RV Black Tank Recommendation From The “RV Proctologist”

Probably the most frequent questions we get offers with the RV black tank and tips on how to maintain it clear and odor free. This week in Episode 406 of the RV Podcast, we interview a real knowledgeable – Steve Korsvall, aka “the RV Proctologist.”

For the previous 15 years Steve has run his RV Proctologist enterprise in Quartzsite, AZ, serving to RVers with their black and gray tanks. 

Quartzsite is well-known in RV circles. With an annual inhabitants of three,700, Quartzsite grows in the course of the winter months to a inhabitants of tons of of thousand – with a lot of the new arrivals being RVers.

And when these visiting RVers expertise issues with their black or gray tanks, Steve is there to assist. He helps these within the RV parks and helps these boondocking within the BLM desert.

And boy, has he seen all of it.

You may watch the total and unedited interview with Steve on our RV Way of life YouTube channel by clicking under:

In the event you’d like to simply hearken to the audio model of the RV Podcast, it’s obtainable on all of your favourite podcast apps or by clicking the participant under.

For individuals who favor studying, right here’s an edited transcript of our interview with Steve Korsvall, “the RV Proctologist”:

The Most Frequent RV black tank drawback – Not sufficient water

rv black tank
The black water tank is instantly under the toilet (gravity is your good friend) behind the facility step on the passenger aspect. The sheet metallic field protects the macerator from highway particles. The emergency dump port is the massive plug on the middle.

Mike Wendland:

Nicely, if anyone has seen their share of RV black tank points, it’s the RV proctologist, and since so many RV-ers spend a lot time in Quartzsite, that’s in all probability floor zero for black and grey tank issues. What’s the commonest drawback that folks have after they’re attempting to handle RV grey and black tanks?


RV Black Tank Advice from the "RV Proctologist" 1
Steve Korsvall, “the RV Protologist”

More often than not… I’m going to inform you a fast little story proper off the bat. It was a shopper that known as us out of Salome out right here. He had a model new fifth wheel. He had lower than a month, and I get on the market and we begin hydro jetting the RV black tank. So what occurs is, we’re on the market, and swiftly, as we’re hydro jetting, an entire container of chemical substances comes out of the shoot, and we stopped it earlier than it went into the system.

So we talked to the proprietor and mentioned, “What within the heck is that this chemical bottle doing in your RV black tank?” He says, “Nicely, once I purchased this, the salesperson by no means advised me tips on how to use the tank. So he advised me, ‘Simply throw the entire bottle into the tank.’” And so I mentioned, “You bought to be kidding me.” I mentioned, “All proper, let me ask what you probably did. Did you place any water within the tank?” “No. No one advised me to place water within the tank.

So when you’ve gotten a 40 gallon tank and it’s a fifth wheel, you all the time have to begin off with a minimal of 5 gallons of water in that tank. And what we advocate throw a cup of Daybreak Dishwasher Cleaning soap down there. It’s slippery. It makes the tank slippery.

However we took that out, and positive sufficient, the bottle had the lid on it and the whole lot. And I’m going, “Wow, the rookies we’ve on the market, they must be taught tips on how to use chemical substances correctly.” And that was simply one in all many over 15 years. It’s occurred not less than 3 times to me, this example.

Mike Wendland:

So I’d suppose then that water within the RV black tank is a very powerful factor?


Precisely, precisely. And toy haulers go as much as tanks like 75 gallons. Huge tanks. So each time you go to a bigger tank, it’s important to put extra water within the tank, and that’s what individuals overlook to do.

Once they pull as much as a campsite, they plug the whole lot in they usually get all enthusiastic about life and tenting, however they overlook what to do beneath.

And positive sufficient, down the highway over per week or two in tenting, you don’t have sufficient water in that RV black tank to interrupt the whole lot down. That’s the largest drawback with it. Folks aren’t utilizing sufficient water after they’re going quantity two, and particularly on fifth wheels, beneath the fifth wheel, you drop down a couple of foot, then you definitely go off at a 45-degree angle, after which it drops right into a tank.

In order that water’s actually obtained to push a great distance generally in a fifth wheel.

What sort of bathroom paper needs to be utilized in an RV?

toilet paper for rv black tank

Mike Wendland:

So right here’s one other query that we get on a regular basis from individuals: Do I’ve to make use of RV or Marine grade bathroom paper or can I exploit common bathroom paper?


In our 40-foot RV, we occur to make use of Angel Delicate. Angel Delicate breaks down very simply.

Now, how one can check a bathroom paper, take a leaf, take a Mason jar and throw it in a Mason jar for twenty-four hours, after which see if it breaks down. However in my 15 years of full-time RV-ing, we’ve by no means had an issue with Angel Delicate. There are different manufacturers on the market with the lighter, however I like to recommend for those who don’t know what you’re doing, use single ply for some time.

By no means use moist wipes in a black tank. By no means. As a result of they simply wad up.

I had a bit grandma with a giant, stunning quarter million greenback Class A. All she makes use of is moist wipes. The issue was, the entire tank clogged up and we actually needed to take the plumbing aside. And I do know our enterprise will get gross on occasion, however you guys need to have a visible of this as a result of we needed to make a hook, like a giant fishing hook, and attain in and simply pull over two hours of moist wipes right into a bucket after which re-plumb it.

In the event you’re going to make use of moist wipes, put them in a trash can. That’s simply frequent sense.

Dealing with odor management in an RV black tank

Mike Wendland:

What do you do then for odor management and chemical substances? There are such a lot of totally different chemical substances in the marketplace that folks discuss. What’s your suggestion?


Within the Quartzsite space, when it will get actually scorching, issues begin to cook dinner in RVs. Persons are out right here nonetheless over the summer season and we get between 110 to perhaps 126 levels. So beneath the carriages, the RV black tank will get scorching. We inform individuals to place extra water in it.

In the event you maintain dumping chemical substances in there, it causes extra of a stink.

So that you need to put like 5 gallons in a 40 gallon tank. You have to put 5 to 10, 5 to 10 and even 15 gallons in that tank to begin, as a result of human waste doesn’t refill the tank an excessive amount of.

Why correct venting is essential for RV black tank issues


The very best factor is water to maintain odors down within the RV black tank. And ensure your vents are open, which might be clear.

Mike Wendland:

Now whenever you say vents open, you imply on the roof? Up on the roof?


Sure. Yeah. Be sure these aren’t coated up.

Now, once we pulled out some tanks, when individuals have their tanks fall out of their rigs, we’ve that. Folks drive down the highway and their tanks fall out of the rigs. And so they drag it beneath on the freeway after which they arrive to us. Now we’ve seen numerous the newer rigs.

They name it moist venting. There’s just one vent for the entire tank. Now that’s type of dishonest, and producers ought to know this, to not put one vent in a 40 to 60 gallon tank.

I’ve obtained numerous proof on this, producers placing just one vent, and that’s known as moist venting.

So you’ve gotten solids coming down, however you even have waste going up the venting, by way of the highest of the RV by way of the identical vent. So the vent on a tank needs to be separate than the waste coming down from the RV.

Mike Wendland:

So how does an RV proprietor know whether or not they have that drawback?


Yeah. They actually don’t till they’ve service executed on an issue scenario.

Those that we’re taking a look at, between 35 and $60,000 RVs are moist venting, are these fifth wheels.

Mike Wendland:

And there’s no technique to know this?

Empty the RV black tank earlier than you journey

empty rv black tank


No technique to understand it till both we’ve to tug the tank down to repair a crack or repair one thing. We’ve executed numerous RVs that the tanks are a bit bit narrower and the rails are just a bit too extensive. In order that’s whenever you get the vibration down the highway. Lots of people make the error by leaving the merchandise or the quantity two within the tank as they journey down the highway.

They actually need to scrub their RV black tank out earlier than they journey. Now put one or two gallons in your tank as you journey on the most.

We’ve had actually a number of RVs that they load up their tanks a lot they drop proper out of the underside of the RV.

BONUS: Tips on how to Simply Discover RV Dump Stations

Extra about RV black tank chemical substances  – Don’t use pouches

Mike Wendland:

That brings up a pair extra issues in regards to the chemical substances, as a result of the massive grievance all people has is odor after some time. Do the chemical substances assist with that? You talked about placing numerous water in, that’s one of the best factor to do first. However what about chemical substances?


Nicely, what we’ve seen over 15 years of cleansing out tanks, you employ liquid or powder solely. I hate to say this, don’t be utilizing pouches. Lots of people, what they’ll do is that they’ll lower the pouches and dump it in into the tanks. That’s nice. In the event you obtained pouches, don’t simply throw it in and flush it down the bathroom. You bought to understand it’s breaking down.

We cleaned out numerous tanks that they wad up like softballs within the backside of the tanks, after which they clog up the shoot going out.

Mike Wendland:

I’m going to ask you a couple of model identify, it’s the one I occur to make use of, in order that’s it. I’ve no reference to them, however I’ve used it over our 10 years, Blissful Camper?


Blissful Camper’s nice.

Mike Wendland:

I’ll stick with that. However you do advocate some chemical substances to assist with that odor or not?


Don’t overdo it on the chemical substances, and positively don’t combine totally different chemical substances. Once you get annoyed that you just obtained a clog, don’t go all the way down to the shop and spend 40-50 {dollars} on chemical substances. That’s not going to be breaking down all of the paper that’s packed in there.

Tips on how to unclog an RV black tank

RV Black Tank Advice from the "RV Proctologist" 2


What it’s worthwhile to do is ensure you have extra water in there. Now, let me advocate on the market, if the proctologist isn’t round and also you need assistance, particularly in case you have a fifth wheel and it’s clogged down on that 45 diploma angle, go all the way down to the ironmongery store. That is low cost.

Go all the way down to the ironmongery store and get a kind of thick core three quarter inch hoses, lower the brass piece off, hook it as much as your faucet. And you bought to get your gloves on, get some towels, put it round your bathroom and get aggressive. And also you simply jam that dampen that shoot underneath your bathroom and push it arduous.

Mike Wendland:

And push it by way of.


Work it arduous. Yeah. And push that paper down into the RV black tank.

So on chemical substances, lots of people don’t use chemical substances in any respect, they simply use water, they usually’re very comfortable. And utilizing the Daybreak Dishwasher Cleaning soap.

I do know numerous RV elements shops don’t like me saying that as a result of they need the cash and use the chemical factor. Most individuals who camp on a regular basis, they obtained to empty their tanks about each 10 days. Seven to 10 days, individuals need to dump. In order that liquid, which is like six to eight ounces in a 40 gallon tank, does solely a lot.

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RV Black Tank Advice from the "RV Proctologist" 3
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Cleansing the RV black tank

Mike Wendland:

So there’s numerous issues I’ve seen on newer RVs with this little connector the place you may hook up a hose and it sprays out your black tank. Is {that a} good factor to get, Sani Flush I believe they name it?


Completely. Yeah, that’s a extremely good factor if you understand how to make use of it.

You bought to make it possible for gate valve is open.

You might have three several types of valves, perhaps 4, however largely they’re a normal gate valve, three inch black gate valve. You might have your rod gate valve. That’s normally, whenever you purchase a brand new one, that’s an aluminum rod that slides in there. It goes throughout beneath the stomach. However over time it will get tender and bends and then you definitely obtained issues. So that you all the time obtained to make it possible for’s stout. After which you’ve gotten cable valves and you’ve got electrical valves.

So it’s essential to maintain them open. Hold your gate valve open when your flusher is on. Now, most tanks, individuals don’t know what a flusher appears like. They suppose there’s a giant sprinkler system in there. What it’s, it’s simply as brief like a two inch PVC pipe with a cap on it, with holes drilled in it. We’ve lower tanks open and that’s what we see in there, till you get to the dearer charges.

Mike Wendland:

And also you name it a flusher, but it surely sprays the within of the RV black tank, and supposedly loosens deposits and stuff?


It helps within the space that breaks up the stuff on the backside of the tank. I’d advocate if individuals would do that, for those who’re actually involved about your rig, at first that is what I believe it is best to do, and I do know the RV elements shops don’t advocate it. Nearly a minute or two, simply go away it closed and run your flusher a bit bit so it begins breaking apart the stuff earlier than it runs out. Run a bit water in there first, after which type of time it, a minute, a minute and a half, then open up your gate.

It can begin to come out lots higher, lots sooner. You have to get the stuff out as quickly as attainable.

Listen when cleansing the black tank!


Let me inform you a bit story what occurred to a man that I heard about? He was consuming a couple of beers, and what occurred? Nicely, he went over to the opposite aspect, beginning on this entire deal, he’s consuming a couple of extra ready for issues to occur. Nicely, his good friend came visiting and he had simply shut the black tank, however he forgot the flusher was on.

Nicely, his good friend mentioned, “Hey, let’s go to the ironmongery store? I need to get this software that I find out about.” Nicely, he went to the ironmongery store. The issue is when his spouse got here residence, about half an hour later, went to open the entrance door, there was a waterfall popping out the entrance door as a result of he had shut the black tank and all of it crammed up the black tank, went out the highest of the bathroom onto the toilet ground and out into the kitchen and downstairs.

So essential, whenever you’re utilizing a flusher, by no means stroll away from that.

The issue with RV black tank sensors

Mike Wendland:

One of many largest complaints each RVer has is that the gauge that reveals how crammed their RV black tank is, stops working. What can we do about that? And beside use extra water. However it in all probability all goes again to that, I’m positive. However as I perceive it, stuff sticks to these black tank sensors, and that’s what causes that. Is there a repair for that, a simple repair that we will do?


There’s totally different situations on that. Folks suppose they may use chemical substances. I believe what it’s worthwhile to do is, like I mentioned, use the massive rubber hose and wash that factor, run a water dampen there and flush it as a lot as attainable. Folks say they may use chemical substances. Actually? I name them fool lights.

As you get to know your rig, simply open up the bathroom flapper and look proper down into the tank and see what’s down there. A whole lot of occasions you may’t, however you might time it. Let’s say, you’re beginning tenting on a Saturday, it’s important to simply time it, seven to 10 days each time.

And you bought to have type of a bit little bit of a calendar to notice. The sensors get gummed up, and once we do go in there, we jet them off so that they’re clear. We go together with a excessive strain jet and we jet these sensors off over time.

RV Contemporary Water Tank recommendation

Mike Wendland:

Now I need to ask in regards to the recent water tank that folks have. To begin with, how lengthy can they go away water within the recent water tank? Say they’ve gone on a tenting journey, they arrive again residence, they put it in storage for per week or two. How usually do it’s worthwhile to drain that recent water tank whenever you’re not utilizing it?


East coast is totally different than west coast. You guys within the east coast need to determine about freezing and stuff like that. Now you’re speaking about fundamental summertime. You’re high-quality with leaving it in for 2 weeks.

Mike Wendland:

Actually? It doesn’t get skunky in there in that tank?


I don’t suppose so. You may put a bit little bit of white vinegar in there, that gained’t damage anyone, and that’ll assist clear something in there too. I may inform you one other story about that for those who’d like to listen to it?

Mike Wendland:

Sure. I really like the tales.


Okay. So we’re out in Manteca, California.

This woman calls me and says, “You must come out right here and clear out our recent water tank.” And I mentioned, “Nicely, what’s fallacious with it?” She wouldn’t inform me. She was virtually crying on the cellphone. So we get on the market and the story is that they had been able to go tenting on a Friday, that they had simply purchased this Class A, 30 foot Class A. Nicely, the husband needed to go to work so the husband says, “Go all the way down to the fuel station and fill this up.”

It was a diesel unit. So he by no means advised her the place to place the water. Lengthy story brief, she simply noticed a spout there, she opened it up and caught the diesel pump into the recent water tank and didn’t know. She really didn’t know and he didn’t inform her. So it’s essential for individuals to be on the identical line. So she had pumped diesel into the recent water tank.

I can’t keep in mind what number of gallons of diesel into the recent water tank, they usually wished us to go over there and clear all of the diesel out of the recent water tank.

And I mentioned, “I’m sorry. I imply, I may jet it out as a lot as I can, however I’d not drink something out of it.”

I mentioned, “You’re going to have to switch the tank.” And so, that’s that story. We’ve been to numerous unusual ones.

Mike Wendland:

How a lot recent water ought to they’ve within the RV as they’re driving?


All of it depends upon the run they’re doing. In the event that they’re going 300 miles, put three to 5 gallons in there. Don’t fill all of it the best way as much as the highest as a result of wherever you’re going, you may fill it up extra.

Managing the RV gray tank

Mike Wendland:

What do we have to find out about managing the RV gray tank?


Now that’s a difficult scenario as a result of a lot of the traces going right into a grey tank are solely an inch and half. You bought to have traces coming in from the sink, your vainness. I’d advocate on all of your sinks, get these stainless-steel strainers.

The common producer offers you the common strainer, get those which might be very small for issues to empty by way of in your kitchen sinks.

Hold your greens and all that stuff from taking place the drain into the tank. In our space, as a result of the water is so arduous, what we advocate on this space whenever you’re right here, go away your grey tanks open on a regular basis so you will get that stuff out of there. You bought to maintain it operating, maintain it flushing.

After which I do know on the east coast there are lots of people, what they do, they shut it off after which fill it up so all of it runs up.

However due to our arduous water, the calcium in our water won’t solely lock itself into the underside of the tank, but additionally greens and stuff will rot by sitting up in opposition to them. So it’s essential for those who’re at a full hook up, open your grey tank. However be sure whenever you’re prepared to scrub your black tank, shut your grey tank after which open your black tank.

That’s a giant drawback as a result of numerous plumbing on RVs, they’ve a mixture pipe system beneath there. So for those who go away your grey tank open and also you open your black tank, the black stuff will run proper into the grey tank, and then you definitely obtained issues.

You need to shut that grey tank earlier than you open that black tank.

Mike Wendland:

I’d all the time heard that we must always all the time refill the grey tank after which whenever you empty the RV black tank, then empty the grey so the grey will assist wash out a few of the residue. And also you’re saying, go away it open whenever you’re in a full hook up, however earlier than you dump, shut it, get some water within the grey to nonetheless try this?


You may use Blissful Camper in your grey tank too.

In the event you’re going to shut your grey tank, run some scorching water in there, and throw some Blissful Camper down there.

Identical factor with the opposite liquids or powders. You may try this in your grey tank, however then go forward and open up that grey and get it flushed out.

RV gray tank “breathers” and gradual flowing water


Yet another factor about your grey tank.

Underneath your sink, underneath double sinks within the kitchen, they name them a bit breather underneath there.

There’s a bit cap underneath sinks on each the vainness and the kitchen. It lets air into the pipe so issues drain out simpler. It has to have air. Identical to a home, most pipes which might be beneath the ground have a vent that goes to the roof that provides air to the pipes so issues are capable of stream. So what occurs on an RV, like on a double sink, there’s two P traps that go up, after which there’s… It’s known as a grimy arm. A grimy arm goes over and comes up and it goes to a cap that’s proper on the flood degree of the sink.

It unscrews by hand. If it’s tight, you stick a screwdriver by way of there and break it free.

Anyone can do it. Simply look underneath your sink. In the event you’ve had a rig for a number of years, take it, unscrew that, run it underneath scorching and soapy water and wash it off, after which screw it again on. You don’t need to wrench it on arduous, simply hand tight.

So if persons are having issues with gradual flowing water out of their sinks, more often than not, it’s that breather not getting sufficient air to these pipes.

Hold the RV black tank valve closed on the campsite till it’s time to empty

Mike Wendland:

Final query for you. So many occasions I’m going to an RV park and I see individuals who have their smelly slinky from the RV black tank within the dump, they’ve it within the dump, they usually have the black tank open, they usually’re type of simply passing it proper by way of there instantly from the bathroom. A good suggestion or a nasty concept?


Unhealthy concept.

What occurs more often than not when individuals try this, it pyramids proper again up into the throat of the bathroom after which individuals surprise why they’re getting clogged up.

Mike Wendland:

So you may go away the grey one open, which is nice for those who’re taking showers, it’s going by way of, however by no means go away the RV black tank open till it’s time to dump?


Precisely. Precisely.

Mike Wendland:

We’re going to need to have you ever again and I do know we’re going to get a lot of feedback and many questions on this, Steve.

A Last story from the RV Proctologist

Can I inform you one different joke?

So we’re at a fuel station a number of years in the past and swiftly this woman comes out together with her digicam. As a result of we’ve RV proctologist on the aspect of our vans, after which we’ve RV colonoscopies on the very again as effectively.

I advised my son, as a result of we’re a father/son crew, and so I mentioned, “Give her a brochure.” And what occurred was, “Oh, you don’t want to offer me a brochure. Have you learnt you had been within the LA Instances newspaper final Sunday?” I mentioned, “No, we don’t find out about that.”

And she or he says, “Nicely, you had the hundred yr centennial drive by way of Arizona, and it mentioned that whenever you come by way of Parker and also you’re heading for Quartzsite, they mentioned, ‘Nicely, you’re in RV heaven whenever you see the signal for the RV proctologist.’”

I need to inform you one different story. So a nurse calls us, and mentioned, “I used to work for a proctologist within the hospital and we known as him the Rear Admiral. So, as a result of he retired, I’m going to name you the Rear Admiral.” However she mentioned that when she was driving round a nook there in Yuma, she noticed an indication for us there.

She was driving a Class A, she was consuming a cup of espresso, she had by no means seen our indicators earlier than, and he or she was coming round a nook… And she or he mentioned, “I used to be consuming the espresso. My canine was sitting up on the dashboard.” She mentioned, “Unexpectedly I began laughing as a result of I noticed your signal and I spewed throughout my canine, everywhere in the dashboard with espresso, and I virtually ran off the aspect of the highway as a result of I used to be laughing so arduous. I’ve by no means seen an indication for the RV proctologist.” In order that’s one in all many, many tales that we’ve that we run into. They’re very hilarious.

Mike Wendland:

And Steve, you’re a wealth of knowledge, and we thanks a lot for being on the podcast.


You’re so welcome. You’re so welcome.

The place are you RVing subsequent? Did you discover ways to maintain your black tank?

Tell us within the feedback. We’d love to listen to your tales too.

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RV Black Tank Advice from the "RV Proctologist" 5

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RV Black Tank Advice from the "RV Proctologist" 6

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