How To Measure Rv Septic Tank Level? (Perfect answer)

  • First, locate the main sewer pipe for the RV. Connect a PVC pipe (5-10 ft) on the plumbing that emanates from the RV. It is the part of the pipe that shall be horizontally fixated and secured by a clamp. Using the tape measure, measure the distance between the bottom of the tank and the inlet hole.

How do I know if my RV septic tank is full?

There is another way to know your tank is full (or close to it) besides using sensors or sound. “Sound” is also a good indicator, but in addition to that method, the closer to full, the more it smells (even if you use chemicals). You’ll want to dump for sure when you can’t take the smell any longer.

How do you know when your holding tank is full?

How to tell your septic tank is full and needs emptying

  1. Pooling water.
  2. Slow drains.
  3. Odours.
  4. An overly healthy lawn.
  5. Sewer backup.
  6. Gurgling Pipes.
  7. Trouble Flushing.

How often do you empty a septic tank in RV?

In simple terms, if you have lots of people on board, you might need to empty the tank daily. But if you are just traveling alone or maybe with one more person, your tank would need emptying less frequently – maybe even once a week. The rule of thumb is to empty the tank before it fills up.

What happens if your RV is not level?

If your RV is not properly level then your tank sensors will not read correctly. Depending on the slope, your sensors may read as more full or more empty than they really are. This can even affect drainage by not allowing all of your tanks to empty.

What happens when RV black tank full?

The Holding Tank for Your RV May Physically Burst. If your tank has filled beyond capacity then the materials may give out due to weight and pressure. This will cause the waste to pour into the area that the tank occupies. The waste will also spread anywhere that a liquid can go.

How long can you leave black water in RV?

You should not leave matter in your black water tank for more than a week. Your black water tank should be emptied once it’s ⅔ full and/or at the end of every trip. If that isn’t possible, make sure to add water to the tank and add a holding tank cleaning chemical to avoid odor and backup.

What is the difference between a septic tank and a holding tank?

A septic tank is a large vessel that collects household wastewater through an inlet pipe, treats the effluent through a bio-action process, and releases the treated water into a drainfield where the water percolates underground. A holding tank also collects wastewater from the house through an inlet.

How do you get rid of the poop pyramid in RV black?

To eliminate a poop pyramid, you need to get water into your black tank. The first thing you should do is close the black tank valve and get as much water into the black tank as possible. If the poop pyramid prohibits you from putting water into the tank, get some tank cleaner to pour down into the sewer drain.

What is black water in RV?

What is a Black Water Tank and What Does It Do? The black tank collects the waste from the toilet. It’s located under the RV carriage, positioned next to the grey tank which holds the water run-off from sinks and showers.

What is a black tank flush on an RV?

An RV black tank flush is a cleaning system that works in tandem with your regular RV tank dumping procedure. For example, you generally dump your black tank and then flush out the sewer hose by dumping the contents of your gray tank immediately thereafter.

Why does my black tank say full?

When a knob gets wet, it lights up the sensor panel or tank monitor. Waste tanks, such as black water tanks, have a lot of things that get flushed past those knobs like toilet paper. In short, if your monitor shows that your tank is still full after flushing, it is most likely due to wet debris stuck on a sensor knob.

What is the geo method of cleaning black tank?

The Geo Method uses a combination of powdered Calgon (water softener), laundry detergent (soap/surfactant), plenty of water, and often bleach or chlorine (to attempt to control odor). Because of this, it can lead to clogs and odors, which can take a lot of time and money to fix.

RV Holding Tank Sensors & False Tank Level Readings

An examination of a septic system involves two items in addition to the actual inspection process: a septic inspection report as well as a video of the sewer system. Within 24 hours after the inspection, we prepare every septic report. Everything we discovered, as well as any necessary measures, will be explained in detail in the report. All of these are recapped towards the conclusion of the report. Along with that, we’ve included some fundamental suggestions for keeping your system in good working order.

In this way, we are able to demonstrate any issues that may develop.

This information should have given you some comfort if you are going to purchase or sell a home that includes an on-site wastewater treatment system.

The information about your unique septic system and how to manage it will be updated on our blog.

Click here to find out about our ebook.

How do Holding Tank sensors Work?

A negative tank probe is positioned at the bottom of the tank in the empty position, and it measures the level of the tank’s contents. The remaining tank sensors are all in the affirmative. As the content in the tank rises and makes contact with one of the positive tank sensors, the circuit is completed, and the tank level reading shown on the monitor screen corresponds to that tank level reading. In an ideal world, this would be sufficient information to monitor and determine when to empty our RV holding tanks, wouldn’t it?

  1. When I explained what the tank sensors were, you might have noted that I used the word probes in place of the word sensors at various points.
  2. This is when all of the “faulty reading” issues begin to manifest themselves.
  3. You’ll find soap scum, grease, food particles, and hair, to mention a few of the contaminants.
  4. It is completed when a sensor located inside the tank is covered by food particles or toilet tissue, which allows it to send the information back to the control panel through the monitor panel.
  5. You won’t know how much content is in the tank until the tank is totally filled if the tank sensors are not indicating the right quantity of content in the tank.

As soon as the black water tank is completely filled, the wastewater is forced back up into the toilet. These are two issues that all RV owners would like not to have to deal with. flushing the black tank

False Tank Sensor Reading Solutions

It is possible for us as owners to repair erroneous tank sensor readings in a few different ways. We are lucky in that our RV is equipped with a built-in black tank flush. Every time I empty the black tank, I make an effort to flush and clean it. The tank flush is equipped with a nozzle that shoots high-pressure jets of water in all directions across the tank. Following the emptying of the tank, I flush the tank for a few minutes. This cleans the tank sensors and helps to avoid build-up on the sensors, which can result in erroneous tank readings if the sensors are not cleaned regularly.

wand for cleaning the tank

Tank wands are easy to use:

  • Make a connection between the end of the tank wand and your maintenance hose. Make sure the tank wand is inserted as far down the toilet as possible
  • In order to use this feature, turn on the water valve at its handle and rotate the wand around the tank while the high pressure nozzle rinses, cleans, and disinfects it and its sensors

Sensor cleaner for the tank When cleaning tank sensors, another option is to apply a tank sensor cleaner to the holding tank after the tank has been completely drained. Fill the holding tank with enough water to completely cover the bottom of the tank, then add the sensor cleaning procedure according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. While you are driving or towing the RV, the cleaner goes around and cleans the sides of the tank as well as the tank sensors on the tank. The sensor cleaning procedure will continue to function even if the tank level rises at the same time.

It creates suds and aids in the cleaning of the tank sensors, which is especially important when the RV is moving and the water splashes on the tank’s edges.

RV 101 is a four-wheel-drive vehicle that has a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour.

This will assist to maintain the holding tank cleaned and will also help to avoid blockages and other holding tank-related problems from occurring.

Horst Miracle Probes

Horst Miracle Probes are conducted by Horst Miracle. Fortunately, there are new tank probes for the gray and black water tanks available that will take care of the “faulty tank reading” problem once and for all. Even though I am not linked with the product, I have placed these replacement probes on holding tanks and found them to be of high quality. Horst Miracle Probes are the name of the product, and it is available for purchase on Amazon through Valterra Products. They are intended to replace current tank sensors; however, before embarking on a project of this nature, be certain that you have access to the existing probes on your holding tanks.

  1. It is necessary to drill new 3/8 inch holes adjacent to the existing sensors to accommodate the new probes if the sensors on your holding tanks are of the kind that cannot be removed for installation of the new probes.
  2. The Horst Miracle Probes are protected by a Teflon barrier, which prevents any debris from being entangled in the sensor’s electronics.
  3. Please visit this link to learn everything you need to know about RV toilets and holding tanks: CLICK HERE You have just completed a brief overview of RV holding tank sensors and incorrect readings.
  4. For more information, see RV Online Training.
  5. Polk is a writer and editor based in New York City.

Ultimate VideoE-book on RV 101® Travel Trailers by RV 101® BundleRV 101® 5th Wheel Ultimate VideoE-book BundleRV 101® 5th Wheel Ultimate VideoE-book BundleRV 101® 5th Wheel Ultimate VideoE-book BundleRV 101® 5th Wheel Ultimate VideoE-book RV 101® Motorhome Ultimate Video BundleRV 101® Motorhome Ultimate Video E-book Bundle Travel Trailer5th Wheel Trailer – Trailers for Rent Training Course on RV Orientation through Video Video Training Course on How to Tow Your Travel Trailer Like a Pro Tow your 5th wheel like a pro with these tips.

Online Video Training Course in its Entirety Orientation Video Training Course for Motorhomes and RVs How to Drive Your Motorhome Like a Professional Online Video Training Course in its Entirety RV Preventive Maintenance and Care RV DIY® Online Video TrainingRV EssentialsRV DIY® Online Video Training A Video-Based Training Program Video Training Course on Winterizing and Storing Your Recreational Vehicle Plus, a free RV Checklist booklet with the Travel Trailer 4 video bargain set Video Bargain Set for the 5th Wheel 4 with a Free RV Checklist booklet Motorhome 4 Video Bargain Set with a Free RV Checklist booklet is available for purchase.

-– RV Education 101 is a collection of resources.

How Do RV Holding Tank Sensors Work?

Aspects of RVing that most of us do not consider on a daily basis are some of the safety considerations. They are those things that, when they do their functions correctly, are scarcely apparent. However, when they fail, well, let’s just say that they are noticed in a major manner – as in the case of RV holding tank sensors, for example. When your RV holding tank sensors are in good working order, you may go about your daily routine without giving them a second thought. Although you may check your tank levels by glancing at the monitor panel to see whether they need to be emptied soon, if they appear to be barely half filled, you are content to move on to the next item on your to-do list, which is presumably something enjoyable.

You don’t want to have to guess whether your gray, black, and freshwater tanks are getting close to being completely full (or completely empty).

As a result, we’ve written today’s essay to educate you on – you guessed it – RV holding tank sensors.

So let’s get this out of the way and get into this intriguing article!

How Do RV Holding Tank Sensors Work?

Aspects of RVing that most of us do not consider on a daily basis include some of the following. Those objects that, when they do their functions effectively, are rarely noticed. The problem is that when things go wrong, well, let’s just say they are noticed a lot more – as in the case of RV holding tank sensors, for example. In a situation where your RV holding tank sensors are functioning properly, you may go about your everyday routine without giving them a second thought. Certainly, you may check your tank levels by looking at your computer display panel to see whether they need to be emptied any time soon, but if they appear to be barely half filled, you can joyfully go forward to the next item on your to-do list (which should be enjoyable).

Having to guess if your gray, black, and freshwater tanks are getting close to being full (or empty) is not something you want to be forced to do.

And, because we don’t want you to have to deal with a puddle in the shower, today’s topic is all about – you guessed it – RV holding tank sensor technology.

So let’s get this out of the way and get into this intriguing article.

Types Of RV Holding Tank Sensors

There are three types of holding tank sensors available on the market: through-wall/probe sensors, external electrical resistance sensors, and external acoustic sensors. Through-wall/probe sensors are the most common form of holding tank sensor. In order to convey the information you want – how full your fresh, gray, and black water tanks are at any given time – each is designed to function in a unique way. And, as you might expect, each sort of sensor has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Through-Wall/Probe Sensors

Probe sensors are typically stainless steel devices that are fitted in a rubber bushing that is inserted through the holding tank’s wall and into the tank’s interior. Some probe sensors are attached to the tank with screws that are welded in place during the manufacturing process. It doesn’t matter which way you look at it, when the sensors positioned within the tank get submerged in liquid, they conduct electricity. In addition, the sensors are linked to the monitor panel, which allows you to view the readings (E, 14; 12, 3; 4; F; or E, 1; 3, 2; 3; F) when liquid in the tank completes a circuit with that sensor, thereby illuminating the relevant light on your screen.

They’ve been around for a very long time and have a lot of advantages and disadvantages, including the following:


One of the most significant advantages of probe sensors is that they are affordable and, because there are no moving components, they are resilient and have a long life span. Due to the fact that liquids are conductive, the process should be successful as long as there is content in the RV holding tank, right? Yes, with a few exceptions, and this leads us to the major problem of probe sensors: they are inherently inaccurate.

See also:  What If There Is No Room For Replacement Septic Tank? (Best solution)


The most significant drawback of probe sensors is that they cannot be used in black or gray tanks because of the accumulation of muck. It’s likely that if the probe within the tank becomes clogged with “stuff” (we apologize if we’re getting too scientific with our language here), the conductivity will be stopped, and you will not be able to acquire reliable readings on your monitor display. And, to be honest, this occurs a lot. A similar situation might occur if the tank’s inside walls get clogged with muck or caked with struvite, a crystal generated by chemical interactions between components of wastewater over time.

  1. They must be cleaned on a regular basis and thoroughly in order to continue to function correctly.
  2. In addition to the sensor failing to read when the level in the tank reaches the required level, gunk built up on the sensor and tank walls can complete the electrical circuit, causing a single light to illuminate on your monitor panel when the tank level reaches the suitable level.
  3. This, of course, does not make any sense.
  4. This “shield” prevents toilet paper and other tank contents from adhering to the probe itself, allowing it to more accurately feel tank contents and avoid producing misleading level readings as a result.

By installing sensors in the walls of your holding tanks, you are also creating holes in the walls of your tanks, which may eventually result in leaks.

Electrical Resistance Sensors

Unlike probes, electrical resistance sensors are positioned on the exterior of holding tanks and employ electrical characteristics to measure the amount of liquid/contents in the tank by sensing a change in electrical properties. Fortunately, they are able to accomplish this through the tank’s wall, which means there is nothing that sticks into the tank. and thus nothing that may become clogged with debris. Many tiny sensor pads are installed at the same 14, 12, 34, and Full levels (or 13, 23, and Full levels) in the majority of frequent installation scenarios.

This informs the monitor panel that the level light for that level should be illuminated


There’s an obvious advantage to using electrical resistance sensors: there isn’t any portion of the system that penetrates through the tank, so not only is there no internal probe or sensor of any kind to get clogged up, but there’s also no possibility of a leak.


Electrical resistance sensors are more costly than mechanical resistance sensors, which is a disadvantage. Because they’re all installed at the same incremental locations, they don’t provide any more granular information on the tank’s level than the previous models. Aside from these issues, poorly maintained tanks can still cause issues: “gunk” left on the walls due to a lack of tank cleaning or from being left without dumping for an extended period of time could leave a coating that wicks water upwards, fooling tank sensors into believing the tank is significantly more full than it actually is.

The crystals of struvite accumulate on the walls of RV tanks over time, no matter how thoroughly they are cleaned.

Acoustic/Ultrasonic Holding Tank Sensors

Even though we are not aware of any North American RV manufacturers who use this sort of technology, acoustic and ultrasonic sensors provide a number of advantages. In industrial applications, this sort of sensor is frequently employed when the contents of a tank may create difficulties with other systems and/or when better precision is required. Acoustic/ultrasonic holding tank sensors are normally positioned within the top of the tank, with an acoustic emitter aimed down at the surface of any liquid or substance contained within the tank.

These systems, once calibrated to know what “empty” means, can continually monitor the level of a tank’s contents, regardless of what it contains (fresh, black, gray, liquid propane).


They have the key benefit over other alternatives in that they can provide an exact percentage for any current level of tank contents, whereas the other options can only report a range.

The guesswork associated with determining exactly how full (or empty) your tank is at any one time is eliminated.


Acoustic/ultrasonic holding tank sensors are more costly than other choices available for monitoring holding tanks. They also require penetration into the tank in order for the emitter to be able to “see” the surface of the tank contents (however being located at the top of the tank reduces the likelihood of the emitter becoming clogged or obstructed).

How Do RV Manufacturers Choose a Holding Tank Sensor?

To be really honest, the answer to this question is almost always “expense.” RVs are similar to automobiles in that a $20K car does not have all of the amenities and extras that a $200K car has, and vice versa. It’s just that at lower price points, there isn’t as much profit margin available to allow for the usage of more expensive components without having an adverse effect on the final sale price of the RV.

Can RV Holding Tank Sensors Give False Readings?

Yes! RV holding tank sensors are known to generate misleading readings under certain conditions, and this is not uncommon. A fairly typical complaint among RV owners is that their vehicles have a bad smell. It is the most frequently reported problem that an RV owner finds that their tank monitor continues to indicate “full” (or 1/12 or 3/4 full) immediately after the tanks have been emptied. Alternatively, it is possible that a single light in a sequence of tank level indicators remains illuminated regardless of the level of the tank.

As previously stated, this is often caused by sludge that has accumulated inside the tank, “gunk” or toilet paper that has become entangled around the sensors, or an accumulation of struvite crystals on the tank’s walls over a period of time.

In this video, we explain what struvite is and how to deal with it, as well as share our personal experience with struvite: Short and sweet, it’s important to understand that yes, RV holding tank sensors may produce misleading readings, and this happens all the time.

However, it’s crucial to remember that no RV holding tank sensor is completely faultless, especially if tank maintenance is not performed on a constant basis.

A Better RV Holding Tank Sensor: SeeLevel Sensors

Sensors that detect changes in the level of the contents of your tank function in a different way, employing electronics to measure the capacitance difference that results as a result of the change in level. Their characteristics are the most similar to those of electrical resistance sensors in that the entire system is located outside of the tank, which helps to alleviate the problem of sludge build-up producing erroneous readings (although it does not totally remove it – more on that in a minute).

How They Work

In order to read the liquid level within the tank and convey the information to a display, SeeLevel sensors employ sticky sensor strips with circuits integrated in repeating portions. Tank levels are indicated in about +/- 5-10 percent increments (resolution is restricted by tank shape and height), providing greater precision and detail than other types of RV holding tank sensors often used in recreational vehicles.

Because of the repeating parts, the sensors may be shortened to match a variety of tank heights, allowing them to be used on a broad variety of tank types and sizes.


Because the whole procedure takes place on the exterior of the tank, SeeLevel sensors are simple to install. Because the system is comprised of wiring (2 wires), it is a pretty straightforward DIY project. The readings are more comprehensive because the externally-mounted sensors have many sections that monitor tank content levels and give more precision than the internal-mounted sensors.


The SeeLevel holding tank monitoring system is not without its drawbacks, one of which is the high cost. Although the technology is more expensive, you are paying for better precision and detail, and that is worth something in and of itself. We don’t consider this a con, but it’s important to note that while the SeeLevel system does not allow for false readings as readily as other systems do because the sensors are not susceptible to the effects of tank sludge, the system’s manufacturer, Garnet Instruments, notes that extreme sludge build-up will still result in inaccurate tank readings (the tank will read full even when it is empty), so it’s still important to pay attention to tank maintenance to avoid iatrogenic contamination Because the resistance-type sensors that came with our ’05 Newmar started acting up a few years back, we decided to replace our system to utilize SeeLevel sensors, which are far more reliable.

The greater precision of the system has proven to be quite beneficial, especially while traveling for extended periods of time without connections.

How Do You Clean Your RV Holding Tank Sensors?

There are essentially four methods for cleaning the holding tank sensors on your RV. When you empty your tanks on a regular basis, you may clean them with a tank cleaning wand like this one. Because there is typically no way to enter a wand like this into a gray tank, this is something you’d use to clean your black tank, rather than your gray tank. Attached to your hose, the cleaning wand sprays high-pressure water in a circular manner to clean the sidewalls of your storage tanks. Add roughly a cup of dishwashing detergent to each of your black and gray tanks to keep them clean as a secondary measure.

The use of an enzymatic tank cleanser, such as Happy Campers, is a third option for cleaning your RV holding tank sensors.

In spite of the fact that we keep our holding tanks clean and properly maintained, we recently had to have one of them power cleaned owing to the accumulation of struvite over the course of a few decades.

How Do You Reset Your RV Holding Tank Sensors?

It’s not necessary to calibrate your holding tank sensors on a regular basis, but if you haven’t done so in a long time or if you’ve recently acquired a new (or new-to-you) RV, you may want to take on this chore to keep things running well. It’s not difficult, but it will take a little time and a little Phillips head screwdriver to complete the task. For us, the simplest way to describe the process of resetting or recalibrating your RV holding tank sensors is to publish a video showing us calibrating our sensors, which you can watch and follow along with: Just keep in mind that not all monitor panels can be calibrated in this manner, and some cannot be calibrated at all, so exercise caution.

Most systems that employ through-wall sensors do not include any method of calibrating the monitor, and difficulties with incorrect displays are almost always the consequence of clogged or gunked-up sensors.


Despite the fact that they are silent and concealed, RV holding tank sensors are quite significant. And while they may not be a portion of your RV that you think about on a regular basis, they must be in excellent operating order or you may find yourself showering in filthy gray water up to your ankles one day!

Geek Out with Us Every Week

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on anything RV-related. Every week, we provide free RVing tips, tactics, product reviews, and other information to our online community of RVers and campers. This is a great opportunity for you to share your knowledge and experience with us, whether this is your first time on the road or you’re a seasoned pro!

RV Tank Sensors Not Working?

When RV holding tank sensors report that the tank is full when it is not, this is usually due to residue buildup between the sensors. This can be cleaned off with a conventional anti-grease detergent and/or a chemical or enzyme-based holding tank digestant treatment, depending on the situation.

Don’t Blame The Sensors

Tank sensors receive a great deal of the blame when a monitor panel’s readings are regularly inaccurate, although they are rarely the source of the problem. You’re certain you dumped it before leaving the last campground, but your monitor panel indicates that it is completely full. Great! The sensors for the holding tank are not functioning. Please don’t be alarmed; the sensors are not like your brother in law who enjoys lying on the sofa watching game shows and eating nachos when he should be looking for work.

  • A typical tank sensor completes the circuit in a low-voltage electrical system that is basic and straightforward.
  • In most cases, a reading is provided at four different points: empty, one-third full, two-thirds full, and the dreaded full tank.
  • Due to the fact that the contents of the tank have not yet risen over the level of the 2/3 sensor, the true measurement would be 1/3 full in the case above.
  • (Quick electrical refresher – any electrical system that functions requires at the very least a hot and a ground.

When you push any of the test buttons on the monitor panel, the heat is generated and, if they are grounded, the associated indicator lights illuminate; if they are not grounded, no lights illuminate.) Assuming that this is the fundamental operation of a holding tank sensor, what should be done about sensors that are reading incorrectly?

  • It just serves to hurt the sensors’ feelings, and it makes for an embarrassing apologies when the true perpetrator is identified.
  • Because, as we previously stated, the sensors in this system simply complete the circuit, and if the system is reading 2/3 full when it is empty, it is likely that the sensor is supplying a ground.
  • After all, just because you’ve emptied and drained your tank doesn’t mean there’s nothing left in there anymore.
  • Anything that links the sensor heads to one another on the interior of the tank, such as non-RV approved toilet paper, can result in inaccurate readings from the sensor heads.
  • The sensors are still operational and performing their functions properly; they are simply transmitting incorrect information without realizing it.
  • It is impossible for any form of buildup to occur on or between the heads of the sensors when using a system that does not penetrate the tank sidewall, which is generally located inside the tank wall.
  • In the rare occasions where the tank indicates that it is empty when it is actually full, we may find that the sensor is to fault; nevertheless, most of the time, it is an issue with the electrical system rather than the sensor.

In other cases, diagnosing these issues might be more challenging and may necessitate the use of a service expert.

How Do I Fix It?

The ancient adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment” holds true in this situation. The best approach to ensure that your tank’s sensors continue to function properly is to properly maintain the tank itself. Because of the nature of the contents contained in waste tanks, they are more susceptible to sensor failures than fresh water tanks, thus we will concentrate our attention on them. The grey tank retains the water from the sink and shower, while the black tank holds the waste from the toilet.

  • A wide variety of chemicals are available in the RV sector that are particularly intended for the treatment of holding tanks.
  • A deodorant will merely mask the scents emanating from the tank, whereas digestants will really break down the waste generated by the tank.
  • A potent combination of digestant minerals breaks down any biological materials, and by breaking down those things swiftly, it prevents smells from developing without the need for an irritating perfume to mask them.
  • It is also possible to encounter problems if you use the incorrect type of toilet paper.
  • RV tissue is constructed in the same way as pressboard, with a large number of little pieces squeezed together to form each sheet.
  • When home tissue decomposes, it frequently creates longer strand-type bits that can begin to coat low spots and corners of holding tanks, gradually lowering the capacity of the tanks.
  • To see how your favorite household product breaks down, place a single sheet in a jar of water with no RV chemicals and leave it for approximately half an hour.
See also:  Who To Call To Remover Septic Tank? (Best solution)

Continually shake the jar (with the lid on), and if the paper completely dissolves, you should be OK.

What Should I Do Now That I’ve Waited Until I Have a Problem?

It always reads “full,” but you’ve come to accept it as a given since it must be something serious, and you don’t want to deal with it right now.

It may be too late to turn back the clock, but it is not too late to do things well the first time.

Yes, the use of Dawn® dishwashing detergent can improve the operation of both the black and grey tanks.

The Dawn is utilized first, and it is let to sit for an extended period of time.

Then, if necessary, after the tank has been cleansed, Happy Camper and water are added and let to settle for another period of time.

We will then transfer the vehicle to a location where we will use the ice as a type of rock tumbler, which is quite effective at breaking stubborn debris loose from tank walls and sensor sensors.

The ice will never have enough force to accomplish anything more than loosen things that have hardened to the tank walls or probes.

As a last option, there is a considerable buildup of debris inside of the tank that will require more intensive treatment to clear out.

The idea is that it will be similar to being at home, in that we will not have to bother about filling the tanks because they will just drain into the site’s dump station.

A recreational vehicle’s holding tanks are intended to utilize gravity to assist in their evacuation, which implies that the tanks must be fairly full before dumping, otherwise gravity will work against us.

When this happens over time, it can lead to major tank problems, including full blockage.

Tank Techs RXbrand chemicals have shown to be one of the most effective chemicals available for severe tank treatment, according to our research.

Unexpected problems with the electrical system can occur in the probe wire harness, monitor panel, or in the RV’s main power distribution system, and they can be difficult to diagnose and resolve without the necessary equipment and experience.


Your tank sensors are now perfectly precise, and you no longer have to worry about an embarrassing overflow.

Your RV sanitation system is in fine working order and ready to go on an adventure. It would be great if you could only get your brother in law to leave the sofa!

Finally Simple Accurate holding tank levels

A good example of how the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment” holds true in this situation. Proper tank maintenance is the most effective method of ensuring that your tank’s sensors continue to function appropriately. Our attention will be drawn to waste tanks since they are more susceptible to sensor failures than fresh water tanks, simply because of the contents stored inside. Both the grey tank and the black tank are used to store water from sinks and showers. Both tanks contain sufficient organic material to form connections between the sensors, resulting in the incorrect readings reported above.

  • These chemicals are divided into two categories: deodorants and digestants.
  • It has been our experience that the Happy Camperbrand tank treatment is the most effective chemical for tank maintenance.
  • At, we sell Happy Camper, which is a reasonably priced brand.
  • Unlike RV toilet paper, which is engineered to break down into little pieces for easy digestion by the tank chemical, resulting in less waste being flushed away, domestic toilet paper can cause serious problems.
  • Toilet paper is constructed in the same manner as plywood, with several layers pressed together.
  • As an added bonus, these strands are more likely than toilet paper residue to form connections between sensor sensors on the interior of the tank.
  • This will help you determine whether your spouse prefers the familiarity of the domestic items.

Toilet paper for RVs is available in two-ply “facial quality” and is always the most reliable choice.

Your monitor panel is incorrect, yet you are still hesitant to allow people to use the restroom despite your knowledge of the problem.

Given that it’s too late to go back and do things correctly, the RV should be emptied on a semi-regular basis.

In order to combat the paper mache effect and any leftover biological debris that may have remained in or on the tank, we use two major weapons: Happy Camper and Dawn.

Much of what is left over when the tanks are emptied is essentially grease, and if you have ever seen television, you are probably aware that Dawn is a product that removes grease from your life and environment.

(The longer a therapy is left to function, the more effective it will be).

On occasion, we will half-fill a tank with the Happy Camper and water solution and then add a bag of ice to help obstinate tanks get the attention they need.

Keep your mind off of any potential interior tank damage.

– Everything I did resulted in a complete read.

The practice of leaving RVers’ valves open when they hook up at a campground is popular among RVers, both seasoned and inexperienced.

Although only half accurate, the partially untrue portion is sadly left out of the picture.

This means the tanks must be at least partially full before dumping, or gravity will work against us.

As a result, major tank issues, including full blockage, might arise over time.

Tank Techs RXbrand chemicals have been shown to be one of the most effective chemicals available for severe tank treatment, and we recommend them to everyone.

Unexpected problems with the electrical system can occur in the probe wire harness, monitor panel, or in the RV’s main power distribution system, and they can be difficult to diagnose and resolve without the necessary equipment and training.


You no longer have to worry about an embarrassing overflow because your tank sensors are now perfectly precise.

You are also familiar with the most effective tank treatments and maintenance techniques. Your recreational vehicle’s sanitation system is in fine working order and ready to embark on a journey. All that remains is to get your brother in law to get off the sofa.

Finally! Simple, Accurate Holding Tank Levels

A selection of trade periodicals is delivered to my door every month, including current industry trends, RV-related business pieces, and new product introductions. I am constantly on the hunt for things that we can sell on our website that are both functional and innovative, as well as standing out from the crowd. When I do RV Maintenance Seminars, one of the most often asked concerns is “What can I do to ensure that the gauges on my black and grey tanks are reading correctly? My response is based on what the RVer should do to limit the number of false readings: Dump immediately upon arrival, use tank flushers, flush a bag of ice cubes down the toilet and drive to break up the waste and tissues trapped on the sensors, and so on.

  1. For some who are genuinely dissatisfied, the solution has entailed investing hundreds of dollars to install an external monitoring system “that the RV manufacturer should have put at the manufacturing,” to use a term that is frequently used.
  2. Keep the current monitor display and wiring in place, and ensure that tank levels are always precise.
  3. First, a brief overview of how these systems are designed to work: A number of sensors mounted on the side of the waste holding tanks, which are connected to a coach monitor panel, were installed since water is a good conductor of electricity.
  4. Depending on the design, either the end or the head of the screw is visible within the tank, just off the inner tank wall, depending on the design.
  5. When the monitor panel switch is turned on to display readings, the sensors that are in touch with the tank fluid conduct electricity, and a matching light indicates the level of the tank fluid.
  6. It is sufficient to simply replace the present sensor or to install a probe nearby in order to constantly have accurate level measurements.
  7. A narrow shaft wrapped with Teflon tubing is attached to the plastic body, and the other end is connected to the monitor wiring at the opposite end of the shaft.
  8. Teflon is a non-wetting substance that is also self-cleaning, ensuring that trash does not adhere to the probe.
  9. False readings can be caused by residue on the tank wall as well as a little current leakage.
  10. When the roof is installed, it is oriented such that it is at the top of the structure.
  11. A second option is to have the probes installed by your RV dealer, which will be far less expensive than purchasing a new monitor system.

Take a look at theRally SpecialsPage on our website to discover how affordable these probes really are. Place your order and have them installed, and you will never have to guess about the level of your holding tank again.

RV Holding Tank Indicator Not Accurate

Written by Dave Brimlow () Instructions on how to repair a malfunctioning RV holding tank monitor Despite the fact that we have emptied both holding tanks on our ’93 Rockwood Bayport, the indication panel still indicates that holding tank2 is two-thirds full. Is there a valve that we haven’t found yet? I’ve discovered three of them: one beneath the shower and the other two near the discharge station. Passport America offers campers a 50 percent discount on campsites. ANSWER:No, you did not forget to turn on the dump valve.

  • This is a problem that a large number of RVers encounter.
  • The first thing you should attempt is some RV Probe Cleaner to see if it would restore the functionality of the probes.
  • Several other RVers have reported success after adding a few drops of Dawn Liquid Dish Detergent to their black and grey water holding tanks.
  • As a result, do not use Dawn in your Fresh Water Holding Tank ever again.
  • Please refer to the video below for further tips on cleaning your holding tank monitor probes as well as how to avoid this from occurring in the future.

Here are some of the goods mentioned in the film that may be purchased: wand for cleaning the tank of an RV RV toilet paperRV Probe CleanerRV Probe Cleaner If none of the recommendations above work, it is possible that there are additional issues causing the gauges to not function properly, such as a broken transmitting unit, a bad gauge, or other issues.

Some RVers have given up hope that their tank gauges will ever provide accurate readings and have grown rather adept at just determining when to dump their tanks.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

It is possible to include them on this page by clicking on the “Click Here to Post Comments” link, which is situated near the bottom of this page.

Fill out the form below to receive The FreeEverything About RVing GazetteNewsletter

David Brimlow contributed to this article () RV Holding Tank Monitor Issues and How to Resolve Them On our ’93 Rockwood Bayport, even after we emptied both holding tanks, the indicator panel still indicates that holding tank2 is two-thirds full. Possibly a valve that has gone unnoticed. The three that I discovered were beneath the shower and at the discharge station. With Passport America, you may save up to 50% on camping grounds. The answer is no, you did not forget to turn on the waste water drain.

  • The majority of RVers have experienced this issue.
  • First, you should attempt some RV Probe Cleaner to see if it helps to restore the functionality of your probes.
  • Dripping some Dawn Liquid Dish Detergent into their black and grey water holding tanks has proven to be successful for other RVers.
  • As a result, do not use Dawn in your Fresh Water Holding Tank once again!
  • Please refer to the video below for further tips on cleaning your holding tank monitor probes as well as how to avoid this from occuring in the future.
  • Here are some of the products mentioned in the film, with links to their respective websites: tank-cleaning brush for recreational vehicles The RV Probe Cleaner is a cleaning tool for RVs.
  • In certain instances, you would need to have a Certified RV Technician assess and repair the issue.
  • Thank you for your time.
  • Do you have any recommendations or remarks?

RVing in Alameda, CA Get Your Article Featured on Everything About! If you have written an article on RVing, camping, or the great outdoors and would want us to publish it on, please submit it to us using our Submit An Article Page on our website.

How To Clean and Restore Gray Tank Sensors In Your RV

Unique Camping & Marine receives a commission from qualifying Amazon purchases as an Amazon Associate. The following are the most important points:

  • It is possible for food grease, soap scum, and other gray water debris to accumulate on the sensors, leading the level monitor to display “full” when the level is really “low” or “empty.” Follow the step-by-step methods in our tutorial on How to Clean and Restore RV Holding Tank Sensors to correct misreading gray sensors. If numerous treatments with Dawn Ultradish soap do not restore your sensors, it is possible that they are simply damaged and need to be replaced
  • However, this is rare.

We receive hundreds of reports from RVers who are having problems with misreading sensor gauges, so you are not alone in this battle because it is extremely frequent. Even if you are a full-timer who has to utilize their gray tanks while cleaning sensors, avoiding these difficulties in the future and correcting present problems are simple tasks. It is our goal in this post to offer a brief explanation of why gray sensors may be misreading and some resources for quickly restoring them to good operation.

Why Are Your Tank Sensors Malfunctioning?

Sensors fail for only two reasons: 1) they are overloaded; and 2) they are underpowered.

  1. Something is blocking the sensor’s view. In the event that something (even a small layer of grease) is covering the sensor three-quarters of the way up to the top of the tank, the monitor will always read three-quarters full, even after you have dumped
  2. Sensors are not working properly. If your sensors are just malfunctioning, it might display full, empty, or any combination of these readings
  3. It could also display no data at all.

There are a variety of items that can hide the gray water sensors.

  • Oil and grease
  • Soap scum, lotions, shampoos and conditioners
  • Food waste
  • And more
See also:  What To Do About Neighbor'S Septic Tank? (Solution found)

The vast majority of seasoned RVers understand that it’s critical to maintain control over what goes into your gray tank in order to avoid sensor issues. In order to accomplish this, many people wipe their dishware before washing in order to prevent as much grease and food debris from going down the drain as possible. As a result of the difficulty in preventing all food waste from flowing down the drain, some people choose to install a strainer in the drain to capture any stray particles of food that manage to escape the paper towel wipe.

  1. As the water level increases with use or decreases with dumping, the grease might cling to the sensors and cause them to malfunction.
  2. However, it is still vital to monitor what gets into your gray tank.
  3. Getting rid of this coating of oil, soap scum, or other combination that has built up on your gray tank sensors is as simple as purchasing the appropriate dish soap.
  4. If you would want more information on how the sensors operate, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of common cleaning processes and solutions, please see the Why Are My RV Sensors Not Workingguide.

Restoring Your Gray Tank Sensors

In order to minimize sensor troubles, many seasoned RVers understand that it is critical to regulate what gets into their gray tank. To do this, many individuals clean their dishware before washing it in order to prevent as much oil and food debris from entering the drain as possible. Adding a strainer to the drain is recommended since it is difficult to prevent all food particles from entering the drain. This will collect any stray pieces of food that manage to escape the paper towel wipe. Some grease will still make its way into the gray tank, which means that boondockers and dry campers who must keep the gray valve closed will have a little amount of grease floating on the water’s surface while they are not using the toilet.

The gray valve may be left open for campers who have a sewer connection, which means grease sticking on higher sensors will not be an issue.

Refer to our guide on What to Allow in Your RV Holding Tanks for a more in-depth discussion of what you should and should not allow in your holding tanks.

Following that, we’ll provide you with the materials you need to clean the gray sensors and restore them to their proper operating conditions.

Please see the Why Are My RV Sensors Not Workingguide for additional information on how the sensors operate, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of various cleaning processes and solutions.

Preventing Gray Tank Sensor Issues

Having fixed your gray tank sensor probes, it is always essential to take precautions to avoid sensor difficulties in the future. The Unique Methodis by far the most effective method for doing so. Because dry campers and boondockers are more sensitive to gray water sensor difficulties, we recommend that you use ourDry Camper Pack, which will help you prevent sensor problems when you have to keep your gray valve closed while on the road. When you purchase this package, you will receive all of the treatments necessary to maintain your tanks clean and odor-free, as well as an useful instruction on treating your tanks while boondocking.

Adopt The Unique Method

You purchased your recreational vehicle so that you may enjoy life and spend time with family and friends on the road. The last thing you want to do is squander valuable time and resources attempting to resolve wastewater holding tank complications. It is not necessary to spend a lot of time or money on keeping your tanks in optimum functioning condition if you follow our tried and true process: The Unique Method. After years of talks with actual clients who were dealing with genuine difficulties, we developed The Unique Method, which is a complete tank maintenance plan.

Try it for yourself and learn why thousands of campers rely on TheUnique Method to keep their RVs running well every day.

Get in Touch With Us

Also in Guides and Resources

How it worksUPDATE:The inventor of the Horst Miracle Probes now hasan even better invention!This new improved product is the ultimate in detailed measurement, and will measure 3 or 4 tanks up to 1/8″ accuracy. It’s maintenance-free and is easier to install.Please go to this website to learn more about theNEW Horst Miracle Gauge:(This website will still remain available for those who still want information on the Horst Miracle Probes.)Water, just like metals, conducts electricity.Everyone knows you should never stand in water when there is a thunderstorm because you might get hit. If you are showing a full reading on your gray and black holding tanks, it is because electricity is flowing between the probes.A circuit was established between the monitor and your tank probes, through the water or sludge.This is why a red light appears on your monitor, showing you that you may be 1/3 full, 2/3 full or completely full. But what if you are showing a fullreading,when you know that your tank is empty? The problem exists because sludge builds up on the probes and alongside the tank.This slimy sludge is able to conduct electricity.With current probes, the buildup on the probes of the tank creates that complete circuit.Thus, causing your light to go on. Here’s a short video that will demonstrate for you why your current black and gray tanks show that they are full, when you know that they are empty.It will also demonstrate why the Horst Miracle Probes work.This Product isMANUFACTUREDIN THE USA
The patent pending Horst Miracle Probes will solve your tank reading problems.Why?
  • The probe itself has the capability of self-cleaning. The stem section is covered with Teflon tubing, which means that sludge will not be able to adhere to it
  • The Teflon tubing is also nonconductive. As a result, there is no connection (or circuit) between the tip of your probe and the slimy sludge deposit that has formed on the interior wall of your tank. Until the actual water and sludge levels come into touch with the tips of the probes, a full circuit cannot be completed. Because the black water probes have a ‘cover’ over the copper tip, toilet paper and other debris that may get stuck on the probe are not a concern.
In the past, recommendations have been made to drive around with ice cubes in the tank or using chemicals to temporarily solve this problem.None of this is necessary anymore.Just change the existing probes with Horst Miracle Probes andeliminate embarrassing surprises.
Black Probe:Grey Probe :
Watch this demonstration video done by Jim Grich of the American RVer.Here’s an example using a transparent tank. The 3 probes on the left are placed so that they sense the different water levels.Electrical current flows between the metal tips of probes connected to a PLUS (+) of a battery and the one on the right, which is connected to the MINUS (-) through the liquid.This current lights up the LEDs._Privacy Policy © RV Probes,All rights reserved

RV Holding Tanks: The Ultimate Guide on Holding Tanks for RVs

Your RV holding tanks are responsible for allowing you to use the restroom — as well as the shower and the kitchen sink — while traveling without leaving a trail of wastewater behind. Holding tanks, as the name indicates, are used to store wastewater generated by your home and store it beneath your coach until you are ready to dump it into a public sewer system. There is also a freshwater holding tank, which allows you to use fresh water even if you are unable to connect to the city’s water distribution system.

Everything you need to know about RV holding tanks will be covered in this essay, from how to distinguish between black and gray water (which is critical!) to how to unclog a stoppage.

As previously stated, there is not (often) a single holding tank for your RV; rather, there are three different holding tanks for your RV to use.

Each requires certain maintenance practices to function properly; for example, you must put particular chemicals in your black water tank to aid in the breakdown of solid waste and the preservation of the odor-free operation of your RV toilet.

But first, let’s go back to the beginning. What precisely is the black water holding tank in an RV and how does it function? And what other options do you have for RV holding tanks? The three distinct RV holding tank systems are shown in the diagram below.

  • Water that runs from your sinks and showers is referred to as gray water. In other words, it is the reasonably clean wastewater that may contain soap residue or food particles, but which normally does not contain anything particularly noxious. Water that has been contaminated by human feces is referred to as black water. A fresh water tank may also be installed, letting you to utilize your onboard plumbing system even while off-grid camping or boondocking.

In order to keep them functional (and as odor-free as possible! ), each camping holding tank must be dumped (or filled) individually and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. In particular, many campers are interested in the size of their RV’s holding tanks, because it is the tank capacity that has the ability to compel you to finish a boondocking camping vacation sooner than you would have liked. After all, once your wastewater tanks are full (or your freshwater tank is dry), you will have no alternative but to connect to a city sewer and water hookup in order to dispose of the old and replenish your supplies with the new.

courtesy of GIPHY However, the good news is that the normal holding tank size for an RV is actually quite acceptable.

(Obviously, larger recreational vehicles will have greater holding tanks, in basic terms.) No matter what large your tanks are — and the only way to know for sure is to contact your dealer or owner’s handbook — the length of time you may go between dumping operations is a question of personal preference.

  1. Having discussed tank size and capacity, let’s move on to what occurs when those tanks reach capacity: dumping.
  2. Most recreational vehicles are equipped with an onboard sensor system that allows you to monitor the levels of each separate tank.
  3. umm.
  4. watching things rise to the surface.
  5. An essential point to remember is that you should avoid emptying your tanks before they are completely filled, especially in cold weather.
  6. If you want to dump your tanks, you’ll need to step outside your RV and find a location along your sideboard where the waste tank valves are located.
  7. This is standard practice.

In order to prevent it from coming free and causing a really nasty mess, you may want to have someone lay their foot, or even a block, on the end of the pipe that connects to the municipal sewage.

Always empty your black tank first; this will allow the gray tank to wash out your hose with its comparatively clean water once it has been drained.

Whether or not your campground is linked to a sewage system, close both valves when the tanks are completely empty—leaving them open is a surefire way to create a clog, as the liquid waste water will flow through while the solid waste is allowed to build.

Potable water hoses are often white in color, making them simple to distinguish from other types of hoses.

Draining your tank is accomplished by opening the drain valve located at the bottom; refer to your owner’s handbook for precise instructions on how to do so.

What happens if you have a clog in your drain?

You should constantly use a good black tank deodorizing and cleaning chemical, which will aid in the breakdown of solid waste and the preservation of the fresh scent of your toilet.

The compounds are available in both liquid and powder forms, but employing them makes a significant effect regardless of the form.

If your fresh water tank is polluted or smells bad, you may clean the RV’s holding tank using regular home bleach to eliminate the odor.

  • Run the water until you can smell the bleach, then turn off the water and let the tank to rest for at least 24 hours after you have drained all of the bleach water. Fill the tank with water and then run the water again until the bleach smell has disappeared. After that, you may refill the holding tank as usual.

If you use RV holding tank cleaning and empty your tanks on a regular basis, the odds of encountering a blockage are little to none. Also keep in mind that you should only use toilet paper designed exclusively for RVs, which will help you avoid a clog in the first place by preventing it from occurring. Quick-dissolve toilet paper is significantly gentler on the sensitive systems in your RV. It is also lot less expensive. Having said that, if you find yourself in the position of having to unclog your holding tanks, you don’t want to employ the same type of rough-and-tumble approach you would use on your household metal pipes.

  1. A typical procedure is replacing the RV toilet and plumbing system with a conventional, residential commode and completely removing the RV holding tanks.
  2. Because this type of plumbing is not usually straightforward or simple, you may need to hire assistance.
  3. RV holding tanks and plumbing systems are not as reliable and durable as the ones you are accustomed to at home!
  4. How to clean the holding tank sensor in your RV by pouring soapy water through the whole system is demonstrated in this video.
  • RV Plumbing: PartsFittings — Please Read Before Proceeding
  • To have on hand for plumbing repairs and projects are a variety of tools. This article contains all you need to know about the RV plumbing vent cap. What You Should Know About Unclogging an RV Toilet 8211
  • How To Unclog An RV Toilet 8211

To prepare for an RV holding tank replacement, the first step will be to remove your old tanks, which we’ll cover in more detail later on in this article. It is possible that you will need to develop schematics, install a fresh water pump, and mount your black and gray water tanks according to the manufacturer’s directions before you can complete the installation of your new RV holding tanks. If you want to do it yourself, Install It Yourself offers an excellent tutorial on how to do it here.

There are some situations when it may be more cost-effective to engage a plumber; in this case, it is advisable to discover how to identify a reputable RV repair specialist before you begin shopping about!

In most cases, you’ll need to remove the toilet in order to get access to the black water holding tank, however you may be able to reach the tanks totally from the sideboard of your recreational vehicle.

If you have any questions, you should check your RV owner’s handbook.

Despite the fact that RV holding tanks are not the most visually appealing components of an RV, they are an unavoidable fact of life that must be dealt with.

Maintaining them will make your self-contained RV feel more like a home while you are on the road. It is possible that this content contains affiliate links.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *