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Old 12-09-2023, 11:08 AM   #1
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Winterized camper

Iím knew to the forum and Iím not quite sure if this post is against the rules or anything. This might also be a silly question, but we are new to this!

Hello! Iím new here & to rv life. My partner and I just purchased a 2017 Salem a few months ago and just moved in for full time stationary living. We are on family property and our travel trailer is winterized.

We are probably going to purchase some 5 gallon waters for drinking water, but my question is can we still pour water down the drain even though itís winterized? We wonít be using any water from the tanks, just pouring water down the drain.

I read that you can still use the toilet just have to pour anti-freeze in so it doesnít get diluted, so I was wondering if anyone knew if itís the same kinda deal with pouring water down the drain into the grey tank(s).
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Old 12-09-2023, 11:23 AM   #2
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Hard to say, you don't say what part of the country you live in. It can be done but risky. I know people that have wintered in an RV in some pretty harsh winters. They take all the precautions they can to prevent freezing something by it's inveitable that something is going to freeze if it gets cold enough.
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Old 12-09-2023, 12:01 PM   #3
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It’s hard to answer because we don’t know the outdoor temperatures at the location or how you’ll dump the waste tanks. Is there a sewer right at the RV site? I’m not familiar with that RV to know whether it has electric tank heaters. That said, you can pour water in the waste tanks in freezing weather, along with antifreeze. How much antifreeze you’d need depends on the temperature. If you have a freeze up, the most troublesome spot would be if the waste gate valves get frozen. I have had that happen once; couldn’t open the valve to dump the tank.
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Old 12-09-2023, 12:08 PM   #4
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I live in Indiana right now it’s like 58 F
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Old 12-09-2023, 12:15 PM   #5
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Because we do not have a car big/strong enough to tow it yet, I think we would just get a portable tank to drain it into and take that to a dump site.
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Old 12-09-2023, 12:33 PM   #6
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Even if you only pour water and antifreeze down the drains, the protection level against freezing will depend on how much you dilute the combination.

There will also be stuff in the P-traps of those sinks. Remember, sink stuff drains into the grey tank, toilet stuff into the black tank.

Then you have to know where you can drain your portable tank. At this time of year, is there a working dump site nearby, because winter is only starting. 58F today is nowhere near as cold as things will get.
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Old 12-09-2023, 12:57 PM   #7
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Is your underbelly in closed?
If it is, get your vin number and call Forest River and see if itís heated. Iím assuming you will be running your furnace.
As for the holding tanks, if it is a heated underbelly, you wonít have to worry as long as you are running your furnace.
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Old 12-09-2023, 01:10 PM   #8
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Moved thread to the Plumbing and Water Systems sub-forum since the OP's questions are specific to that sub-forum.
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Old 12-09-2023, 04:47 PM   #9
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What to do

If you are ONLY worried about gray water, you can do what we do.

Get a sewage tote and hose--sounds like you are planning to do this anyway.

Connect the tote to the outlet with the hose and open the gray valve only.

All the water will flow through the plumbing and tank to the HDPE tote which can withstand freezing. Check the tote daily. When it's close to full, empty it as you have planned to do.

In our case, we mostly use the campground toilets in the winter. Only liquid in the black tank. We open the black tank valve regularly and when we leave, and run that waste into the tote, too.
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Old 12-09-2023, 05:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
If you are ONLY worried about gray water, you can do what we do.
All the water will flow through the plumbing and tank to the HDPE tote which can withstand freezing. Check the tote daily. When it's close to full, empty it as you have planned to do.
Draining grey water directly into a tote is a recommendation that I've never heard of and it sounds like a great idea.

Since they're not in a campground, they might want to consider a portable toilet. The black tank valves might freeze and then they's not be able to use it.

If they are staying in the trailer for the winter, they might want to consider 'skirting' the bottom.

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Old 12-09-2023, 05:35 PM   #11
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Draining to tote

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Draining grey water directly into a tote is a recommendation that I've never heard of and it sounds like a great idea.
We winterize the Cherokee 38P and leave a dehumidifier in the shower all winter. The first year we didn't use the tote and water (naturally) went through the gray tank and accumulated at the valve. The two longer stretches of ABS pipe between valve and tank split and I had to replace them. That's when I hit on the idea of leaving the tote connected and gray valve open. It's worked successfully for about 8 winters now.

(We do use the trailer a little during the winterization period. We bring bottled water for washing and drinking, mostly use the campground facilities for toilet and dishwashing. I empty both tanks into the tote before leaving and empty the tote.)
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Old 12-09-2023, 06:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 2017Salem View Post
I live in Indiana right now itís like 58 F
Huge difference between northern and southern Indiana winter temps. I would not live it in the winter in northern Indiana without some serious preparations.

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Old 12-09-2023, 07:43 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
If you are ONLY worried about gray water, you can do what we do.

Get a sewage tote and hose--sounds like you are planning to do this anyway.

Connect the tote to the outlet with the hose and open the gray valve only.

All the water will flow through the plumbing and tank to the HDPE tote which can withstand freezing. Check the tote daily. When it's close to full, empty it as you have planned to do.

In our case, we mostly use the campground toilets in the winter. Only liquid in the black tank. We open the black tank valve regularly and when we leave, and run that waste into the tote, too.
The tote may withstand freezing, but how would you dump the ice out of it if the weather is cold enough to freeze it solid?
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Old 12-09-2023, 08:07 PM   #14
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Good question

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The tote may withstand freezing, but how would you dump the ice out of it if the weather is cold enough to freeze it solid?
Good question. It doesn't matter if it freezes as long as there is room for fresh water to enter it, so it doesn't back up into the brittle ABS pipes.

Overfilling hasn't happened yet, mostly because the dehumidifier doesn't run when the temperature is below 40℉. I don't think I could get 23 gallons out of the dehumidifier through the entire winter. We usually winterize in October, visit for New Years, and dewinterize in March or April. I either check or dump the tote at New Years.
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Old 12-10-2023, 01:11 AM   #15
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Good question. It doesn't matter if it freezes as long as there is room for fresh water to enter it, so it doesn't back up into the brittle ABS pipes.

Overfilling hasn't happened yet, mostly because the dehumidifier doesn't run when the temperature is below 40℉. I don't think I could get 23 gallons out of the dehumidifier through the entire winter. We usually winterize in October, visit for New Years, and dewinterize in March or April. I either check or dump the tote at New Years.
I understand, but living at roughly the same latitude as the OP’s Indiana, after a decent cold spell that frozen portable tank I imagine could possibly take days to thaw in a heated area before it could be dumped.
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Old 12-10-2023, 11:07 AM   #16
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I kinda get this

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I understand, but living at roughly the same latitude as the OPís Indiana, after a decent cold spell that frozen portable tank I imagine could possibly take days to thaw in a heated area before it could be dumped.
I kinda get this. Before we moved to North Carolina, we lived in Minnesota. My kids were born and raised there. We got the first thaw right around income tax day every year and there were still snow mounds in the shadowy parts of the back yard until Memorial Day. Before that, I lived in northern Illinois, within a bicycle ride of the Wisconsin line, and later went to college at Champaign-Urbana.

My point was that if you are not residing in the trailer, just dehumidifying it, you won't get a full tote of water all winter. There just isn't that much moisture in the air. It's already condensed out as dew or frost.

We usually only visit in the winter when it's above freezing and we can dump the tote.

And truth be told, there are probably a tiny leak or two around the hose seal, so I don't think water could rise above that level. I have no qualms about dropping condensed water vapor on the ground at the trailer site.
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