Mastering RV Tank Draining: Expert Tips and Essential Tools

RV tank draining 1

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RV Tank Draining Guide: Smooth Travels

Embarking on the open road with your RV offers adventure and freedom, but it also comes with responsibilities like managing your RV tanks. Don’t fret; RV tank draining can be a straightforward task. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the RV sewer system and also share expert tips to make tank draining a breeze, ensuring you’re a pro in no time.

Understanding Your RV Sewer System

Most RVs feature a combination of black and gray tanks. Black tanks handle toilet waste, while gray tanks manage water from showers, sinks, and appliances. These tanks are separate units with no overflow between them. Each tank has a vent stack that extends to the roof to ventilate odors, and a tank drain outlet at the lowest point for efficient drainage.

RV Sewer System Image

Many modern RVs come equipped with tank sensors to gauge tank levels. However, these sensors can sometimes malfunction, leading to inaccurate readings. To avoid mishaps, pay attention to your water usage. With experience, you’ll learn when it’s time to empty your tanks. Typically, it’s advisable to wait until they’re around 2/3 full, especially for black tanks, which contain solids that require ample water to prevent clogs.

BEST Tools for RV Tank Draining

Starting with the basics is key to mastering RV tank maintenance. Here are the essential tools you’ll need:

Camco RhinoFLEX RV Sewer Hose Kit:

Courtesy of Amazon

This robust hose kit includes everything necessary for efficient tank draining. With its transparent elbow, you can monitor water flow easily. The 4-in-1 drain adapter ensures compatibility with various sewer inlets. It comprises two 10-ft sections of hose with bayonet and lug fittings, allowing individual use or connection for extended reach. The accordion-style design makes storage a breeze.

Camco RhinoFlex 10-Foot RV Clean-Out Gray/Black Water Hose with Rinser Cap:

Courtesy of Amazon

Establishing the habit of cleaning your sewer hose reduces build-up and extends its lifespan. This product, easily attachable to Camco’s RhinoFLEX sewer hose, helps minimize odor-causing residues.

Camco Sidewinder 20-ft Camper/RV Sewer Hose Support

This is a great piece of equipment that allows you to create better slope for draining your tanks and support your hoses. This equipment is a game changer on flat RV spaces!

Locating RV Dump Stations

When you are on the road, it may be difficult to find appropriate RV dump stations. There are several great resources that RVers swear by to easily find appropriate facilities. Here is an article that discusses the best resources for finding RV dump stations.

Draining the RV Tanks: A Step-by-Step Guide

When your tanks are at least 2/3 full, follow these steps for a smooth draining process:

1. Remove your RV drain outlet cap and firmly attach your sewer hose to the RV’s sewer outlet.

2. Secure the other end to the dump station inlet.

3. When setting up the hose, ensure a straight, direct route to the sewer inlet to prevent kinks and backups. If needed, consider hose supports or ramps to create a slope.

4. To avoid complications, first drain your black tank so that the other tanks can flush out any residual solids. Open the valve handle to allow the black tank to drain.

5. Attach a hose (not your drinking water hose) from the water connection to the RV inlet labeled “Black Tank Flush.”

6. Activate the flush system, allowing it to rinse the black tank for 5-10 minutes until the water runs clear. Transparent elbows are especially useful here.

7. Close the water supply, disconnect the flush hose, push the valve handle closed, and replace the RV drain outlet cap.

Repeat these steps for your gray tank(s) by reconnecting the hose to the next drain outlet, opening the valve, and allowing complete drainage.

Tips for a Mess-Free RV Tank Drain

Follow these tips to prevent messes while draining your tanks:

1. Utilize clear adapters in your sewer hose to monitor flow and identify potential issues.

2. Always ‘walk out’ your sewer hose when finished. Lift the end closest to the RV to create a slope, allowing residual water to drain.

3. Regularly flush your hose to prevent build-up that can lead to backups. Inspect the hose for deformities or damage before each use, replacing any compromised sections to avoid leaks.

4. Store your sewer hose in a separate area from other RV hoses and items. One of the favorite spots is inside the RV bumper!

Post-Drainage RV Sewer Tank Maintenance

Proper tank maintenance is essential once your tanks are empty. Neatly store your sewer hose and clean your equipment. Consider using tank treatments to maintain tank condition and reduce odors. Check out this article about Happy Campers Tank Treatment!

All RVers know that black and gray tank odors are a real problem sometimes. I have put together a mixture of products that do a phenomenal job at getting rid of black and gray tank odor. Check out my video below. Don’t forget to subscribe!

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