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Shutdown Holding Tank Maintenance

As those who follow my blog and website know, I am currently venturing into caravanning and as such I am finding that there are certain things we must do on a regular basis to maintain sanitation. One of these tasks is to properly drain and clean camper storage tanks.

You may already be aware that most RVs and motorhomes have multiple tanks. You will usually have black water and a gray water tank. In my case, I have three of them – the black water, the kitchen tank and the gray water tank used for the shower and bathroom sink. Proper maintenance of these tanks is important to maintaining a healthy environment while using the camper.

If you fail to properly maintain your tanks

, you could be looking at some big costs in terms of the necessary repairs you may need to make. Since the unit we purchased was pre-owned, there was a certain amount of solid waste built up in the tanks which we are slowly breaking down and cleaning.

After doing extensive research on septic tanks, we came up with the following course of action regarding their maintenance. Most of the procedures I will explain in this article are simple and relatively inexpensive.

One of the first tricks of the trade I learned early on was to make sure to let the tank fill up a bit before emptying it. I have the unit connected to a septic system and have found that if the tank valves are left open, it just doesn’t provide enough force to flush all the solids down the drain lines. With that thought in mind, I started leaving the valve closed until the tank was full of waste. By leaving the tank drain valves open, all fluids are drained from the tank leaving an abundance of solid waste.

When disposing of the tanks, always dispose of the black water tank first and rinse it under running water. Then open and flush the gray water, allowing the gray water to wash down the toilet waste pipes. In my case I would throw away the black water, the kitchen and finally the water from the shower and the sink. The idea here is to flush out the dirtiest water first.

I recently found a helpful tip about the water softener

. If you use two cups of a powdered water softener, such as Anix USA, with a gallon of hot water and put it in the tanks, it will allow the solid waste to come out of the tank and down the drain much more easily. For sanitation and odor control, it never hurts to pour a gallon of bleach into the tank. This tends to disinfect and disinfect the tanks themselves. You will find this to be a very effective method of odor control.

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