Owning an RV is a wonderful way to explore the great outdoors, but with that freedom comes the responsibility of maintaining your RV’s systems. One important aspect of RV maintenance is keeping the holding tanks clean and odor-free. Neglecting them can lead to unpleasant odors, clogs, and even costly repairs. To help you avoid these issues, we’ve compiled a list of quick tips for keeping your RV holding tanks clean.
1. Regularly Empty the Tanks
One of the simplest and most effective ways to maintain clean holding tanks is to empty them regularly. Don’t wait until they’re full; empty them when they’re about two-thirds full to prevent any build-up of waste or odors. Most campgrounds and RV parks have hookups at campsites or dump stations, making it convenient to dispose of your waste easily and responsibly.
2. Use the Right Toilet Paper
Not all toilet paper is created equal when it comes to RVs. Using regular household toilet paper can lead to clogs in your RV’s plumbing system. To prevent this, invest in RV-specific toilet paper, which is designed to break down more easily in your holding tanks. It will almost cost more, but it can save you from costly repairs down the road. Some RVers routinely use white single ply toilet paper bought at a supermarket and never have problems.
3. Use Tank Treatments
Tank treatments are specially formulated chemicals that help break down waste and control odors in your holding tanks. There are various types available, including drop-in packets, liquid treatments, and even environmentally friendly options. Find a product that works for you and use it regularly to keep your tanks clean and odor-free. If you are dumping your tanks every few days, these chemicals may not be necessary, but when camped for longer periods, they have time to work their magic.
4. Keep the Tanks Lubricated
To help ensure that waste flows smoothly through your plumbing system, consider using tank lubricants. These lubricants help prevent waste from sticking to the walls of your tanks and can make emptying them more efficient. Simply add the recommended amount of lubricant to your tanks before or after emptying them.
5. Practice Good Tank Hygiene
Maintaining clean holding tanks isn’t just about the products you use; it’s also about your habits. Do not flush non-biodegradable items, such as baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, or paper towels, down the toilet. These items can cause clogs and create a mess in your tanks. Even though a product claims to be septic safe, that does not necessarily mean it’s “RV safe.”
6. Use Plenty of Water
When you flush the toilet in your RV, be sure to use enough water. Water helps break down waste and move it through your plumbing system more effectively. Using extreme water-saving practices can lead to waste buildup and odors in your tanks.
7. Monitor Tank Levels
Many modern RVs come equipped with tank level monitors. These devices provide you with real-time information about the levels of your holding tanks, at least in theory. They are also known to malfunction. Still, regularly monitor these levels to know when it’s time to empty your tanks and prevent overflows.
8. Maintain Proper Ventilation
Proper ventilation is essential for preventing odors from escaping into your RV. Ensure that your RV’s venting system is in good working order and doesn’t have any obstructions. You can also add vent covers to help improve airflow while keeping rain and debris out. Siphon 360 roof vents are the best on the market by a long shot.
9. Clean and Sanitize the Tanks
To maintain clean holding tanks, it’s a good idea to periodically clean and sanitize them. Follow your RV’s manufacturer guidelines for this process, as it can vary depending on the type of tanks you have. Cleaning and sanitizing not only help eliminate odors but also extend the life of your tanks.
10. Be Mindful of Temperature
In cold weather, frozen waste in your holding tanks can be a real problem. To prevent freezing, consider using tank heaters or insulating your tanks. Some RVs have holding tank heaters built right in, or can be ordered as an aftermarket product. You can also use tank blankets to keep the contents from freezing.
Keeping your RV holding tanks clean and odor-free is essential for a pleasant and trouble-free camping experience. By following these quick tips and maintaining good habits, you can ensure that your RV’s waste management system works efficiently and doesn’t cause any unpleasant surprises on your travels. Regular maintenance and proper care will go a long way in preserving the comfort and functionality of your RV.