Have a question about RV holding tanks? We’ve heard dozens and dozens over the last six years. Here are five questions we hear at almost every one of our holding tank seminars.

NOTE: Click here for Part Two and here for Part Three in our three-part series.

A large part of our business happens at RV manufacturer and owners club rallies. In fact, this past year, we attended a record-breaking 16 rallies, from Indiana to Oklahoma to Iowa and even California. We estimate we’ve traveled nearly 15,000 miles this year, attending RV rallies. And at each one, we put on at least one (sometimes two!) seminar, usually on RV holding tanks.

At our seminars, we go over the construction, purpose, and function of RV holding tanks (which ***are not*** part of a septic system), have plenty of show-and-tells, hand out a convenient and helpful study guide, and answer plenty of RV owner questions. Today, we’re publishing the first in a series of those questions — with our answers for every RVer to benefit from. Here we go!

Q. Can I use two-ply toilet paper in my RV’s toilet?
A. Well, we put this question first as it’s probably one of the most popular ones we get! The truth is, as long as you are using enough water in your toilet and holding tank, you can use whatever toilet paper you would like. One-ply, two-ply, quilted, or scented. There’s no need to use “RV toilet paper” and certainly not any that costs $8 a roll. Remember, your holding tank is not a septic system, so things don’t need to — nor should — break down. Doing so (promoted by enzymes, bacterials, and harsh chemicals) causes the tank’s contents to become a thick, sticky slurry, sticking to tank surfaces (including sensors) and generally making tanks drain very slowly and never completely.

Q. How often should I replace my sewer hose?
A. The answer really depends on how often you use it, but generally speaking, with fairly frequent use, sewer hoses last about three to five years. It’s always a good idea to keep a spare on hand — and even an extension. We like to keep the old one as our spare and replace them fairly frequently. Old sewer hose’s plastic can degrade, making them brittle and subject to cracking and splitting.

Q. Can I leave my gray tank’s release valve open all the time?
A. Ah, another frequent question. We recommend that you leave all (and, for certain, your black tank’s) tank release valves closed until you are ready to empty the tanks. Why? If you leave the valves open, water or liquid slowly trickles out, leaving behind solids. Even though these may be small (as in gray tanks), they can accumulate over time, creating mounds and piles of rotting waste. The only time we might leave open a gray tank valve would be while we’re doing laundry. However, unless you’re using more than your gray tank’s capacity, keeping the valve closed during this time is a great way to achieve 100% capacity before emptying, ensuring a nice “clean flush.”

Q. How often should I empty my tanks?
A. As often as you would like! There’s no right or wrong as to when (other than being full!) or how often you should empty your RV’s holding tanks. The only word of advice is that you empty them when they are 90%-100% full. By doing this (even, adding water to get the level up), the tank’s liquid content will create a whirlpool (tornado) effect, pulling waste from the tank as it quickly empties. Emptying a tank that is less than 50% full will result in a slow seepage, where waste is left behind.

Q. How often should I have my holding tanks professionally cleaned?
A. At least once a year, unless you are a full-timer, in which case we recommend twice a year. Look, your black tank’s spray system can only do so much. At roughly 100-150 PSI of pressure, it sprays in a set pattern that never completely cleans the inside of your black tank. Only our process, using 1500 PSI (that’s ten times!) pressure can truly get your holding tanks “factory clean.”

That’s it for this round of questions. Come back again for another five. In the meantime, please be sure ask any questions you may have and be sure to attend our seminars (they are a bit different, from year to year) when you’re at a rally we are attending.

NOTE: Click here for Part Two and here for Part Three in our three-part series.