Most first time RV renters worry excessively about draining the rental RV tanks, particularly the toilet tanks. There is a learning curve for first-time renters but this should not be a big deal.
However, if you look at it from the perspective of your entire rental trip, this is a minor issue and you should not worry too much.
What Do Black and Grey RV Water Tanks Mean?
Black tanks are the tanks that hold or contain the RV toilet removals.
Grey tanks hold the clean water from the RV shower and kitchen.
When you are communicating with an RV rental company or owner, just remember that the black tank is for the toilet water and the great tank is for the kitchen and the shower.
How Difficult Is It To Drain The RV Black Toilet Tank?
If you own pets or if you have seen renters who own pets, you may have seen that in most cases, when their pet poops, they effortlessly scoop and pick it up in a plastic bag and just move on.
For someone who doesn’t own pets, this might look like a big deal but for people who own pets, this might not be an issue at all.
For first-time RV renters, we understand that you may worry about this aspect but if you just follow a few instructions carefully then draining the rental RV tanks takes approximately only 10 minutes.
What Are The Steps To Drain The Rental RV Tanks?
Follow these steps for draining the rental RV tanks.
Step 1: Preparation
Drive your RV carefully and position it near the RV park’s dump outlet.
Wear the gloves and layout the RV drainpipe on the ground such that on one end, it is close to the RV campground’s dump outlet and on the other end, it is connected to the RV’s black and grey tank outlets.
Attach the drainpipe to the RV park’s dump outlet on the ground and make sure that it is fixed properly.
Take the other end of the drain pipe and fix it to the RV’s black tank outlet first.
Once everything is fixed then just take a moment to reassure that the drainpipe is connected properly to the RV tank outlets and the other end is connected to the RV park’s dump outlet on the ground.
After securing everything, focus on the two levers.
First, pull out the black lever (toilet) – pull the black handle, and let the contents run through. Close the handle on completion.
Pull the grey lever in the same manner as you did for the black one.
Let this clean water go through the connected drain pipe.
Tip: Always drain the grey tank second i.e. after draining the black tank.
This is for 2 reasons:
- The clean water in the grey tank will also help clean the drain pipe and remove the black tank remains from the pipe.
- In some rare scenarios, specifically when you are at an antiquated RV campground that doesn’t have proper freshwater service, the clean water from the grey tank can also help you clean your utility hose and other connections.
Once you pull the handle for drainage, the whole process may take anywhere between a minute to a minute and a half.
When you notice that there is no noise (suggesting that all the water has drained out) or the water running out is clean, unlock the drain pipe from the RV.
Tip: If there is any water dripping from the pipe, let it just fall through the drain pipe.
If you are at an RV campground, you will also be provided with a water hose that you can use to wash and clean your drain pipe. Clean all the connections by rinsing them with water.
After cleaning the drainpipe, you can unhook it from the RV park’s dump outlet on the ground.
Carefully put the sewage pipe back in the RV from where you picked it up.
Wash your hands and get rid of the gloves.
Now you are ready to drive again!
The above steps will help you drain the black and the grey tanks.
Will I Be Able To Withstand The Smell While Draining The Rental RV Tanks?
In most cases, you will not come across any kind of smell. So you do not have to worry about foul smells at all. In some rare cases when it is smelling, you can hold your breath for around 20 to 30 seconds and that should be adequate.
You don’t need any kind of special remedies like a face mask.
Will I See Anything Gross When I’m Draining The Rental RV Tanks?
The whole process is pretty straight forward and at no point will you see or feel anything gross. As long as you follow the steps mentioned above and fix everything carefully, you will not have to worry about this particular aspect.
After Draining The Rental RV Tanks, Do I Need To Do Anything Special?
Nothing at all!
Remember that this is a rental RV so all you have to do is to return the tanks empty. You don’t have to do anything special – it is the responsibility of the RV owner or the rental company.
However, if the RV rental company or the RV owner has requested you to throw in a tablet or some detergent or powder inside the holding tank/s then you can do the same as a courtesy.
How Often Do I Need To Drain The RV Tanks?
If you are a family of 4 and you are relying primarily on the RV toilets and the kitchen sink then you may have to drain the black and the great thanks once every two days.
However, if you are consistently using the RV campground toilets and you are using the RV toilet and kitchen carefully then you may not have to drain for 4 to 5 days.
If your rental is for less than a week then you just have to drain the tanks once before you exit the RV.
Tip: Just check the RV toilet and kitchen tanks once a day to see how full they are. If you see that they are about to reach their maximum capacity, you can drain them whenever you get a chance on entering or exiting the RV campground.
It is also not necessary to drain the grey and the black tanks simultaneously. Since the black tanks contain solid waste, it will be easier to drain it when it is almost or more than three-quarters full. This will add to the pressure built on drainage, making the drainage much smoother.
You can opt for draining the black tank once on every two drainages of the grey tank given that your RV rental trip pans over a good number of days.
What Options Do I Have To Drain The RV Tanks If I Am Not Staying At an RV Campground?
You have multiple options. They are listed as below:
1. RV Campgrounds
Even if you are not staying in an RV campground, you will still be allowed to drain your RV tanks but they will charge you for this service. The charge can range from anywhere between $15 to $30.
2. State Campgrounds
Most state campgrounds allow you to drain the tanks. They usually charge about $5 to $10 which is less than private RV campgrounds.
You can check out this website to get multiple options as to where you can drain your RV tanks. All you have to do is provide your zip code and it will give you the numerous locations where you can drain the tanks.
You can also check out RVDumps for locations where you can drain your tanks.
Tip: It is best if you call ahead and check out the place for yourself so you do not have any surprises on the day of your RV trip.
4. RV Dealerships
Most RV dealerships that sell or rent RVs usually have a facility where you can pay a fee of approximately $25 to $40 and drain your RV tanks.
5. Waste Water Sewage Treatment Plant
In some towns and villages, the wastewater sewage plant would allow you to drain the tanks but usually, they have this facility open for only limited hours.
They are also usually out of the main highway routes. Hence, you have to be very sure that whichever treatment plant you’re heading towards does indeed allow you to drain your RV tanks.
Can I Just Return The RV Without Dumping The Tanks?
If you have rented an RV for just the weekend or 3 to 4 days and haven’t used the RV toilets or kitchen sink much, and the need to drain it never arose in the course of your rental, you may be better off by paying a fee of about $50-$75 (included in the RV post-trip charges) and just return the RV without draining the tanks.
However, we suggest that if you are living in a campground then you are already paying the fee that includes the facility of tank drainage. Hence, even if you do not feel the need, go ahead and give it a try and drain the RV tanks. You’ll save the extra few dollars.
As noted in the beginning, draining the RV tanks is one of the things that most first-time RV renters worry about but it should not be a concern at all. Even if you have rarely or never drained RV tanks, there are RV owners and RV campground staff who can always help you.
Plan your RV trip and do not let tank drainage be a deterrent in the planning. Instead, you should focus more on driving the RV, and planning the whole RV trip – what all you are going to see and the fun activities you are going to do with your family i.e. focus on the more positive aspects.
And if you need any further assistance, reach out to us with your queries at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll get back to you in the shortest possible time.