How Do RV Toilets Work?

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Last Updated on October 20, 2022 by acechapman

A working bathroom has been an integral part of RVs since then. However, few people are familiar with how RV toilets work.

The basic principle behind RV toilets is that they rely on gravity to transport toilet waste to the black tank and into an underground sewer system via a sewer hose. Learn more about RV toilets and the parts that make them work.

How Does An RV Toilet work?

Water pressure systems are what make your toilet system work in your house. Water pressure pushes water through pipes to force the waste and water out of the toilet. These pipes are usually connected to other sewer pipes in a city or county treatment facility or into a tank.

However, RV toilets work in a different way. RV toilets do not rely on water pressure to eliminate waste. Instead, they rely on gravity. While some RVs have systems that flush the bowl and fill the tank from the bottom, this is not always a good idea. This forces RV toilets to still rely heavily on gravity.

The RV toilets use gravity to move the waste from the toilet to its black water tank. The black water tank holds the waste until it is removed through a sewer line to a proper dump station container. Older RVs may allow the waste to drain directly into the tank below the toilet. This is similar to a porta-potty.

how do rv toilets work

RV Toilet Mechanism

Here’s an easy explanation of how RV toilets work.

  • The toilet bowl is where the waste goes.
  • Gravity alone, gravity combined with water pressure takes the waste from the bowl to the blackwater tank.
  • The black water tank holds the waste until it is empty.
  • A sewer hose is used to empty the black water tank into the appropriate underground sewer system.

Parts Of RV Toilets

There are many parts that go into an RV toilet. They often have bathrooms and sinks. The water tanks and the sewer hose are the most critical parts of an RV toilet.

Water tanks

Water tanks are essential for RV toilets. Three water storage tanks will likely be below your RV’s sink or bathroom. These are the possible tanks that your RV might have:

Freshwater Tank

Freshwater tanks can hold and transport water. You can use this water to flush your toilet bowl, rinse your hair, or provide water for any other device. A freshwater tank can hold 60 gallons or more.

Gray Water Tank

The gray water tank holds dirty water from showers and sinks. This tank can only hold liquid, so don’t let any non-liquid enter. The tank will clog if it is more than 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Gray tanks usually hold between 30 and 40 gallons.

Black Water Tank

The black water tank is used to store waste and toilet paper. The black water tank’s draining pipes are usually two times thicker than a gray water tank. This allows waste and toilet paper not to clog the tank. Black water tanks typically can hold between 30 and 40 gallons.

Sewer Hose

Another important part of an RV toilet is the sewer hose. The sewer hose’s purpose is to safely and cleanly transport waste from gray and black water tanks into an underground sewer system.

RV sewer hoses, unlike most movies, are usually sanitary. A sewer hose is usually made of a flexible plastic tube measuring 3 to 4 inches in width and 10 to 20 feet in length. One hose is sufficient for most RV uses. An extension might be necessary, and adapters are needed to seal the gap between the two hoses.

How to Use a Sewer Hose

Sewer hoses are safe and clean for the transport of waste. They connect one end to the water tank, and the other to a ground sewer.

The RVs are equipped with a black PVC under-camper installation to connect the hose. The RV will have two valves to open and close the gray-colored and black water tanks. The RV should clearly label both tanks.

The black PVC should have tabs sticking out from the end. This is the location where the sewer line attaches. These tabs can be attached to one end of your sewer hose. A dump station that is fully developed should have a hole in it. The other end of your sewer hose should be buried in the hole.

Sewer Hose Tips

Dump your waste first. Next, empty the gray water tank. You should first empty the black water tank. The gray water will flush the sewer hose, and remove any waste from the black tank.

You can buy special pumps if the sewer hose is not able to completely flush out your tank.

how do rv toilets work

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do to prevent the smell from leaving my RV toilet?

You can use chemical treatments to deodorize your RV toilet and sewer system. This is the best way to stop odors from getting out of your RV toilet. These chemicals can also break down solids and toilet paper, which will prevent any buildup. These are some of the most popular solutions for toilet odors:

Blue Chemical Treatment: Blue chemicals are strong breakdown agents. So, do not use blue chemical treatments if you’re dumping your toilet in your home‘s septic system. It can cause damage to pipes and kill good bacteria.

Biological Treatment: These treatments involve the use of bacteria and other enzymes to break down materials in the black tank. This treatment is more eco-friendly and won’t harm the septic tank.

How can I keep my RV toilet clean?

These are the areas you should pay attention to in order to maintain your toilet.

Toilet seals

Rubber seals for toilets prevent water seepage from your bathroom floor to the toilet. Toilet seals can become too rigid or dry out, rendering them useless. You can prevent the seals from drying by taking the toilet apart and spraying the rubber conditioner on the seals. You won’t need to replace the seals completely.

Pipe connections

Pipe connections are essential for ensuring water stays within the pipe without leaking. It is important to inspect your pipe connections at least once per year as adhesives can become brittle within one year. If necessary, seal the connections with silicone caulk.

Black Tank Flushing System

The best way to maintain your sewer system is with a black tank flushing system. This system can remove any buildup inside the tank as well as clean out any sensors. You can install a black tank flushing device on your RV if it does not have one.

Wrapping up

The best RV toilets are of the highest quality because humans require a clean and healthy environment. We have discussed the functionality of the toilet system in great detail.

You now have a clear idea of the type of RV toilet that you need. You also know how to maintain your RV toilet. Choose your preferred type of toilet.

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