A Newbie Guide to Dumping Your RV Holding Tanks
So when I bought my first RV, I was dreading my first holding tank dump. My very first RV was a 1988 Winnebago Super Chief. I remember the guy I bought it from said it was easy but he never showed me how. I figured I could just pull up and figure it out and if I had any trouble I would ask an adult. And for the most part, any person with a pretty good head on their shoulders can figure out how to dump the tanks, but there are a few things I wish I knew before I first dumped my grey and black water tanks.
Locate the Grey and Black Water Release Valves
Make sure you are only dumping in a certified dumping area. Don’t be one of those guys who illegally dumps. That just gives us all a bad rep. Most RV parks and track stops offer dump stations for a fair price. Some of them are even free. When pulling up, try to get your release valves as close as possible to the hole in the ground. This makes it easy if you don’t have enough slack in your sewage hose. If this is your first time, the release valves are pictured above. These valves make look a little different than yours but they are pretty universal for most RV types. Next, put your gloves on! This is just good housekeeping. Now the plan is not to touch any poo but you never know. I have had my share of accidents. Get your sewage hose. Your sewage hose will attached to the outlet next to the valves. Take off the valve cover and just screw it on counter clock-wise. You are going to want to have a good quality sewage hose to ensure there are no leaks and long enough to reach the sewage hole. I recommend the Camco RhinoEXTREME 20ft on Amazon. There are 2 valves. One has a black handle and one has a grey handle. The black handle is for the black water (poo poo), and the grey is, you guessed it, grey water (shower, sink water). Now make sure the end of your sewage hose is connected to the sewer hole. Usually you just unscrew it it and put your fitting inside. Sometimes there are big rocks or bricks left by past dumpers. You can use this for added weight on top of your sewage hose. Just make sure its in there good.
Opening the Dumping Valves
So at this point, both sides of the sewer hose should be connected. Double check it! Now its time to dump. We are going to start with the black valve. Pull the valve in the outward direction. Now all the sewage should be flowing down the sewage hose. If you have the Camco RhinoEXTREME 20ft you will also be able to see it. I know, this isn’t the most fun but it’s necessary. Now wait until you can’t see or hear anymore. At this point, some people like to connect a separate water hose to flush out any particulates. Depending on your RV you may have a black water tank spigot or you may have to run a hose through the RV into the toilet. Its important not to use your drinking water hose for this task. You don’t want any cross contamination in your fresh water tank. Also, remember to keep you black water valve open while flushing out the tank. All done. Now its time for the grey water. Make sure the black water valve is pushed all the way back in and now more water is flowing through the hose. Now you can pull the grey water valve. You don’t have to flush out the grey water valve because there should not be any particulates in this tank. We always dump the black water first because the grey water acts as a flush for the hose as well. Now you can close the valve when the water has stopped draining.
Disconnect the sewer hose and put the cap back on your sewage outlet. If you want, some people decide to run some fresh water through their sewage hose before they disconnect from the sewage hole. You can do this with the same hose you used to flush out your black tank earlier. Do not place your sewage hose directly under an open water spigot as some people may use this water to refill their fresh water/drinking water.
Most RV’s have a square bumper that opens up from the side. This is pretty mush the universal place to store the sewage hose. If you have to store your sewage hose somewhere else, make sure it is kept somewhere where any cross contamination of your drinking hose cannot occur The reason I say this is some people will store all their accessories in one compartment. You may not let your sewage hose touch your drinking water hose but you might let it touch your power cord which may then touch your drinking water hose at one point…. get where I’m coming from?
PRO TIP: Now that your tanks are empty, you will want to deodorize your tanks to stop any smells from escaping. I recommend Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment – from Amazon. Not only does it deodorize but it also helps break up any solids. The great thing about this product is you no longer have to use expensive RV toilet paper. As long as you use this stuff, you can just use regular household T.P.
After doing this a few times, you will start to get into a routine and it will all be like second nature. And don’t be that guy who holds up the line for an hour because he wants to flush his tank over and over. If there is a line behind you, try to keep it under 15-20 minutes. And there you go, you no longer have to fear dumping your RV tanks.