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An RV gives you the freedom to travel the roads in comfort. One thing that can intimidate new owners is the toilet system. RV toilets require a little bit more thought when using them because they use your water supply. If you’re a beginner RV-er, look no further! We’ve gathered all critical information on how much water an RV toilet uses per flush.
The amount of water an RV toilet uses per flush is determined by the person flushing the toilet. In general, you should expect to use up to .79 gallons of water per flush.
If you still have some questions about an RV’s toilet system, don’t worry. In this post, we’ll discuss the topic in more detail. Keep reading to learn more about your RV water usage, how to use the toilet, and whether or not regular toilet paper is safe for RV use!
RV Water System
Using toilets and sinks in your home is simple. You don’t need to put too much thought into it unless you have to make repairs.
But when using an RV, you need to be more aware of how your water system works. You’ll be operating with a limited supply of water and limited wastewater storage. Knowing the basics about your system will make your RV experience go more smoothly.
Your RV water system will have three different tanks for storing water. The first tank is called the freshwater or potable water tank. This tank typically has the largest storage capacity. It holds all of the water that is used throughout the RV.
The second tank is the grey water tank. This is a waste storage tank. All the used, dirty water from your sinks and showers will go in the grey water tank.
You can drain this tank in the same location you’d empty your black water tank. In certain states, you can even drain this tank right into the ground.
The final tank is called the black water tank. This tank holds all the waste from your toilets. It’s crucial to practice good flushing habits because of how the bathroom and black tank are linked.
If you flush incorrect items or use too little water, you will have difficulty draining your system later.
Using An RV Toilet
An RV toilet can be intimidating to use if you’re not used to it. The most common type of toilet for an RV is the gravity flush toilet.
These toilets are similar to the toilets we have in our homes. They flush via a foot pedal and utilize gravity and pressurized water to transport waste to the black water tank.
To use an RV toilet, you’ll need to know how to flush the toilet and add water to its bowl. To flush the toilet, push the pedal down. It’s recommended to press down for one to three seconds for liquid waste.
For solids, you’ll need to move the pedal until everything is washed away. Flushing for a minimum of 10 seconds can help ensure everything washes away correctly. However, it can also drain your water supply more quickly.
Having some water in your RV toilet is essential. You should always make sure there’s water in your bowl before going to the bathroom.
Some RV toilet manufacturers recommend adding more water before flushing away solids. To add water to your toilet, you’ll need to push the pedal halfway down. Then, release once the desired amount of water is added.
RV Toilet Water Usage
RV toilets are designed to use as little water as possible. Many toilets intended for RV use allow the user to control how much water is used per flush. The following toilets all have water consumption controlled by the user:
- Sanimarin Maxlite
- Aqua Magic V
- Aqua- Magic Residence
- Aqua-Magic Style II
- Aqua-Magic Style Plus
- Dometic Model 310
There are also RV toilets with an automatic pump. The Sanimarin models 31, 35, and 48 consume water between .32 gallons to .79 gallons per flush.
These model toilets consider a standard flush to consume .58 gallons of water. You can adjust higher with the maximum rate being .79 gallons.
In the cases of user-controlled water flow, the exact amounts will vary. However, many RV toilets need a water flow rate of 9.5 liters per minute. If you flush for 10 seconds, you’ll use approximately 1.5 liters of water or .39 gallons.
This number lines up with the economical flush for many automatic RV toilets. So, while usage may vary, it’s safe to assume you’ll use up to .79 gallons even when you are in charge of the water being used.
Should you keep water in an RV toilet?
Absolutely! Keeping a little bit of water in your RV toilet bowl can help ensure an airtight seal. Storing water in the bowl will also help keep holding tank odor from getting into your living space.
You can even use an RV toilet while the vehicle is in motion! So don’t worry about emptying your toilet bowl of water before getting on the road. Although, if you have it too full, you may have to deal with it splashing out of the bowl.
Remember that some states require all passengers to wear a seatbelt in an RV. So, while it’s possible to use the toilet while in motion, you may still be needed to pull over first.
Can you flush toilet paper in an RV?
It is essential to use special toilet paper for your RV. You need to be careful with your black tank.
Flushing regular toilet paper, septic toilet paper, diapers, sanitary napkins, or any other nonapproved items can clog up your tank. If your black water tank clogs, then you’ll be left without the use of a toilet.
So, why shouldn’t you use regular or septic toilet paper in your RV? They don’t break down as easily as RV toilet paper does. While generally more expensive, RV toilet paper has been designed to disintegrate quickly.
Regular toilet paper may not do that and can cause clogs. Septic toilet paper does dissolve more efficiently than standard toilet paper. However, using it will be a risk. Septic paper isn’t designed for black tanks and isn’t guaranteed to break down in the tank.
If you don’t have RV toilet paper, you can use regular toilet paper. Just avoid flushing it. Keep a trash can in your bathroom so you can throw it away again.
You can also test your toilet paper if you are still set on flushing it. To test your toilet paper, you’ll need a glass jar with water, a couple of sheets of toilet paper, and a lid for your jar.
Place the sheets in the water and close the lid. Then, shake your jar for approximately 10 seconds. If your toilet paper disintegrates then, it should be safe to use in your RV. Just remember that using different toilet paper is still a risk.
Why does my RV toilet stink?
There are several reasons your RV toilet is smelly. The first thing you should do is clean your toilet. Avoid using chlorine, bleach, or any abrasive cleaners on your toilet. Use a non-abrasive sponge or soft brush for scrubbing the bowl.
You can also use a combination of vinegar and water instead of a storebought cleaner. Many also decide to use a black tank deodorizer. These can help control any smells originating from the tank.
It’s also possible that you have a clog in your vent or black tank. Either way, you’ll need to clear it out.
First, check your vent pipes for any obstructions and clear them out. You can flush it by putting a water hose to the pipe. Let the water flow through for a few seconds, and you should be fine.
An excellent method for clearing out your black tank is to add a bag of ice to your toilet. Dump the ice in there and drive around for a little while. The ice will break up any solids. Then, once it melts, it will help liquify the clumps.
You can also pour boiling hot water into the toilet. After letting it sit for eight hours, you should be able to clear your black tank. Keep in mind. These methods will require your tank not to be full. If it is, you may have to deal with sewage coming through the toilet.
Read more: RV Grey Water Tank Smells – What To Do?
How often do you need to dump RV waste?
How often you need to dump your waste depends on how much you use it. If you have a large group, you may need to dump your tank every other day.
In general, you should wait until your tank is two-thirds full. This will help the waste flow more quickly and give it time to break down.
Check out Do Truck Stops Have RV Dump Stations? for information on where to dump waste!
RV toilets are designed to take up minimal amounts of space and use water efficiently. You can control the amount of water you use every flush. Make sure you use enough, so your solid waste has a chance to break down before dumping the tanks!