RVs are very important because they allow us to have a home away from home. This is why it is recommended for long term campers to have an RV since it comes with all the comforts of a home that includes having that tidy little room. Since RV toilets use little water when flushed, the toilet holding tank can become clogged very easily.
Knowing how to unclog an RV toilet holding tank is therefore important if you are planning to go on a camping trip with your RV. Most RV toilet holding tanks always get clogged at a time when it is inconvenient. They normally get clogged when you least expect them to.
This step by step post is thus meant for you so that you can learn how to unclog an RV toilet tank just in case it happens. However, before we show you how to go about it, let’s first look at what can make your RV toilet holding tank to get clogged easily.
Causes of Clogging of an RV Toilet Holding Tank
What mainly causes RV toilet holding tanks to get clogged is when there are leaking valves or when the valves are left open. If the valve is worn out or left open, it will allow water to leak out of the toilet before the water flushes out the waste. Another cause of clogging in most RV toilet holding tanks is using insufficient amounts of water whenever you are flushing.
The type of toilet paper that you are using will also affect how your RV septic system performs. If you use a toilet paper that is not RV friendly, then you will be increasing the chances of your RV toilet holding tank getting clogged.
How You Can Unclog Your RV Toilet Holding Tank
1. Use a Powder Washer
Clearing the clogs in your RV toilet tank should not be that difficult. Using a powder washer should be the first step towards unclogging your blocked RV tank. When the holding tank is clogged, then the first place to check for the problem is the tank itself.
The first move will thus be giving your RV holding tank a really good wash. You can use an effective washing powder to clean the inside of the tank. This cleaning process will remove any grime that would have built-up in the holding tank.
2. Clean the Line
Sometimes the main cause of your clogged RV holding tank could be in the line between the waste tank and the toilet. This is for those RVs that don’t use portable waste tanks. This line usually gets clogged when hard materials, also known as “pyramid” plugs, accumulate in this area.
“Pyramid” plugs are often caused by continuously using your RV toilet without properly maintaining the holding tank, also known as the waste tank. To clean the line, fill the tank halfway with water. After that, add some liquid soap to the tank. You will then need to agitate the mixture.
You can achieve this by driving your RV around some rugged road. This will make the soapy mixture to be sloshed around in the tank. Once this is achieved, you can then run water through the pipes.
3. Use a Hand Operated Auger
If the previous options do not give you the desired results, then you can use a hand operated auger to clear the clogs in your RV holding tank. You can feed this hand operated auger down the pipe. After that, you should then attach a flexible pipe to a hose and feed it inside the pipe. The water pressure will loosen the debris away.
Here is word of caution though, never use a motorised auger to unclog your RV toilet holding tank. This is because using a motorised auger can easily damage or puncture the tank.
4. Use Chemical Treatment
This is also another method you can use to unclog your RV toilet tank. You can use a chemical treatment to breakdown the solid matter that is clogging the tank. There are several varieties of RV holding tank treatments that are capable of unclogging your RV toilet holding tank.
However, most of these chemicals require a lot of time and several applications for them to work. You also need to see to it that you follow the packaging instructions carefully.
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5. Ice Cube Method
Some RV users do swear by the ice cube method. To unclog your RV toilet using the ice cube method, you will first need to fill the RV tank with water until it is 1/3 full. You should then add ice to fill the rest of the toilet. After that, flush the ice down the toilet. You can then drive your RV around.
Image source: Youtube
6. Using a Water Hose
To apply this method, you will need a clear hose connector, an RV sewer hose, a 5 feet water piping connector, a water hose and a drill. For this method to work well, you must ensure that you have a straight line to your RV toilet holding tank.
Connect your clear hose connector to your black water tank. The main reason why you should use a clear hose connector is so that you can see whatever is going in and coming out while you are working on the clog.
Next, you should drill a small hole at the top of the connector. This small hole is for adding the 5ft water line. The diameter of the hole and the water line should be the same. This is to avoid any spillage.
Push the line on the hole that you have drilled on the connector. Next, open the valve of the RV toilet holding tank to let the 5 ft water line in all through to the back of the tank. Once you have pushed the water line inside the tank, you should then turn on the water.
Water should start to come out through the line. If no water comes out within a minute, then the line is behind the blockage. In this case, you should slowly pull the line out some few inches. Once you pull it out, you should pause for a few seconds to allow the stuff to come out.
Once you have noticed the black water coming out of the pipe, then you should stay there for a few minutes because that is where the blockage is. The pressure of the waterline should be enough to break the clog inside the toilet holding tank.
How to Prevent Your RV toilet Tank from Clogging
- Using the Right Toilet Paper
In the RV world, toilet paper is very important. You cannot use just any other toilet paper except the best RV toilet paper. This is because you need a toilet paper that breaks down easily to avoid clogging your RV toilet holding tank.
- Flush more often
When it comes to using your RV toilet, then water is your best friend. You should, therefore, flush your toilet more often. Most people recommend that you need to flush your RV toilet twice for every use. If you notice that some clogs are starting to develop, you can flush some hot water occasionally to eliminate such clogs.
- Use More Water that Paper
An ounce of prevention is better that tons of repair, right? Another way of preventing your RV toilet holding tank from clogging is by cutting back on the volume of toilet paper you are using and instead use more water. Using more water and less toilet paper will keep you from dealing with clogged RV toilet tank headache.
- Use Some Drop In
There are several “drop in” chemicals that you can use to keep your tank easy to flush and smell fresh. These chemicals help to break down any clog that may form in the tank hence preventing the tank from getting blocked.
- Have Some Water in the RV Toilet Holding Tank
For your RV toilet tank to work properly, you need to have some water at its base. This water helps to prevent any solid from sticking to the black water tank. It is these sticking solids that cause clogs that later block your RV toilet holding tank. The water also helps to prevent bad smells from coming out of the tank through your toilet.
- Empty the RV Toilet Tank Regularly
After making it through the weekend with your RV, it’s time to find an appropriate place to dump the waste from your tank. Since RVs usually have two tanks- the black water tank and the grey water tank, you should empty the black water tank first.
This is because the water from the grey tank is cleaner than the one from the black tank. Emptying the black water tank first allows the cleaner water from the grey water tank to clean and flush out any waste that would have been left on the hose.
- Clean the Holding Tank Sensors
Another common problem that is faced by many RV users is false readings that their RV toilet tank sensors give them. A faulty sensor will tell you that the tank is full even though it is empty. This is usually caused by residue getting stuck on the sensors.
You should, therefore, ensure that you clear your sensors of any residue by cleaning the inside of your RV toilet tank. You can use ice cubes to do this. By the time the ice cubes melt, they will clear any residue from the surface of the sensors.
Wrapping up on unclogging RV toilet
Clogged RV toilet holding tanks are part of living in an RV. However, dealing with a clogged RV toilet tank is very difficult if you don’t know how to unclog an RV toilet holding tank on your own.
As a good camper, you should always ensure that you are prepared for almost anything while you are out there camping. By reading this post, you will not be scared of unclogging your RV toilet tank.
So there you have it. This article has not only taught you how you can unclog your RV toilet tank but also how you can prevent it from getting blocked in the first place. It is now up to you to ensure that your RV tank is clean and is in good condition to allow you enjoy using your RV while camping.