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Simplify Black Tank Dumping with an RV Macerator Pump

We’ve never met an RVer that enjoys dumping their black tank. It’s one of the downsides to this lifestyle. Yet, while it may be a necessary chore, it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. With the help of an RV macerator pump, you can simplify the black tank dumping process. Let’s take a closer look at how this nifty device takes some of the ‘ew’ out of all the ‘goo.’

What Does an RV Macerator Pump Do?

If you’ve ever dumped a black tank, you’re most likely familiar with the standard wide-mouthed, slinky-like sewer hose used to get the job done. This standard dumping method relies on gravity to move the waste from your black tank through the hose and into the sewer. Which, as you can imagine, might be difficult if the waste is thick or if you’re trying to dump uphill.

RV sewer Hose

This is where having an RV macerator pump can really be useful. Like a garbage disposal in a sticks-and-bricks home, the RV macerator will grind the waste from your black tank into a slurry that can more easily move through a sewer hose. Once the waste is liquified, the pump helps push the waste through the hose, making for a faster and more efficient dump.

Many newer rigs come with a macerator pump built-in to the water system. However, if your RV is older or did not come with one, you have two options. On some RV models, a unit can be permanently installed. Otherwise, you’ll need to purchase a portable pump.

Pro Tip: Try out one of these 6 Best RV Sewer Hoses and discover how to choose which one is right for you.

How to Use an RV Macerator Pump

Using an RV macerator pump is relatively simple and straightforward. The macerator pump will come with a sewer hose attachment, which is usually quite a bit narrower than a traditional sewer hose.

Prot Tip: If your hose attachment has a cap, be sure to remove the cap before you begin to avoid a messy disaster.

First, you’ll screw the hose attachment onto the dump station connection. Then, open your RV’s black tank valve and switch on the macerator pump. If you’re planning to drain your black and gray tanks, it’s usually best to dump the black tank first.

Once you’ve switched on the macerator, you’ll hear the pump (which sounds similar to an air compressor) working. Wait for your black tank to completely empty, then turn off the macerator pump and close your black tank valve. Repeat the same process for dumping your gray tank.

How To Use an RV Macerator | 5 Easy Steps

The Benefits

An RV macerator pump comes with several practical benefits. As previously mentioned, one of the best benefits is that you can pump waste up an elevated area or even over further distance. It adds flexibility to the process, so you don’t have to be right next to the dump hole to empty your tank.  

Another benefit is the narrow sewer hose. Because the macerator grinds any solid waste, it’s much easier for the waste to pass through a smaller hose. With an RV macerator pump, you can ditch your massive 3-inch sewer hose and free up a little more of your storage space.

Sale
Camco RhinoFLEX 15-Ft Camper/RV Sewer Hose Kit -...
  • SUPERIOR RV TANK DUMPING: Streamline RV tank dumping with...
  • BUILT FLEXIBLE & TOUGH: Constructed with 23 mils of durable...
  • PATENTED DESIGN MADE IN THE USA: This product is proudly...

Lastly, these devices are generally less messy and smelly, which is always a win when you’re RVing! This is due to the smaller hose design that is fully self-contained and easier to handle than a large slinky hose.

The Disadvantages

Of course, every RV gadget is going to have a few disadvantages. Here, we’ll discuss three of the most considerable downsides to owning an RV macerator pump.

First, you must keep an eye on the macerator pump as it is dumping, and be sure to turn it off once your black tank is empty. It only works appropriately with adequate water flowing through the device. Allowing the pump to become dry can result in immediate and irreplaceable damage.

An additional con is the routine cleaning and maintenance that’s required to uphold the pump’s lifespan. Without proper maintenance, the pump will likely process the sewage more slowly, ultimately costing you time and money.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that you need more water to dump and clean your tanks when using a pump. This is a challenge for those who don’t have water to spare, whether gray or fresh. 

How Far Can a Macerator Pump Run?

How far an RV macerator can pump waste depends on the model you buy. Macerator pumps like the Clean Dump can pump an impressive 150 feet! On average, though, you can expect most pumps to discharge waste up to 50 feet away.

Clean Dump CDTO Twist-On Portable Macerator System
  • Clean and fast
  • Pumps uphill, Pumps 150 feet
  • No gravity

What Makes the Best RV Macerator Pump?

Wondering what attributes need to be present to qualify a device as the best RV macerator pump? Let’s find out what fantastic features are on the market today.

Features of a Good RV Macerator Pump

Remember how we said you don’t want to let your RV macerator pump run dry as this could cause damage? Well, a good model will include run-dry protection. This means, if you accidentally leave the pump on after the tank is fully emptied, the device won’t immediately burn itself out. Some even have an auto shut-off feature.

portable macerating pump
Flojet Portable Macerator Pump
Source: campingworld.com

Since the macerator’s sole job is to grind waste particles, we suppose the more it grinds the gunk, the better. Without getting too technically graphic, the preferable option is to have the waste more liquefied. Your best bet is to look for a macerator pump with multiple blades made of a durable material like stainless steel to ensure the waste is thoroughly processed.

Additionally, you’ll want to look for an RV macerator pump with thermal protection. These pumps work hard to grind your waste and get it where it needs to go – the sewer! This also means the motor inside the pump could potentially overheat if overworked. For this reason, choosing a pump that has thermal protection is a good idea.

The Best RV Macerator Pump

It’s no surprise that the 12V Flojet 18555-000A Portable RV Waste Pump is an Amazon #1 Best Seller. This lightweight (1 lb) RV macerator pump offers 30 seconds of run-dry protection.

Flojet 18555-000A Portable RV Waste Pump with...
  • Connects directly to the RV waste outlet, Eliminates 3" (75 mm)...
  • Dump longer distances and drain holding tanks at home using any...
  • Warning: DO NOT RUN DRY FOR MORE THAN 30 SECONDS

It has a remote on/off switch that can reach up to 6′ from the pump itself. This means you won’t have to run back and forth between the sewer connection and the power button when dumping your tanks.

The macerator blades are made of stainless steel and can grind particles down to a one-eighth-inch maximum. Plus, this pump comes equipped with fresh water rinse capabilities for easy cleanup and a rugged case for storage.

With over 1,100 5-star reviews on Amazon and a price point of $250, the Flojet 18555-000A macerator pump is worth consideration.

Our favorite pump for built-in installations is the Thetford Sanicon turbo system. This system is commonly installed on high-end coaches and is known for its longevity and quality.

You can learn more about the SaniCon system over at Mobile Must-Have.

Is an RV Macerator Pump Worth It? 

If you frequently have trouble emptying your black tank or have had to cobble together a contraption to angle your hose towards sewer connections, then absolutely – an RV macerator pump is worth it! This device will save you time and energy that you could use to explore the great outdoors instead of dumping your black tank.

Another option is to install an RV macerator toilet. These toilets grind the waste before it enters the black tank, so you never have to worry about black tank clogs. Read Pumping Your Poo: How Macerating Toilets Make RVs Better! to learn more.

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Dan

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

Ordered the pump and from the get go, was disappointed that the set ordered was incomplete. I have not had a chance to utilize the pump on my fifth wheel yet. The boots , black and red boots in the picture did not come with the set I ordered. Which is the same as the one pictured.

Dalton

Wednesday 15th of December 2021

This Flojet 18555-000A Pump has made my life so much simpler. I have three slides, and it was a terrible pain to drive my trailer to the dump once a week. Now I just pump into a portable tank and drive my pickup to the dump. It offers 30-second dry run protection just in case I forget to turn it off after the waste stops flowing from the waste outlet. And it comes at a reasonable price that doesn’t hit the bank account too hard. In fact, it falls right below the $200 average for an RV macerator pump, which is perfect given the number of times I plan on using the pump I chose.

Dalton

Thursday 30th of December 2021

And it comes at a reasonable price that doesn’t hit the bank account too hard. In fact, it falls right below the 200 dollar average for an RV macerator pump, which is perfect given the number of times I plan on using the pump I choose.

john urbas

Tuesday 27th of April 2021

A macerator can also be used to dump in a regular or vault toilet. Be sure to get the hose past the bend so you still have the water barrier to block the smell. You mentioned that this system requires more water to work effectively. Can the flush valve be used in conjunction to the macerator to increase water flow?

Jack McGonegal

Monday 26th of April 2021

This was a crappy subject. Good info.