By Jim Twamley
Properly managing your RV’s tanks can make your life much happier. Last week we talked about fresh water and black water tanks. Let’s talk about those other tanks this week.
Gray water tanks
After I’ve drained the black tank and have closed the black tank valve I open the gray water tank valves. It’s very important to close the black tank valve before opening the gray water valves to avoid odor entering through the sink drains and vents. Opening the gray water valves will wash out any remaining toilet paper and waste left in the sewer hose.
We can usually go one or two weeks this way until we have to take a trip to the dump station to empty our black tanks. Gray water tanks fill much faster than the black tank. When two people take showers and do dishes, the tanks fill up fast and need to be emptied more often. You can empty the gray water into a portable dump tank. I normally reduce the amount of gray water dumping by showering in the local shower facility if available.
Hot water tank
Not much to manage here except to clean it out once or twice a year. You open the drain plug and either hose it out with a strong stream of water or blow it out with high pressure air. This helps clean out the mineral buildup. You can also buy a cleaning tool that fits on the end of a garden hose. This allows for blasting a pressured stream of water into the tank. Some models have anode rods that must be replaced. Be sure to refer to your user manual for details for your model.
I have a 5th wheel, so I use two 30-pound propane tanks. Make sure your tanks are secure for travel. They are not designed to lay on their sides, and aren’t safe to do so. For safety purposes some people turn them off when traveling – I leave mine on. I also have a spare tank that comes in handy.
I purchased a plastic base to hold my spare tank upright in my storage compartment. Here’s a base, found on Amazon.com. I have two cylinders hooked up to the system, and one spare. I have also used this spare tank for the BBQ. With a spare, you can leave one tank hooked up while you fill the two empties.
I carry two plastic 5-gallon fuel containers. One is for diesel, the other for gas for my portable generator. On diesel engines, it is important to keep your fuel filters clean and try not to run your tank all the way to empty. Otherwise you may suck up some sludge into your fuel system, like I did somewhere in Indiana one summer. Suck sludge and you’ll have a problem on your hands. I have had to use my extra diesel fuel on more than one occasion – you’ll be glad you have it!