Taking off for a vacation for the first time in an RV is fun and exciting! But, there are a few skills you'll need. One of them is dumping your black and gray water tanks. We've been full time RVers for over 5 years, and have a lot of experience in dumping tanks. If you aren't sure about how to dump your RV or travel trailer tanks, we've got you covered. We'll even chat about the gear you'll need. You'll know where to find the right spot for dumping. And we'll give you some crucial tips to make sure it's a breeze and not a stinky mess!
Gear for Handling Black Water
Before you get down and dirty with your RV's black water tank, you'll need some essential gear. Here's the scoop on what you should have:
Dump Hose: This is your sewage superhero. It's a flexible hose designed for the dirty work. Hoses are usually 10 to 20 feet long, perfect for connecting your RV's black water outlet to the dump station.
Gloves: Get yourself a sturdy pair of waterproof gloves. These bad boys protect your hands. And they keep things hygienic during the whole dumping process.
Sewer Hose Support: Think of these as the fancy elevator for your dump hose. They keep the hose elevated and sloping downhill. This makes sure waste flows smoothly and doesn't get stuck.
Clear Elbow Adapter: This handy gadget attaches to the end of your dump hose. Because it's clear you can see when the tank is empty.
RV Sewer Hose Seal: To keep things leak-free and odorless, this seal ensures a snug connection between your RV and the dump station.
Tank Rinse Hose: If your RV isn't equipped with a black tank flush system, consider getting one of these hoses to give your tank a good rinse after dumping.
Bio-Degradable Toilet Paper: Don't forget the right kind of toilet paper! RV-specific or biodegradable paper breaks down easier, helping to avoid nasty clogs.
That covers the gear you'll need to dump your tanks. Now let's take a minute to talk about where and how to dump your black water tank.
When to Say Goodbye to Your Black Water
Choosing the right spot to dump your tank is a crucial part of the process. Here are some common options:
RV Campgrounds: Most RV campgrounds have a dedicated dump station. They are usually well-maintained and easy to access. Keep in mind that some places might charge a fee.
Truck Stops and Rest Areas: When you're on the road, some truck stops and rest areas have got you covered. Check for any fees and be mindful of fellow truckers using the facilities.
Dump Station Apps and Websites: You've got technology on your side! Use mobile apps and websites to locate dump stations. There are both free and paid. Knowing when and where to dump should be part of planning your trip.
State and National Parks: Many of these parks offer dump stations, especially if they have campgrounds. Be aware that their operating hours may be limited, so plan ahead.
RV Service Centers: Some RV service centers provide dumping services. They usually charge a fee. But they can be super convenient if you're getting other maintenance done on your RV.
The final step is dumping your black water tank.
The process isn't difficult, but you'll want to follow these steps:
1. Prepare Your RV: Turn off all faucets and toilets inside the RV. And double-check that the black tank valve is closed.
2. Suit Up: Put on your gloves before handling any hoses or connections. Safety first!
3. Connect the Dump Hose: Attach one end of your dump hose to your RV's black water outlet. Be sure to twist it closed for a watertight seal.
4. Set Up the Hose Supports: Place your sewer hose supports or ramps beneath the dump hose. Make sure the hose slopes downward toward the dump station for proper drainage.
5. Attach the Clear Elbow Adapter: Connect the clear elbow adapter to the other end of the dump hose. This is so you can keep an eye on the flow and make sure the tank empties completely.
6. Open the Black Tank Valve: Allow the waste flow into the dump hose. Keep an eye on the clear elbow adapter to ensure the tank is empty. This might take a few minutes.
7. Rinse the Tank (Optional): If your RV has a black tank flush system, now's the time to use it. Connect a tank rinse hose to the designated inlet and let the water flow in to clean things up.
8. Close the Black Tank Valve: Once the tank is empty, close the black tank valve. This will lock in freshness and prevent any odors or leaks.
9. Flush and Clean the Hose: Rinse the dump hose and clear elbow adapter . You can use a hose or a designated rinse station at the dump site. This keeps your gear clean and free of residue.
10. Disconnect and Stow Equipment: Carefully disconnect the dump hose from your RV and the dump station. Rinse the dump hose once more and stash it away in its designated spot or storage area.
11. Dispose of Gloves and Wash Up: Toss those gloves in the trash and give your hands a thorough wash with soap and water. If there's hand sanitizer around, use it for good measure.
Follow Dump Station Rules: Don't forget to play by the rules! In our experience, most dump stations have clearly posted guidelines for rinsing tanks and hoses. And have garbage cans for disposing of any materials used during the dumping process.
By following these steps, you'll be cruising down the road as a confident RVer. You'll know how to handle the dirty work with ease.
Things to Watch Out For When Dumping Your Black Water Tank
Dumping your RV's black water tank is a straightforward process. But there are some essential precautions to bear in mind:
Avoid Spills: Be super cautious when connecting and disconnecting hoses. This will help prevent any spills or splashes. This is why those waterproof gloves are your best friends.
No Dumping on the Ground: Dumping black water on the ground is a big no-no—it's illegal and harms the environment. Always use a designated dump station.
Black Water Tank Dumping Final Thoughts
The sequence of dumping your tanks is important. Make it a habit to empty the black tank before the gray tank. The gray tank holds soapy water from sinks and showers. Dumping the gray tank last will help rinse the dump hose and keep foul odors at bay.
Be Patient: Don't rush the process. Let the tank empty completely to ensure you leave no waste behind.
Maintain Your Equipment: Before every trip, inspect and clean your dumping equipment. Look for any leaks or blockages.
Respect Others: Be courteous to fellow RVers waiting to use the dump station. By following the steps in this article, you'll keep your time at the dump station to a minimum.
Practice Good Hygiene: Always wear gloves and wash your hands after handling anything sewage-related. If there's hand sanitizer available, use it for extra peace of mind.
Learning how to dump your RVs black water tank is a vital skill for any newbie RVer. Having the right gear, knowing how or where to dump, and dumping the tank safely will ensure you and your family have a great vacation.