Black tank cleaning--does water softener help?

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Kirk

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I can't tell where the top of the tank is, i.e. how close to full.
If your toiled is directly above the black tank, as most are then you should be able to see a pipe from the bottom of the toilet into the top of the tank. In most RVs that tube actually extends into the tank by several inches and so the level is actually into the bottom of that tube if the tank is full. It will also cause a burst of air up against the sitting user when you flush if still sitting down once the tank lever reaches the bottom of that tube so you will know. If you can see the tank under your RV it should give you a feel for how far a distance there is between the toilet and the bottom of the tank. You can probably also see the bottom of the tank when it is empty.
If there's 20 gallons in the gray, it will rush into the black tank in seconds until the levels equilibrate.
While I very much doubt that would work that way, it is possible but I'd not open the gray until the black was empty to avoid any backup in the wrong direction. If you add a valve on the end of the sewer connection like this one, then you could close it and open the gray dump valve with it closed and the black remaining open to do somewhat of your idea. Part of the answer is in how far above the discharge the tanks as located as anything from the gray would have to fill the entire plumbing before it backed into the black tank. There are also several add on , but having used one I don't find them very effective and doubt that they would get your level gages working.
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DutchmenSport

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One of the best things I did for our black tank was to install a Bidet. OK, it's not heated water, but after a short while, it was nothing to get use to it.

The nice thing is, absolutely no toilet paper goes into the black tank now. After over a year of using Bidets in the camper and in the house, our septic tank at home actually cleaned up (we have a removable lid and I dump my camper black tank down it.) Also, there's no TP in the black tank. There's nothing to get hung up or clogged up.

Also, I installed all these Bidets about 3 months before the "pandemic" hit and we all experienced the toilet paper shortage. We laughed our way through the whole mess because we didn't have to buy a single roll of TP. We do keep TP on hand though, because sometimes we have guests and they just don't understand the Bidet thing!
 

DutchmenSport

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I would think that you would fill the black tank much more quickly?
There is some truth in that, but it's always recommended to use LOTS of water when dumping the black tank. This fits the bill perfect as the "extra" water is needed to flush out the TP. But, in mine, there is no TP. Actually, since we started using the Bidet, we haven't noticed the need to dump the black tank any more than before I put it in. However, when we added the washer and dryer, and it dumps into the shower grey tank, now ... that one needed dumping more often.

The really nice thing about our camper is, the black and grey exit at the same point. I can put on a Flush King (3rd valve) at the end of the sewer connection and back flush the shower water into the grey tank. With the washing machine now, I'm always back flushing laundry water into the black tank. Black tank will never be sanitary clean, but all the extra water sure cleans it out.
 

TheBar

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MS
I find the secret to keeping the sensors working (better) is to completely fill the black tank and drive around a few corners to slosh things around. That washes the TP off the sensors.
 

Mooree

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Jan 12, 2022
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USA
Cleaning the RV holder tank sensors is an essential skill for all motorhome owners. Dirty gray or black radiator sensors can cause odor problems that make you're RVing less enjoyable. Black tanks require a stronger cleaning solution. You can use an enzymatic agent to break down microorganisms and other organic matter in the black-keeping tank. These products contain powerful substances that help break down organic matter and kill microorganisms.
 

LTWinnebago

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Feb 8, 2018
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We’ve had our Winnebago since 2018 and spend the winters in Florida along with several trips in the summer and Fall.
Our Black tank is drained usually at the 3/4 mark or so and then a quick spray with the black tank flush, the water draining in the hose view is clear and the sensors have never given us a problem. Once a month or when we break camp we’ll fill the black tank after dumping it and give it a rinse.

The grey is another issue, we’ve tried all the internet wonder products along with calgon, dish washer soap, dawn, taken it on a romantic ride in the moonlight with scrubbing bubbles, nothing cleans the sensors off. It registers 3/4 all the time and after a long stay the full light is the norm.
The only time the lights worked was when the rig sat for a month or so without use. Lots of junk came out of the grey tank when is was drained. The sensors worked for a few weeks, then they registered full again. Obviously, the soap scum, etc is building on the walls of that tank, chemically getting it off eludes me.
We’ve learned to live with it, but I have thought of installing a flush kit on the grey tank.
 

chuckbear

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Aug 20, 2015
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262
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Floral City, FL
Cleaning the RV holder tank sensors is an essential skill for all motorhome owners. Dirty gray or black radiator sensors can cause odor problems that make you're RVing less enjoyable. Black tanks require a stronger cleaning solution. You can use an enzymatic agent to break down microorganisms and other organic matter in the black-keeping tank. These products contain powerful substances that help break down organic matter and kill microorganisms.
I don't understand how radiator sensors are and how they cause odor. As for adding enzymes, I have my doubts since our tanks are emptied so frequently, I doubt if enzymes have the time actually to break down solids. Our septic people at home, every one of them, say not to add anything to the system and let everything happen naturally. Chuck
 

Kirk

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Our septic people at home, every one of them, say not to add anything to the system and let everything happen naturally.
The majority of fulltimers that we have known eventually come to the same conclusion. Septic activity is a natural phenomena and will start in the black tank of an RV if allowed to do so. The action does take several days but it begins as soon as the toilet is flushed. The main thing to keep an black tank working well is generous use of water. Use of water softener is just more RV mythology. :rolleyes:
 

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