Sewer hoses: Lacking honor — but we all gotta have one


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

smelly-potHere’s something without a lot of glory. It’s a lot more fun to go shopping for something with a little more bling — a smartphone maybe. But those things that have “a purpose lacking honor,” namely sewer hoses, are still necessary things.

On a trip back in the distance, we found ourselves in a commercial RV park (something that rarely happens) with a full set of tanks. I’m embarrassed to relate, however, that not only were those tanks full — the gray water was very full. Call it two inches of standing water in the shower. Sad to say, the layout of the site didn’t allow my 10-foot hose to reach the port, so we called on a friend to bring over his l-o-n-g ranger hose. With everything in place, I pulled the lever for black water, and quicker than you can miss a freeway exit, that horrific stuff was squirting out of a series of pinholes in the hose.

We quickly reevaluated the situation and decided it would be best to simply offload enough of the gray water to safely pull the rig within range of our 10-foot hose. After all, I was afraid the minute I put the throttle down, all that smelly gray water would slosh throughout the bathroom. When we got our own hose hooked up, I again started after that old black water tank. This time the evil stuff made its way out of our hose. Fortunately, by cramming the hose together and holding it carefully (with neoprene gloves), we were able to contain the stuff to the inside of the hose, but it was touch and go – in more ways than one.

The upshot of this wet and windy narrative is this: It doesn’t seem to matter what grade of sewer hose you buy, sooner or later the thing will give up the ghost and leave you wading around in unwholesome liquids. Experience does teach us that the less money you spend on your hose, the sooner you’ll be looking for another one. We bought a “single wall” budget hose for a trailer that we used for a week every few months. In less than the first week, the hose could have been used for irrigating the lawn. On the other hand, our “triple wrapped” expensive hose that gave up the other day has lasted a couple of years of fairly frequent service. My friend’s “no wires” hose, too, lasted far longer than the cheapies.

Over the years we’ve struggled with the sewer hose question. At one point we went to an industrial hose supplier and bought a length of self-flattening fire hose, put fittings on it, and hoped the thing would be just the ticket. After all, self-flattening hoses roll up tight, and this we figured would save lots of space. Save lots of space it did. The trouble is the outfall of sewage just didn’t provide enough pressure to “unflatten” the hose more than a few inches. Boy was that ever a mess! As my wife likes to remind me: Sewer hoses are like members of the opposite sex: Can’t live with ‘em; can’t live without ‘em.

Editor: Here is a link for everything to do with RV sewer hoses at Amazon.



11 Thoughts to “Sewer hoses: Lacking honor — but we all gotta have one”

  1. George G Winialski, CPA, Rhu

    Why anyone would avoid the purchase of the SEWER SOLUTION is a mystery to me. It is easy, reliable, strong, convenient and safe. I bought my first one about 6 years ago and just bought a new one last year. Get rid of the stinky slinky. Have tried them all and was disappointed by them all.
    This is not an ad, have no connection to vendor. You will; not be disappointed, I guarantee it. Best $100 you will ever spend.

  2. Keith Manne

    I don’t know whether to consider this an endorsement or not, but I’ve had one of the “luxury stinky-slinkies” for about 7 years of frequent usage. Mine is brown with orange fittings, and has NEVER leaked a drop. Ends seal tight on both ends. One detail: I carry mine coiled in a leakproof plastic bin, and NOT jammed into sharp steelbumper tubing… Non-abrasion helps longevity!

    One device I *do* recommend is the 12V Flojet macerator-pump. Draining uphill 200′ with cheap common garden hose has saved a lot of frustration over the years, whether reaching inconveniently located/poorly designed sewer dumps, skipping long lines at dumps by draining at home, or just giving the tanks a GOOD backwash cleaning before winterizing.

  3. Mack

    Hey I’m still a novice I guess. My question: do you put the fancy angle connection in to drain gray & black water same as you do when hooked up to a drain? And what if gray water comes out as soon as you hook up hose & before you have hose in drain (oops, right?)

    1. Keith Manne

      I always use the 90* at the dump end to fit that port, splashproof, fumeproof and unkinked.

      I also always use a clear 45* at the trailer end, to view that everything is coming out ok, and when it’s really done…

      As for “oops”, NOTHING should come out before YOU release valves, which you shouldn’t do until hoses are securely in place on both ends… If you’re leaking before you pull releases, clean/lube/service/replace the valves – that’s not a leak you want!

      1. Wolfe

        … Also, no practices should be different with full hookups or rollup dumping – you can leave hose in place with sewer hookup, but you still keep valves CLOSED normally, and dump in “surges” as needed. Leaving valves open makes water flow too weak to move solids, so you’ll literally be keeping your “2” while it hardens into a concrete like pyramid… REALLY nasty or expensive to clean out compared to just pulling your handles properly as needed (2/3 full, or flush until you ARE full before a premature dumping).

  4. Charlotte

    We would get those pin holes and finally figured out it was the corners of the wire clamps that went around the connections. No matter what type my husband insist on putting them on for extra protection (I agree). Solution: wrap tape over the wire. Holes were fixed with gorilla glue so our hose is dotted with yellow dots.

  5. Kevin

    Chuck I have a story for your collection. Let me know where to send it!

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Sure, send it along, Kevin. — Chuck

  6. Vickie Aversman

    One of the first things we learned RVing was to let a little of the gray water out first–just enough to make sure everything was fitted properly (and no holes in the sewer hose), then proceed with the black water tank. Much rather deal with a gray water leak than a black water leak.

  7. Tommy Molnar

    Have you ever noticed when you get together with fellow RV’ers, the topic always gets around to “black water stories”? Everyone has at least ONE good story!

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Tommy, I’d like to put them all together in one story. That might be an all time “most read” article! — Chuck

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