Perhaps the most hectic thing while camping is remembering to empty the RV tanks. Luckily, you can do this at home and avoid the long queues at the camping ground. But before you get all excited at the prospect and decide to jump on the opportunity, you must learn how to do the job first.
Here are the four easiest and most common methods to empty your RV’s greywater, blackwater, and freshwater tanks.
Use the Cleanout Pipe
Most sewage disposal systems have a cleanout pipe that is used to clear blockages and obstructions. Usually, it is located by the side of the house or somewhere in the front yard, so you can access it easily. If you have ever dumped the tanks at an RV park or campsite you would know what we are talking about. The same process works at home. You can use this cleanout pipe to dump your RV’s blackwater and greywater tanks into the sewer system.
But you must first ensure you are using the septic system and not the public sewer system for the dumping. That’s because some municipalities do not allow extra dumping of waste into the public sewers.
Therefore, it is wise to ask for permission beforehand and inform the authorities that you will use the facility every once in a while.
The Bucket Method
The bucket method is not the fastest, healthiest, or easiest way to empty RV tanks. As a result, it must only be used when you have exhausted all other options. Keep in mind that you would be exposed to live waste while using buckets, so safety and health precautions should be your prime concern.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to empty the RV greywater and blackwater tanks using buckets.
- Step 1: Buy a new bucket for this kind of work and keep it separate in case you have to use it again.
- Step 2: Open the tank’s exit valve, place the bucket directly below the pipe, and fill it to the brim.
- Step 3: Next, empty that bucket into your home’s toilet and flush it down the drain.
- Step 4: Repeat the entire process until the RV tanks are completely empty.
- Step 5: Thoroughly clean and disinfect the bucket and put it aside in case you might need it later.
This entire process is a bit slow and it requires a few extra safety & health precautions. But it is pretty straightforward and anyone can do it without any training. Yes, it might be a bit too unpleasant while you are dealing with the blackwater tank, but the effort, in the end, would be worthwhile.
The Macerator Method
Not every RV has a macerator pump, but it is advisable to install one as it can make your life a lot easier. A macerator breaks down solid waste into smaller pieces, essentially turning it into sludge. You can easily dump that sludge into your home’s sewer system without risking any blockages. It also removes the need for a septic system.
Once you have the waste in liquid form, you can dump it in any sewage drain you want, using a dedicated pipe, without worrying about the authorities.
But you will first need to invest in a few key items, like a macerator pump, a hose adapter, a CDFJ adapter, and a durable garden hose. These items will set you back around $200 but they will pay dividends in the long term.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use the macerator in your RV:
- Step 1: Attach the macerator pump to the RV’s blackwater outlet and ensure it is connected properly.
- Step 2: Connect the macerator to a power supply, which in some cases could be your RV’s 12V battery.
- Step 3: Use the CDFJ adapter and place it between the macerator outlet and the garden hose.
- Step 4: Take the end of the garden hose directly to the nearest toilet and place it on the opening. You must secure it in place to avoid any chance of a mishap.
- Step 5: Now open the tank’s wastegate and allow all the blackwater to exit the vehicle and into the macerator.
- Step 6: Turn on the macerator and let it work its magic. The solid waste should turn into sludge instantaneously and start to drain through the garden hose.
- Step 7: Flush the toilet if necessary and keep an eye on the entire setup to ensure there are no blockages.
- Step 8: Once the tanks are empty, run clean water through the system to clean the macerator, hose, and CDFJ joint from the inside.
- Step 9: After you have run the water for a good 5-10 minutes, remove the garden hose, flush the toilet, switch off the macerator and remove it from the RV.
The Septic Tank Method
Ideally, you should look for a septic system with a clean-out to dump your RV’s tanks. This is the easiest and most practical method to empty the greywater and blackwater tanks at home.
Are you wondering where you have heard this term before? Well, we talked about a cleanout pipe earlier in this article. This one is the same as the one mentioned before, except the cleanout here leads to a septic tank and not directly to a public sewerage system.
Using the Septic Tank’s Access Port
If you can’t use the cleanout route for some reason, you can use the septic tank’s access port to do the same job.
All you would have to do is open the septic tank’s lid while using a mask to cover your face and drop the waste directly into the solid side of the baffle. There are markings on the side of the septic tank to guide you, so there is no need to worry.
But you should be very careful when dealing with a septic tank as the deadly fumes can affect your health.
If you follow any of the four methods we discussed, you shouldn’t face any problems, emptying your RV’s tanks at home. However, if you are confused at some point, you can always come back to this article and refresh your memory.
Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by travel. I inherited this passion from my parents. Since my college years and to this day, I have had a passion for traveling in a motorhome. I am here to share my experiences with you.