Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh Black Water, Keep On Rolling...Technical Tuesday

Today is as the title says, keeping the black water moving...

When we purchased Little Blue, the Technician went over everything about him AND I learned a neat new tech tip which I will share with you...in a minute...

In case you haven't figured it out, I am speaking of the loo, water closet, crapper, potty, toilet...whatever you want to call it.  It works a bit differently in a camper, whether large or small--they are all similar in a camper.  Many campers don't realize this little fact--and live to regret it--in a BIG way!!!!!

First, when you connect the sewage (black water) to the sewer line in the park, be sure it is tight.  If it isn't, be prepared to jump!!!!  AND LEAVE THE GATE CLOSED ON THE CAMPER!!!!  Unlike your house, the camper has a holding tank.  DO NOT just open the gate and let the sewer drain as it would in a house. 

This will cause the liquids to run out and leave the solids behind to build up and dry out like a huge pile of stinky cement which will cost you a LOT of money to have removed!!!

So, leave the gate closed. 

Now, use the toilet chemicals.  No, these are NOT just to make a lot of money for companies.  They are necessary!!!   They break down the waste products and keep the holding tank clean and running smoothly--not to mention that they keep the odor at bay.

Chemicals come in many varieties from tabs to liquids.  I even found these tabs...who comes up with these names????  Cute.  At least until I thought about my potty having drinks...
I prefer to use the little packets of chemicals.  I am not sure why I started using Campa Chem, but so far it has worked splendidly for me.  One packet does about 30 gallons of holding tank.  My holding tank on the 5th wheel is 90 gallons, so I pop 3 of the packets in (4 in summer when it is really hot and uh, stinky) along with a bowl of water for each packet and I am ready to go.
When I purchased my first camper, a teacher who had lived in a camper that I was looking at told me that they found through trial and error that each time you flush, hold the lever for a count of 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, 3 mississipi.  This obviously fills the tank much quicker, but it also creates a good vortex to wash out the solids when the time comes.  Good idea!!! 

And it has worked for us as well...

The next thing is toilet paper. 
There are several brands of toilet tissue made specifically for campers.  You can find these at camping supply stores, Wal-Mart and other places and you will pay about $3 and up for 4 tiny little rolls.  Okay.  Enjoy!

However, if your money tree is not in season at the moment, you can try regular tissue that specifies that it is made for septic tanks.  I like Scott Tissue Big Rolls.  I have been using it for 2 years now and no problems at all.
DO NOT USE CHARMIN!!!  Remember several years ago when they showed the Charmin which they wet and put a toy elephant on--and the elephant didn't fall through?  This was to show how strong it is.

And it is...

Too strong!!!! 

It doesn't break down like the others and will surely clog up your tank. 

I have had several plumbers through the years tell me never to use Charmin even in houses, but definitely not in septic tanks as they will clog up and you will have to have it augered and pumped out.  Of course a couple of them chuckled and said that they just LOVE Charmin because it keeps them in business!!! 

So, watch your control panel and wait for the tank to fill--or when you are moving the camper--either way...

This is my  control panel.  You can see that I am about 60% full at this time (3 of the 5 lights are lit).  When it gets to 5, I will empty the tank. 

I have found that when my tank is getting full, it will begin to kind of bubble when flushed.  I know then that I need to empty the critter.

So, we are now ready for the cool tip that I got from the technician at Loveall's when I got Little Blue.

When you are ready to move the camper, put your chemicals in the toilet like normal and then add a bag of ice just before you go.  The ice will slosh around and dislodge any solids, cleaning the tank as you drive!!!!  How cool is that????!!!!!
Ice...it's not just for drinks anymore!


  1. Interesting.

    I don't use Charmin, thank goodness.

  2. I knew about the ice, but forgot .... I am delicate, I don't do sewer.

  3. This is a very interesting post. I had no idea that Charmin was that strong. I am happy that I stopped by and became your newest follower.