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  #1  
Old 10-31-2011, 02:31 PM
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Default cold weather camping

looking for an idea on how to keep holding tanks from freezing during winter months while camping.
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  #2  
Old 11-01-2011, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papasmurff View Post
looking for an idea on how to keep holding tanks from freezing during winter months while camping.
I'm not too familiar with campers, but I had some ideas.

1. You might look into getting a heated dipstick like they use for diesel vehicles during the winter. See if you can slide it down into the water somehow and plug it in to the outlet. Should at least keep it above freezing. If that doesn't work, maybe set up some kind of pump and heater system like on a hottub, but just something to keep the water above freezing temps. I would just circulate the water though a heated pipe then back into the tank.

2. If the tanks are metal, you might see about attaching some kind of heating element directly to the bottom of the tank, and just set it for very low wattage. Something like a waterbed heater element. You might even be able to get a heating element from an old dishwasher and rig it up on there, but you would have to limit the current to it and make sure there isn't any live current going into the plumbing pipes. I'd consult with an electrician on something like that for sure. If you don't know what you are doing you could either have a meltdown, or turn your camper into a fireworks display.

3. You could be like me, think of all kinds of rigged up things, then just google "Camper storage tank heater" and come up with a bunch of things like this:
RV Holding Tank Heater on Sale - PPL Motor Homes

Well, at least I was on the right track with the waterbed heater, this is essentially the same thing adapted for RV applications.
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  #3  
Old 11-01-2011, 07:13 PM
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I would head south, way south, just like most migrating birds. Isn't that the point of a trailer? Unfortunately, if you live in the north and want to use your trailer in the north for just a few days, then I guess you can't really go south, and then good luck with this. I hope you have one of those well insulated trailers or can use some of Shadow's ideas. When I've talked to other owners with my same rig which has what's called the Arctic Package, I ask them how they do in winter RVing. Mostly I get a resounding, "We winterize it and stay in the stickhouse, or head south". Whatever you do, I wouldn't recommend any open fires around the rig to get things warmed up. It might just work too good, ya know what I mean?



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  #4  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:21 PM
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For as long as the interior temperature of your camper remains above freezing temperature, you should not experience any freezing in the faucets and interior drains.

Keep your sewer hose stored away until you need to dump the tanks. Keeping it hooked during the winter months can cause variations on the temperature which may cause some freezing problems along your sewer hose.

For the gray and black water tanks, get some non-toxic RV antifreeze. It would not only prevent the water in these tanks from freezing, but also prevent the dump valves from freezing and protect your shower drain just in case it's located in a non-insulated part of the RV. The amount of anti-freeze you need to put depends on how large your storage tanks are. Every now and then, be sure to add more anti-freeze to prevent it from getting too diluted as the holding tanks fill up. You can also install a holding tank heater blanket for added protection against freezing.

Dump your tanks more frequently than you would during the warmer months. Don't let it go to more than above half. Each time that you do, always remember to put anti-freeze again.
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  #5  
Old 11-04-2011, 06:01 AM
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thanks guys
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  #6  
Old 11-04-2011, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papasmurff View Post
looking for an idea on how to keep holding tanks from freezing during winter months while camping.
Are you talking about living in it for the winter or just on weekends during the winter?
Weekends: Bring bottled water, flush the toilet with windshield washer antifreeze. It's cheaper than RV stuff and good down to -40. If you need to do the dishes just boil water. The end of the weekend, drain your grey tank and put the antifreeze down the drains. I wouldn't worry about the black tank. It will be fine til spring. If you use it a lot and you feel you need to dump, go ahead. Just put more antifreeze in the tank, after dumping. Showers, wait to get home. Your rig will stay winterized. My wife and I camp like this during the winter.
Living: If you have winter water you need to stop it from freezing. Wrap the lines with heat tape from the ground to your trailer then put pipe insulation around them and tape it up. Plug the heat tape in. You can put Styrofoam insulation around the bottom of your trailer to keep the wind and snow out from under it. Your heating system should keep interior lines from freezing. If you have tank heaters you can turn them on. Just make sure there is liquid in the tanks.
In both cases keep your sewer line where it's warm. The plastic will get brittle and crack when you stretch it out to dump, if you leave it outside..
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2011, 04:33 PM
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Thanks Dogbone...I had the same question and never thought of the styrofoam insulation. We will be living in our's for 3 months in Texas and now the temps are in the 20's at night. Thanks for your help.
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