You already know that your RV has two wastewater storage tanks. One is for black water and the other for gray. The former is the tank that holds the sewage from your toilet. The latter holds the water that drains from the shower and sinks. In this post, you will learn ways to reduce the stress on your RV’s gray water tank.
This post is written from the perspective of camping in locations that don’t have direct sewer hookups. If you are at a typical commercial campground where hookups are part of the package, you don’t have to worry so much about the volume of gray water your RV produces. You still may have to worry about another potential problem.
In terms of stressing the tank, there are two things to be concerned about. The first is letting the tank overflow. The second is protecting it against freezing – regardless of whether you are staying in a commercial campground or out in the middle of nowhere.
1. Reduce Water Use in the Bathroom
Beginning with the idea of preventing overflow, one of the easiest ways to put less stress on your gray water tank is to reduce the amount of water you use in the bathroom. In particular, we are referencing how you use the sink and shower. On average, a typical camper uses about ten gallons of water per day. Most of that occurs in the bathroom.
You can reduce water use by turning off the tap while you are brushing your teeth. When washing your face and hands, you can wet your skin down, turn off the water, then lather up. Only turn the water back on when you are ready to rinse. Doing the same thing in the shower can reduce your water consumption by over ten gallons per day.
2. Wash the Dishes Outside
Another major stress on gray water tanks is doing the dishes. Assuming you cook and wash dishes three times per day, you could be adding anywhere from 10 to 30 gallons to the gray water tank every 24 hours. An easy way to cut down on gray water is to wash the dishes outside.
Fill two plastic tubs with water – one hot and the other cold. Wash your dishes as normal. When you are done, the water can be safely dumped. If you are concerned that the wash water is contaminated by chemicals you don’t want to dump, you can at least dump the rinse water outside and only flush the wash water down the sink.
3. Use RV Skirting
Cold air can put a lot of stress on RV plumbing systems. It is definitely problematic for pipes, though cold air can also do a number on a gray water tank. In short, cold temperatures can freeze your gray water tank overnight. And if that happens, you run the risk of your entire plumbing system rupturing.
Burst plumbing creates a very expensive mess. Not only will you have to clean up and have the plumbing repaired, but you will also have to pay for repairs out-of-pocket. Insurance policies rarely cover burst plumbing. Thankfully, avoiding the problem is as simple as using RV skirts. Connecticut-based AirSkirts makes a fantastic inflatable product that is easy to deploy and quite effective.
Your RVs gray water tank can withstand quite a bit of punishment. But it’s not impervious to overflows and cold temperatures. So do yourself a favor and keep an eye on both of your wastewater tanks. Doing your best to avoid problems all but guarantees that you will experience as few as possible.