over time this sediment had built up,..... probably in the corners. The moral of this story is that even though you have clear water running out, your tank may not be completely clean of debris. You need water movement in the tank when filling it up to stir things up to get a better, cleaning, flush job. If you think this might be a problem for your tank, try this. Empty the tank. Shut off your water supply to the toilet. Stick a pole of some sort, down the toilet and gently scrape the bottom of your tank. Be careful doing this so as not to poke a hole in the tank. Then inspect the end of the pole for sediment. Sounds gross I know, but you need to know what's on the bottom of your tank after draining clear water out of it. BTW, this test won't work with an offset drain unless you use something flexible to get to the bottom of the tank. A hand snake would work well in both cases. Last but not least I told him to leave a few gallons of water in the tank when he left so it would slosh around while he was driving down the highway. He had previously told me he never traveled with water in any of his three holding tanks to avoid the extra weight.
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:01 PM   #2
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I was told but have not tried it yet

About 10- 15 gallons of water and 2 five pound bags of ice in the black tank, then drive around.
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:18 PM   #3
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Part of my winterization is a 7 day black tank soak with Unique's RV-Digest-It.

I dump and turboflush. Then put 1/2 quart of Digest-It in each 42 gallon tank (black and gray) and fill till the "full" light comes on in both tanks.

Wait 7 days and truboflush again till clear (about 30 minutes). NEVER had tank odor.
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:21 PM   #4
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Mine kept showing 2/3 full I filled with water to just where the full light on the monitor came on then dumped in a 8lb bag of ice then drove to campground dumped tank and low and behold shows empty. So in my case the ice trick worked
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Old 10-02-2013, 06:55 PM   #5
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[QUOTE="Ford Idaho;474594"]I was told but have not tried it yet About 10- 15 gallons of water and 2 five pound bags of ice in the black tank, then drive around.[/QUOTE
I thought about this...wondered if it would work???
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:18 PM   #6
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We always put some water in the tank with detergent to move around on the way to camping. Scrubbing the bottom with some method is the only way to get it clean. We do the turbo wash at the end of our trip. The wife also dumps the dirty dishwater in the black tank to add some residual soap
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:23 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Iwannacamp;474651]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford Idaho View Post
I was told but have not tried it yet About 10- 15 gallons of water and 2 five pound bags of ice in the black tank, then drive around.[/QUOTE
I thought about this...wondered if it would work???

One of the guys at my work says he does it and it works.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:50 PM   #8
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We have a black tank flush on our trailer, are these systems as effective as the wands? I'll usually dump the black, then gray, then hook up the dump station's water hose and let the flush run for a minute with all the valves closed - you can hear the jets in the tank going to work. I'll then open the black valve and let it run and drain until the flow of sediment slows or stops entirely (I've got a clear section on the end of the drain hose). We rarely have odor issues hopefully because of this.
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by alphadog99 View Post
We have a black tank flush on our trailer, are these systems as effective as the wands? I'll usually dump the black, then gray, then hook up the dump station's water hose and let the flush run for a minute with all the valves closed - you can hear the jets in the tank going to work. I'll then open the black valve and let it run and drain until the flow of sediment slows or stops entirely (I've got a clear section on the end of the drain hose). We rarely have odor issues hopefully because of this.
Just my opinion, but I feel they are far more effective since with a clear elbow/section you can watch the tank empty until the water runs clear.

The spinner inside the tank will make sure all surfaces are washed; not just the tank bottom as with a wand.

FYI - As an aside, my turboflusher has a warning sticker not to run it with the valve closed. Not 100% sure why, but there it is. (Though a bit tough to read in my photo).
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:26 AM   #10
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I think they are worried about somebody turning on the flush and walking away. The tank would overfill obviously, I close it and let it run for a few then release. I usually put the toilet chock in the bowl to have a continuous flow of water running across the floor of the tank.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:24 PM   #11
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First as for turning on the flush and walking away. My neighbor across the street in the campground did this another friend of mine drove by and saw a geyser coming out of the top of their camper. Turns out the neighbor turned it on and forgot to turn it off before returning home from the campground. It made quite a mess.
Upon saying this I do use the flush with the black tank closed and one thing it does do is emit quite a odor from the vent pipe. What i do is use the geo method as a tank cleaning system. 1 cup bleach, 1 cup detergent (liquid laundry), and 1 cup calgon (powder works best if you can find it). I add the ingredients and turn on the flush system to clean the tank then fill until the tank is full on gauges and then let it set for a bit. then drain the tank then close the valve and fill again to rinse. Then I rinse it again.
I have never had odor problems in my tank before using this method. Also an rv repairman told me another fix for a tank that has a lot of sediment in it. He uses rid ex to remove this stuff.
I do prefer the citrus chemicals for in the tank while in use though.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenaxle View Post
First as for turning on the flush and walking away. My neighbor across the street in the campground did this another friend of mine drove by and saw a geyser coming out of the top of their camper. Turns out the neighbor turned it on and forgot to turn it off before returning home from the campground. It made quite a mess.
Upon saying this I do use the flush with the black tank closed and one thing it does do is emit quite a odor from the vent pipe. What i do is use the geo method as a tank cleaning system. 1 cup bleach, 1 cup detergent (liquid laundry), and 1 cup calgon (powder works best if you can find it). I add the ingredients and turn on the flush system to clean the tank then fill until the tank is full on gauges and then let it set for a bit. then drain the tank then close the valve and fill again to rinse. Then I rinse it again.
I have never had odor problems in my tank before using this method. Also an rv repairman told me another fix for a tank that has a lot of sediment in it. He uses rid ex to remove this stuff.
I do prefer the citrus chemicals for in the tank while in use though.
I think I found calgon powder on Amazon.

Amazon.com: Calgon Water Softener Powder, 40-Ounce (Pack of 2): Health & Personal Care

Is this what I want?

Thanks
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:19 PM   #13
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Just my opinion, but I feel they are far more effective since with a clear elbow/section you can watch the tank empty until the water runs clear. The spinner inside the tank will make sure all surfaces are washed; not just the tank bottom as with a wand. FYI - As an aside, my turboflusher has a warning sticker not to run it with the valve closed. Not 100% sure why, but there it is. (Though a bit tough to read in my photo).
Since the tank is vented, the only possible reason is so you don't overflow the tank, when you forget to open the valve before the tank fills. Not that I ever did that...
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:11 AM   #14
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I think I found calgon powder on Amazon.

Amazon.com: Calgon Water Softener Powder, 40-Ounce (Pack of 2): Health & Personal Care

Is this what I want?

Thanks
ab&jb
I use the liquid. I can usually find it on the bottom shelf near the laundry detergent in Walmart.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Calgon-Wat...-1-qt/13424609
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:29 PM   #15
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Guess I should clarify - I'd never turn on the black tank flush and walk away. What I meant was as I start the flushing process, I'll turn on the intake to the flush system and let it run for maybe 30 seconds before opening the drain valve. I don't want a gusher coming out MY roof...
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:39 PM   #16
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The label by the hose connection on mine says to not use the flush system unless the drain valve is open.
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphadog99 View Post
Guess I should clarify - I'd never turn on the black tank flush and walk away. What I meant was as I start the flushing process, I'll turn on the intake to the flush system and let it run for maybe 30 seconds before opening the drain valve. I don't want a gusher coming out MY roof...
If you do it; you should dump first; then close the valve while the turbo runs a while. If you are not sure how much liquid is already in there it can be up the stack before you know it is full to overflowing. This is how I do it when I am doing a "long flush."
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:14 PM   #18
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If you do it; you should dump first; then close the valve while the turbo runs a while. If you are not sure how much liquid is already in there it can be up the stack before you know it is full to overflowing. This is how I do it when I am doing a "long flush."
I dump the tank and turn on the flusher then close the valve and set my watch for 5 minutes and go about the rest of the tasks, repeating the flushing until I am ready to pull out.
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Old 11-02-2013, 06:42 AM   #19
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I dump the tank and turn on the flusher then close the valve and set my watch for 5 minutes and go about the rest of the tasks, repeating the flushing until I am ready to pull out.
Is it just me; but 5 minutes seems a LONG time. I would be worried that it would fill the tank before I got back.

I would rather dump; flush; close the valve while flushing for about 30 seconds; then open it; several times so the flusher actually impinges on the walls and sensors for the entire time. If you let the flusher fill the tank; the streams will only hit the surfaces actually above the water. Once the flush nozzle submerges you will get no wash action.
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Old 11-02-2013, 09:38 AM   #20
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I dump, run the flush for 30 seconds or so and then close the valve for 5 - 6 minutes (on a timer!). I opened it and repeat with a minute less of time on each flush until the water is running clear (usually 2-4 times).

The tank indicators have never registered above 2/3 in all my time doing it on my 42g tank.
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