Trailer Life Magazine Open Roads Forum: Sub-freezing weather and Exposed Tanks.
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 > Sub-freezing weather and Exposed Tanks.

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whizbang

Kenmore, WA

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Posted: 10/04/18 09:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We are about a week into a three week fishing trip in Montana. We are currently in Missoula.

Night time temperatures are forecast to be in the low 20's all next week.

Our black and gray tanks are completely exposed. There is very little exposed pipe since the valves connect to the tanks with short 4 inch long rubber hoses. Our Winnebago Minnie does not have heat strips on the tanks.

How cold can it get before we have a problem?

Can I dump pink antifreeze in the tanks (diluted) to protect the tanks and valves?

I cold camped years ago in a truck camper and got along with anti freeze down to 19 F. This trip we will be in cold weather for a longer period of time and have a higher volume to waste fluids.

Should we just head home?


Whizbang
2002 Winnebago Minnie
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rjstractor

Auburn, WA

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Posted: 10/04/18 10:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You will probably get varying answers, but I think you will be fine as long as your motorhome is kept heated, and the daytime highs are above freezing. I've camped many nights in the 20s with no antifreeze and had no issues as long as the unit was kept warm. Also, the fuller the tanks are the more they will resist freezing.

DrewE

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Posted: 10/04/18 10:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Will you be at a campground with a dump station or hookups? If so, you could just dump your holding tanks before going to bed each night that is shaping up to be cold.

I also suspect you'd be fine without doing anything, but I also won't be around to worry about the mess if that proves to be incorrect. RV antifreeze wouldn't do all that much in the holding tank unless you put a whole lot down. I would suggest rock salt as a better antifreezing agent to use in this case. Even if things froze, though, I don't think it's too likely you'd suffer holding tank damage with your setup. If you have plumbing runs exposed underneath for the fresh water system, they would be a much greater concern for me.





ksg5000

Oregon

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Posted: 10/04/18 10:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

At a minimum I would dump some antifreeze into the tanks and disconnect from shore water at night - inexpensive and no downside.


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ljr

Pennsylvania

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Posted: 10/04/18 10:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Windshield washer fluid will do the job and it’s cheaper than the pink stuff. Obviously not to be used in the fresh water tank.


Larry

noteven

Alberta

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Posted: 10/04/18 11:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We deal with below freezing temps from time to time in Alberta [emoticon]

If the valves are close coupled to the tanks they will not freeze. If you keep substantial volume of fluid in the tanks they will not freeze if daytime temps go above freezing. You are also adding warm grey water from washing and cooking. They take a long time to freeze unless daytime highs are not going above freezing.

Keep a milk jug 3/4 full of water on the picnic table if you are dry camping. The state of the water in it will tell you what is happening in your holding tanks.

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 10/04/18 11:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with starting with some anti-freeze into the empty tank to protect the pipe and valve somewhat. Once diluted it will not have much effect but then you have the thermal mass of the added water. I expect you will be fine.

If you have electric power you can add some corded tank heaters fairly quick.
www.ultraheat.com


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bobndot

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Posted: 10/04/18 12:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have never had a problem at those mid 20's temps with exposed tanks on my TC's as well as my TT's.
Use a hair dryer to thaw the dump valve in case it sticks, most of the time that valve will be the first thing to let you know that it's cold out here whizbang.
As said the warm water in those tanks will take a long enough time to freeze when the daytime temps are above freezing. Don't forget to remove your outside water hose at night, use your holding tank and pump for water.

Lwiddis

Cambria, CA

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Posted: 10/04/18 12:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"in the low 20's"

Probably be fine? lol And if it isn't "fine" it will cost you thousands. Use lots of antifreeze.


2015 Winnebago 2101DS TT & Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flagpole for US flag. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.


whizbang

Kenmore, WA

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Posted: 10/04/18 06:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good advice guys. Thanks.

We changed our plans a bit... I will fish different rivers.

The weather above I90 is forecast-ed at 28 - 29 degrees F instead of 21 degrees F. 29F is no big deal with daytime highs in the low 40's.

When I empty the tanks, I will start them off with 2 gallons of antifreeze. By the time the antifreeze is diluted enough to stop working, the volume of fluid in the tanks should be enough to prevent freezing.

Next summer, I will install 12 volt heat strips so this is less of an issue.

Thanks!!!


I'm not worried about the valves since the hose couplings are so short.

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