For many RVers, dumping the tanks on their RV can be a nightmare. However, it’s a necessary part of owning and using a camper. While the task may be intimidating initially, it becomes easier the more you do it. If you follow the correct steps and have suitable equipment, you’ll never get poop on you when dumping your RV tanks again.
Today, we’ll help you learn how to dump your tanks to help prevent getting black tank water on you. Let’s get started!
Are You Supposed to Poop in a Camper?
Many campers errantly believe that they shouldn’t poop in their trailer. This myth typically circulates among weekenders who camp in sites with restroom facilities readily available. While you may need to change the type or amount of toilet paper you use, pooping in a camper toilet is usually not an issue.
Those who do not poop in their camper do so out of fear of clogging the plumbing system or smells lingering in their trailer. However, you can avoid clogging your RV’s plumbing system using septic-safe toilet paper and ample water. Trust the seals in the plumbing to do their job and keep the toilet lid closed, and smells aren’t much of an issue.
How Often Do RV Tanks Need to Be Dumped?
The frequency at which you’ll need to dump your RV’s tanks will depend on several factors. These factors include how spacious your tanks are, how many people are using them, and when you’ll use your RV again. In general, it’s best to dump and flush your tanks at the end of every camping trip, especially if you’re not planning to camp again for a week or two.
Dumping your tanks is crucial for full-time RVers. Full tanks add weight to your rig and reduce your fuel economy. Some manufacturers even recommend owners not travel with liquids in their tanks to prevent equipment damage.
Learn how to easily become a full-time RV nomad.
How Do I Know When My Black Water Tank Is Full?
RVs often come with sensors to let the owner know the status of the tank. You can check the level of your tanks by pressing a button or opening an app on your phone.
However, these sensors are notoriously inaccurate. Toilet paper and other gunk can stick to the sensors and disrupt them.
When an RV black tank is full, there’s a distinct “bubble” after every toilet flush. The water fills the tank, and the air needs a place to escape, which results in a bubble forming in the water and popping. If you see this happen, you should dump your tanks soon.
Where Can You Dump Your RV Tanks?
If you need to dump your tanks, you have several options. An RV dump station is the most common place to dump your RV tanks. You can find these stations at campgrounds, truck stops, and occasionally at rest stops. Costs can vary by location, so do your research before stopping at a dump station.
Another option for dumping your RV tanks is at the campsite. Some campsites have the connections an RVer needs to use their RV, including a sewer connection.
This can make it convenient to dump your tanks while using your RV. You won’t worry about your water usage nearly as much when you can empty your tanks as needed.
These are outstanding resources for scouting out spots to dump your tanks and reading reviews from other users. With these tools, you can quickly locate a safe and convenient location to dump your tanks.
How to Never Get Poop on You When Dumping Your RV Tank
If you get in a hurry, aren’t paying attention, or skip a step, there’s a chance you’ll end up with poop on you when dumping your tank. So follow these steps, and you can avoid waste when you dump your tanks.
If you want to keep poop off you, wearing gloves is essential. Gloves protect your hands as you handle sewer hoses and attachments and connect your sewer hose to the dump station.
We recommend storing a box of latex gloves near your dump supplies. This can ensure that the first thing you do when dumping is to wear gloves. Most dump stations have a trash can nearby where you can dispose of them when you finish dumping your tanks.
Confirm Valves Are Closed
Once you have put on gloves, check to ensure you’ve closed all waste valves. If you forgot to close the valve when previously dumping your tanks, you will be in for a surprise when you take the cover off your waste dump pipe.
Getting poop on your hands will be the least of your worries. You’ll end up with waste on you and the ground. You’ll also have a gigantic mess to clean up at the dump station.
If there are campsites near the dump station, you will want to exit quickly after cleaning up the mess. You should also not count on winning any popularity contests in the campground soon.
Secure Hose Connections
After checking that you’ve closed the valves, you’ll want to connect your sewer hoses. Fasten any necessary attachments to the hose and then connect the hose to the dump station. There’s commonly a large rock or brick at a dump station to help secure the sewer hose.
With the sewer hose attached to the dump station, you can now take the cover off your RV’s waste dump pipe. It’s best to slowly release the cover and lift, placing the end of the sewer hose under the sewer pipe to catch any liquids. You can then fasten the sewer hose to the pipe and check that all your connections are secure.
Open Valve Slowly
You should always dump your black tank first. Open the black tank valve slowly and ensure the sewer hose is firmly attached to the dump station.
If not, the force from the liquids could cause the hose to come loose from the dump station and dump waste onto the ground. Once liquids are flowing, you can fully open the valve.
Depending on how full your tanks are, it can take several minutes to empty your tanks. You’ve done all the work to get your RV to the dump station and connect it, so spend a few minutes dumping your tanks completely. Leaving liquids in your tank means you’ll have to dump your tanks sooner.
Flush Tanks and Hoses
Some RVs come with black tank flush connections that allow you to fill the black tank with clean water. Let the tanks fill for several minutes, but don’t get distracted and let them fill for too long. You can do severe damage and even flood the inside of your RV.
Continue this process until you see clear water when dumping your tanks. You can rinse your hoses and attachments before disconnecting them from the dump station.
You must flush your RV tanks and get all the waste out of them. If you’re leaving on a Sunday afternoon, there will likely be a line at the campground’s dump station. Be efficient so as not to cause others to wait longer than necessary.
If you’re planning to use your RV again soon, you can get away with not flushing every single time. However, don’t make it a habit, or you can develop build-ups of solid material in your black tank.
Despite your best efforts, there’s a chance that some liquids get onto the ground. Do your best to rinse waste into the dump station, but avoid using more water than necessary. A flooded dump station isn’t a fun experience for any RVers needing to dump their tanks behind you.
Like campsites, you should always try to leave dump stations in the same condition you found them or better.
With your gear and area clean, you can now store your equipment. Many RVers mount storage tubes under their RVs for storing sewer hoses. We recommend putting all your sewer hose attachments and other gear for dumping your waste tanks into storage bins. This will help prevent cross-contamination between your dump station equipment and other camping gear.
With everything in storage, you can finally toss your latex gloves into the trash. It’s also best to use hand sanitizer to kill any germs or bacteria on your hands. Scrub your hands with soap and warm water as soon as possible.
Stay Clean While Dumping Your RV Tank
Dumping your RV tanks doesn’t have to be a messy experience. If you take your time, pay attention, and follow the proper procedures, you can stay clean while dumping your black tank.
By doing it right, you can avoid creating stinky messes and being a spectacle at the local dump station. If you make a mistake, be gracious and know you’re not the first to make a mistake.
Learn from your errors and vow to never repeat them. You’ll become a better RVer and will smell a whole lot better.
Have you ever made a mess at a dump station?
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