Recreational Vechicle

3 Ways to Prevent a Plugged Black Water Holding Tank

As anyone who has experienced a plugged tank will attest, it is not fun and can be extremely difficult to clear without making a big mess!

To prevent you from ever having to experience this unfortunate situation (or other black holding tank issues) you will need to remember 3 key things.

1. Use lots of water!

People don’t seem to realize that they should use more water than the volume of water used during the flush cycle. A good rule of thumb is to fill the bowl a second time and dump it, to insure you are using enough water. This is just one way to avoid a plugged tank.

bucket of water2. Do not use Toilet Paper in the toilet!

Sounds a little bizarre but you have a couple of choices. Boat owners have always had a waste basket beside the toilet and they fold the paper after use and put it in the basket. Their motto is, if it has not been in your mouth it does not go in the toilet. A second way to do this is much more appealing (at least to me).  Add a bidet to your toilet. We carry such a device called the Biffy. This eliminates any possibility of odors, and is actually better for you. The toilet paper is used simply as a drying device, cutting the volume of toilet paper in your holding tanks dramatically.

biffy bidet - prevent plugged tank

3. Keep an eye on the Grandkids.

It turns out that kids seem to like putting toys, or cats, where they do not belong. I can’t think of a less desirable find than a fuzzy cat as the culprit of a plugged tank!cat in toilet

The other, more common than you would think, culprit that you have no control over, is the RV manufacturer leaving plastic plugs from the hole saw, used to penetrate the tank for input plumbing from the sinks, shower etc., and of course the roof vent which goes on both the black and gray water tanks. This is an example of a hole saw plug.

plastic piece plugging tank - plugged tank

As always, common sense applies when using your RV and if it doesn’t feel good it probably needs investigating.

Do you have a suggestions to add? Any plugged tank stories to share? We welcome them here in the comments section below.

Polychute and Waste Master, What is the difference between them?

We get asked all the time, “what is the difference between the Waste Master Cam Loc Adapter Kit and the Polychute System”? While they appear to look the same at a quick glance because both have the exact same hose, a green and gray combination when the hose is extended, while collapsed it is green. They both share the same sewer inlet fitting, we call it a nozzle, and both have the clear view site glass just behind the nozzle itself.

CAM LOC ADAPTER KIT                             POLYCHUTE SYSTEM

The nozzle features a shut off valve not found on any other sewer inlet fitting.

Nozzle in the Open Position

Polychute comes in a storage container (pictured above) while the Waste Master Adaptor Kit has a separate storage system (optional) that can be mounted under or in the sidewall of the RV (if there is room).

 

Waste Master Adapter Kit Storage Tube

The main difference in the two are the coach connections.

   

CamLoc is used in many Industrial applications because it is easy to use and built to last!

The Cam Loc (which comes on the Waste Master Adapter Kit) works so well because it compresses the male hard fitting into the softer rubber seal as it locks down. This simple design has been so effective that fuel or gas trucks use them to off load fuel/gas.

Polylock fitting with Male Bayonet fitting (left)

The RV industry standard bayonet fitting twists the seal as it is being tightnend, which is why they leak. The Polylock eliminates this issue.

The Polylock connection on the Polychute sewer system was designed to work like the Cam Loc but without having to change the existing fitting. That is THE main difference between the Waste Master Adaptor Kit and the Polychute system.

If you have questions, we are always here to talk with you, 877 787 8833 Toll free

Terminals on the back of the HD Switch—Do NOT Touch!

Every so often we have a customer call, like Mr. Kelly who had bought a new 5th wheel, that came with our Drain Master valve system, as a standard feature with the Drain Master switch. He discovered that the factory had either mislabeled the switches or connected the Gray Switch to the Black valve.drain master switch

Drain Master Switch Front

Frustrating….. but a simple matter of changing the labels (not so easy, or available, if damaged). Or you could change the plugs on the wiring going to the valves. These plugs are either a

4 pos plug

4 pin flat plug, or

2 position switch plugs

 2 ea. 2 pin plug

These plugs are located about 12″ away from the switches themselves. This option is about a two minute process IF you know they are there.

If not the next logical thing to do is remove the Sta Con terminals on the back of each Drain Master switch and reinsert them on the other switch.

hd switch side view

 Not so simple as you now have 8 terminals on each switch, which means you have 16 wires with terminals on the end. (Some of the Sta Con terminals have 2 wires in them.)

The other option is to remove the belly pan, the big sheet of plastic sealing the underbelly of the coach and change the plugs near the valves. This is not a good option because the pan is very difficult, if not time consuming to remove and reinstall.

So to sum it up, NO it is not good to remove the terminals on the back of the Drain Master switch.  But if you already did, simply give us a call, and we will try our best to help you get them put back where they belong and get you on your way.

Do you have questions about the Drain Master switch or RV plugs? Leave us a comment below!

HepvO Waterless P-Trap, How big is it?

Frequently folks call and ask us how big the HepvO waterless P-trap is.

 HepvO complete kit

  The HepvO can be installed both vertically or horizontally.

 

If you are not familiar, The HepVo Waterless Valve replaces the old P Trap with a short tube and internal diaphragm that prevents backflow of air and water into showers and sinks.

The water inlet pipe side of the HepvO uses industry standard thin wall pipe. The output side of the HepvO adapts to both thin wall or sch. 40 or 80 drain waste 1.5″ ABS/PVC piping.

The HepvO® is certified to meet the requirements of ASME/ANSI A112.18.8 and can be installed in new homes and industrial buildings by having the building inspector use the “Alternate Materials section” of the Building Code. HepvO® can also be used to fix existing plumbing systems by replacing p-traps which are suffering from odor or noise.

While the HepvO® is relatively new to the North American market  it is not a new product. It has been in high volume production in the UK since 1997 and it is widely used in Europe, Australia and the Far East. It has attained numerous international approvals against very demanding standards and has achieved an enviable track record of trouble-free performance. There are over 2 million installations worldwide.

How Does that LED light in the switch work on the Drain Master?

How does that red LED light on my Drain Master switch work?  We are asked this by customers about 5 times a week. So we thought it might be a good idea to explain how in detail here.

In simple terms if the light is on, the valve is open (to some degree.)  If it is off, the valve is fully closed.  So in other words, if you close your valve and the light stays on, chances are, something is stuck in the gate path.

Light ON = valve OPEN

Light OFF = valve CLOSED

Now if you are the type of RVer that prefers to know “how” it works, then keep reading for a technical explanation.

Your switch should look like one of these. 

 

 

The Magnetic Switch we will be referring to in this article is on the back of the valve and looks like this.

 

 

 

 

 

First we need to start with the 12vdc power going to the operator switch from the coach battery. If we use a wire placed on the + (positive) terminal of the battery and run it to a magnetic switch placed on the back of the Drain Master valve and then run the wire from the magnetic switch through an LED light and terminate the wire by connecting it to the – (negative) terminal of that same battery, the LED light would light up.

Now if I take a magnet and place it over the switch on the valve the light will go out, remove it and the light will go back on. What we have done is glued a magnet on the gate in a precise position so when the gate is in its closed position the magnet is lined up under the switch.

Battery + —————-Magnetic switch N/C———-LED light————Battery –

The dash lines indicate the wire.

There you have it, simple and effective. If the light is OFF the valve is CLOSED. If the valve gate is in any other position the light is ON.

If your magnetic switch is not working you can replace it. The part# is 5016 and they are $5.98 ea and come with complete replacement instructions. You can find it here.

Chemical or Biological Holding Tank Treatments, The REAL Facts!

As the typical RV’er stands in the “Toilet Chemical” or “Sanitation” aisle in just about any RV supply store they often become overwhelmed by the number of different holding tank treatments sitting on the shelf. There are blues ones, green ones, orange ones, yellow ones. Liquids, tablets, powders and pouches. Big bottles, small bottles, boxes, bags, tubs, jugs, tubes and blister packs. As you take a step closer and start reading the large print, the confusion deepens. They all claim to do basically the same thing!

So, how is one ever expected to make an informed choice?

The simple answer is, “It isn’t easy.” Knowing that answer isn’t going to be of much help, let’s see if we can somehow demystify the buying decision with some basic knowledge of holding tank treatments.

For the sake of simplicity, RV holding tank treatments generally fall into one of two broad categories: Chemical Treatments and Biological Treatments.

aqua-kem chemical holding tank treatments

A Typical Chemical Treatment

Chemical treatments contain one or more active ingredients that are intended to eliminate odors by essentially halting the waste breakdown process until the contents of the holding tank are emptied to a larger holding facility or a municipal sewer system. The majority of these active ingredients are bacteriostats (suppresses bacterial growth), bactericides (kills bacteria), or masking agents (chemically “locks” odors or attempts to cover them up).

Unfortunately, it has been found that most of these chemicals are toxic to a certain degree and some pose a very real risk to human health and/or the environment. In fact, a number of these chemicals have been under legislative scrutiny for many years due to their potentially harmful effects. The six most commonly used chemicals are: formaldehyde, bronopol, dowicil, glutaraldehyde, paraformaldehyde, and para-dichlorobenzene. All of them have been the subject of various regulations restricting their use in other industries and it is probably just a matter of time before they become regulated in the RV industry.

pure power blue biological holding tank treatments

A Biological Treatment 

pure power green biological holding tank treatments

Pure Power comes in Blue or Green

Biological treatments are based on the principal that adding large quantities of beneficial bacteria to a holding tank will “jump start” the waste breakdown process and control odors by excluding the formation of odor-causing “bad” bacteria. A pure biological formula contains no chemicals and is non-toxic to both humans and the environment. As advances are made in the field of microbiology these types of products, such as Pure Power, now have the potential to outperform chemical treatments in every way. It should be noted that enzyme treatments have also been included within this category because they are biological in origin, but they lack the full performance characteristics of a true bacteria based formula.

Summed up in the simplest manner possible, chemical treatments preserve waste and biological treatments break down waste. Both types are meant to control odor, one does it through chemical suppression while the other does it through a natural biological process. Generally speaking, it takes less of a biological product to control odors than is does a chemical product As the rest of the world goes green, so follows the RV industry.

Cleaning The Sewer Hose After Dumping

The other morning while talking to a customer about his neighbor’s gray tank being caked with Black waste, he mentioned the need to clean his sewer hose after dumping, with fresh water from the spigot.

Lots of folks do this, and quite frankly it is not a good practice, especially if they use their fresh water hose! I have seen people use the fresh water spigot, without a hose on it and put the coach end of the sewer hose up to the spigot then turn it on, yuk!

The proper method to clean your sewer hose before storing, is to leave it connected to the RV and the sewer inlet.

rv sewer hose - gray tank

First dump the Black water, and the Gray water second.

(Most people do this and know it is the right procedure. What they do then, is disconnect the hose from the coach and wash it inside as described above.)

Next close the Gray valve and use the tank flusher mounted in the Gray tank, to fill the tank 2/3rds full.

garnet tank monitor

Then open the valve and let the water go.

drain master valve

If the coach does not have a tank flusher in the Gray tank. (and most do not)
Fill the Gray tank by turning on the taps for the sinks and watch the tank monitor until the tank is 2/3rds full.

drawing of turning on water

Shut off the taps, open the valve and let the water clean the inside of the hose.

If you follow our “First in Last Out” procedure found here you will disconnect the hose from the RV, attach the plug and walk the hose out to the sewer inlet. The remaining water in the hose will drain out of the hose and into the sewer. Remove the sewer fitting. Immediately put the cap on it while over the sewer inlet, or in our case, close the nozzle and remove it.  Then take the hose assembly back to the coach for storage.

Strongest Sewer Hose Yet!

Why Did We Build This Hose From Scratch?

We discovered early on that most hoses in the RV industry are designed and built to cost, or for a completely different purpose, so we set out to create the strongest sewer hose yet–a flexible hose that would last through thousands of use cycles without the typical problems of wear-through, rust through, puncture, crushing, and weather degradation from extreme heat or cold.

Thus the POLYCHUTE SEWER HOSE was born

How We Did It

We accomplished this by designing a solid external helical wear strip with a spring effect, without the use of wire. This helical and its connecting wall are constructed as one, from a newly compounded TPV (Thermoplastic Vulcanite). Simply put . . . rubberized plastic.

Why It’s Superior – The Strongest Sewer Hose

This super-tough external wear strip solves the typical abrasion problems and also protects the outer wall, while creating a smooth-flow interior. Secondly, this revolutionary Polychute hose needed to be permanently mated with fittings to eliminate the need for attaching them to the hose, thus creating one unified waste delivery system that works easily the first time, and every time, without leaks. No wonder people call it the strongest sewer hose!

polychute hose - strongest sewer hose

Over And Above Features

We also knew from customer feedback that you wanted a clear section to know when the water is runnng clean.  So we created the Clear View Fitting for the Polychute hose. The hoses are also permanently bonded [here at our facility] to the fittings, to eliminate leaking.  While our green Hose Nozzle is not new, it remains an integral feature of the hose assembly and makes dumping your tanks sanitary, easy and environmentally friendly.

polychute hose arrow on clear nozzle - strongest sewer hose

RV Holding Tank Flushers What Are they, How do they work?

Flushing RV holding tanks on a regular basis is an important element in eliminating tank blockages and foul odors in and around your RV.

Many types of tank flushers have been produced over the years. The wand was popular for a long time. Folks did not like having to run a garden hose in a window or drag it through the entry door to the bathroom.

wand style holding tank flusher

Wand Style Flusher

While almost all RV Manufacturers put an internal sprayer in the Black holding tank, only a few provide one for the Gray Tank/Tanks.

By far the most popular tank flusher is the No Fuss Flush.

no fuss flush - holding tank flusher

No Fuss Flush

The No Fuss Flush requires a check valve when installed by the RV mfg. and adds cost to the RV which is a big part of the reason it does not come standard on the Gray tank. The device also needs to be installed above the flood plain or above the bathroom sink. They would also need to supply a 3 way valve so the supply hose can be switched from one tank to the other. This is not the case in the aftermarket. An aftermarket kit comes complete with the tank flusher and a water hose inlet port with a check valve in it, making the installation far easier.

A unit called a back flush appeared on the market about 10 to 15 years ago and its purpose was to connect it to the sewer hose connection and run water back into the holding tank.

Back-flush Device

While this is against RVIA code regulations, it is not against the rules in the consumer market. The only effective use of this device we found over time and testing is to clear a blockage in the Black tank without making a mess! With the sewer hose connected to the outlet and to the sewer ground inlet back-filling with the pressure from the water spigot works very well to dislodge tank blockages. As for cleaning out the tank itself, not so effective! Any action created from the spigot pressure is diminished greatly by the turns in the fittings getting to the holding tank. The agitation created by the spray in the internal method is much more effective than back-filling. If you tend to use too much RV toilet paper and not enough water, a back-filling device should be in your waste fitting container–if not, you have spent money and gotten little value.

If you have questions regarding this article or questions in general about RV waste management, we encourage you to contact us via email or by calling our toll free number (877) 787-8833.