RV Macerator Waste Pump Systems 101

rv macerator waste pump

When RV Macerator Waste Pump Systems first hit the market in the early 2000’s, I was one of the first in line to install one in my RV.  I remember distinctly meeting the creator of the RV Sanicon system at the RVIA show, and thinking this was the biggest advancement in RV accessories the industry had seen in a very long time.   I detested the traditional method of dumping the tanks and that 3″ hose with the mess it presented.   While RV Macerator Waste Pump Systems enjoyed some early success, it turns out they were not the huge sensation I thought they would be.  Although recently they have seen a bit of a resurgence, and with my years of use I thought I would pass on some advice to help you have the very best experience with a RV macerator pump system.

So what is an RV Macerator Waste Pump System anyway?  Well, to put it in simple terms, the system is just like the garbage disposal you have in your kitchen sink.  It uses a motor that drives stainless steel blades which grinds up solids into very small pieces that are pumped down a hose to a sewer connection. So why would you need that, you might be asking.  The advantage of this type of system over a gravity fed 3″ sewer hose is the ability to pump uphill and through

portable rv macerator system

portable rv macerator system

a small 1″ discharge hose which takes up less space.

There are two types of macerator pump systems, portable and permanently installed.  The permanent systems are available with a direct connect 3″ bayonet fitting or 3″ remote hose and stay installed in a dedicated sewer bay.  The portable systems are designed for RV’s without a dedicated sewer bay and feature a 3″ bayonet on the pump that gets temporally installed at the outlet of your RV’s sewer pipe.  There are lead wires you run to a 12v battery and you can get these systems which feature a 1″ hose discharge hose or versions that require you to supply your own hose.

The reason why I love this type of system is the ability to have a completely closed loop system.  Meaning once installed, there is no chance of coming into contact with waste.  Obviously this would only be the case if you installed the permanent system.  The not so rosy part of the RV macerator waste pump system is that it does need maintenance and there really is no set time frame that this might need to be done.  While it is pretty easy to do (simply remove the pump from the motor and clean the impeller), if the pump were to stall out because it was not done, it can be a pretty messy process especially if you were dumping the black tank.   In my case, my wife and daughter both have long hair and I found that we needed to clear the impeller once every few months, while other users we know can easily go a full season or longer with no issues.  Another potential issue with the system is if it encounters anything other than what should go down a toilet it will come to a grinding halt.  Generally not a problem for seasoned RV’ers who know the horrors of a clogged sewer hose, but if you have guests stop by be sure to explain this very important factor.

The two main players in the 12 volt powered macerator pump category are RV Sanicon and Clean Dump.  Both systems use the same pump, so the big difference in the systems is in the discharge hose that they use to transfer waste to the dump station.  RV Sanicon features an awesome expanding 7′ to 21′ hose that takes up very little storage space, but could lower the flow rate of the pump slightly.  RV Sanicon also has a patented grey water bypass feature that allows you drain your grey tank without turning the pump on.  The Clean Dump system uses a smooth wall heavy-duty discharge house that wont lower the flow rate of the pump but is bulkier and takes up more storage space.

So let’s look at the pros and cons of  RV Macerator Waste Pump Systems versus the traditional 3″ sewer hose setup:

  • Pros:
    • pumps waste uphill
    • can pump long distances (75+ feet in certain cases)
    • permanent systems eliminate contact with waste
    • 1″ discharge hose takes up less space
    • no need for sewer hose support
    • easily transfer waste into a honey wagon
  • Cons:
    • requires maintenance
    • much more expensive
    • installation required (permanent models) or a power source (portable models)

While the RV Macerator did not completely take over the waste handling needs in all RV’s, it has proven to be a great asset for RV’ers who have special waste handling requirements.  Whether you just like to have the latest technology, or would love to pump your tanks into a home septic system or sewer access, an RV Macerator Waste Pump System is a good choice.


RV Macerator Waste Pump Systems 101 was last modified: January 11th, 2016 by Bill Rowell

About the Author

Bill Rowell
I have been camping and RV'ing with my Wife and 2 children for the past 20 years. We began our RV'ing careers in a 1995 Jayco pop-up camper which we got caught in the rain in every time we used it. In 1998 I found a 1989 Winnebago Chieftain 23' Class A motorhome which we loved. During that time I was always looking online for good RV information but unable to find it. So I decided to start a website called iRV2.com which is a forum for RV'ers to share information. We wanted a family friendly site in which members were willing to help each other and leave the drama out. In 2000 I purchased our first new RV which was a 30' Coachmen Mirada Class A. For a new RV I had to make a lot of modifications to this motorhome just to make it a road worthy RV. My displeasure with traditional RV's lead me to Truck Conversions and in 2002 we built our first Showhauler motorhome. In 2004 we built our second Truck Conversions which was an improvement over the first, but a trip to the Winnebago factory in 2006 sealed my fate with the rest of the family who saw a Winnebago Vectra diesel pusher in our future. So in 2006 we made the move and enjoyed traveling the country in that until 2010 when we thought we would downside since the kids were off doing their own thing. Somewhere in that time we found ourselves with way to many irons in the fire and decided to focus all our energy on RVupgrades.com as well as another business we own and thus said goodbye to iRV2.com. This was a very tough decision since we had made so many RV'ing friends and great memories, but times had changed and it was time to leave it in new hands to continue it's growth. In 2010 we downsized to a Winnebago Cambria Class C which I really liked, but we quickly found was not the most roadworthy choice for long range travel. So in 2012 we went back to Showhauler and with all of the updates they made to their product found the last motorhome we will ever buy. (Sound familiar) There is never a last RV you'll ever buy when your a die-hard RV'er :-)

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