How To Properly Dump Your RV Tanks

a man dumping his black water tanks while wearing gloves

Emptying the black water tank is probably everyone’s least favorite part of RVing, but it is a critical thing to know how to do. If you’ve never dumped your RV’s tanks before, or you're looking for ways to make the process easier and less stressful, this step-by-step guide will help. Here are some tips for properly dumping your RV’s black tank, including some advice for avoiding any black water messes and mishaps.

  1. Make Sure You Have These Four Items

    Before you even begin the dumping process, make sure you have these four items: latex or rubber gloves, a black tank water hose, a sewer hose, and some sanitizing spray or cleaner. The gloves will help keep your hands clean and prevent the spread of bacteria. The black tank water hose should be marked, either with permanent marker or some tape, so you know that particular hose is only used for flushing the black tank and avoids water contamination. The sewer hose should also be marked, as this is what you will use to actually empty your black tank into the drain. The sanitizing spray can be used to clean up any accidental spills and keep the dump area clean and ready for the next RVer. Try to keep these four items together in one, easy-to-access place so you can avoid spending time digging around trying to find them.

  2. Add a Water Pressure Regulator and Hose Connectors

    Some RVs come equipped with a water pressure regulator but it doesn’t hurt to add one to your black tank water hose. You never want to have too much water pressure entering your RV, as this can burst the pipes and damage the tanks. We also added a clear connector to our black tank valve so we can see the waste flow more easily and spot any potential leaks or blockages. The last connector we purchased was a twist-on connector for the sewage hose. This connector goes on the end that dumps directly into the drain and makes the draining process much easier and cleaner.

  3. Know The Difference Between Black and Gray Levers

    When all of your hoses are connected, you’ll want to know which tank to dump first. On our Class B camper van, there are two levers to indicate which tank we want drained: one lever for the black tank and one lever for the gray tank. Make sure you know which lever corresponds with which tank, as you always want to dump your black tank first. This gets all of the solid waste out first before you dump your gray water. Make sure you close your black tank lever before you open your gray tank lever to avoid any contamination. Emptying your gray tank second will help that “less dirty” water flow through the pipes and clean any residue that may have been left behind from your black tank. 

  4. Wait Until Your Tank Is Fully Empty Before Removing the Hose

    Once you’ve flushed water through your black tank, wait a few minutes for all of that excess water to drain out of the sewage hose before you remove it. There still may be some excess water and build-up near your valve, so be careful when removing the sewage hose and try to keep the hose facing up to avoid any spills. If you do have a spill, make sure you clean it up right away with some sanitizer or cleaner.

  5. Sanitize All Your Hoses and Connections

    Once your tanks are fully flushed and dumped, put on a fresh pair of gloves and use your sanitizing spray or cleaner to sanitize everything you touched during the process. This includes all of your hoses, your valves and levers, the water pump, and the drain.

Class B Camper Vans

Class B motorhomes are small, streamlined and ready to roll. Nimble and more fuel efficient than Class C motorhomes, Class B motorhomes offer living space best suited for small groups. Most Class B motorhomes do not offer slide outs yet still offer luxurious amenities like galley kitchens, beds and restrooms.

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