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Old 08-25-2012, 02:37 PM   #1
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Tank heat pads for winterizing?

Tank heat pads were an option not installed on our trailer, but dealer says no problem to add. Anyone have these, and does it work? I am wondering about the water lines that would still be exposed even if the trailer interior was heated, such as the compartment with the water pump and water filter, and maybe under the trailer. Can't look because whole underbody is covered. Not looking to extend the season much past the end of October, but we do get frosts and it can get cold enough to make a skim of ice on the horse water trough, or puddles. Doubt if it would be a hard freeze, usually melts during the day. Wondering if we would be safe without or get them.
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timarti
Tank heat pads were an option not installed on our trailer, but dealer says no problem to add. Anyone have these, and does it work? I am wondering about the water lines that would still be exposed even if the trailer interior was heated, such as the compartment with the water pump and water filter, and maybe under the trailer. Can't look because whole underbody is covered. Not looking to extend the season much past the end of October, but we do get frosts and it can get cold enough to make a skim of ice on the horse water trough, or puddles. Doubt if it would be a hard freeze, usually melts during the day. Wondering if we would be safe without or get them.
Normally if you you have covered underbelly its also somewhat heated.
You would need several days below freezing to have any issues.
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:05 PM   #3
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Tank heater pads

My 2011 8285 WS 5th wheel came with heater pads for the tanks. They operate on 12 VDC, will not come on until temp drops to 46° ( believe I'm right on the temp?) There is a pad on the bottom of each tank and a pad wrapped around the discharge neck of each tank. My heating system (furnace) has a discharge in my cargo area to keep that area warm. The duct hose to each floor register that runs from the furnace to the outlets
keeps the under belly warm just from the heat that radiates from the aluminum hose ducts.. I did use my furnace and tank heaters in 24° weather, no frozen pipes or tanks. You sure can not use the tank heaters dry camping because of the drain on the one battery. Would not take long to run the one battery down.

Hope this gives you some insight about tank heaters.
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:08 PM   #4
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IMHO you should be fine without the extra heating pads if you’ll be putting the rig in dry dock at the end of Oct.
A slight frost at night is not going to affect your gray/black/fresh water tanks or your water lines if you have an enclosed underbelly & running the heater while camping.

I would however drain the fresh water lines & if possible blow them out with air between uses.

As f1100turbo said, you’ll need several days in a hard freeze during use before you have to worry about tank heaters.
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:12 PM   #5
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We camped next to a couple with a trailer and they used an extension cord with 100 watt light bulb in the area with the pump. He told me he has always done this and never had any problems. He had the tank heating pads as well.
On our motorhome we have the tank pads as well as pads that are wrapped around the elbows at each termination. The water pump area has heat coming from the floor ductwork to keep the compartment above freezing. As for the filter which is in a compartment on the opposite side of the coach from the pump there must be heat getting in there somehow. Our outside shower is in there with the filter container and we've never had any problems.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:57 PM   #6
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Thanks to all replies. Think it. will be a mod for next year.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:54 AM   #7
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The "Arctic Pack" heating pads are a ridiculously unnecessary option. They're on my MH (I'm the 2nd owner) so I read the manufacturer's literature. The thermostats are not adjustable, so you're stuck with their schedule.

They switch on at 42F and stay on until the t/stat sees 65F. Who wants to heat up the poo in the black tank to 65 degrees?! With a high content of contaminants, the temp at which the tank contents would freeze is probably down around 25F. so switching them on at 42 is a waste of energy.

The system is not installed on the potable tank, which is probably the only one that could realistcally use it.

The other negative is that the heaters are 12Vdc powered and each one (I have 2 of them on each tank) pulls 7 amps. 28 amps would run the batteries down PDQ. I don't know how quickly the t/stats would recognise the situation of the tanks were empty, and I'm concerned they would melt through the plastic tank walls if inadvertently switched on. 84 watts over a relatively small area on a plastic surface doesn't seem very smart to me. I've disconnected mine at the elements and at the switch to make sure it never happens.

Total waste of money and materials IMO. If they used the kind of "frost-stat" that comes with the pipe wraps for keeping exposed water lines in the S&B from freezing (on at 34F, off at 38F), they might be worthwhile.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:18 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by F and E Damp View Post
The system is not installed on the potable tank, which is probably the only one that could realistcally use it.
My fresh tank has the pad installed.

Each tank pad uses 4.8 amps of VDC (battery) power (65 Watts) when on. They are not "ON" much if the tank is empty since the pad will cycle in a 20 degree cycle (ON at 45 degrees F and OFF at 67 degrees F).

If the tank has water in it, the pad will be on until the water temp reaches 67 degrees F and will turn off until the water cools down to 45 and then cycle.

Without a tow vehicle or shore providing power, a 14.4 amp draw will discharge a battery over time. Remember, though, that all pads won't be on at the same time (after the first cycle of heating) since the water levels will be different and depending on the actual outside temperature the "ON" time per hour (in minutes) may be very low.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:29 AM   #9
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Our unit has the (Pad) heaters on all the tanks (4) and the valves of the B and G. The belly is coverd,transfer heat from the flex hose to heat regesters,when the furnace is on and running. There is no dedicated heat outlet to the under belly. The F/W pump and pressure tank is in a non heated area near the bed,has never been a problem. Now,I would put shut off valves inside the unit for the O/S shower and the (2) low water drains that protrude out the bottom. Also insulate the inside of the O/S shower,look at the inside area,it is a 6x8 area of very thin plastic,0- R value! So if you just run Elec. heaters inside your unit W/O the furnace blower on prob no heat to the belly. Just a Guess, Youroo!!
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