Knowing how to keep RV water fresh is not as difficult as it seems. All RV waste water goes into the two holding tanks and you’ve got to make sure they’re maintained to avoid unpleasant odors.
Your RV has three water tanks. The freshwater or potable water tank is the one you bathe, cook and drink. The gray water tank holds the wastewater from the shower and sink. The black water tank contains the waste you flush in the toilet.
How can you ensure your RV water tanks are tidy and your RV smells fresh?
1. Keep the potable water hose clean
The potable water tank is for drinking, cooking and bathing. Do not use the potable water hose for the other tanks.
2. Keep the freshwater tank clean
- Mix 4 gallons of water with a cup of bleach if you’ve got a 40 gallon tank. If it’s a 60 gallon tank, mix 1 1/2 half cups of bleach with 6 gallons of water. For a 100 gallon tank mix a couple of cups of bleach with 8 gallons of water.
- Pour the mixture in the tank and fill it with water completely.
- Open all the faucets until you smell bleach in all of them.
- Wait until the tank is empty and then fill the tank with freshwater. Allow it to settle overnight.
- Drain the tank the following morning. Open the faucets and let it run for a while. Repeat the process 3 times or more until you don’t smell bleach anymore.
3. Don’t let food fall down the drain
Keep a mesh strainer basket around so it will catch food bits before they go down the drain. This will keep the sink from developing bad odor and emptying in the gray water tank. It is a simple but effective method, and it also prevents the sink from getting clogged.
4. Get rid of sink odor
Pour half the content of an orange soda can into the drain. Rinse with tap water. The soda’s orange scent eliminates the odor and also remove the sludge.
5. Prevent odors with baking soda
Baking soda has a lot of uses in the home and that also applies when you’re in an RV. When you remove the contents on the gray water tank, pour a spoon or two of baking soda down the sink drain. Use hot water to rinse. Do this regularly and it will prevent odor buildup.
6. Chemicals for the Black Tanks
If you’ve been researching how to drain fresh water tank on RV you’ll realize there are several chemical products designed to reduce odor in the gray and black water tanks. Many RVers use these to get rid of bad smells, but they’re also effective as deterrents.
7. Keep That Black Tank Valve Closed
This is pretty obvious but it’s worth stating anyway. Once you’ve linked to a campground sewer, do not open the black tank valve. If you open the valve all the water will come rushing out but the solid waste will remain. You’re going to end up with a black water tank full of solid waste that smells even worse.
8. Give it a Good Cleaning
The best way to maintain your water holding tanks is clean it thoroughly. Do this at least once a season or more often if possible. Take this opportunity to clean any solid waste that might be sticking to its walls.
- Go to a dump station and empty the tank.
- Get a water hose and push it into the toilet. Most RVs today have the black water tank below the toilet.
- Turn the water hose on and spray. Move the house around so it clears as much of the tank as possible.
- Empty the tank once it is full or almost full.
- Repeat the steps above as often as necessary to get rid of the odor.
9. Don’t Drain Grey Water Tank with Potable Water Hose
If you study how to drain grey water tank on RV, this is one of the things you’ve got to learn right away. Doing so will contaminate the potable water tank and affect your drinking and cooking water.
10. Don’t Overfill the Tank
Allowing the tank to get filled to the brim makes it susceptible to pressure and leaks. The pressure can also damage the lines and cause all sorts of problems with the leaks. Empty the tank when it is full but don’t wait until it is almost overflowing.
11. Sanitize Your Freshwater Tank
This your source of drinking, cooking and bathing water so you’ve got to take all steps necessary to ensure it is clean.
12. When Using Happy Campers Extreme Cleaner
If you’re going to use this keep the following in mind.
- Empty the tank and rinse it thoroughly.
- Pour hot water in a container and mix until the material dissolves.
- Pour in the sink or toilet.
- Fill the tank halfway with clean water.
- Agitate aggressively if your RV is stationary.
- After dumping, thoroughly rinse.
What is Grey Water Tank on an RV?
If you want to know how to keep RV water fresh you need to understand the gray tank. In a nutshell this is where the water from your sink and shower go. As I mentioned earlier it is best to close the valve and let the tank fill up before emptying it. If you empty too quickly there won’t be enough water in it to remove the waste. It is also important to use chemicals that treat the water so it doesn’t smell as bad.
The water in the gray tank can also be used for sewer hose rinsing once you’ve dumped the black water. A rinse wand is another option to clean the toilet and tank. You can also purchase treatments for holding tanks, sinks and toilets so they don’t stink.
How to Drain Grey Water From an RV?
The process of emptying an RV gray water tank is not that difficult and is pretty straightforward. Just follow these simple guidelines.
- The black water tank needs to be emptied first.
- Put on rubber gloves so you don’t get contaminated. Disposable gloves are ideal.
- Take off the cap on the tank outlets. Hook up the sewer hose.
- Place the sewer hose 5 inches into the dump opening.
- Secure the hose with the dumping station cover.
- Open the valve for the black water tank. Open the gray tank valve once the black water tank is empty.
- Refill the tanks then flush and drain. Repeat.
- Shut all the valves and disconnect the outlet and hose.
- Raise the sewer hose off the end of your rig into the dump opening. Get rid of any water residues in it.
- Rinse it with water.
- Remove the hose connection on the hole. Rinse the parts around it just in case there is some spill.
- Cover up the hole.
- Put the hose back in its proper place.
- Apply water treatment to the tanks according to the label instructions.
RV Grey Water Tank Overflow
This is one of the things you need to watch out for. If it is three quarters or full, dump the contents of the tank. If you hooked it up to a line and the dryer and washer turned on, open the gray tank valve. This is necessary otherwise water is going to fill the tank and go up the drains.
Inspect the sewer connection on a regular basis prior to opening the valve on the black water tank. Open the gray water tank and check for signs of leaks. If there aren’t any then you can open the black water tank.
All modern RV tanks have an integrated monitoring system that tells you when it is time to dump and fill up. The water tank monitors vary in style but they function the same way.
Put water and softener on the holding tanks if there is material that won’t come off the walls. This is also the right time to use water treatment if there is odor emanating from the gray or black tanks.
An overflowing waste tank is very hard to clean and nobody’s idea of fun. That is why it is imperative you keep a close eye on them.
Take it for a Drive
If you have done all the steps above and the tanks still have an unpleasant smell or material is stuck on the tank interior walls, fill it up with water. Now drive your RV around and that should shake things up. Check the tanks again and the waste material should be easy to remove now.
Keeping the water fresh in your RV is obviously important for several reasons. It’s a lot of work yes, but you’ll be the better for it in the long run. With regular maintenance it is less likely you’ll run into trouble with cleaning and maintenance.