Getting your RV’s waste system ready for the RV season

The snow is melting. It’s rainy more often. And temperatures are on the rise. Yes, RVing season is just around the corner for those of us who aren’t full-timers. What do you need to do to get your RV ready for new travels? Read on.

If you’re like us, you’ve got cabin fever in a big way. We want to get out, into the outdoors. Sit around a campfire on a chilly evening and tell stories. Break out the chili and flannel shirts. Go for walks through the woods. And start planning our weekends away.

But before we do all that, there’s a bit of de-winterizing and preparation your RV’s waste system needs to get it back in top-operating condition and to reduce problems the rest of the year.

Dewinterize your fresh water system.

This one is probably pretty obvious. If you live in a cold winter weather area, you did all you needed to last fall to get your RV’s fresh water system winterized. You drained the tanks and lines of water. You may have blown out the system with compressed air. Or used RV antifreeze to protect against freezing temperatures.

If you used RV anti-freeze, start by connecting your house or city water to your RV and flush out as much of that pink stuff as you can from pipes, drains, holding tanks, etc. After that’s done, fill your RV’s fresh water tank and flush that through the system. You may need to do this a couple times. FYI, this is also a great time to sanitize your fresh water system — and it will rinse away that RV antifreeze at the same time!

Flushing out the holding tanks.

Valterra Flush King Back Flush ValveEven though you’re running fresh water through your holding tanks as you dewinterize your fresh water system, a smart strategy to clean out your holding tanks is to do a few back flush rinses once you’ve dewinterized. How do you do that?

Easy! Using the Valterra Flush King Back Flush Valve, rinse out your black tank two to three times (until the water coming back out runs pretty clear). You may only need to do this once or twice on your gray tank(s).

Getting everything lubed up.

Camco drain valve lubeNext, lubricate the pulls and valves in your RV’s waste system. We recommend 3-in-1 Silicone Lubricant. Drip a few drops on your holding tank’s pulls, working them back and forth until they move easier.

You may also want to dump a cup of Camco Drain Valve Lube down your toilet and shower drain to lubricate the gate valves in each your holding tanks. This lubricant contains coconut oil and is safe for your tanks and the soft rubber and plastic parts inside the waste system.

Don’t forget the hot water tank.

You drained your RV’s hot water tank (if it has one) when you went through the winterizing process last fall. Now is a great time to give the tank a cleaning and inspect and replace the anode rod, if there is one.

Camco water heater flush wandUse a tool like the Camco RV Water Heater Flush Wand, to clean out the hot water tank. Connect the wand to a water supply hose (never a garden hose), turn on the water, and move it back and forth and around inside the tank. It will do a good job of flushing out sediment.

RV water heater anode rodInspect the anode rod, if your hot water tank has one. If you see the bare wire (like a coat hanger) near the threads or a lot of pitting in the anode, it’s a good idea to replace it. There are 9.5′ anodes for Suburban-brand water heaters and 4.5” anodes for Atwood water heaters (make sure your RV is at least two years old — installing an anode rod in an Atwood water heater will void its warranty).

The annual, professional cleaning.

Finally, if you’re in our service area of coming to one of the rallies we’ll be attending this spring or summer, be sure to sign up for service to get your holding tanks cleaned. It’s fast, economical, and the best way to get your holding tanks “factory clean.”

Jim Tome, Owner

Jim Tome, Owner

Hi, I'm Jim Tome and, along with my wife, Debbie, the owners of Kleen Tank LLC, the national leader in RV holding tank cleaning service. We've been RVers like you since 2004 and have traveled all over the U.S. in our Airstream travel trailer. We started the business about twelve years ago and have cleaned tens of thousands holding tanks in thousands of RVs. From tiny weekend travel trailers to monstrous fifth wheels to luxurious motorhomes, I've seen just about every situation there is with RV holding tanks and waste systems. I hope you enjoy our articles; I try to post at least one per week and we've got a great library of them to cover just about every problem. Enjoy!


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