Why Do You Need an RV Toilet?
It is of paramount importance that your RV is spick and span. RV toilets let you do your business at your convenience and in total privacy as at home. Hunting for camping sites to use communal toilets where hygiene can be dicey. It takes the juice out of your cherished road trip. Or those untimely ‘gotta go’ moments. Squirmy, right? You would be gnashing your teeth; if only I had installed that toilet.
RV toilets are full-sized, comfortable and whether you are on the road or camping, the whole family can have the time of their lives totally stress-free, especially if you have kids around.
RV Toilet: Buying Guide
a) Macerating Flush RV Toilet
The waste is macerated into a viscous slurry by motor-powered blades, the waste going into a large holding tank. This system allows the toilet and the holding tank to be located apart from each other. The maceration renders the effluent more fluid and makes the discharge from the tank efficient and thorough.
b)Gravity Flush RV Toilet
For decades, this type has been tried and tested. It is by far the most traditional RV toilet. Its operation is simple. The contents of the bowl drop directly into the holding tank necessitating the tank to be situated directly under the bowl.
c) Vacuum Flush RV toilet
This consists of a macerating vacuum pump and a vacuum vessel. The contents of the bowl are sucked out powerfully and consequently pumped into the holding tank. Here too, the toilet and holding tank can be located away from each other.
d) Portable RV Toilet
These toilets are meant for tent camping and small campers. Portable toilets consist of a lightweight plastic toilet bowl and a small, removable waste tank integral with the bowl. Once full, the tank is detached and the contents disposed into a toilet or a waste disposal station. It is reattached the bowl again.
e) Cassette or Cartridge RV Toilet
The design is a compact toilet bowl permanently installed above a ‘cassette-style’ effluent tank that is small and detachable. Flushing delivers the contents straight into the tank, which when full can be removed through a service door. The contents are disposed into a toilet bowl or through a waste disposal station and the tank repositioned.
f) Composting RV Toilet
Waste disposal through the composting process is effective, odorless, and environmentally friendly. A composting toilet does not need water, plumbing, flushing nor the addition of any chemicals. Liquids and solids are separated and the solids, by aerobic degeneration are converted to humus. The humus is returned to the soil, an ecological benefit.
Some RVs are so small that even a little bit of space matters a lot. Your options for a toilet will be limited in such a case. For instance, a smaller RV would require a cassette toilet. Another important factor is that the toilet should be able to swivel 360° to enable use in any position. For narrow spaces, low profile toilets may be considered.
3. Ease of Installation
A standard, full-size RV toilet or a portable unit should be simple and should not consume a lot of time for installation. A toilet is vital for camper traveling and should come with clear and concise instructions, Instructions for repair should be uncomplicated. The best RV should be easy to clean and maintain.
4. Built to Last
Plastic is the most commonly used material for RV toilets. The grade of plastic can vary. It is not as durable as porcelain but can still function well. A porcelain commode is a sure bet as far as longevity is concerned.
Hygiene rules when it comes to picking the best RV toilet arrangement. Foremost, flushing should work flawlessly. The valve seals should be airtight, well-fitting, and leak-proof. Ingress of bacteria into your motor home cannot be allowed as it is a closed space and the spread of infections is to be avoided. Another crucial area is that the toilet should not emit a foul smell.
Owing to the fact that there are several types of RV toilets, it follows that the comfort level of the toilets is also pretty variable. For instance, a high profile toilet which is easy to perch on may be your preference. Seats that slowly close or made of wood are options. Other fancy choices are remote flushing control, backlit toilets, and so on.
Depending on your budget, RV toilets can be of plastic or ceramic. Pricier models may be of china or porcelain. Seat covers are usually plastic or wood.
8. Flushing Type
There are two kinds of flushing systems: the foot-pedal flush and the hand flush. The foot pedal flush can be a bit tricky. Some units require the user to fully depress the pedal to flush and then raise it halfway to fill the bowl with water. Another system calls for depressing the pedal halfway to fill and step on it all the way down to flush.
The hand flush works in a similar manner: halfway to fill and all the way down to flush. The major difference between the two is the placement.
In recent times, electric flushing models operated by a remote switch or an electric flush handle have gained popularity.
9. Type of User
Toilets that are high profile are favored as they are the same as household toilets. More so for the elderly. A low profile toilet may be used but it should be mounted on a raised platform. An electric toilet with a customary flush handle or wall switch is an apt option for senior citizens.
10. Waste Capacity
The larger the tank capacity, the longer you can spend on the road without having to discharge the waste. The flip side is that the longer the waste is retained in the tank, the higher the chances of smells leaking out from the toilet.
So a tank with greater capacity will add to the comfort of your trip and you don’t have to stopover at waste disposal stations often. If your tank size is restricted, consider installing a secondary tank.
Space is always at a premium on RVs. The available space will determine what sort of a toilet you should opt for. If you have small space, you will want to go in for a low profile gravity flush and a standard (not elongated) commode. If space is a deal-breaker, then go in for a portable toilet.
$100-$150 will fetch you a decent RV toilet. You’ll have shell out in excess of $150 for a premium toilet but you can sleep easy knowing that it is designed to give you ultimate comfort.
Cleaning & Maintenance Tips
Neglecting the maintenance of your RV toilet and the septic system could cause you untold misery. Here are some tips and solutions to a hassle-free RV toilet.
1. Repair the toilet seal
The RV toilet seal holds water in the toilet barring black tank odors. When the seal hardens or dries out, the water can leak into the holding tank letting lose all those yucky black tank smells out. The fix for this is to lubricate the seal with plumber’s grease and that should do the trick. Make sure you wear gloves while carrying out this procedure.
2. Clearing the holding tank sensor
Sensors are sensitive. The sensor in the holding tank is vulnerable to give errors if any gunk is on it. The reading might show full even after you’ve emptied the tank.
A nifty way to clean the sensor is by dunking ice cubes inside your toilet. The ice cubes move around in the tank and clean stuff lodged in the tank and also the sensor.
3. Tank treatment
An RV washroom needs to be treated regularly to break-up wastes and toilet paper allowing a thorough rinse when pumping out. Patent deodorizers and treatments are available off the shelf and come in both liquid and drop-in form.
4. Ensure your toilet bowl is clean
These days a number of RV toilets come with a connected spray when the flush is weak. Older models do not have this feature. You can fill a glass and empty it all around when flushing. A clever trick adopted by RVers is to keep a plastic water gun handy to clean the bowl.
5. Ensure toilet paper used is RV friendly
Using the wrong grade of toilet paper can seriously threaten the smooth functioning of your septic system by clogging it. By not fully dissolving, they cling to the sensor resulting in erroneous readings. RV-friendly toilet paper is available. Go for it.
RV Toilet Using Tips
- Only waste and toilet paper, as minimal as possible should go into the toilet. That means no butts, bugs, sweepings, and so on.
- Conserving water is of extreme importance, especially if you are boondocking.
- Take short baths
- Harvest rainwater whenever you get the chance
- Place toilet paper in the shape of a ‘T’ before you use the toilet. This ensures that the solid matter goes into the tank easily so you don’t need to use a lot of water for flushing.
- Use the ‘fast flush’ technique. Depress the flush pedal and release it quickly.
- Turn off the vent fan before flushing.
It’s Time to Wrap Up
Your RV toilet is the one single piece of equipment that can be a deal-breaker. All is hunky-dory when it is humming along. When it fails, you are up to your neck in something foul. Seating comfort and an efficient flushing system are the driving forces for a fully functional RV john. Most people, therefore, prefer a high profile, full-size toilet. If budget is not a constraint, go premium and choose among the best RV toilets. A vacuum toilet with a high profile, full-ceramic, slow-closing seat is a good choice. Your reward; a powerful odor-free toilet that consumes little electricity and power. The resulting free-flowing effluent can be pumped out easily. You can gloat while other RVers throw you killer looks.
1. How does a toilet work in an RV?
Ans. The principle is no different from your domestic toilet. Water from your flushing tank or the freshwater tank flows in and flushes. The waste is retained in the holding tank for pumping to a waste reception facility or the tank can be emptied into a household toilet.
2. How do you flush an RV loo?
Ans. With a pedal flush, you press down halfway to admit water and press down again fully to flush. The same is true for a hand flush too. In an electric system, you just have to press on the button for flushing to be carried out.
3. My RV toilet stinks. Why?
Ans. A camper toilet will start smelling if the seal is leaking, it is clogged, the tank has sustained damage or it has not been cleaned in a while. It can be done away with by unclogging or sanitizing.
4. Can an RV washroom be replaced with a house toilet?
Ans. A home toilet is not recommended. Specially designed for motorhomes are replacement type toilets. The water consumption of an RV toilet is minimal, unlike a home toilet. Home toilets don’t have a flush tank and would cause spills. Furthermore, RV toilets can withstand road travel which involves turn, twists and bumps.
5. How do I add water to my RV toilet?
Ans. Depressing the pedal or turning the handle halfway allows water to run into the bowl. Full depression results in the flushing operation.
6. Can I use bleach to clean my RV toilet?
Ans. Yes. It is one of the best ways to clean and sanitize the holding tank. Mix a quarter cup of bleach with a gallon of water and fill the tank up. This way the liquid can slosh around in the tank breaking up any residue.
7. Fixing an RV toilet that is clogged. How?
Ans. Turn off the water connection. This is important. Boil some water and pour the boiling water into the bowl. This should do the trick. Then there are toilet plungers, augers, and chemicals for this purpose. But the boiling water trick has shown to be pretty foolproof in unclogging your RV toilet.
8. What is the distinction between a Thetford and a Dometic RV toilet?
Ans. Replacing the ball seal is very easy with the Dometic models. It can be accomplished from inside the bowl. For RV toilets by Thetford, the bowl has to be taken apart, that is, the bowl should be removed from the stand to replace the seal.
9. Which of the two is better - the Dometic 310 or 320?
Ans. The difference between the two is minimal. The 310 in our opinion has a slight edge because of its PowerFlush system but overall the 320 is more functional.
10. How to make an RV toilet smell better?
Ans. The process is called sweetening the tank. The tank has to be first cleaned and scoured. Add a patent tank sweetener such as Spic and Span or Pine Sol.
11. How to use RV toilet chemicals?
Ans. Chemicals for RV toilets are enzyme compositions. These are added to the black water tank and work in breaking down tissue and waste. This enables the tank to be emptied more readily and also eliminates black tank odors.
12. How to replace an RV toilet?
Ans. Turn off and disconnect the waterline. Unscrew mounting bolts. Remove the old bowl. Clean the flange. Put new bowl in place and tighten mounting bolts. Connect up the waterline. Done.