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Old 10-05-2013, 10:11 AM   #1
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Wink Tank Heater switch

This is going to be the first year we will spend a winter in our fifth wheel. Although we have had our 2006 26' Fifth Wheel for a few years now, we are still "green" when it comes to maintenance and what have you.
My question pertains to the paperwork and advertisements/guides we received with our camper when purchased.
As stated in title of this thread, my question is about the switch located near the thermostat control panel.
I am assuming this is for the black holding tank. And I have read about keeping that closed until ready to empty once at least 3/4 full. I have also read about the possiblity of adding rv antifreeze while in use and that would also be another question I would like validated through this site...
am I correct with the tank heater being for the holding tank(s) of black and possibly gray waste water? And/or besides skirting and insulating the camper, maintaining a warm temperature underneath it- do we need to do something particular for the water lines or what have you to pipes/tank in the way of fresh water otherwise?
We are from the north so we understand the need to drip water in extreme freezing conditons, etc.

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Old 11-09-2013, 08:49 PM   #2
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Tank Heaters

We have a switch next to all our others, which turns on our tank heaters. The tank heaters are for all our tanks, fresh, gray and black. It does not warm up the fresh water to make it hot, only so the lines do not freeze. Here in Michigan, you can have 35 in August. We sure like having it during spring and late fall camping.

Mary B and Ann S
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:50 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tank heater info,it is getting cold so that will help
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:12 PM   #4
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We are planning to have the heaters installed on our tanks as well. The dealer says it will be about $500.....does that sound right? When we looked at the printout on the table in the unit it said it had heated holding tanks....didn't say it was an option. Since I didn't take a picture of it, it's my word against theirs.

Is it a good idea to heat the holding tank as well? We live in Wisconsin and it would be at least a day's drive before we started getting warmer temps.

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Old 11-12-2013, 04:27 PM   #5
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I am only an eight week full timer,so I am green as a baby gourd,but in my short experience I think they are a bonus.i am planning radiant heated floors in my Tsunami come summer, very little ac,and total coverage.
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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Tank heaters should be on all your tanks black gray and water. It will only keep the freezing temps away, it will not heat things up to make anything remotely warm even. As for the rest of your winter prep, cover your water line to your unit. I put that foam sleeve around mine then wrapped it with thick tape and added a second layer of foam and then tape again - cost $40.00.
I leave mine on year round. I did the same with my flushing line as well this year. When the temps drop a few degrees below freezing open your tap so you have a steady flow of water...NOT dripping. There needs to be enough flow to keep the water moving on both inlet and outlet.
Some people have added heat tape to their lines but I never needed it. Others have put little heaters in the pass through on where your lines come in and put them on a timer to turn on at various times through the night but that does nothing for the lines outside. I read where someone added an outside thermostat to the hose area and put an alarm on it for colder temps so you knew to turn on the water or heat...your choice.
I have been full time for over a year and live in an RV Park and we all do pretty much the same set up. No issues to date..!

Hope that helps.
Glen & Robyn (A.K.A. Puff & Crickit) Full Timers..

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Old 11-12-2013, 06:23 PM   #7
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In Reality, each rig is different and you can identify and evaluate the likely coldest places in your rig and provide additional insulation or heat air flow to keep them above freezing. They sell commercial insulated hoses that are real nice, and have built insulated/hoses myself, it's nice to have a flexible piece of hose that has it's own heater wire already built in. For temps in the 20's that's all you need, once below that more extreme measures are needed.

What you need passing south through cold weather is far different that sustained operation in cold weather. Much of my experience has been while camping in Breckenridge CO. for sustained times during the winter at 9200 feet. In those cases , very, careful precautions are necessary but for a few days it is more of keeping thing warm enough.

Camping World sells digital outdoor thermometers that can monitor up to 3 site on your RV. With this I can place a sensor in the coldest spots I think in the trailer (like where the hose exits the trailer) and see what temperature it is during different outdoor conditions.

Just some thoughts.................

Find out where all your water lines run and try to determine the most vulnerable spots to freezing (close to openings, outside walls, etc)

Be prepared to run your water at a trickle to provide some heat to cold spots in the piping

Provide heat where necessary to prevent freezing. This includes extra heat outlets, fans or whatever is needed.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:05 PM   #8
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I usually just pass through really cold weather and the tank heaters work good for me. If it is freezing or has a wind chill factor I don't connect the hose outside any longer than necessary to add water. I have added foam insulation tubes over my water hoses coming off of the water pump and a few other places that are not as well protected from cold. But each rig is different so check where your plumbing runes and what insulation/heat vents are protecting them.

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