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 > How long should I go between gray/black water dumps?

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OBSPowerstroke

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Posted: 09/13/10 10:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One thing I quickly realized about my new trailer is that the fresh, gray, and black water holding tanks are MUCH larger than my old trailer. The fresh is 56 gallons, while the black and gray are 40 gallons each.

On my first week out, I was very careful about running excess water into the black and gray tanks. I used a dishpan in the sink that I dumped outside, used the outhouse more often than the toilet in the trailer, and even took showers using the outdoor shower instead of the indoor one.

After a full week out, I still had well over 1/3rd of a tank of fresh water (probably close to a half tank) and both the black and gray tanks were still registering empty! I don't mind refilling and dumping the fresh water every trip, but I know it's not a good idea to dump the black tank until it's near full. Basically my question is how long can I safely go between dumping the black and gray tanks without running into any problems? As slow as they were to fill this trip, I could probably go half a season between dumps if I was to wait for them to completely fill up!

Since I'm getting ready to take the trailer into the shop for some warranty work, I figured I'd dump the tanks before dropping it off, so tonight I hooked up the hose and it took well over 10 minutes of constant filling of the black and gray tanks before they even registered 1/3rd full!!

At least now I know I have plenty of holding tank capacity and I don't have to worry about using the dishpans and outdoor shower to conserve!


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SooperDaddy

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Posted: 09/13/10 10:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's not till you take kids with you (especially teenage females!) that you have issues with holding tanks filling up on a daily basis!


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Golden_HVAC

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Posted: 09/13/10 10:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

Yes you can just fill it with fresh water just before dumping the tanks, and that will be fine.

I was reading that it is not a good idea to let the black water tank to go dry, as whatever black stuff is scattered across the bottom of the tank will dry into a flat chunk, not as easy to get out the drain.

So add about 2-3 gallons of water than 1-2 ounces of black water treatment after each dump. It should keep the black water tank smelling OK.

And don't worry to much if after three times camping that the black water tank perminately reads 2/3 full. It is due to a little peice of toilet paper on one of the sensors. Dont worry about it to much, it will happen to most RV's.

I have a 59 gallon black tank and 40 gallon gray tank. It works fine with me, I can go 3-4 weeks before filling the black tank. The gray water is sometimes used to water plants when I am parking on a friend's property.

Fred.

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Posted: 09/14/10 07:28am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just remember that extra weight cost mileage but its your call. Also handling careerists because of weight transfere.


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skipnchar

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Posted: 09/14/10 06:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You should be able to go as long as you want to (or need to) before dumping as long as you use plenty of water when flushing the toilet. You can dump gray any time it's convenient but in EITHER case they're "holding tanks" and you can use them to hold your waste water until it's convenient to dump it. It won't "spoil"


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david_42

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Posted: 09/14/10 10:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Since I rarely stay in one spot for more than two days, I always dumped whenever I could. Never had a problem with a dried out black tank or smell, even when traveling by myself. I set up, dump the black, dump the gray and leave the gray valve open until I'm ready to leave.

Doug33

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Posted: 09/14/10 02:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

L_R_G wrote:

I typically leave the gray valve open while we're camped (and connected to sewer . On the morning we're leaving (or sometimes the night before) I close the gray valve so the tank will fill up. Right before we leave I fill up the black tank to full by holding down on the flush valve. Dump black, then dump gray. Add chemicals to black with a little water, then we're ready for the next trip.


Ditto here!


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JAL_Camper

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Posted: 09/14/10 02:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You may have aluded to this in your original post, but if your black tank is registering empty or just 1/3, I suggest you take your dishpan water and pour in your toilet the last couple of days of your trip. The more liquid you have in the black tank, the better it will flush. We fill up the gray(s) in no time but the black takes good part of a week with four of us, so minimizing the gray and pouring that in the black helps out. We use the TT bathroom almost exclusively.

A great mod would be a water reclamation system that takes gray shower water and cleans it up enough to take out the musty smell and uses that to flush the toilet.


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L_R_G

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Posted: 09/14/10 01:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I typically leave the gray valve open while we're camped (and connected to sewer . On the morning we're leaving (or sometimes the night before) I close the gray valve so the tank will fill up. Right before we leave I fill up the black tank to full by holding down on the flush valve. Dump black, then dump gray. Add chemicals to black with a little water, then we're ready for the next trip.

OBSPowerstroke

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Posted: 09/14/10 02:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the great advice everyone,

I think I'll start doing a combination of what you all have recommended in this thread: I'll continue to use dishpans, but pour the water down the black tank instead of outside to fill up the black tank faster. By using this method, I'll be able to dump full(er) tanks much quicker without having to run a bunch of water into them just before I dump. Even with this method, my guess is I will still be able to go a full two weeks or several weekend trips before I'll need to dump.

Of course, I will only be using this method during fair weather camping. During the winter, I will make sure to drain all the tanks after each trip to avoid any nasty frozen surprises!

I really like JAL's idea of an automated water reclamation system that utilizes gray water to flush the toilet; that is an awesome idea that would conserve a ton of fresh water for those that boondock for long periods of time. The whole dumping the dishpan down the toilet idea accomplishes the same task, but wouldn't it be nice to have it all automated? I'm sure, in time, a system like this will show up on new units...

Thanks again for the input!

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