The RV Lifestyle

Should you leave the grey tanks opened or closed on your RV?

This is an age old debate in the RV Community as fulltime RV’ers. A year ago we had our minds made up on what was the best and correct way to manage them. Today? We’ve changed our minds based on our experience over the last 29 months of fulltiming it. We now believe that leaving your Grey water tanks opened or closed completely depends on the situation and in many cases you’ll do both.

Arguments for closed…

1. Prevents food and other material from getting stuck to the sides of the tank. Leaving them closed allows the water to rise which prevents this from happening.

2. Keeps the full/empty sensors in the tank working optimally. You know what I’ll tell you about those sensors? They literally are worthless. At least ours have been. Numerous times we’ve emptied them only for the gauge to still display “3/4 Full”.

3. Leaving them closed gives you the ability to flush the sewer lines once you’ve drained the black water tank. This is true, however, most RV’s have a “black water flush” connection that you can connect a hose to to flush both the tank & sewer lines.

Arguments for opened…

1. You don’t have to worry about being stuck washing dishes or taking a shower and the tank filling up on you.

2. Lessens the amount of use on the valves that you pull to open and close the tank.

3. Reduces the smell coming up from the drains as the tank gets full.

Several solid points on both sides, however, for us…

We now leave them OPEN all the time until it’s time to flush the black tank after emptying it. Here’s why. After the freak snowstorm here in Texas last month, many of you saw in our stories that one of our sewer pipes burst causing an expensive fix. Many of the “Lifers” around the campground knew we had an issue and not a single one of the them did, no burst line or pipes. How? All of them had their tanks open during the 7 straight days of below freezing including single digits on 2 of those days. So from this point forward, we’re copying the RV “Lifers” and leaving them open. Even the mobile RV repair guy said, “oh yeah you need to leave them open”.

Do you leave yours open?

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