An Introduction to RV Macerator Toilets


The experience of traveling in an RV is benefitted by having a clean bathroom on the go. However, that means plumbing and dumping are all on you. 

What if you had a waste system that didn’t need plumbing, wouldn’t leave unpleasant odors, and even unclogs easily? Feels like a dream, doesn’t it? Meet the RV macerator toilet. 

In this guide, we break down this toilet’s mechanics and pros and cons, and we teach you how to dump the waste.

What Is an RV Macerator Toilet?

An innovative take on the traditional white commode, the RV macerator toilet revolutionizes the flushing process of waste. With the help of built-in stainless steel blades, it essentially grinds up excrement and TP into a slurry like a garbage disposal.

This helps smooth out the pump-and-dump process so RVers are less focused on finding a sewer drain and can enjoy a pleasant, odor-free ride through the country.

Another reason for its popularity stems from the fact that RVers can install a second macerator toilet without compromising on space inside the compact vehicle.

How Does an RV Macerator Toilet Work?

Before we get to how a macerator toilet works, let’s break down what it is made up of so the jargon is easier to understand. 

An RV macerator toilet essentially contains:

  • A series of stainless steel blades
  • A built-in electric motor
  • An attached pump

At first glance, a macerator toilet looks exactly like a commode, but when you go to flush the waste, the process is more than just pulling a knob. At the push of a button, an RV macerator toilet starts its flushing process, which entails the following procedure:

  • First, the built-in electric motor powers the stainless steel blades, and they grind up the solid waste including toilet paper.
  • The waste slurry is then discharged to the holding tank through a pump.
  • The holding tank pushes the waste slurry into the black water tank.
  • By this time, it’s almost liquid, so emptying out or dumping the black water tank is as easy as hosing down a sewer drain.

RV macerator toilets use the same process for solid and liquid waste. The only difference is that less water is used to flush down liquid waste as it does not require grinding.

Why Use a Macerator Toilet in an RV?

sink and toilet

There are a lot of benefits of using an RV macerator toilet, and it has helped many RVers improve their travel experience. Following are a few advantages of RV macerator toilets:

  • Easy Flush

An RV macerator toilet has a simple push button method of flushing waste. As long as you have electricity to power the motor, it will work as promised and fill up the black water tank in seconds.

  • Versatile Installation

Since the waste is pumped to the holding tank, an RV macerator toilet does not need to be situated directly over it. This allows RVers to install the macerator toilet anywhere — even over a Class A coach engine.

  • Prevents Clogs

Because an RV macerator toilet flushes down the waste after grinding it up into a slurry, the tank is less likely to clog. It even eats up toilet paper so that no extra waste is created and all of it can be dumped out in one go.

  • Odor-free

An RV macerator toilet is sealed from the black water tank so that no pungent odors waft through the RV when the waste has been flushed.

  • Environmentally-friendly

An RV macerator toilet uses a smaller amount of water to flush solid and liquid waste as compared to the normal commode system. This helps save water and is better for the environment, not to mention budget-friendly.

Limitations of an RV Macerator Toilet

An RV macerator toilet isn’t limited by many factors, but like any appliance, it does have a few disadvantages that keep RVers from completely switching to macerator toilets.

  • Water Capacity

RV macerator toilets have a specific water capacity that runs their flush cycle. It isn’t a deal breaker if you have a steady stream of water nearby or stock up on freshwater, but it may become a nuisance if it clogs.

  • Motor Malfunction

Since an RV macerator toilet is essentially a motor-powered commode, it could malfunction if it short-circuits. Also, the flush cycle may not be as efficient if the blade rusts or the pump lacks energy.

  • Expensive Recovery

Because an RV macerator toilet is a fairly modern piece of equipment, the engineering is expensive, which means the repair of a malfunctioning part is also expensive. Although it is worth it considering the toilet lasts for 10 to 15 years, the expense can become too much if the toilet isn’t maintained.

How to Dump Out an RV Macerator Toilet

You’ve installed the RV macerator toilet, hooked it up to a stable power source, and used it a couple times — now it’s time to do what nobody looks forward to: dumping out the waste. 

Since the waste is all ground up into a slurry, it’s actually easier and less time-consuming (only requires two minutes) to dump out the waste from the black water tank. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A portable or an installation-friendly macerator pump
  • A garden hose
  • A sewer system nearby
  • Clean or potable water

When you’ve gathered all the tools, consider the location of your dumpsite. If it’s a public area and the drain connects to a city sewer, double check with the local laws in case there are specific regulations for waste dumping.

If the dumpsite is far, make sure to get a longer garden hose and a stronger macerator pump.

If the authorities allow, park your RV near a sewer drain and then follow the steps below to dump out the RV macerator toilet.

  • Open up the dump outlet, usually at the side of the RV just past the black water tank gate valve.
  • Connect the macerator pump to the outlet of your black water tank.
  • Join the pump with the garden hose and lead it through to the sewer drain.
  • Switch the macerator pump on by turning the knob or pushing a button (whichever solution is present on the RV).
  • You’ll see the waste slurry pumping out into the hose to the drain.
  • Essentially, the black water tank will be emptied out of all solid particles (excrement and toilet paper).
  • Lastly, flush any residual waste from the hose and the system by pumping potable water through the grey tanks.
  • Switch off all knobs, disconnect the macerator pump, and close the outlet of the tank.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an RV macerator toilet the same as an exterior macerator pump?

No, an exterior macerator pump allows you to dump on an incline or uphill whereas an RV macerator toilet works on flat ground and grinds up waste similar to a garbage disposal. Installing a macerator pump works great for RVers that are parked close to sewer drains while a macerator toilet can be emptied directly into a black water tank. 

Do macerating toilets work well?

Yes, macerating toilets are easy to install, can fit anywhere, and have an easy dump-and-go process for emptying the tank. Also, they are durable and last up to 15 years without needing professional maintenance. They are also eco-friendly because they actually dump less water per flush than a normal toilet.

Do I need an RV macerator system?

A macerator system is great for RVers that are either parked at an incline or have a dumping port/sewer drain that is installed uphill. Also, if the dumping port is attached higher than the waste tank, you’ll need a macerator system to flush out the waste and prevent buildup.

How far can a RV macerator toilet pump?

On average, an RV macerator toilet can pump the discharge upwards of 50 feet. Some toilets can even pump as far as 250 feet. It usually depends on what macerator system you have installed and whether it is an exterior macerator pump or an RV macerator toilet — the former pumps via a hose and the latter pumps directly into a sewer disposal.

Can you put garbage disposal in an RV?

Yes, you can install a garbage disposal in an RV’s sink, but experts don’t recommend it as garbage disposals use more power than the capacity of the grey tank and may not last as long. Also, you may not need it as often as you think.

Brief Summary

RV macerator toilets have gained massive popularity in recent years because they essentially fit wherever you install them, do not need heavy maintenance for as long as 15 years, and have an easy pump-and-dump process. 

If you do decide to install one, make sure to remember the dumping tips above — nobody likes a clogged toilet!

Beau

Beau is an electrical engineer with a knack for DIY repair and construction. When he's not tinkering with his projects he's on the road travelling and enjoying an exciting lifestyle with his young family.

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