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Old 10-14-2017, 02:30 AM   #1
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Efficiency of heater warming holding tanks?

Just wondering as we make winter trips up to Yosemite and it gets below freezing at night. My Forester didn't come with the Arctic Package and thus no tank heaters. Dealer said tanks are enclosed within heated compartments. I was able to see the heater ducts on both sides of the tanks. Does it really provide enough heat? Heater isn't running all night.
Also, what about the red low point drain that is just capped with a plastic plug. That's cold water to begin with and the pipe is exposed. The blue fresh water tank pipe hanging below shouldn't be an issue as it's in the heated compartment, right?
So, anyone have an issue with the black and grey tanks or valves with the heated compartments?
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Old 10-14-2017, 02:55 AM   #2
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I had a 2008 38ft 5th wheel. Spent the winter in Oregon and stayed in the RV the entire winter. I did not have the heating elements on that unit but the storage was in "heated compartments" It was the first time I ever spent a winter in an RV and boy did I learn a lot! I will tell you my black tank did start freezing. I mixed antifreeze in my black tank after I drained it. I did anticipate freezing with all exposed piping so prior to the first snow I went to home depot and bought lots of tube insulation for all my pipes and hoses. If you are connected to campground water I recommend you insulate your garden hose and wrap a few old towels around the water spout where the hose connects. The water regulator and water filter(if you have a filter outside) will freeze. I also kept my grey water open and ran a constant trickle of water going at the sink to keep the water flowing. If your not connected to CG water, Another trick is to mix antifreeze in your fresh water tank, then run your pump. It will go through all the lines and keep them from freezing. Just remember to have a few water jugs/bottle water for drinking and washing dishes. Not sure how cold it will be on your trip and some of these suggestiokns may be overkill. At a minimum, I would insulate all exposed pipes. You don't want the water in them to freeze and expand. Once it thaws you may have a lot of leaks once the water is flowing again.
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:10 AM   #3
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Only staying 4-5 days, no hookups and daytime temps in 30˚-40˚F.
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Old 10-14-2017, 10:26 AM   #4
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You may want to put some pip insulation around the low point drains and put some RV antifreeze in the holding tanks prior to using so the it is in the piping up against the drain valves. keeping the heat on should keep the water lines and tanks warm. If your worried add RV antifreeze to the tank after using its cheap.
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Old 10-14-2017, 01:41 PM   #5
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Rock salt in the black and gray tanks will help.
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Old 10-14-2017, 01:44 PM   #6
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Rock salt in the black and gray tanks will help.
Hmmm. Not bad idea.

How would you get it into the gray tanks?
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Old 10-14-2017, 02:21 PM   #7
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Rock salt in the black and gray tanks will help.
Just MHO, rock salt could corrode and damage the sensors in the tanks.
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Old 10-14-2017, 05:13 PM   #8
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For a Forester or Sunseeker you won't have to do anything. Everything is enclosed and heated, except, inexplicably, the hot water drain. I added a valve on the hot water drain to eliminate the water in the part that hangs below the compartment floor.

I've been in 19 F with a 20 mph wind in our Sunseeker with no problems. The water filter / pump compartment and sewer drain compartment were about 55 F the next morning.

You'll need to run your generator a lot to recharge the batteries.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by RamblerGuy View Post
For a Forester or Sunseeker you won't have to do anything. Everything is enclosed and heated, except, inexplicably, the hot water drain. I added a valve on the hot water drain to eliminate the water in the part that hangs below the compartment floor.

I've been in 19 F with a 20 mph wind in our Sunseeker with no problems. The water filter / pump compartment and sewer drain compartment were about 55 F the next morning.

You'll need to run your generator a lot to recharge the batteries.
Thanks, I wondered if it produced enough heat. Battery charge is not an issue. I have solar on the roof. I wondered about the lower point drain and posted another topic earlier. Why only one and it seemed to be cold. A fellow forum member told me I had top flip the valves on the back of the water heater bypassing it and the hot water lines will drain along with the cold. I know the hose is red, but mine was draining cold water. I may invested in a pex tool and throw in a valve also.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:58 PM   #10
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I debated buying a pex tool but bought a Gatorbite or Sharkbite instead. It was easy and would have been quick if I had not forgotten to put in the sleeve that's needed for pex.
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:47 PM   #11
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I debated buying a pex tool but bought a Gatorbite or Sharkbite instead. It was easy and would have been quick if I had not forgotten to put in the sleeve that's needed for pex.
Got photos? Either one looks easier than the PEX tool. What size valve?
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2017 Camping 12 trips 38 nights
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2019 Camping 6 trips 19 nights
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:49 PM   #12
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Biggest problem for us with winter camping is the drain valves freezing. Terrible to go to a dump and not be able to dump. I have applied insulation to the drains where they exit the trailer. It seems to help, but I still worry about it. Where shore power is available, heating tape can be used on the exposed drains. Most trailers seem to be "fair weather units" with no provision for winter camping.
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Tetumtotem007 View Post
Biggest problem for us with winter camping is the drain valves freezing. Terrible to go to a dump and not be able to dump. I have applied insulation to the drains where they exit the trailer. It seems to help, but I still worry about it. Where shore power is available, heating tape can be used on the exposed drains. Most trailers seem to be "fair weather units" with no provision for winter camping.
Had that happen to me with my Winnebago Minnie in Provo Utah. Had full hookups. Went to dump just before leaving and valves were frozen. Luckily, My outdoor shower reached to the compartment and I sprayed warm water on it for a few minutes. Glad mine in the Forester are in a heated compartment.
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Old 10-14-2017, 10:01 PM   #14
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No photos of the valve installed and the Sunseeker is in storage so I can't take any now. The valve was for 1/2 inch pex. I took the white panel off to get to the tubing. Access was easy then.
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