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UviaLite Air Purification System

Eliminating odors and bad bacteria from your RV's holding tank
Article Date: Aug, 2022


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A black water holding tank is undoubtedly the least glamorous item in any RV. But, it is a necessity unless you plan on using campground bathrooms exclusively. The waste that accumulates there has a horrible smell and the bacteria that is ever present can cause sickness so it does need to be handled with care. The odors that emanate from the tank can waft into the RV's interior whenever the gate valve on the toilet is open during a flush cycle. In addition the holding tanks are also vented so while you're enjoying your outside patio area, a sudden change in wind direction can result in a not so pleasant aroma drifting across your picnic table when dining.

A black holding tank is designed to hold the contents that are flushed from the toilet. All other sources, such as showers and sinks are directed to the gray water tank. The black tank is limited to human solid waste and toilet paper, but not just any toilet paper. The TP must be able to dissolve quickly in the tank to prevent clogging. You don't have to buy RV specific toilet paper but most brands that are approved for septic systems will work. The way to test this is to fill a Mason jar 3/4 full with water, stuff a few sheets of paper into the jar, close the lid and shake. If the paper is safe for your RV it will dissolve into a bunch of fluff. If it remains intact do not use it in your RV.

Many RV owners use a chemical in their black holding tank to treat the contents. These chemical are advertised as helping to keep the tank clean and dissolve solids. But in reality, this doesn't really work. Under normal conditions both human waste and toilet paper will dissolve in water without any chemical assistance. Most holding tank treatments use enzyme based chemicals to treat odors by masking them rather than eliminating them. These enzymes supposedly help to dissolve human waste but the problem with enzymes is that they need time to grow before they can accomplish this - typically 4 to 5 days. Most RV owners dump their holding tanks more frequently so the enzymes don't ever get a change to do their thing. Actually, dumping with water and following up with a good flush will keep your tank clean and prevent the sensors from fouling.

UviaLite and Ozone

But this still doesn't eliminate odors from accumulating in the tank during use. While doing a recent road test and review on an American Coach diesel pusher I ran across a new system that was used on their coaches. This system is called UviaLite.

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UviaLite is a new development for RVs but the concept has been around for quite a while in other industries. UviaLite creates ozone that actually kills the odors in the tank, rather than masking them with a perfumed scent. Ozone is created inside the UviaLite module and passed through into the top of the black tank.

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UviaLite uses an ultraviolet light that is tuned to a specific wavelength of 185 nanometers. This light converts the Oxygen atoms into Ozone atoms. Fresh air from beneath the coach passes into the UviaLite module, where it is converted to ozone. The ozone then is delivered to the top of the black tank at less than 1 CFM via the natural chimney effect of the tank's vent stack. The UviaLite has no fans or moving parts to maintain and the only possible expense would to replace the UV bulb. The unit only uses about 10 watts of 12 volt power to operate.

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Ozone is a powerful oxidizer that can kill bacteria and destroy viruses in seconds. The ozone remains in the air above the fluid level within the tank so it has no effect upon any beneficial enzymes or probiotic chemicals that are in the tank's water. However, the ozone will neutralize any perfumed scent in the air that was created by the chemicals. It will convert the stinky hydrogen disulphide odors in the air to water and sulphur, which will harmlessly drop into the liquid portion of the tank, thus killing any odors. If you do happen to smell anything it would be like the fresh smell after a rain, where ozone is created by lightning.

Ozone also attacks microbes and pathogens in a similar manner. The ozone converts them to O2 Oxygen, H2O Water and CO2 Carbon Dioxide. UviaLite can prevent mold, viruses and pathogens from wafting into the RV, which prevents sickness from passing from one person to another who shared the same toilet.

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Based upon what I learned about UviaLite I decided to put it into our Entegra Coach and put it to the test.

The Installation

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The UviaLite system isn't very complicated. In a nutshell, you just mount the unit in your RV's basement, connect it to a 12 volt DC power source and run some PVC pipe to the unit. The basic unit is marked with an inlet port and outlet port for 1-1/4" PVC Pipe, which is available at any home improvement store. A pair of wires connects the unit to a 12 volt hot power source while a pair of wires attached to a green LED indicate when the unit is on and the UV bulb is intact.

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The unit can be mounted either horizontally or vertically so that it can be used in almost any location. I chose a blank area on my basement wall in a compartment that was next to the holding tanks. In my case I mounted it vertically so that it was easiest to connect the inlet and outlet plumbing.

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The next step as to drill a hole in the wall to pass the outlet pipe into the next compartment where the holding tanks were. I used a 1-3/4" hole saw and then drilled a second hole in the basement floor so that the inlet pipe would extend beneath the coach and bring in fresh air.

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I then aligned the UviaLite module's outlet elbow to the hole and fastened it to the wall. The UviaLite can be left running 24/7 and the only time you would probably want to remove power from the unit is if you put your coach into winter storage. Seeing as how I live in Wisconsin, the coach does get winterized over the winter months so I decided to mount a rocker switch in the wall to allow me to switch off the unit during winter storage.

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I then used my miter saw to cut some 1-1/4" PVC piping so that I could connect the UviaLite to my holding tank. Normally holding tanks use spin-weld fittings but seeing as how this was at the top of the tank I simply drilled a hole in the top of the tank, used a PVC-to-ABS cement and glued in a threaded PVC adaptor. I also added a bit of sealant around the joint, just in case. I then fitted a length of PVC pipe and an elbow to connect to the UviaLite module's outlet port.

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The last step was to cut another PVC pipe to bring in fresh inlet air. Once all of the pipes were fit I glued them up with PVC cement and switched on the power.

Summary

The results were as expected. No odors were present in the coach under any circumstances. I haven't had any maintenance, although I'll probably have to replace the UV bulb in a couple of years. We haven't had to use any chemical in our black holding tank and just use the black tank flush attachment every now and then to ensure that the tank bottom keeps clean. I definitely give the UviaLite system two thumbs up.

Source

UviaLite
(540) 362-9636
www.uvialite.com

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