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Old 06-08-2015, 08:27 PM   #1
Leo7
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Black Tank Flush

Hi friends,
We had a successful "maiden voyage" with our new Cougar. We left Seattle and camped at Cape Disappointment State Park at Ilwaco, WA. Everything worked great on the trailer. After 13 years with a tent trailer, we felt like we were in a luxury condo. I do have one question concerning the black tank flush. How long do you keep the hose running when hooked up to the flush inlet? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 15 minutes? We don't have a clear adapter to our sewer hose, and I assume that after a given point, I will be wasting water.
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Old 06-09-2015, 03:36 AM   #2
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Glad your first trip was a success! I would recommend getting a clear adapter to connect between the drain pipe on the trailer and your sewer hose. I usually run ours until I see no more nasty stuff coming out of the tank. I will close the valve and let some water build up and then reopen. You will be surprised how much you can get out. That's what what works for us anyway. Good Luck!
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Old 06-09-2015, 04:58 AM   #3
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I hook ours up and then start putting other things away like the camp chairs and outside patio mats. I check it from time to time to see if it's running clear. When it is, usually around 5-10 mins, I also shut the gate and let a bit build up. As already mentioned, when I reopen it, more "stuff" comes out, usually the easy dissolve toilet paper. After all of that I will let it run a few more minutes. I maybe using more water than needed, but I've dealt with a nasty black tank before and don't want to again.

Also, add a bit of water to the tank after you're done along with some fabric softener or dishwashing detergent and it will wash the tank while you drive.
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:00 AM   #4
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^^^^What Brian and Brent said. The clear adapter is about $10 and is worth every penny. Probably the cheapest thing you will ever buy for your rig!
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:08 AM   #5
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Rhinoflex makes great products. Might as well get an extension hose while you're on the subject.

http://t.homedepot.com/p/Camco-Rhino...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert185 View Post
Rhinoflex makes great products. Might as well get an extension hose while you're on the subject.

http://t.homedepot.com/p/Camco-Rhino...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
Always carry an extension sewer hose as well as an extra water hose and power cord. You just never know when a campsite setup will not reach with single hoses. Rhinoflex is definitely the way to go.
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:41 AM   #7
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Always carry an extension sewer hose as well as an extra water hose and power cord. You just never know when a campsite setup will not reach with single hoses. Rhinoflex is definitely the way to go.
Yes to the extension! On our last trip I had everything all set (Jacks down, electric hooked up, slides out) only to find out I misjudged the sewer hookup! Was short by about 10" I now have an extension!
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Old 06-14-2015, 10:42 AM   #8
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Another yes on the extension; we carry 2 water hoses and 2 dump hoses, along with the ubiquitous clear elbow for checking.
I allow the blank tank to rinse, then close the gate and nearly fill it. Do as many times as necessary until water runs clear and nothing else comes out. then add chemical and bag of ice down toilet and drive home. (this scrubs & cleans the bottom of the tank)
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Old 06-14-2015, 12:46 PM   #9
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Thumbs up

While you are at the store might as well address the next troublesome area faulty/leaking valve. Here is a life saver!!! and a must have!!

http://www.amazon.com/Valterra-T58-T.../dp/B000BGHYJS
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Old 06-14-2015, 04:32 PM   #10
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Glad to hear that your trip wasn't a "disappointment", LOL.
When dumping this is what I do (when no line at the dump station):
1) Make sure tank is almost full before dumping
2) Let er rip until no more flow
3) Close dump valve
4) Turn on black tank flush for about 5 min (stand there the whole tTim so I don't get distracted)
5) Dump again until flow stops
6) Turn on black flush, partially remove hose fitting from septic hole so I can see what is coming out (some folks use a clear fitting). Wait until mostly clear. Close black vvalve.
7) put about 4 gals water in a pail with abt 1/2 cup dawn and about 1/3 box (maybe 2 cups) arm and Hammer "washing soda" into toillet (yellow box found in laundry Isle at Walmart - not baking soda).
8) my black tank is now ready for next trip.

This works for me and I never have odors.For me that is an accomplishment.
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Old 06-14-2015, 07:27 PM   #11
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We just finished a stay at a park with no sewer hook-up and when it came time to flush the black tank I had a whole different "experience". In the past, the black tank has not been an issue for me. We are a 8 time user (aka newbie) and I thought I had the flush process down. This last one did not go down well. We used the standard holding tank chemical but for some reason it did not go like any of the previous times. I would like to be able to keep the black tank clean as this was a new trailer. I like the mention of Dawn being used and I heard of the ice cube trick. Is there any other items used to help keep it or clean it in between trips? Can you use bleach?
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Old 06-14-2015, 09:16 PM   #12
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In what way was this last flushing process different from the previous times? You said that the "last one did not go down well". (????) Can you be more specific? More information would be helpful to us so we can offer some suggestions.

In addition to using Dawn or some other detergent, I use Calgon (a water softener) and plenty of water. Calgon help keeps the sides of tanks "slippery" so crud doesn't stick to it as easily.

I wouldn't use bleach - it would be hard on the toilet and other seals in the system.
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:00 AM   #13
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I just got back from a 2 day trip with 4 adults and 2 teens, tank was full after 2 days of course, I drained and flushed and drained, but it still seems lots of waste was still in there, is there anything else I can do or add to tank to prevent problems?
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:24 AM   #14
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My trailer has a warning to not close the tank valve while running the black tank flush. I know some of you said you close it up to let the water build up, which I've considered doing. I guess I figured if you closed it then water could potentially come out of the toilet and thats why they warn against it.

It seems a few of you have had no issues while running the tank flush hose while the valve is closed. I'll have to give it a shot. I love when everything is fully empty and as clean as possible.
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:59 AM   #15
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My trailer has a warning to not close the tank valve while running the black tank flush. I know some of you said you close it up to let the water build up, which I've considered doing. I guess I figured if you closed it then water could potentially come out of the toilet and thats why they warn against it.

It seems a few of you have had no issues while running the tank flush hose while the valve is closed. I'll have to give it a shot. I love when everything is fully empty and as clean as possible.
Let's "analyze" the black tank flush operation and dissect it down to its individual parts/functions.

First, most "typical garden hoses" will supply about 3 gallons per minute at full flow. The black tank flush has a "restrictor" on it (the spray head) that reduces that flow to create a spray pattern. Typically, you can expect to get around 2 gallons per minute flow rate. Most RV holding tanks are around 30 gallons, (give or take) so you're looking at about 15 minutes to fill the tank using the black tank flush. Let's say that you have "full flow" through the flush system, you're still talking about 10 minutes to fill an "empty" tank. So, there's really no need for "paranoia" about overfilling after 2 or 3 minutes of having the dump valve closed.

Second, the black tank is vented to the roof of the trailer and "supposedly" the toilet inlet to the tank is a sealed, water-tight connection. The "ball valve" (flush valve) at the bottom of the toilet bowl is sealed with a rubber gasket and won't allow water to "backflow" up from the tank (if it is operating properly). So, if you should happen to "forget that you're adding water to the black tank" via the black tank flush system, you shouldn't get anything flowing up into the toilet. It is possible that you might have a leak at the toilet flange (on the floor) but it also is "designed to be leak proof" and if there's anything flowing out around the base of the toilet, you have a malfunction in the toilet installation. If you do "overfill" the black tank, the excess "should" flow up the vent stack and out onto the roof of the RV. Yup, that would be a "mess" (pun intended) but it would be outside your living area, not flowing through the bathroom and down the hallway. This is NOT the case with a black tank that also has the bathroom sink or an outside kitchen sink plumbed into it. Depending on whether that sink has a P trap or a "one way trap", it is possible to get the black tank contents to flow up into the sink, but most RV's don't have sinks plumbed into the black tank.

Many people "misunderstand" the black tank flush (which is prone to pressure damage and to freeze damage) and think that if they have a water leak during a flush operation that they will have sewer contents flowing into the trailer. That won't happen. The anti-siphon valve is mounted high above the black tank and is a vacuum breaker to prevent any tank contents from "siphoning" back up through the system. Is it possible to get tank contents in the trailer? Yes, if you remove the anti-siphon valve and have a plugged vent stack, but if you're pushing clean water "into" the tank, there isn't any possibility that the tank contents could "backflow" against that water pressure. So, the potential to get a "trailer full of poo" by forgetting that the black tank flush is filling the tank is extremely remote, you'll likely have it flowing over the sides from the roof before you damage the tank.

There are some people who "guess" at how much water they are adding to the black tank when they close the dump valve and let the black tank flush operate. Some say they allow 2 or 3 minutes for the "tank to fill" while they "stand there so they won't forget". Realistically, they are adding somewhere between 4 and 9 gallons of water to the tank, so there is really no chance of "bursting the black tank" with that sequence of operation.

I usually let my black tank flush "run freely" for about 5 minutes, then close the dump valve, let it run for about 7 or 8 minutes (yes I stand there and use my watch to determine how long it's been), then pull the dump valve open, allowing the black tank flush to continue to operate. During this time I'll "get busy with other chores" while the tank flushes and "cleans itself".

As for the "warning not to close the valve with the flush system operating". That's a "safe process for the manufacturer" type of statement. Consider it more of a "warning not to forget" rather than an "absolute, don't do it". It's sort of like a speed limit. Try going the speed limit and see how many cars pass you. Similarly, ask around about not closing the valve and see how many campers aren't following the same "warning".....
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:10 PM   #16
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Thanks for the info, John!

This is my first trailer with this feature and I didn't want to go ruining a brand new trailer with feces everywhere. I can't wait to let it refill and see what else comes out. (Exciting life...I know)

As for others not following the same warning, I don't think I can ever base my decisions on what the general public follows. I pick and choose the people I listen to based on my thoughts about their knowledge and understanding of a given situation.

I can't imagine where I'd be if I just followed the crowd. If I did I probably wouldn't have an RV and I'd probably be stuck in traffic somewhere on the way to my awful job.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:32 PM   #17
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x2 on the Calgon. Try to find the powder (usually in the laundry aisle). I couldn't get it at our local Wally World, but the little local grocery carries it. That and a squirt of Dawn and we don't need any tank chemicals at all.
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