Tuesday, January 19, 2010


So they say every RVer has a sewer story something like that of Robin Williams movie RV to tell. Well 1 1/2 yrs in and we have ours now:0/ 4 days ago after a cold spell then warmer days followed the gauge was saying 3/4 bordering on the full and knowing we had a few warm days with us thought we would fill up the black water tank and dump it. Yeah NOT!
Days 1 and 2- So we are full and it is nearing dark and nothing is moving in the out direction so we thought great things are frozen so I fire up our 170,000 BTU heater and run it under the RV for several hours to heat things up and help thaw out. Next morning still nothing moving so remove everything from the basement cabinet and open up the 2nd door and blast the heater directly on the tank itself. Another tank of Propane later still nothing! Now note it has been in the glorious 40s and even one day hit 50 degrees…welcome to our beloved false spring here in MT…the calm before the nasty spring storms are upon us. So we started inquiring around and talking to others and surfing the net for possible solutions to this delicate situation…lets just say fortunately there is 3 gas stations just up the road from where we are parked…lol. Carl insisted I should be able to unscrew the bolts and remove the valve…I got 2 unscrewed about the time he called back and asked me to give better detail what it looked like under there….remember he works ALL the time so really I know more about our rig than he does and insisted before I started out on this venture that I didn’t feel easy that this was going to work and I felt like this would be something like Robin Williams getting hosed. Well after being able to give him a better description he said stop put the screws back. He was glad he decided to call back otherwise he wouldn’t get to come home to sleep for at least a week as I would be so hot with him insisting I should be able to go this route…lol. Hangs up saying Welcome to RV life honey…yeah thanks

Day 3- More research, get a hand auger and insert thru the toilet…nothing. Shove it up thru the outside pipe ….NOTHING still. All this time it is just me as Carl is working not able to break away. Me growing more impatient and thus far no answers other than we might have to take it into the shop…but the shop is closed until next week (well they reopened today after a month long closure). I resorted to the wet/dry shop vac to siphen out from the toilet entrance so we can at least use our own bathroom. Was rather disgusting and esp when trying to scoop it out and pour down the sewage drain outside. Lets just say this was NOT exactly the highlight of my day. To top it off I was only able to get so much out. I also discovered working in the sewage field was not in the cards for me! AND I think those that choose to work in this field are NUTS…I don’t care how much you get paid but hey all the more power to ya and in this economy I suppose at least its a job…but EWWWW Yuck gross no thanks for me.

Day 4- Get a name for a local guy that works for the RV Center that is closed but does his on side business. Phew at last someone locally to talk to for help. So he said to do the hand auger…been there done that but what the heck lets do it again. Nope nothing. So Carl shows up for a few and we called the guy back -he said to run a hose with some kind of high pressure down the toilet…Nothing but getting fuller… Next tip… drill exactly in the center of the backside of the valve to get to the blade…Problem where there is space, but not enough space to get a drill back there…NEXT? Now we cut into the valve about 2″ back from the front of the valve handle so we can see the blade and pull it all the way open as it is possible that this could be detached when we tried opening when it was really cold and stuck in the closed position. Guess what yep you got it…NOPE not the problem…so now we have to replace a valve that was perfectly fine! Carl has to leave- has a call in Big Sky he must get to…ok fine I will figure something out. He said I just as well pick up all the mess between the hose, auger etc and put the insulation back and close up the skirting etc. I say back to him that little comment of Welcome to RV life have a great day.

Me being stubborn and really ticked at this point and knowing that SOMETHING HAS to work!!! Called the guy back and said well I know we can’t use Drano as that is something we have been told in the very beginning of our RV journey that you NEVER EVER use. SO is there something comparable that we can use to try and unclog our tank. He said back up whoever told you to never use Drano was misinformed themselves that it IS perfectly SAFE to use Drano on the RV system….ARe YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!!!! SERIOUSLY???? He said he never mentioned that to me as typically that is the first thing people think of and do.
So I get the 10 miles into town and go to Walmart where I know it will be cheapest and WOW didn’t know there were so many options. Question of the moment now -is which one will best get the job done??. All the while talking with a friend in KS that called and she was like so what are ya doing…well just looking at the drano aisle lol – this got a good laugh going which I very much needed at this point. Anyhow finally even though said not for toilets…this isn’t a regular toilet for all intense purposes this is nothing more than a septic system and it is safe to use on metal and plastic pipes. After reading the back of nearly every Drano bottle decided to go to the Max and get the heaviest duty thing on the shelf. Its an emergency I am SICK of dealing with this issue so lets go the red bottle…;0) Now it said for clogs use half the bottle…serious clogs use whole bottle…I considered this SERIOUS at this stage lol so dumped the whole bottle. Waited the 30 mins rather than 15 mins for good measure. Then started dumping the hot water down as directed….FREAK OUT session… as I saw the foam back up into the toilet and the water rise higher and higher. So quickly shut off water and at this point on the verge of tears when I hear a BLURP BLURP WHOOOOOOSH…. WOOHOO it worked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DRANO is my new BFFN(best friend for now)…oh along with the A&W Rootbeer and Slim Jim I picked up while at Walmart…wasn’t really sure how they were going to help and fit into the equation, but realized in the midst of my delimma that I hadn’t eaten or really drank anything all day long and that I was a wee bit light headed. It gave me that last little oomph to keep going at this project that laid before me. I would say that not being able to use your toilet is right up there with no hot water…only with water you can boil if need be no matter what a pain it might be.
Now back to more important things in life…like planning our New York trip to get our new family member that will fortunately not be contributing to toilet issues. OH and an FYI I found during my net surfing time…CALGON water softener works great at breaking down things while it sets in the tank and keeps down odors. I hadn’t used any of the regular RV chemical stuff in a month as it really didn’t seem to help with odor too well without dumping the tank every 3 or so days whether needed or not…but maybe just maybe it was helping break things down.

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