All Pro Water Flow RV Holding Tank Cleaning Service Fri, 18 Jan 2019 17:59:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dealing with black/gray tanks Fri, 18 Jan 2019 17:59:53 +0000 This article appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of the RV Women Magazine and is reprinted with their permission. To download a PDF of the article, click here.

Donna Parker, a member of the Texas Ramblin’ Roses Chapter, attended a seminar at the Shawnee Convention that was so helpful she recently shared the information
in the RVW Facebook page that is for members and non-members.

Preston Hall, who started All Pro Water Flow, has presented at several RVW conventions. His presentation on Common Sense Holding Tank Maintenance at the recent Shawnee convention included information about an inexpensive, non-chemical “recipe” to use for your gray/black holding tank treatment. Many of those commenting on Donna’s post said they had been using this same recipe for years, and were very pleased with the results.

The following is from Preston’s website at

During your trip:

  1. Always filter incoming water to your RV (bad water will hurt everything)
  2. When camping, keep both black and gray valves closed
  3. Never empty tanks that are less than 3/4 full. It is ideal to empty your tanks when they are full.
  4. If possible, top off both black and gray tanks with clean water before emptying
  5. Always start off with a small amount of water in your tanks (NEVER start using your tanks when they are dry)
  6. Always use single-ply paper in RV’s and boats

After your trip

  1. When possible, drive home with your tanks 1/4th full and dump at your local dump station (this allows your tanks to “stir” themselves while you’re
  2. Store your sewer hose as clean as possible
  3. If you winterize, always add a little RV antifreeze to your tanks (helps lube gaskets and valves)

“Recipe” for the All Pro Water Flow Tank Solution
Mix up a gallon of this solution to use in both your black and gray tanks while you are RVing. It will keep the internal surfaces of your RV’s holding tanks slippery (reduces build-up), sanitizes the tanks, and has a nice, fresh smell.

  1. Start with an empty gallon jug
  2. Pour 1/4 cup (4 ounces) of Calgon Bath Beads (or liquid) into the gallon jug
  3. Fill the jug 1/2 full with water. Shake well.
  4. Slowly pour 40 ounces of Pine-Sol into the jug. Shake well.
  5. Top off the gallon jug with water. Shake well.

Use 8 ounces (one cup) in your black tank(s) and 4 ounces (1/2 cup) in your gray tank(s) each time, after emptying and backflushing.

Donna added that Preston told convention-goers they actually don’t have to use this treatment every time. Once you get it started, you can treat about every third dump. Some of those commenting said they use Dawn dish soap as part of a holding tank treatment. He discouraged the use of Dawn due to the buildup of bubbles.

Donna said he explained the water softener component of the recipe treats the tank as you use it. Waste floats up and slides out with water pressure. Slip and slide! She also said he told those at the seminar that the cup you add to your black tank and 1⁄2 cup to your gray is not a precise measurement, just eyeball it as you pour it into the toilet, sink and shower drain.

For more information on tank cleaning and care, visit Chapters may also want to have someone from his company speak at a rally.

Preston Hall, a master plumber and RVer, is the founder and owner of All Pro Water Flow, an RV holding tank service that cleans and sanitizes tanks. He presented a seminar at the 2018 Shawnee Convention and is a long-time supporter of RVing Women.

The Importance of a Well-Serviced Water Heater Wed, 30 May 2018 15:57:29 +0000 The standard water heater in most RVs (both trailers and class As) is an Atwood brand (some also have models made by Suburban). The size of your water heater is printed on a sticker on the inside of the panel. Water heaters range in capacity from 6 to 16 gallons.

Unlike residential water heaters, which are much larger, RV water heaters clog up much faster with sediment and calcium. It really depends on the quality of the water that you have been using as you travel across this great country. Obviously a good filter can promote longer life and utility from your RV’s water heater.

Therefore, a once-a-year service procedure is recommended on all RV water heaters to not only check the functionality of the unit but also to remove all of the calcium and sediment from the 2” belly below the drain plug.

Water heaters can also be the source of an odor problem (sulfur or rotten egg) if this build up of gunk gets to be too much. That is why All Pro Water Flow remains committed to include the water heater flush in our “Total RV Flush Service.”

If you want your water heater to function efficiently and use the least amount of propane and electricity, make sure you don’t neglect it. One day it will start leaking because of rust (up to an $800 repair) and COLD showers are not fun!

Happy Camping!

A Tale Of Three Holding Tank Treatments Mon, 09 Apr 2018 20:19:56 +0000 We get asked about RV holding tank additives all the time, and one in particular — Tank Techs RX. Here’s what we think and know.

First of all, these three tank treatments work very well in RV holding tanks for odor control and waste break-down. These three tank treatments are the only tank additives that All Pro Water Flow dealers recommend. When we find items that work for RVers, naturally we want to pass on the information so that many can enjoy the benefits.

These three additives are TANK TECHS RX, ODOR AWAY, and SCENT GUARD. All three of these additives are produced by SCD Probiotics and ALL of these products are THE SAME PRODUCT.

They’re the same ingredients in the same one-liter bottle and the only difference is the number of middle-men involved in their marketing to the RV industry.

As Paul Harvey would have said, “And now for the rest of the story”

If you buy SCENT GUARD from, you get the one-liter bottle for $11.95. If you buy ODOR AWAY from, you will pay $13.50 for the one-liter bottle.

Now if money is no object, and if you truly believe that the more money you spend, the better the product will be, then you need to buy TANK TECHS RX at a 300 percent markup because of GREED. Just $39.95 for the same one-liter bottle.

It’s your choice.

“STINKY SLINKY”: The Do’s and Don’t’s of the RV drain hose Sat, 07 Apr 2018 16:58:36 +0000 The 3” RV drain hose — also known as the “Stinky Slinky” — is a very important RVing tool. Therefore, when you arrive at your next RV park, take a few minutes and do a proper set-up of your whole RV waste disposal system.

“How do I drain my tanks in the most efficient manner and not slow down water flow which kills suction?”

Keep your sewer hose off the ground — and straight. In this kind of setup, waste will drain slowly, if at all.

The best way to drain your tanks is to set up the hose with a proper grade. It should be higher at the RV side and lower at the dump side (the part that goes into the ground; where the RV park or resort collects waste material from each site and then sends it on to a local storage tank, leach field, or the municipal waste handling/processing system).

Whether you use an articulated bridge, ramp, concrete blocks, or even rocks, when you do this, you are taking full advantage of gravity flow and the suction that it creates.

The best way to increase tank flow suction would be to never empty your tanks until they are at least 3/4-full to completely full. This creates greater down pressure and sucks the debris out of the tank.

This is the proper way to set up your sewer hose. Downgrade and kept off the ground.

And remember to always empty the black tank first then the gray to clean the hose.

Another benefit of using bridges and ramps in creating proper grade is that you keep your stinky slinky off of the ground, adding additional life to the hose and keep it free from holes.

Happy Camping!

Bum Paper: Single Ply verses Double Ply Wed, 28 Feb 2018 19:31:47 +0000 What happens when you take a closer look into your holding tanks?

In 2003, we ran special underground video cameras into the holding tanks of RVs and boats to study the effects of single-ply toilet paper versus double ply paper on these tanks.

To our surprise, we found out that there is a difference between these type of bum papers and the ease of maintenance on holding tanks.

Everybody knows that single-ply paper breaks up quicker than double-ply because of the thickness of the soft, fragile paper. But nobody knew that single-ply paper floats on top of the liquid in the black holding tank, which speeds up the breakdown process.

Our cameras also showed us that double-ply paper — because of its weight — sinks to the bottom of the tank and gets mired in the sludge at the bottom. This slows down the breakdown process and makes everything a worse mess than it already is.

Do you need to buy RV toilet paper?

No! There are two very good brands of supermarket-available, single-ply toilet papers on the market. Both Scott’s 1000 sheet single ply and Angel Soft single ply are very good options.

What about macerators?

Now let us look at the different types of RVs and their waste systems. Most of the 13 million RVs from coast to coast do not have macerators pumps and should be using single ply paper. These RVs rely on gravity flow and down-pressure to remove waste from the black tanks.

RVs that do have macerators can handle double ply paper better but if the paper is still at the bottom of the tank and cannot break up, it will not come out. Therefore, additional backflushing is needed to get the black holding tank completely clean.

In both cases — single-ply and double-ply use — an annual, professional cleaning by an authorized All Pro Water Flow agent is recommended (full-time RVers may require professional cleanings more often).

The lesson here is that single ply paper is better in both cases; with macerator pumps or without. At least that is what our cameras showed 15 years ago.

Holding Tank Stoppage Wed, 07 Feb 2018 19:30:12 +0000 “Our black tank in the RV is plugged up in the toilet tank. We bought one of those back-flushing devices and back washed the tank several times. We took a snake and ran it as far as it would go from the toilet side and still the tank will not drain. The snake seemed to just coil up. Is there something else we could try?”
– Randall, Phoenix, AZ

“Randall, the subject of those dreaded holding tank blockages surfaces from time to time. It’s further compounded when the holding tank is not positioned directly under the toilet. The optimum set-up finds the toilet drainpipe going straight down and into the holding tank without the use of elbows. Unfortunately some manufacturers, because of the floor plan design, are forced to use elbows to connect the toilet to the black water holding tank, which I’m guessing is the situation on your coach. Additionally, toilet tank blockages often occur when tank valves are left in the open position while in the campground allowing all the liquid to drain out leaving the solids behind to dry out and stick in the drain piping or coagulate at the tank outlet. Always keep the tank termination valves fully closed until each tank is above 3/4 full before evacuating. In most cases, an almost full tank will provide enough force to completely drain all the solids along with the liquids.”

“Perhaps it’s time to contact All-Pro Water Flow. Their specialty is hydro-cleaning holding tanks and drain assemblies by using very high water pressure and a special nozzle that allows cleaning of the entire tank interior. I recommend this procedure at least once a year anyway to keep the tank probes clean and to eliminate false readings on the monitor panel. Back-flushing with typical city water pressure will not adequately clean or clear stubborn blockages.”
– Gary Bunzer, The RV Doctor (

Waste Management Woes Wed, 07 Feb 2018 19:28:07 +0000 “What is the best method for thorough cleaning out of the sewer holding tank? Maybe like a pump or a back-wash system or an inside flush system?”
– Darryl, Albuquerque, NM

“Darryl, if I had to pick just one area where I feel RV manufacturers have let us down, I would have to pick the waste management system.We can all agree that waste management is probably the least appealing aspect of the RVing lifestyle. But to enjoy the total freedom RVs give us, it is something we must endure.”

“Thankfully, many RV coach builders have just about mastered the waste containment part by going to full-flow 3-inch outlets on all tanks, including the gray tank, improving the venting, adding better, non-invasive, monitoring systems and installing electric termination valves at the container outlet instead of a manual valve at the end of a long drain pipe. These additions to waste systems have generally made containment and evacuation easier and much safer. And safety is the key when it comes to the health and well-being of RVers! Just ponder the many bacteria, viruses and other disease-carrying critters that must thrive within the holding tanks and termination assemblies of our coaches. But, a serious problem lies between the termination assembly on your rig and the inlet to the dump station or sewer connection at the campground. That gray area (no pun intended), is not governed by any standard! Both entities, the RV manufacturer and the campground, leave that totally up to the discretion of the RV owner. Think about it, that portion of waste transfer, the most vulnerable to spillage, leakage, contamination, and disease, is left to the end user; in many cases, a novice RVer with little or no experience in the correct methods of evacuation and transfer.”

“I’m also a firm believer in allowing both holding tanks to be filled to above 3/4 full before emptying; the fuller, the better. The more force you have behind the evacuation, the less chance you’ll have of leaving contents behind. Any residual build-up in the bottom of any holding tank will eventually grow to become a blockage. You’ll notice I said “both” holding tanks above. Many RVers are instructed to leave open the termination valve for the gray tank and simply let it drain continually while connected to the campsite sewer inlet. This practice will leave behind a residue that will dry out and lead to odors and possible blockages. That’s right; holding tank odors can emanate from the gray tank as well as the solid waste tank. Fill them both and then evacuate when near full. Additionally, leaving the gray tank valve open all the time disrupts the sewer venting balance within the campground sewer system itself.”

“Ever notice a waste odor while strolling through the campground? With open gray valves, the campground now has multiple vents (individual motorhomes) spewing odors closer to the ground via the gray vents on the RV. It’s common practice to dump the black tank first, then the gray tank in order to help rinse the solids out of the termination piping and sewer hose. Continue to do this. I also recommend, where practical, to flush each tank with lots of clean fresh water to help rinse away any particles left over after evacuating. You cannot use too much fresh water in this step.”

“My final recommendation is one you’ll have to sub out. Locate a dealer offering the cleaning services of All Pro Water Flow. This company employs high-pressure hydronics (500 – 3,000 PSI) for cleaning the entire interior of each holding tank. Macerators and pumps may allow holding tanks to be evacuated faster while RVing, but the results will not likely be cleaner or more thorough than liberal amounts of high-pressure water spraying the entire interior surface of each tank once or twice a year (depending on use). For those holding tanks with internal monitor probes, this process will eliminate those erratic tank readings also! Randall, this service will eliminate your current condition.
– Gary Bunzer, The RV Doctor (

Black Tank Flush Not Working Wed, 07 Feb 2018 19:24:58 +0000 “I have a 2006 Fleetwood Pacearrow 36B, and this is the first time I have had this problem. The black tank has a built-in San-T-Flush device that I think may be partially blocked as I am not getting the usual water pressure from it. Water is getting through, but not with enough pressure to really clean the tank. My question is, can this be cleaned somehow without having to remove the tank? I thought of possibly filling the tank and adding some sort of chemical, then let it soak for some time. I would appreciate any feedback you could offer.”
– Olwyn

Thank you for your recent email to the RV Doctor website. Sorry to hear about the issues with your tank flush. I am not a big fan of these products, simply because they are prone to failure in my opinion, and cannot adequately clean the inside of an RV holding tank in the first place. It might be good for filling and rinsing, but the gunk that builds up inside the tank (that promotes disease, shorts on monitor sensors and causes odors), is almost impervious to common water pressure simply being forced into the tank. I’ve been convinced that the better option and the only way to effectively clean the inside walls of holding tanks is by using extremely high water pressure; somewhat approaching 1,500 PSI or even higher in some cases. All Pro Water Flow is a company that performs such services. You’ll have to contact them to find the nearest service provider in your area. They actually can go as far as inserting a video camera into the holding tank before and after the cleaning process. The results are dramatic.”
– Gary Bunzer, The RV Doctor (

Plumber develops new service industry with General’s help Thu, 02 Feb 2006 19:23:23 +0000 This article originally appeared in January 2005 issue Plumbing & Mechanical

Creatively blend proven technologies with intimate market knowledge. Add a dash of innovating thinking — and a business can really grow fast!

Just ask Preston Hall of All Pro Water Flow. In less than two years, the Colorado-based entrepreneur has revolutionized how the world cleans RV, aircraft, and boat holding tanks. And that’s resulted in authorized service centers and training operations in six states — with more on the way.

An RV owner, Hall grew concerned with inadequate, unsanitary chemical treatments for vehicle holding tanks. As a professional plumber for 25 years, he then used video inspection equipment to confirm his worst fears.

Forget foul odors. Hall discovered that conventional chemical cleaning failed to remove the appalling risks of dangerous disease contamination. “Our cameras clearly proved that chemicals don’t do the job,” he says, “What we saw of the typical RV holding tank sanitation was absolutely horrid.”

Choosing the right equipment

So he marshaled his professional and technical experience to devise a safer, more competent and thorough solution. And that launched what Hall claims is the “biggest untouched service industry in the United States in 50 years.”

Working with General Pipe Cleaners, Hall incorporated General’s proven “Jet Set” technologies with his proprietary equipment to found All Pro Water Flow.

General’s gas- and electric-powered water jets — with on-demand Vibra-Pulse® for greater nozzle thrust around tight bends and down long lines — have long offered professional drain cleaners indispensable weapons against grease, sediment, ice and other soft blockages.

With a wide variety of “Jet Set” models available, Hall admired the company’s reliable, rugged technology, transportability and safety features. He chose General’s J-2900™ gas-powered water jet as his “power” source.

Reliability proves critical

An economical alternative to larger gas-powered jets, the J-2900 is lighter and more maneuverable, yet maintains the same pressure and flow rate as other jets in its class.

Power comes from an 11 horsepower Holda engine connected directly to a 3,000 PSI, 4 gallons/minute triplex pump. The 300-foot capacity hose reel with a reel brake and brass swivel is mounted on a heavy-duty frame with two pneumatic tires for maximum stability and easy handling.

That proved the launching pad for Hall’s new business. He then developed a dozen custom adaptors — all patent-pending — and adapted the J-2900 for All Pro Water Flow’s proprietary cleaning system,

“We employ a variety of special hoses and nozzles for various holding tank cleaning jobs,” Hall says. “But the J-2900 is the power behind the technology we developed.”

Environmentally sound solution

With All Pro Water Flow, RV owners need no longer rely on chemicals to rinse holding tanks of odors and disease-causing waste material. “We’ve proven that friction from water flow, under carefully regulated pressure, thoroughly cleaning hold tanks,” Hall points out.

He noted that harsh chemical cleaners eventually enter municipal sewage treatments plants. So All Pro Water Flow’s proprietary approach makes environmental sense, too.

“Depending on holding tank size, we hydro-jet in fresh water at thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch,” he says. “And everyone knows that clean water is better for the environment than chemicals are.”

Dear Good Sam Sat, 08 Jan 2005 19:20:53 +0000 GIVE ME A BREAK! Formaldehyde down a septic system is okay? After reading Dave Bessmer’s article, you would think formaldehyde was safe to drink. Thetford Corporation is practically the only company in the country that says it’s safe for a septic system.

The EPS says it is “a probable carcinogen; moderately toxic to human (1).” OSHA reports formaldehyde causes known health hazards when touched, swallowed, or breathed (2). In 2004, the National Cancer Institute reports the International Agency for Reseach on Cancer (IARC) reevaluated the existing data that formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen and reclassified it as a known human carcinogen (3). There are hundreds of other references against its use. In fact, Thetford holding tank deodorants have a warning in red letters, “This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.” This all boils down to, DON’T USE IT!

Formaldehyde either kills the good bacteria needed to liquefy solid wastes, or it has a preserving effect (embalm sound familiar?), preventing biological activitiy from occurring. This preserving effect can be p[revented by aerating the wastewater. This means septic systems need to provide added oxygen to make the formaldehyde dissappear so the bacteria can come out of suspended animation to do their job. If oxygen isn’t provided, the system stops working (4).

What can campgrounds do about providing added oxygen to their septic systems? Spend thousands of dollars for a better system to process maximum loads. THis is Thetford Corporations’ chief chemist’s solumtion to the problem. Or we can all help campground owners by not using formaldehyde.

Bessmer’s article says it’s okay the way the formaldehyde is going into the system as lomng as we RVers empty our tanks frequently using a lot of water. I agree. However, if you’re using a lot of water, why use a chemical that will eventually find its way into our water table?

Good try, Mr. Bessmer. Better luck next time.

— Preston Hall

(1) “RV Holding-tank Treatments & Deodorizers in Septic Systems,” by Kitt Farrell-Poe and Russ Radden, Cooperative Extension. The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, June 2001

(2) “Formaldehyde,”

(3) “Cancer Facts Formaldehyde and Cancer: Questions and Answers,” National Cancer Institute, July 30, 2004

(4) “Effects of Recreational Vehicle Wastes on the Treatability of Domestic Wastewater,” by William Thomas, Florida Water Resources Journal, January 1995