EPDM Coatings
Desert Valley RV Park
CamperLite RV LED Bulbs offer Sponsored by Spotless Water Systems rvupgradestore.com Composet Products

Author Topic: Easiest way to thaw waste tanks?  (Read 1662 times)

Wigpro

  • ---
  • Posts: 817
    • Capt Jim Lucas
Easiest way to thaw waste tanks?
« on: December 28, 2012, 01:06:35 PM »
My rig does not have waste tank heaters and lo and behold they are frozen...

I am thinking of a space blanket and an electric heater any better ideas??

Jim
Full time traveler, fishing guide and photographer!

Travel Blog: http://captjimtravelblog.blogspot.com

Website: www.captainjimlucas.com

Photo Site: http://captjim.smugmug.com/

skyking4ar2

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 2920
  • I don't know what I don't know so I look here...
Re: Easiest way to thaw waste tanks?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 01:19:54 PM »
Jim,

It might depend on whether you are inside or outside a building, whether the temps are way below freezing and expected to stay there, and whether you are going to use the rig once you thaw.

Incandescent trouble lamps with a 100 watt bulb will warm stuff pretty good to thaw (again the temp thing), small electric heaters if you are not going to burst a line and short out something, a forced air heater like a kerosene heater if you have room and can be safe for starters.

Once you are thawed, you can still use the light bulb or little heater trick if you can safely close off the space, etc. I have used all of the above successfully.

For long term, though, insulation if you can get it in there, maybe the blanket, again with the space problem....

Can you expand on the long term use plan, maybe? There's more than one way to skin a cat and there'll be more specific answers from folks if they know.

Good luck, in any event!
Kim & Christi Bertram
SKP 106183
FMCA 420913
----------------------------------
2012 Thor Damon Tuscany 42RQ
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
Trailer Ranch RV Park, Santa Fe, NM

carson

  • ---
  • Posts: 4889
  • memories of yore
Re: Easiest way to thaw waste tanks?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 01:37:39 PM »
 A little insulation philosophy.....

  Insulation does not heat or cool anything, it merely inhibits the transfer of temperatures from on side to the other. It is a timing thing. Instantaneously it works great. Over time the insulating material will cool/heat heat up to the ambient temperature.

  If you leave your water tank outside for a lengthy period of time in freezing temperatures, it will freeze up-- (insulated or not)... guaranteed.   Only heat will prevent a freeze-up for long-time storage.

Oh well....just thinking out loud.
Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
2007 Buick Rendezvous, SUV / CROSSOVER

...Logic works like a charm...

Wigpro

  • ---
  • Posts: 817
    • Capt Jim Lucas
Re: Easiest way to thaw waste tanks?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 02:59:41 PM »
A little insulation philosophy.....

  Insulation does not heat or cool anything, it merely inhibits the transfer of temperatures from on side to the other. It is a timing thing. Instantaneously it works great. Over time the insulating material will cool/heat heat up to the ambient temperature.

  If you leave your water tank outside for a lengthy period of time in freezing temperatures, it will freeze up-- (insulated or not)... guaranteed.   Only heat will prevent a freeze-up for long-time storage.

Oh well....just thinking out loud.

Thanks for the replies guys...I am outside in Moab Utah going through an unusual bout of very cold weather. First my fresh water system froze up...I opened up all the interior access panels and put a small fan there to circulate warm air from the RV through the pipe spaces, in about three hours that problem was solved.

It is much warmer here today and I tried to dump the grey and black water tanks and there was a chunk of ice in the outlet area, I cleared that and hooked up the hose and of course nothing came out. So I have to assume the tanks are frozen. Black water is basically empty but the grey water is full...there is water in the shower/tub since that is the lowest drain, it backed up into the tub. I emptied that with a bucket, have a silver reflecting space blanket under the trailer in the bright sun and a small electric heater with a fan blowing into the pocket I have created with the space blanket around both the grey and black water tanks.

Before the sun goes down today I will try again to open the valves and see if they empty, if not I will keep the heater on all night and try again tomorrow.

I have a solution for the long term - I will install tank heaters for the waste tanks and I have already wired for small electric 12 volt fans for the access panels for the fresh water plumbing areas inside. I will put them on a switch and turn them on to circulate warm air from the RV into those plumbing areas, should work fine. I ordered 4 muffin type fans low speed and quiet, kind of like computer case fans. They will panel mount nicely and be unobtrusive.

So I think I am squared away on the long term as I occasionally hang out in cold areas, I am from Alaska and will be taking my rig up there next summer and it can get cold there even in the summer, so we shall see!

Hopefully what I am doing today will get them empty and then until I get the heaters installed I will not use the tanks much if at all!

Thanks for the replies...

Jim
Full time traveler, fishing guide and photographer!

Travel Blog: http://captjimtravelblog.blogspot.com

Website: www.captainjimlucas.com

Photo Site: http://captjim.smugmug.com/

muskoka guy

  • ---
  • Posts: 253
  • 2000 WINNE ADVENTURER 37G
Re: Easiest way to thaw waste tanks?
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 03:15:07 PM »
if you are going to continue using the rv how about some plumbing antifreeze into the tanks. i dont know how much you would have to add to keep the tanks from freezing, maybe someone else has tried it. i do know house plumbing and i know you are not going to get away with letting things freeze too many times before something will burst. my first tt i had i didnt drain the hot water tank correctly and come spring it had a large split in the side of it. i found out the first time i put the water on. not much fun. good luck

dave61

  • ---
  • Posts: 438
Re: Easiest way to thaw waste tanks?
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 03:43:28 PM »
Since your black tank is closer to empty you could dump HOT water down the toilet which will thaw what's there already. I would only do this if the tank was closer to empty so you can be sure the hot water will do the trick. The grey tank is another story since it is full, hopefully your heater will work.
2004 B Touring Cruiser 27
Ford E450 V-10
Tampa Bay FL

Mopar1973Man

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 2121
  • Dodge Cummins Powered / Jayco Eagle Living
    • Mopar1973Man.Com
Re: Easiest way to thaw waste tanks?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 04:29:14 PM »
I tend to agree with hot water trick will help a bunch. If your really trying to keep the waste tanks from freezing you could dump some rock salt in the tanks and that should aid in keeping the tanks liquid.
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
http://articles.mopar1973man.com/members-rides/17-mopar1973man/27-2000-jayco-eagle-296-fbs
2013 BigTex 70TV Utility Trailer

muskoka guy

  • ---
  • Posts: 253
  • 2000 WINNE ADVENTURER 37G
Re: Easiest way to thaw waste tanks?
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 06:07:53 PM »
good point mopar, that just reminded me of the port o potties they supply on construction sites . they use rock salt in them to keep them from freezing so they can clean them. up here in canada everything freezes after september including me. looking forward to being a snowbird sometime in the future

Wigpro

  • ---
  • Posts: 817
    • Capt Jim Lucas
Re: Easiest way to thaw waste tanks?
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 06:52:20 PM »
Good News - I had the heater running under the grey water tank all afternoon, plus the space blanket directing the bright sun up at it, it was warmer today about 43 degrees or so about a half an hour ago I heard a huge gurgle and looked in the bathtub and the little bit of remaining water in the tub had gone down the drain, so I went outside and open the valve and the entire tank drained.

Now the heater is directly under the blackwater tank and I will leave it there overnight and attempt to empty it in the morning. I may pour some boiling water down there in the morning as well just to make sure it is loosened up.

Thanks for all the replies, I am going to try some rock salt in the grey water when I figure out hot to get it in there....I guess a sink or two full of very hot water with a bunch of salt in it will do...

That will help until it warms up enough for me to get the tank heaters installed...they say it needs to be 50 degrees or so to get the adhesive to stick, but I have a heat gun and can make that happen, but they won't be here for a week or so. I ordered them online and I need to install another breaker and run the wire. I am going to wire them together on a switch so I can turn them on when it gets cold and leave them off most of the time, although they say they have a thermostat and turn on and off automatically.

Any suggestions will be appreciated!

Jim
Full time traveler, fishing guide and photographer!

Travel Blog: http://captjimtravelblog.blogspot.com

Website: www.captainjimlucas.com

Photo Site: http://captjim.smugmug.com/