Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Drippity Drip

Well, we think we have found our leak.

For the past several years we have been using bidet attachments on our home toilets which saves a ton of money on toilet paper and adds a strangely pleasant finale to every trip to the bathroom. It is particularly invigorating since I was too cheap to buy a water heater attachment for any of them. Anyway, about a year ago I had one installed in the Bounder.

Now, installing one of these things at home is a fairly straightforward, 30 min. "do-it-yourself" project, but the plumbing in a motorhome is distinctly different and none of the fittings match, so I had our favorite local RV repair place put the thing in and they did a great job, we never had a bit of trouble with it.

Cheap bidet
So when we got the new motorhome, the first thing we did was take it in and, among other things, have them install a Biffy Bidet. They somehow jury rigged the connections and got all the hoses to fit behind the toilet in a space about a half-inch wide. Well, guess where our leak was. Behind the toilet, in the space about a half-inch wide. It would probably be fairly easy to tighten it up except there is no possible way to get at it without removing the toilet, which I'm not really up for. So we're living with this leak for the next two weeks. With the pump on, it's about a drop every 3 or 4 seconds.

We've worked out a system where every time we turn the water pump on, when we are done we turn the pump off, let the pressure out of the system and then flip the bidet handle to drain all the water above the toilet so it doesn't gradually run down to the leak point. You have to cover the waterjet so it doesn't spray all over the bathroom. Vicki uses a glass over the spray. I've discovered it's easier just to sit down on the throne and run it until the soothing sensation fades away. Ahhh...

We also learned another important lesson. Don't leave your sewage drain valves open. RV waste water is divided into black water (water from the toilets and kitchen sink) and gray water (water from the bathroom sink and shower) each with its own holding tank. We have a small washing machine in the  new motorhome and it also drains into the gray tank.

At the end of our first weekend trip to Julian, we decided to try out the washing machine and I opened the gray valve so that the water could drain directly into the sewer system. After the laundry ended, I apparently unhooked the sewer line and capped the opening but forgot to close the gray water valve. This somehow allowed fumes from the black water tank to enter the gray water tank.

I guess  sewer gas is heavier than air because we didn't notice anything amiss until I started taking my first shower this trip. Then the water draining into the gray tank displaced the sewer gas and sent it rocketing up into the shower producing the smell from hell. At first I thought my shower water was being pumped directly out of the black tank, but after some reflection I decided this wasn't very likely. We went out to the dump cabinet and found the valve open. I closed the valve and removed the cap, releasing about a quart of black sludge. I have no wish to know what that was. We just hosed the cabinet out, hooked up the sewer line and drained everything. Leaving a valve open is a mistake I hopefully will not be making again anytime soon.

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