How to Empty Your RV Holding Tanks | Pete's RV Quick Tips


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PetesRV.com expert, Randy Murray provides a step-by-step overview on how to empty your RV holding tanks.

As Randy explains, with the black holding tank, we want to keep it closed as long as possible to allow the chemicals to break down the solids, and toilet paper inside the tank. Over time, the solids and toilet paper will build up more head pressure, so when you go to dump the tanks, it will evacuate much better.

Sidenote: When going camping, it’s recommended we bring RV toilet paper vs traditional toilet paper. The RV toilet paper tends to break down quicker than traditional toilet paper while in the holding tanks.

Pete’s RV Center is an extraordinary recreational vehicle dealer with locations in South Burlington, VT, Schererville, IN, and South Windsor, CT. An RV sales, parts, and service provider since 1952, Pete’s RV Center carries an extensive inventory of Keystone as well as Crossroads, Heartland, Evergreen, Jayco, and Forest River RV-branded campers.

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34 replies
  1. Mick Taylor
    Mick Taylor says:

    I really enjoy your videos thanks for taking the time to do them. I have learned a lot. I leave a clear fitting(45 degree flush fittings aimed toward drain)on my outlets so I know if my valves were closed and sealed. I then hold the hose under the outlet cap when I open it just to catch the ounce or so of water that gathers behind the cap. We have 2 grey tanks(rear kitchen)so we dump the galley tank first as the food makes it stinkier then the shower and BR sink grey tank, double check galley tank valve is closed, drain the hose, cap the galley tank outlet, switch the hose to the front outlet, and then dump the black tank followed by doing a black tank flush(we have a small diameter black 25 ft coiled hose for this)for 5 minutes or until flow is clear and finally we dump the BR grey tank(on the same outlet as black on our trailer). Then I lift up the hose and walk it to the drain to get most of the waste out of the hose( make sure you weigh down the hose at drain so it does not come out) and then I double check all the valves to make sure they are closed and remove the hose and quickly rotate it under the fitting to catch any remaining water as I replace the cap on the trailer outlet. If I do it right there is only a drop or two on the ground and never any black water. If the black tank flush water is over the drain I will flush my hose again into the drain. Finally I collapse my hose and cap both ends before putting it in my black tub, remove my gloves replace the lid and use my hand sanitizer. The main thing is don’t get rattled if people are waiting just slowly and methodically do your steps have your copilot watch the first few times and always ask yourself if the next step will put water(or worse) on the ground. You will get fast in time and the clear fittings and double checking all valves are closed will stop the catastrophic accidents;). Oh and buy some knee pads and leave them in your black tub they will save your knees and kneeling in someone else’s crap is not too appealing. My Wife fills the fresh water tank while I dump the tanks so the potable water system is not contaminated by my grubby hands. Just my system and my 2 cents worth.

    Reply
  2. Sloppy Turtle
    Sloppy Turtle says:

    Ohhhh-h man, when he pulled the big handle for the black water tank, it was just disGUSTING ! It was SO-o-o bad, my eyes were only allowing me to see it as clear water. You know it's bad when your eyes are playing tricks like that.

    Reply
  3. Renee
    Renee says:

    What do you suggest about dumping when it's only one person and you camp maybe a couple of nights and then don't camp for another two weeks and this may be the routine. Not much in your tanks but don't want to leave it there for two weeks. Do you add more water somehow and dump or what?

    Reply
  4. c jm
    c jm says:

    build up is good in both tanks before dumping. Main thing is keeping sensors wet and clean not dry even though your full hook up your routine should be to let both fill to max and how ever often it is go out and pull your gate valves rinse and repeat….

    Reply
  5. RVersity
    RVersity says:

    Great walk through. This was such a crap shoot the first time I did it. Although it is easier to do on my travel trailer than it is on my sprinter van. The angle is so low on my van I need leveling devices to help . Small unit big problems lol.

    Reply
  6. ChuckyG4
    ChuckyG4 says:

    Bad advice on leaving any valves open while hooked up. RVs don’t have P traps to stop sewer gases from entering the RV. Especially if you use your bathroom exhaust fan. This slight negative pressure will suck sewer gases directly in thru sinks and showers drains.

    Reply
  7. MrGrunthunter's Adventures
    MrGrunthunter's Adventures says:

    Isn't there another step where you use the garden hose to flush out the sewer hose with clean water? I have seen attachments that you connect to it for cleaning the hose. What about those after market elbows that have a connection for a garden hose that jets water back into the black tank to flush it out as well?

    Reply
  8. cameragirlish
    cameragirlish says:

    Hi … brand new to this. What is the plastic connector from the hose to the out valve called and also the one that goes to the ground that you took off because it doesn't fit where you are….nice video and thanks a lot for taking the time to share.

    Reply

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