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Open Roads Forum  >  Hybrid Travel Trailers

 > Thawing frozen holding tanks

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Wandering_about

Minnesota

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Posted: 12/13/07 03:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So my black and gray tanks are solid blocks of ice. I want to thaw them out this week. What is the best way? Couple pounds of salt or de-icer down the toilet and shower drain? I can put heaters under the tanks but I'm worried about melting something. Also, it will still be well below freezing outside. Anyone learn what NOT to do? :-)

Thanks!


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Lt46

Central Florida

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Posted: 12/13/07 04:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Any place you can bring it inside? That would be best. Other than that, you'll have to tent or skirt the area around your tanks to focus the heat produced by whatever heating device you use. I've used a 500 watt quartz light to thaw an area in the past with success. Good luck.


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Alfred622

Rochester, MN

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Posted: 12/13/07 04:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If your tanks are frozen solid, be careful of your water heater, all of your drains, your pump and all of your lines that weren't blown clear or treated with RV Antifreeze. Good luck, I bet this ain't fun!


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skipnchar

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Posted: 12/13/07 04:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Best advice I can give is go slow and thaw slowly. If you build a skirt and put a heat inside it WILL thaw but may take several days to do so. I'd put a heater INSIDE the RV with cabinets open to thaw any frozen plumbing there. Try and open as many ways for heat to reach frozen areas as possible. Good luck / Skip


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kellem

Shenandoah valley,VA

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Posted: 12/13/07 04:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Are you saying that you never drained either tank,if so it could take days to thaw 30+ gals of solid ice.
I would take a day off work if necessary and run the furnace for a couple of hours until i found out what else may not have been winterized....traps,waterpump,hotwater heater and anything else that holds water.
I know we all forget things from time to time,i just hope nothing has been damaged.

dalehelman

Liberty Lake (Spokane) Wa.

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Posted: 12/13/07 05:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First you have to get the air temp around the tanks as worm as possible. If the area is fairly dry an old electric blanket backed up with some 2" rigid foam. Prop it up as tight as possible against the tank. Some 2 by 2's cut to length should work. I would also get 3 or 4 gallons of Preston deice windshield washer fluid. It is kind of yellow in color. I use it in a spray bottle to help remove ice from my windshield in the morning. It melts ice very quickly. Environmentalists may take issue with this, but it is not their tanks that are frozen. Besides there are know warnings about disposal and it mixes with water.
Good Luck


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taborekle

Clements, Md

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Posted: 12/13/07 07:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'd agree with those that recommended skirting the bottom. Stick a electric heater down there and try to get the temps up. I wouldn't have the electric heater blow right on any tank, just let it raise the temps under the skirt.

Good idea to also heat the trailer at the same time to try to thaw any plumbing lines in the trailer.

I'd open all the taps. As water turns to ice it expands. When it starts to melt it could put the tanks and plumbing under pressure. I'd open the water taps to allow it a place to vent if it needs to.

The black tank should be vented to the roof, so that should not be a problem for it.

Larry

Mommalu

Mpls. MN

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Posted: 12/13/07 06:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm curious, what's the hurry to drain them now? Hasn't all the potential damage already occurred?
Why not wait until the nights are above freezing?
Without the opportunity to bring it inside to a controlled environment, I just think the potential for creating more damage is too great. I personally would be concerned with heating too quickly causing more damage or flames, or the amount of time it will take to carefully monitor the situation making sure all is well. It will take days in below freezing weather.
I would wait until spring and declare it a lesson learned the hard way.
Just my thoughts.

kashman

Baltimore, Maryland

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Posted: 12/13/07 07:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How full are the tanks?


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tuckerin

morristown, ny

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Posted: 12/13/07 07:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hook up and head due South!!

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