Managing your RV waste water tanks can be intimidating at first. New RVers are often confused as to what is needed and how often these tasks should be done. We hope to help simplify the process for you and put it into simpler terms than you may find in your owners’ manual.
Fresh Water (Potable Water) – this will always have a white hose in order to easily identify it as separate from your waste water. Only use this hose for fresh water so you reduce the risk of contaminating the hose. Your potable water hose should have a pressure regulator at the end that hooks up to the campground water system. If you begin to detect a bad smell coming from the hose be sure to disinfect your system with regular household bleach. Extreme temperatures will require extra care on your part. Protect your hose from freezing by using heat tape and from cracking in high heat by using insulation. Drain the tank completely after every trip. You don’t want to leave water in the system because it can stagnate.
Waste Water (Gray and Black Water) – It’s the gray water that gets drained from the sinks in your RV. It will be coming down the smaller of the two waste pipes. If you’re hooked up to the campground’s system you can leave the gray water valve open and allow it to drain continually during your stay. Using a filter in your sink basins will keep small food particles out of your gray water and reduce the chance of blockage and smell.
The black water comes from the toilet and cannot be drained anywhere but an approved facility. You won’t be leaving this hose open when you’re hooked up to the sewer system. Doing so can allow the water to slowly drain away and leave solids collecting in the bottom of the tank. You’ll empty this as it begins to get full. The solids have time to begin breaking down and the volume of liquid inside will assist in moving it through the hose. You be putting chemicals in your black water tank so check your owners manual for approved products. If your rig is going to be left uninhabited for a period of time make sure both tanks are empty and clean.
We hope this helps to make sense of the various water tanks and hoses you’ll need to maintain on your RV. The video below will also help to answer some of your questions.