I'm still concerned about the proper upkeep for the H2O system on our trailer.
When you first arrive at a campground, you fill up the fresh water tank from the station with potable water. This is when you treat the water for drinking right? This water then is used for showers, tap water, and bathroom flushing? It either goes into your black (sewage) or grey water tanks then?
When you're ready to leave, you dump the black water first. Do you drain it all the way out? Then drain the grey. Do you drain it all the way out? Do you also drain all the fresh water left or leave some in for storage and put more treatment in it?
Only went once but here's what I did. Drained black, then grey and all the fresh. It won't be used again until the end of July. Should I put some water back in the tanks? Will it get moldy like I've read on here? So many questions!
you should put a little water in your black and gray tanks and put a a little chemical treatment in them. left dry, the solids will get like concrete.
with fresh water...just put a little clorox in the water and run it through your lines...then before heading out, drain and rinse and you're ready to refill with fresh water. don't forget to run some through your hot water heater.
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Potable water, by definition, is drinkable. The taste may be objectionable, that's where inline charcoal filters come in, but it is safe to shower, wash dishes, and drink. If you are particularly partial to your water at home, fill your fresh water tank before departure. You will, however, have to compensate for the additional weight (driving safely, that is). Or use bottled water.
If you are at a full hook-up site, you will have access to a potable water hookup. It is recommended that you spray the faucet with a bleach/water solution to sanitize the connection. You do not know (and don't want to know) what was attached, or crawled around on there. Rinse the connection thoroughly. Connect your waster regulator to the faucet and then your fresh water hose (not any old hose, but a special fresh water hose available an any RV store) to the regulator. If you have an external water filter connect that between the regulator and hose, or between the hose and the trailer hose bib connection. The water is now available for use. Run the water through your system to flush out any air in the lines and hot water tank.
If you are using your fresh water tank, turn on your water pump which will cause the water to flow from your fresh water tank, through the water pump to the plumbing system in your trailer. Again, flush out any air that may be in the lines.
Water is now available at your sinks, toilet, and shower. The sink and shower, typically, drain into your grey water holding tank. Your toilet drains into your black water holding tank. Some trailers have the bathroom appliances drain into the black water tank.
Now, the dump procedure. There are two scenarios (well, three if you have my backup situation as explained in the "Dump Station at Home" Thread found in the Frequently Asked Questions. You have full hookups at your site, and you have partial (or no hookups) and use a camp dump station.
In either case, it is best to keep the valves of both your black and grey water holding tanks closed until you are ready to dump - when one or both tanks are at least 2/3 full or just prior to departing the site. If your tanks are not 2/3 full prior to departing, go ahead and fill them to that point so as to have enough liquid to get a good "flush."
Now, it's time to dump the black and grey water tanks. Do NOT open any valves until the proper time. Doing so before will be met with rather unpleasant results. Also, it is wise to wear a pair of rubber gloves in the event some of the effluent gets on your hands. Some folks wear rubber boots, and I have even seen one wear rubber fishing trousers (did he expect a large wave to come through?). So long as you are careful, any splashing is very minimal.
Also, in both cases, double check your holding tank valves before opening your holding tank connect cover (for obvious reasons). If a valve is open, close it now and be prepared for some effluent to come out of the line when you open your connector cover. You may want a bucket or container to catch the waste. It can be cleaned and rinsed later. Some covers have a hose bib adapter built into them (I have one), so the small cap can be opened to let any effluent run into the bucket in a more controlled fashion.
Now, open the cover (not the valve!) and connect your 3" sewer hose to the outlet of your holding tank. Extend the hose to the opening of the sewer system. Some sites have threaded openings, but some sites, and most dumping stations have a hole in the ground only slightly larger than the 3" hose. If there is a threaded opening, there are adapters available that can be screwed into the opening to make a seal between holding tank/hose/sewer opening, preventing a chance of spillage. Let's presume for the rest of the discussion that it's only a hole in the ground with a hinged cover.
Open the cover (not the valve!) and insert the sewer hose into the hole to about four to six inches. If the cover is heavy enough, let it lay on top of the hose to hold it down. If not, there are usually bricks of something at the station to hold the hose into the hole. If not, you'll need to provide something. The key is to not let the hose come out of the hole and spilling effluent while dumping.
Once you are sure that all is connected and held down, now open your black tank valve. You'll hear the effluent flow and eventually it'll slow, then stop. Close the black tank valve.
Now, open the grey tank valve. Again, you'll hear water flow and, again, it'll slow, then stop. Close the grey tank valve.
Normally at this point, you are almost done. If, however, you are at a full hookup site, and you want to flush and rinse your tanks once more, you can do so now by filling your tanks to at least 2/3 full with water and repeating the above (open black, close black, open grey, close grey).
If you are at a dumping station, and there are other campers behind you, it is not a wise idea to refill and flush your tanks. Wait until you get to a full hookup site, a Flying-J, or other RV-friendly dump area, or wait till you get home. Some RV maintenance shops also have RV dump stations with hoses, and for a nominal fee, will let you flush your tanks.
Recheck that both your black and grey water tank valves are closed and remove the hose from your tank outlet. Put the cover back on your tank outlet. Lift the end of the sewer hose (the end you disconnected) to completely drain the hose into the septic (or sewer) system. If there is a non-potable water hose available at the station, carefully run water into the sewer hose to rinse it out. Carefully remove the hose from the hole and rinse the outside of your sewer hose. Place the hose back into its storage area. If you needed to use the bucket as described earlier, now is a good time to empty it into the hole and rinse it out. Carefully rinse the area around the hole to ensure that any spillage has been cleaned up and cover the hole.
After removing, sanitizing (using a bleach solution) and stowing the rubber gloves (carefully) and any other clothing associated with the dumping, enter your RV and run about 5 gallons (about three flushes) of water into your black water tank. Add the appropriate amount of treatment. If you use a treatment for your grey water tank, do that as well. Since grey water is primarily sink and shower water the largest waste component, other than the water itself, is soap, which should help clean the hose when you dump. The job is complete and if you've done it right should have not taken more than about 10 to 15 minutes.
Hope I've explained it clearly enough and that it helps.
If your getting a elec-water site, there's no need to fill the fresh water tank. Just run off the site water faucet. Many will put maybe 5-10 gals into the tank b4 leaving home so that the bath facilities can be used while on the road at rest stops etc.
If your filling the tank (for dry camping) with potable water there is NO NEED to treat the water as it is already safe to drink. I think you may be confusing this with sanitizing the tanks at the beginning of the season (using bleach). You DO NOT want to drink or use the bleach sanitizing mixture for any purpose!!!
Yes...BLACK fully drained...close black valve..open GREY until fully drained..close grey valve
TexasShadow, when you say to put a little clorox in the water and run it through your lines, is this prior to storing for a week or more? I'm assuming you just need to pour it into the fresh water tank hookup outside.
LLeopold, you hit it on the head. That is great information. My only question is this part: "Normally at this point, you are almost done. If, however, you are at a full hookup site, and you want to flush and rinse your tanks once more, you can do so now by filling your tanks to at least 2/3 full with water and repeating the above (open black, close black, open grey, close grey)." How do you do this? Is there a hook up to where you can fill straight into each tank or do you have to fill the fresh and then flush and run the tap?
wa8shc, I think you're right about my confusion. ; )
There is no direct hookup to either your grey or black holding tanks, unless you add a device like a "Hydro Flush", "Sewer Solution", "Flush King" or equivalent. You have to run water through your shower/sinks for grey and through the toilet for black.
Most folks run a hose through their trailer into the bathroom into the toilet.
I connected an inline hose bib to the cold water line under the sink and connected a valve and short hose that I then connected my tank wand with. I insert the wand down the toilet and turn on the water at the bib. Between that and the toilet running, the tank fills in a reasonable period.
To answer your question on sanitizing, most folks do it at the start of the camping season when they fluch the anti-freeze from their water system. Since the So. Cal. camping season is year-around, I do it once a year, typically when I do my annual maintenance (repacking wheel bearings, checking the brakes, etc.). The rest of the year, I keep my fresh water tank full as I have my fifth-wheel as an emergency shelter in the event of earthquake or other disaster. Since I go out about every 6-8 weeks, I typically use the water in the tank, and flush/refill without sanitizing as part of my "shutdown" procedures when I get back home.
I use Clorox, about a 1/4 cup for my 30 gal. tank, at the beginning of the season only to sanitize the lines. It is not necessary to do this before storing your TT for a couple of weeks or so. You can do it but it is not necessary. Since I only use my TT every couple of weeks I make it a habit to open the low point drains to drain the water from all the lines and the hot water heater. No water means less chance of anything growing. When I reach my intended destination I hook up city water and flush the lines for a couple of minutes. If I am going on a lengthy trip I will flush the lines at home and add some fresh water to the tank for lavatory use while on the road.