Sewer Hoses: The Most Overlooked Piece Of RV Equipment
They're the vital link that drain your grey and black water out of your camper's septic system.
It's okay to admit that sewer hoses probably aren't on your mind much when it comes to your camper. They aren't fun, they don't cook meals, they don't fold out into beds and they aren't something you'll want to brag to your friends and family about. But sewer hoses for campers are critically important to a positive experience with your RV, camper, motor home or trailer.
If you're here because your existing hose broke and you need a replacement, or you don't have one at all and your septic tanks are filling up fast - you know how important they really are!
The good news is that they are relatively cheap, and are available at most auto parts stores or RV sales lots. But if you can wait a day or two for shipping, you'll find the best prices by ordering online, specifically at Amazon.
What Is A Camper Sewer Hose?
In case you don't know, a sewer hose (sometimes called a "drain hose" or "septic hose") is what connects to the outlet fitting of your camper's septic tanks on one end, and an authorized in-ground septic or sewer system on the other - though you typically don't connect anything on that end.
These hoses are almost always collapsible into a very short size for easy storage, but stretch out pretty darned far thanks to an accordion design. They look they're corrugated because of this.
Most campers or motor homes have a dedicated storage place for these, so you won't have to deal with storing a camper sewer hose in the living space (yuck!). This designated space is usually near the septic tanks for easy access, and is often in the bumper itself - because the bumper is hollow and located at the rear of the vehicle, it's a perfect location.
Who Makes The Best Sewer Hoses For Campers?
This is usually a matter of personal preference, though some of the most popular ones come from either Camco, Valterra. Both of these companies have outstanding reviews and customer satisfaction rankings. Plus they are backed by warranties, which is nice; because the last thing you want to fail while you're holding onto it is a hose that's leaking human excrement!
Camco camper hoses and Valterra camper hoses are highly recommended, but many people report decent success with generic brands as well. You'll probably save a few bucks if you go this route, but in my opinion, the tiny savings is negligible when you factor in the possibility that your small dollar savings could end up as urine or feces on your hands.
Plus, the savings is actually quite small if you buy online. Like I mentioned earlier, you can find really low prices at Amazon, which carries several lengths of Camco and Valterra RV sewer hoses. In fact, it's often just as cheap or even cheaper to buy a brand name hose at Amazon as it is to buy a generic one from your local dealer.
How To Use A Sewer Hose On Your Camper
The following is a generic set of instructions. Your camper, motor home, caravan or RV might be different, so if in doubt, read your owner's manual and follow its specific instructions.
Step 1: Connect the fitting to your septic tank drain.
You'll probably have to remove a protective cap from the septic drain to do this. The cap has a fitting exactly like the coupling on the end of the hose. Don't worry, there's a valve that actually controls the flow through the drain, and it's upstream of this cap. (Note: Now would be a good time to double check and make sure that the valve is closed!).
With the cap off, fit the sewer hose coupling onto your campers septic drain, and spin the fitting until it's locked into position. Double check for tightness and for a good fit.
Step 2: Put the other end into the ground sewer/septic service.
Most older "RV sewer hookups" don't have a fitting, instead you simply put a few inches of hose directly into the hole. But newer ones come with a a fitting similar to the one on the septic tank; if that's the case, screw it on until it locks and check for tightness.
Step 3: Start with the toilet water.
This is a little-known trick my grandfather taught me: If you send the nasty "Black Water" down the hose first, then the sink water (or "Grey Water") will actually help rinse out the human wastes.
Depending on your camper, you might have two separate septic drains, one for each tank. But on many newer models, both funnel into a central drain.
Step 4: Open the sewer valve.
Pull the sewer valve open and let the sewage run. Depending on how full your tank is, this could take as little as a few seconds to as long as ten minutes.
It's never a good idea to open both valves at once, assuming your RV has a common drain like I mentioned above. So drain the black water completely, close the valve, then open the grey water.
Step 5: Close the valves.
Make sure all valves are fully closed before doing anything else.
Step 6. Unattach the sewer hose from the camper.
Unlock and unscrew the fitting, but don't let it hit the ground! Keep holding it up in the air (higher than the rest of the hose) and walk it up until it's nearly vertical with the sewer hookup end. This will let gravity drain the standing sewer water out of it.
Step 7: Screw the cap back on the drain.
Pretty self explanatory, but worth mentioning so you dont' forget.
Step 8: Rinse out the sewer hose.
If you followed my tip above for using the grey water as a "rinse" for the black water, the mess should be minimal. Still, it's a good idea to rinse the inside and outside of the camper sewer hose with fresh water before storing it.
Step 9: Put it away and wash your hands.
And you're done!
Pretty simple, huh?
See, sewer hoses for campers aren't the sexiest piece of equipment on your RV, but they are critically important for a fun experience.