wonderinggypsies

Bleach In The Black Tank

63 posts in this topic

I was wondering if it is OK to use bleach in the black water to control odor.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I think I was told that the bleach would damage the gaskets in the toilet. So what is correct?

Can bleach be pour in the toilet?

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You have heard correctly -- chlorine is tough on a lot of materials.

But, let's back up a step. Nothing, I mean nothing is going to make a black tank smell "good."

Your objective is not to make it smell good, but to keep normal "bad" odors out of the RV.

If this is the issue, you need to look closely at the tank venting. Do you get odors when camping? When driving? The more details, the better we can address the issue.

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Brett, as usual is right on the money, stay away from chlorine unless you like to replace gaskets. I really like a product called Nature-Zyme. This stuff is really works really well.

The other tip I can offer is to turn the fan off while flushing. There's some interesting ventilation there.

Ward

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Not only is chlorine hard on gaskets, it counteracts the common holding tank treatments. The common holding tank chemicals use enzymes to break down waste matter and neutralize odors. Adding bleach along with enzymes kills the enzymes so you then have nothing to break down the solids and diminish odors.

We tried adding bleach to the black tanks on our houseboat many years ago, and it was a disaster. Double dose with a reputable tank product if needed, but I'd recommend against bleach.

Good luck,

Tim

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HI

Glad I read this, for some reason lately I have been noticing a off smell in our Discovery. Any thoughts on what we can do?

I do the chemicals as soon as we flush the tanks, I also tried ice cubes with detergent ( heard this helps when you are moving)

Sharon

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What about putting a smidgen of bleach in the grey water tank, then flush it out good. Would that cause any problems?

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Bleach bad.....UM Kay?

Want to put something in your tank? Try Happy Camper.

Otherwise, you really never need to add anything to any tank. If you practice good filling/emptying practices your tanks will stink like H E double hockey sticks (anyone know where that comes from) but it will not smell at all inside the coach. That's what holding tanks do. This is not a sewage or septic system, it's just somewhere to hold the waste until you choose to get rid of it. Fill black and grey until near full and then empty. No matter what you believe or what you have been told, your "poop" does stink!

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Larhode,

The same advice against bleach applies to gray tanks too. You'll find several reputable tank additives for gray tanks at most RV centers. The gray tanks collect food bits and scraps from dishwashing, the dregs of milk glasses and other drinks, as well as toothpaste, hair, etc. from the bathroom sink. Once allowed to stew awhile, foul odors blossom.

We use different products for each of the tanks, although others use the same for both.

I hope this helps.

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Something that needs to be added here is the fact that many dump stations are on septic systems and bleach will adversely effect the organisms needed for these to function properly. Also some RV "tank" products contain formaldehyde which will shut down a septic system. This is the reason many state rest areas have closed dump stations.

Ward

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Let me approach this from another perspective.

It is NOT possible to make the gray or black tank smell good. That is just an unrealistic goal.

The proper goal is to isolate the tank ventilation from the interior of the coach.

Start by trying to identify where and when you get the smell.

The where would include sinks, shower drain, wash machine drain, under sink check/vacuum breaks, etc.

The when would include when parked, when moving, when vent fan is on, etc.

The more details you give us on the where and when the better we can address your issue.

Brett

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We had awful smell inside .

First, I installed one of those "shark fins" in roof vent, it helped but still too much smell.

Last winter valve froze and broke on commode and installed a new one which required removing commode. There was no wax ring, only a rubber gasket, thinking that odd but reinstalled it as found.

While traveling this summer I decided to install wax ring any way, pretty well took care of everything. It did not fit but the wax is easy to mold, just no fun.

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We had awful smell inside .

First, I installed one of those "shark fins" in roof vent, it helped but still too much smell.

Last winter valve froze and broke on commode and installed a new one which required removing commode. There was no wax ring, only a rubber gasket, thinking that odd but reinstalled it as found.

While traveling this summer I decided to install wax ring any way, pretty well took care of everything. It did not fit but the wax is easy to mold, just no fun.

We put 10# of ice cubes and about 5 gal of water in a 52 gal tank and drove down the highway for several hours....BINGO...the odor is now very manageable. When I dump the next morning, to check what might be coming thru the view tube, I was AMAZED at what the ice cubes broke lose!

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On my coach the vent is quite close to the "fantastic" fan over the head, and to the regular fan in the corridor. When the "FF" is running, if the corridor hatch is up, the odor from the tanks is drawn down into the living space. Has anyone tried piping the vent toward the rear of the coach? If so, did it make any difference?

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Hey Bill....the first time I heard H E double hockey sticks was when radar said it on MASH

Might have to try the ice cube trick

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Where does the smell come from if the coach is sitting still in the drive way after winterizing? I can't find a vent anywhere.

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Brett, When driving, I can get rid of the smell by turning on the bathroom fan. When parked, I have to open the door and windows but only if the coach is not been lived in for awhile. The sewage smell is not present while sitting in a campground.

howiesfmca

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I am surprised that turning on the bathroom vent fan helps. That would create a vacuum in there in if there is any leak between black or gray tanks and toilet, sink, shower, etc it would suck air from the tank.

Again, you need to trace the source of the odor and cure that.

Brett

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Do you have a washing machine? If so and it has not been used the trap in that drain dries out and you get the smell from the gray tank.

My Pace Arrow had that and it stunk and drove me crazy finding it.

The fix is run washer through a cycle.

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Make sure the P-traps in the sinks and showers are full of water. After sitting for some time mine have gone dry and caused odors in the MH.

I use Happy Camper in both gray and black tanks along with plenty of water. Works for me. One other thing, using the exhaust fan in the bathroom when flushing is a no no.

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Our solution is to drop 4 - 5 dishwasher tablets into the tanks in the morning. As advertised, this stuff removes day old dried on food, so it does a great job on the tanks. Drain the tanks and flush after a days driving and the oders are greatly reduced. Doesn't seem to hurt the seals either...

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If the tank is properly vented, there is no odor in the coach.

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Had a problem smell while driving in a previous MH that was worse if you had the drivers window down and better if you ran the bath vent. Finally discovered a bad gasket on the bath vent dome which apparently allowed tank odor to be pulled into the coach from a roof vent that was next to the bath vent dome. New gasket = odor gone. In 2 other instances (1 TT, 1 MH) have had mechanical plumbing vents go bad which allows gray tank odor into the kitchen area. You would be surprised (or maybe not) how bad the gray tank can smell. The mechanical vent allows the kitchen sink to drain without having a vent pipe ran to the roof and in my cases were visible behind/under/near kitchen sink. If the smell seems worse in this area, find the mechanical vent and temporarily seal the external holes. Air out the "house" and if smell stays gone, replace the vent. Do not leave a bad vent taped or otherwise sealed. Wholeheartedly agree with the "no bleach posts" as it wipes out the friendly waste digesting organisims that naturally occur in, well nature.

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I just read an article in the FMCA Magazine where they recommend using bleach to sanitize the fresh water system. Is the half cup or so going to cause gasket problems as well as problems with the hydra-hot system?

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I just read an article in the FMCA Magazine where they recommend using bleach to sanitize the fresh water system. Is the half cup or so going to cause gasket problems as well as problems with the hydra-hot system?

Yes, bleach is properly used to sanitize your potable water tank and system.

What I do to dispose of the chlorinated water (a couple of times the concentration of chlorinated swimming pool water) is to stick my kitchen sink faucet (pull out kind) out the window and pump it onto the pavement where the chlorine evaporates very quickly. Yes, a little from that in the lines/other faucets will get in the tanks, but in small quantities.

If you can't pump the heavily chlorinated water overboard, do it with the gray water valve open so it just runs through and into the sewer (same as you do with chlorinated water in the wash machine).

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Like Larmans asked, I'm a bit confused.

1. The bleach used to sanitize the potable water system will not hurt it's seals & gaskets?

2. If you are unable to pump the water through the system and directly overboard, (like with your kitchen sink), wouldn't that water possibly hurt the seals & gaskets for the gray water system?

3. I am thinking of using the Sodium DiChlor system to sanitize vs. household bleach, (this comes up on web searches for sanitizing). If I do, would I have less/more/same worry about seals/gaskets?

Thanks, sorry to be such a newbie. I plan to sanitize Thurs night into Friday for our first weekend excursion to Koreshan State Park.

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