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Wintering in campground Freezing Sewer


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Leaving it open is very risky that you might develop a pile of solids in the tank because the water drains, leaving the solids behind. There are "experts" who say it is OK to leave it open, but most experienced fulltimers will tell you not to do so. You could probably deal with the problem by selecting the dumping days by temperature.

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Leaving the Grey valve open with a P trap loop in the hose, usually is OK. When we do this, not frequently, I will fill up the two kitchen sinks every other day, and get a flush any food solids off of the bottom sweep of water. We also use the Grey and Black tank rinse before leaving a full hook up location. Finally, on Grey, if we have elected to leave it open for a period of time. Even after tank flushing, we'll add several gallons and a dose of Happy Camper as we are driving to the next location. So far, all is OK on the grey not having any residual food or hair build up.

 

Agree with Kirk on the Black tank not being left open, as you are asking for problems.

 

(This comment was in general for non freezing conditions. Unless you take dramatic efforts to keep the sewer hose from freezing too, a P trap loop in the hose is not going to do you any good:)!)

 

Good tips in the link on winterized preps.

 

Best to you:)!

Smitty

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The best thing to do is to keep both valves closed and dump when needed. AS soon as you complete the dump, drain the hose clear of all water and leave it laying stretched out for the next use.

 

If your dump vales are exposed, you need to heat trace them and insulate them.

 

We have one friend that tried leaving his dump open in freezing weather and his hose was a solid lock of ice at his small P-trap, his valves were frozen open and he wound up cutting the hose and leaving Chicago area with the valves open until he got far enough south that he could operate the valves.

 

And fill your fresh water tank and use it as the water hose will freeze unless you have a $100 heated hose. But you wil also need to freeze proof the water faucet.

 

But if your valves are outside of the basement area, you do not have a 4-season RV and winter will not be pleasant. We have spent time in the RV down as low as 17 degF, but it was a 4 season rated RV.

 

Ken

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Wow......That doesn't look like fun. That's why there are wheels on the RV.......Follow the SUN.

If only everyone were free to do that. Sometimes family, health, mechanical problems, or finances prohibit moving. Then people need advice as to how to cope with those circumstances. This is usually a good place to come for helpful advice.

 

Linda Sand

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Guest THE TRAILERKING

If only everyone were free to do that. Sometimes family, health, mechanical problems, or finances prohibit moving. Then people need advice as to how to cope with those circumstances. This is usually a good place to come for helpful advice.

 

Linda Sand

Sorry but don't get offended.......It was meant as a bit of humor.

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We spent fall to Christmas in Fallon, NV in 2013 to work at Amazon. It got to -19 several times and hung below -0 for awhile, too. Our King of the Road held up fine but my Demand water heater started to freeze up a couple of times. Was out at 2:30 in the morning with a hair dryer. Stuffed in more fiberglass around the tank, too.

 

The only other problem was the drain valves for the water system. They are down low in the basement and I did not think about them until I found them frozen. Had to replace one damaged valve was all. When I saw how cold it was supposed to get I filled the fresh water tank, emptied and diconnected the heat taped water supply, shut off the black and grey tanks (internal valves) and put furnace diversions to blow into the space under the kitchen sink where the water heater is and the other one to blow over the wet area controls and pump under the bathroom.

 

Nothing else froze or was a problem. -19 BEFORE wind chill was a little scary, though.

 

One other suggestion for winter is to be sure you have airspace on all your outside walls or you will get condensation to the max. Don't let soft goods be against the outside surfaces or they will absorb all the condensation that runs down the walls and will just get wetter and wetter.

 

One last thing. Just be sure you let your underfloor furnaces run and don't depend solely on above floor heating like electric or gas space heaters because they won't keep your underfloor tanks and lines warm enough. It will take a lot of propane. I was filling 2 - 44lb Propane tanks twice a week during the worst days of that time.

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WOW thanks everyone.... surly the best idea was to head south... but louisville ky. is a neet town and I'm obligated so I think I'm leaving the valves open and try to flush out weekly. Anybody traveling though the area, love to spend time and conversation.

 

I see many expletive deletes in your future .

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WOW thanks everyone.... surly the best idea was to head south... but louisville ky. is a neet town and I'm obligated so I think I'm leaving the valves open and try to flush out weekly. Anybody traveling though the area, love to spend time and conversation.

Don't be surprised when your black tank fails to dump because of the build-up of solid matter inside. Most RV shops will not be willing to work on that sort of problem. We have kids who live near Ft. Knox(just south of you) and things freeze up there every winter.

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Guest THE TRAILERKING

I wouldn't leave the valves open. The honey tank (black) will build a mound that you will have to deal with in the future.

Heat tape everything and keep the valve closed until ready to dump.

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And if you don't heat tape your sewer line then be sure it does not get trickle down water. That will build up in below freezing weather and gradually block the sewer line enough to stop solid wastes there when you try to dump. Then you really will have a problem. I help solve this problem by using 4" schedule 30 pipe most of the way so I don't have anything but slick pipe surfaces inside instead of the usually accordian surface. I also make sure there are no low spots in the short flex line feeding it.

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We (unfortunately) spend December of each year near Amarillo. I have through trial and error (x2) figured out the figured out the following:

 

We leave a small elect heater in the water compartment. We fill up the water tank once per week and use that water for showering, dish washing, etc. We get drinking water from the local Supermarket where we refill plastic jugs that we refill.

 

We drain our gray water/black water tanks every 6--7 days. After draining the tanks. I make sure that I thoroughly drain the sewer hose and leave it outside. After filling up the water tank, I make sure that the water hose is thoroughly drained. A store it in the back of the car after letting it drain completely. After doing all this I go back into the RV and defrost. :wacko:

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We were in Missouri from October to November, then Oklahoma from December to May. We shocked our neighbors by buying propane only once in the five months we were in Stillwater. Of course, we arrived with a full propane tank. I have a small electric heater kept on a very low setting in the wet bay, and of course the rear furnace also heats that area. Since that furnace also heats the bedroom, though, we don't really want it on very high. Hence the electric heater. I hook up the water hose when I need to fill the fresh water tank, then drain it and put it away. When I need to dump (weekly or so) I connect the sewer hose, dump, rinse the hose, and put it away. You can usually find a decent day to take care of the tanks, especially if you are willing to dump and fill according to the weather instead of the calendar.

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... especially if you are willing to dump and fill according to the weather instead of the calendar.

 

This may work for a trailer .. but my personal "fill and dump" is based on my metabolism's body clock and time of day convenience, not the weather. That is the real determinant for the trailer "dump and fill". In both cases, one does not want a clog or an overflow.

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I concur, never leave the black tank valves open. The only exception to that is a park model with a regular house type toilet and permanent 3" or 4" drain pipes running to the septic that bypasses any holding tank in the rig.

 

I never leave the black tank dry or empty. After dumping and flushing thoroughly I put ten normal full toilet bowls of water in it to start the next batch off right. The gray tanks I do leave open in nice weather like now, but have 100 feet of 5/8" hose draining them. A few days before dumping the black we close the gray valves, and once full, dump the black and flush it several times, then back flush it with one gray tank with both the black and gray valves open. Since I am now using a FloJet macerator I wait until the levels in the tanks equalize and then drain them both. I close the black valve and then open the second gray tank to flush the lines for both gray tanks and the part of the black after the valve. I do flush the gray lines with a few gallons of boiling hot water every once in a while with some Dawn to get any grease build up knocked back down. When traveling we usually fill the black and gray tanks up about 1/3 so they slosh while on the road. Then dump all, and put about ten toilet bowls of water in the black to start it off right.

 

I have never owned an RV before that we were not living in, so I am going to also be doing the air pressure flush and low point valve draining. I will drain and flush the water heater tank as well. This will actually be the first time after fulltiming for seven years that we do a full winter storage prep. Before I used heat cable and insulation when camping in colder weather. We wintered here in NW Louisiana where it always gets into the teens for a few weeks, usually in Jan/Feb. No biggie. Thanks for the reminder folks.

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  • 3 weeks later...

As Bill mentioned, we wintered in our fifth wheel last year and we ended up doing just fine. Personally, I would never leave any of our valves open. One of our neighbors here in Michigan did it last winter and his sewer hose built up ice until it ended up freezing shut. His tanks then filled with waste and the only way to fix it was to disconnect the sewer hose. That ended up being a colossal mess. I'm glad he wasn't our NEXT DOOR neighbor!

 

If you don't want to build a complete skirt around your trailer like we did, you can build a partial skirt and just encase the sewer valves and pipes. Put a 40 watt lightbulb in a service reflector light inside the box. That should generate enough heat to keep your valves from freezing. In our case, we encased the sewer hose also. We skirted the entire underside of the rig, which kept our slides toasty warm. Remember, though...we were in Michigan, and our winter was five months long.

 

Our posts of our winter adventures started in October 2014 and continued into March of 2015. We were in Grand Rapids to care for a family member.

 

Stay positive!

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