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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Not All RV Toilet Chemical Is Made The Same

I always remember back in 1998 when we bought our first camper which was a 1995 Jayco popup.   We did 3 trips in and all three it rained hard!  I also realized with my crew (my wife Michelle, daughter Kaileigh (5) and son Chase (4)) if we where going to be mobile we needed an on-board bathroom.  So we went hunting for a motorhome and found a super cool 1989 23' Winnebago Chieftain.  It needed a little TLC, but
in no time I had it looking like new.  But boy was I a newbie to RV'ing!  And I always had trouble with the sanitation end of things.  There where many trips when we would all get a big whiff of black tank smell and  then the kids would start screaming, and chaos would ensue.   Initially I had been adding the recommended amount of chemical and then as time went on I would add a lot more just to try and cover up the problem.  Well a few RV's later, many more RV toilet chemicals tried and very little improvement we happen to get a call from Chempace just as we started up RVupgrades.  They wanted to stop in and introduce themselves and their line of toilet chemicals.  Chempace was looking to get into the RV market and was currently the #1 toilet chemical provider to the portable toilet industry.  So I spilled my story about how horrible my experience had been with RV sanitation and they started to ask me some questions.  Like how much water I used when I precharged my RV's black tank.  "Uh, well maybe a few toilet bowls full" I replied.  They smiled and said, "well that's your problem, you have to have enough water to cover what ever goes into the tank or it will always stink, no matter how much chemical you add."  Man did I feel stupid, in an RV you are always conserving water when your not hooked up, and my thinking was I did not want to haul around a ton of water for no reason.

Well many years later, a ton of research and a whole lot of testing we have concluded there is no universal formula for RV'ers to use when it comes to which and how much RV toilet chemical to use and how much water to add.  There are so many factors such as tank size and shape, tank ventilation, RV ventilation and an RV'ers tolerance to smells.  So I am not going to preach that you need to do these certain steps to achieve RV toilet tank bliss, it truly is something that you will have to experiment with to achieve the results you desire.   But I will say water will be the key to making your RV toilet chemical regimen more effective.

Now there are basically two different types of RV toilet chemicals, the cover-up style which added with the proper amount of water can be very effective for short periods of time like a weekend outing.  And then there are the bacteria/enzyme type of chemicals.  These attempt to break down waste and neutralize the smell and designed for longer stays.  You can get on the different RV forums and the discussion as to which RV toilet chemical is the best is as hotly contested as is the debate as to which NASCAR driver will win this years championship.  So I am not here to get into that battle, we sell just about all of them and they all have reviews on how well they work from that particular individual.  But if you on the hunt for a new chemical I can relay my particular experience with a product that has left our RV smell free.

I am particularly sensitive to smells and so we always have some sort of ventilating fan on which can cause issues especially when you flush the toilet and you get a nice back draft of tank smell.  Another problem I have encountered is on really hot days, say in the 90 + range along with high humidity, almost no cover up RV toilet chemical can really handle every bit of the smell.  So I am always on the hunt for that solution that could handle every situation.  Hot days, extended stays and improper ventilation, something that truly does neutralize the smell in the black tank of your RV.  And I am happy to report I have found the holy grail of RV toilet chemicals.

Kronen Holding Tank Treatment
Kronen Premium Holding Tank Treatment
We are always on the look out for new RV products and late last year we received information on Kronen Premium Holding Tank Chemical.  I will be honest we did not immediately add them to our product lineup, mainly because of my thoughts on bacteria style chemicals.  The majority of camping occurs over the weekend and that is just not enough time for any digesting style product to work.  So most people find them ineffective and they are the lowest selling of all of the toilet chemicals we handle.  But the name came up again and we decided to look at their website and technical information.  It sounded very interesting, and I liked that the amount and type of bacteria they used can digest waste in hours not days. But anyone can but together words to make their product sound effective, the proof is a real world test and I had our purchasing department bring in a bottle.

The first thing most people do with any holding tank chemical is smell it.  I did the same-thing and Kronen holding tank chemical has a very subtle citrus scent.  It certainly is not enough to cover up black tank smells, so I was thinking this stuff better neutralize odors or they would quickly be out of business.  Before beginning our test we rinsed the tank multiple times to remove any trace of previous chemicals we had been using.  This is very important, do not expect good initial results if your tank has remnants of a different chemical which may counter act with the new product.  The tank in our RV has a capacity of 72 gallons and is the width of the RV.  The deepest section is below the toilet and we add about 10% fresh water to pre-charge the tank.  We then added 7 ounces of chemical per the instructions of adding 1 once for every 10 gallons of capacity.  We would not be filling the black tank over the weekend, but for now we where following the instructions. We started testing in the spring so the temperatures where not ideal for a hard core torture test, but we did do things like run the ventilating fan located right above the toilet.   And I can tell you we where immediately impressed with the lack of smell and as summer approached we found ourselves in more prime testing weather with still the same no smell results.

Since the Kronen product works so well for us I decided to give it a try in a Blue Streak Toilet Chemical
Blue Streak Chemical Metering System
metering system
.  By utilizing the Blue Streak system just a small amount of chemical is delivered during each flush and you end up not wasting so much toilet chemical especially on shorter stays.  It also alleviates the process of remembering to add chemical each time you go out.  You will still need to add water to the tank and if you do not have a black water flush device to do this, you can use the hose clamp provided to add the water through the toilet flush and not waste chemical while doing so.  Since the Kronen product has such a subtle scent you never get overwhelmed by a perfume smell, it's almost undetectable. On a recent 2 1/2 week trip to the south where temps and humidity were as high as they get , we still enjoyed great results.  I am not going to say that if you turn a vent fan on high in a bathroom, open the toilet valve you might not get some sort of smell, but it will be minimal.  We never experienced a big whiff of black tank even with a full tank while traveling from one location to another.  Actually, toilet smell was never even brought up on the entire trip.  And that had never happen before.


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