Is an RV Macerating Toilet a Good Decision?

One RVer asked for our opinion of macerating toilets and whether he should replace his standard RV toilet with one. While there are obvious advantages to macerating toilets, there’s one big concern to consider.

Every now and then, we get a great question emailed to us, asked at a rally seminar, or from someone who’s tank we are cleaning. This one came via email today from Gerry M. in British Columbia, Canada.

Macerating toilets: Good or bad?

Gerry M. asks: “We purchased a 2018 Coachman Pursuit 29SS about a month ago and are now on our second road trip with this motorhome. During our first trip we discovered that we had to use a plunger to unplug the toilet on a number of times. We took it back to the dealership after our first trip and supposedly, the dealer said that they had “cleaned out” what was causing the blockage.”

“Sadly, we are experiencing the same problem on our second trip.”

“We have reached out to a few other “Coachman” dealers and were told that the Coachman Pursuit 29SS has a design flaw that is causing the blockage to the black tank. This dealer stated Coachman acknowledged this design flaw and recommended that a new macerating toilet be installed to replace the existing one that came with the unit. The dealer also stated that Coachman provided the macerating toilet at no cost.”

“In your opinion, what are the disadvantages and advantages (other than hopefully solving the flushing problem) of a macerating toilet?”

Our thoughts

Yes, we have noticed some RVs (though not especially Coachmens) having a propensity to clog up frequently. This almost always is the case when there is a “bend” in the pipe from the toilet to the holding tank and/or that pipe “travels” sideways (or slightly at an angle) to the tank. TP buildup is almost always the issue, but there tends to be a fair amount of waste adding to the problem as well (sorry for being so graphic).

When we encounter these issues and clear them, we usually have a discussion with the customer about using more water in their toilet. This almost always resolves any ongoing issues once the clog has been cleared.

As for the macerating toilet, it will effectively “grind out” (usually using a water jet) any waste or TP, making the contents going down the pipe much more liquid in content. There are benefits (things move along more quickly) and disadvantages to this (see below).

The main disadvantage involves whether you are using a dissolving or digesting tank additive. We are never in favor of these type of tank additives as they convert the holding tank’s contents into a thick, sticky slurry. Having an already dissolved mixture in the tank and then adding the dissolving/digesting additive turns the slurry into a thicker pancake batter-like solution. This is what commonly coats tank and pipe surfaces, makes sensors stop working and can quickly contribute to build up and clogs in the tank.

Should you get the macerating toilet? It’s up to you. We would first recommend that you get the tank professionally cleaned, listen to what that professional says about water usage, and see how that works for a while. If you still have problems after getting your tanks cleaned and using more water, the macerator may be a good solution, though realize that it can come with drawbacks.

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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