Monday, June 10, 2013
When on-board RV toilets first came into vogue there was no choice. Plastic toilets were the order of the day. Now there's a huge influx of porcelain thrones. While many RVs typically come with a plastic toilet, they're often a manufacturer option, and certainly for those looking to replace an existing toilet, china or plastic is the choice we face.
So what's the difference? One "toilet propaganda" advertisement photo compared "typical RV toilets" to potty chairs. In terms of operation, both china and plastic toilets do the same job, and typically in the same fashion. Just how you feel while seated on the throne, for the most part, is a function of the height of the toilet and the construction of the seat. However, one –shall we say, "stout" – RVer did comment that he found that many porcelain RV toilets did not have as large a surface area where touching the floor as did plastic ones, and as a result, he felt a bit "tippy" sitting on a china toilet.
There are those who say that a porcelain toilet is easier to clean that a plastic cousin. It would seem you have a wider range of permissible cleaning agents to use on porcelain, and it does seem to have less of a tendency to stain. If you travel in areas of hard water, you may notice the difference, in which case china may be a better choice.
In terms of price, nowadays the comparison is so close as to be nearly negligible. You can purchase a Thetford Aqua Magic V plastic toilet (one of their best sellers) for $112. The same Internet retailer sells a Dometic 310 "China Toilet" for $115. You'll pay a few dollars more for the shipping charges on the latter, porcelain being a bit heftier.
Which takes us to the other question, weight. If you are watching your RV weight carefully, then take into account the added weight of a porcelain pot.
So weigh your options and needs. It should take much of a whiz kid to figure out what's best in your RV bathroom.
Monday, May 20, 2013
|Courtesy Camping World|
Some toilet models allow the addition of an after-market spray nozzle kit. Do you flush a Dometic? There's an after-market kit for that. It includes a spray nozzle, a clip to hang the nozzle on, and installation kit that includes a vacuum breaker. The purpose of the latter device is to prevent any liquids from the spray nozzle assembly from making their way backwards an back into the RV water supply system. Camping World will sell you one for a little over $60, but by being smart and shopping around, you can beat this price.
Keep in mind, in addition to the issue of these critters being a bit on the pricey side, some RVers have complained that because the thing is plumbed through the toilet supply line, there can be a bit of a loss off pressure, making your cleaning efforts a bit more difficult.
There are alternative approaches to this matter. Some RVers report (and we personally have experienced) that their shower head will reach out from the shower stall and down to the throne with ease. They just use the shower head to blast away at any undesirable bowl dwellers. OK, this is a really cheap solution, but unless you can hang onto the shower head while holding it over the bowl, then stretch and reach the shower control valves to turn on the pressure, you're apt to get a few drips on the floor. You pays your money . . .
Other alternatives? Sure enough. Put a plumbing T in the water line that serves your toilet. Incoming water flows into the T, then one side out to the toilet, and the other to a hose line leading to: 1) A shower head (with appropriate shut off valve) 2) A toilet bowl rinse head, or 3) a garden spray nozzle. The latter seemed like overkill to us, but hey, it does develop quite a stream.
But what about a vacuum breaker? If you're clumsy and apt to drop your new toilet bowl blaster in the pot and leave it there, yeah, you might want to add the vacuum breaker. Otherwise, it would seem pretty unlikely that icky stuff could make its way back into your fresh water system.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
First, what's a recirculating toilet, and how does it work?
A recirculating toilet looks a lot like a common RV toilet, only it's not "moored" to the floor of the RV, being completely portable. Rather than dumping waste into a mounted holding tank, the system uses stored water and chemicals that dissolve the solid waste and then recirculate the wastes and water for multiple flushes. The wastes are contained in the toilet system, and when full, the unit is taken out of the RV and the contents dumped at an appropriate location.
You may have already experienced a recirculating toilet if you've taken a trip on a Greyhound bus or a flight on nearly any airline. Recirculating toilets are common on those conveyances.
So how about eliminating the worry about emptying holding tanks with the use of one of these "recirc" biffies? Several RVers who've used them report that while they do work, depending on your use level, these toilets have to be dumped every few days. So how often do you have to dump your RV black water holding tank? Will you be out in the boonies longer than your black water tank can wait for a dumping? True, it's easier to carry a recirc toilet out to the car or truck and drive it to a dump station than it is to hitch up a trailer, or maybe even break camp with a motorhome to head out to dump tanks.
But there are other considerations. First, the cost of a recirc toilet isn't something to take lightly. A popular recirculating toilet is manufactured by Thetford, the Electra Magic Model 80. Look to pay somewhere over $400 for the unit. The money layout doesn't stop there – you'll need to keep the thing "charged" with holding tank chemicals to kill the bacteria.
We've heard from RVers who've used recirc toilets, and the most common expression we hear are things like, "Yuck!" and "Stink." While the holding tank chemistry does supposedly kill the odor of the wastes, it tends to replace it with a lingering sort of fragrance that most people would prefer not to have hanging around their RV. Would you like to have your in-flight drinks served to you in the airplane bathroom?
If moving your RV away from your boondocking spot every couple of weeks to dump the holding tank isn't workable, consider a couple of alternatives: A "blue boy" portable waste tank to haul away the wastes, or a "porta potti" style portable toilet which uses fresh water and doesn't recirculate your waste products. The latter are a whole lot less expensive than recirc toilets, don't use near as much chemical, and from our own experience, smell a whole lot less offensive than visiting an airliner bathroom.