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Topic: Windshield washer fluid in holding tanks

Posted By: PapaJim on 09/30/10 08:57am

Why not use the iexpensive (blue) windshield washer fluid, about $1 per gallon, in the gray and black holding tanks for antifreeze?


Posted By: Jimehc on 09/30/10 09:02am

The tanks are plastic and should be empty... Why any anti-freeze in those tanks??


Posted By: turninghawk on 09/30/10 09:14am

As soon as you start diluting that stuff the freeze point becomes higher. I agree -- those tanks should be empty for winterizing.


Posted By: Jimehc on 09/30/10 09:24am

Some will say they do it because the seal will dry out on the valves...

Silicone Spray will prevent this also..


Posted By: downtheroad on 09/30/10 09:58am

Good grief. Windshield washer fluid vs RV anti-freeze is 'chump change' difference in savings....I just don't get it...

Expensive hobby/pastime. Cost of trailer, tow vehicle, fuel, maintenance, travel expenses, on and on - and worrying about a buck or two when discussing correct winterization?


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Posted By: mwebber78 on 09/30/10 09:59am

I'd be concerned about the chemicals used in windshield cleaners that make it toxic going into the city sewer system, ground or leach field.

Then again, I haven't ever "winterized" a grey or black tank since leaving them empty is sufficient.


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Posted By: garym114 on 09/30/10 10:09am

Drain the tanks. I leave all tank drain valves open. Even if there is some liquid left, expansion from freezing is no problem.


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Posted By: Leeblev on 09/30/10 10:19am

Many windshield washes contain alcohol and other chemicals that will deteriorate the tank seals. I have never had a problem in winter because I empty both tanks before storing or sitting for long periods in cold weather. Since I have basement heaters, my holding tanks don't freeze and I don't see a need to put anti-freeze in when not using as long as they are empty.


Lee
2001 36' Kountry Star DP



Posted By: pianotuna on 09/30/10 10:30am

Hi,

I think the OP is suggesting this as a strategy for cold weather camping--not as a winterizing feature.


Regards, Don
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Posted By: Terryallan on 09/30/10 04:46pm

Thing is. As long as the tank is not full. It won't hurt anything if it freezes. I always leave 5 gal or so of water in the black tank.

As for freezing while camping. A little bit of any antifreeze will be too diluted to do much of anything.


Terry & Shay
Coachman Apex 288BH.
04 F150, 5.4, Lariat SuperCab
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Posted By: LarryJM on 09/30/10 05:50pm

downtheroad wrote:

Good grief. Windshield washer fluid vs RV anti-freeze is 'chump change' difference in savings....I just don't get it...

Expensive hobby/pastime. Cost of trailer, tow vehicle, fuel, maintenance, travel expenses, on and on - and worrying about a buck or two when discussing correct winterization?


Well around here you can find the cheapo flue WW antifreeze for close to $1/gal and the cheapest I have ever seen the RV antifreeze is more than $3/gal. So for me it's not about cost, but as mentioned why do your even need it an what should be a basically empty tank.

Larry


2001 standard box 7.3L E-350 PSD Van with 4.10 rear and 2007 Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite 8306S Been RV'ing since 1974.
RAINKAP INSTALL////ETERNABOND INSTALL



Posted By: RTrider on 09/30/10 07:25pm

I agree with the OP.

Why not use inexpensive windshield antifreeze to winterize the grey and black tank systems. Have done it many times and no problems. Just be sure it is not used in the fresh water system.

Why use anifreeze at all in the black and gray tank system???? BECAUSE even if you empty the tanks, you do not empty all the water and "water" freezes. By putting antifreeze in the system, the traps and drain valves are then surrounded by antifreeze. For the poster that says that windshield antifreeze should not be used as it contains alcohole, what do you think the pink stuff is made from!

Go ahead, better safe than sorry.


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Posted By: Jimehc on 09/30/10 07:42pm

What do your drain traps have to do with your tanks???

When you pump the pink antifreeze through your water pipes, you are suppose to open the faucets, til the antifreeze runs out the faucet, this antifreeze goes down the drain and fills the traps..

Why go any farther???

Yes a 1/2 gallon of water may sit on the bottom of your tanks and freeze - but will not cause any damage to the tank itself..

Leave that same 1/2 gallon of water in a pipe fitting behind a closed valve - you may get damage...

Why even close the tanks valves???

* This post was edited 09/30/10 07:50pm by Jimehc *


Posted By: Terryallan on 09/30/10 08:00pm

RTrider wrote:



BECAUSE even if you empty the tanks, you do not empty all the water and "water" freezes.


But it don't matter if it freezes. It would ONLY hurt it, IF the tanks were full. If not full the water/ ice can expand, and not burst anything. 5 frozen gal of water laying in the bottom of a tank is just that. A lump of ice in a tank. Nothing to worry about.


Posted By: Terryallan on 09/30/10 08:03pm

Jimehc wrote:



Why even close the tanks valves???


To keep critters from getting in and making a home, and if they get into the grey tank. They WILL make it into the living area. I NEVER leave my valves open.


Posted By: smkettner on 09/30/10 08:08pm

OP, are you using the RV or storing it?
Either way there is no need for tank antifreeze.

Drain them for storage, tank heaters for usage in freezing weather. JMHO.


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Posted By: Jimehc on 09/30/10 08:12pm




Posted By: RTrider on 10/01/10 08:43am

Terryallan wrote:

RTrider wrote:



BECAUSE even if you empty the tanks, you do not empty all the water and "water" freezes.


But it don't matter if it freezes. It would ONLY hurt it, IF the tanks were full. If not full the water/ ice can expand, and not burst anything. 5 frozen gal of water laying in the bottom of a tank is just that. A lump of ice in a tank. Nothing to worry about.


It's not the tank that you need to worry about, its the drain valve. Some water will accumulate against the valve and if it freezes it "may" damage the valve if left closed, which I do. If you leave the valve open, then you will not likely have this problem. Many options to accomplish the same thing.


Posted By: Geeze on 10/03/10 06:49pm

The freezing point on that blue washer fluid is not very low, maybe zero? I wouldn't trust it if your in a northern climate. The better quality washer fluid has a lower freezing point but if your going to spend the money to get that you may as well get the RV stuff. If I wanted to skimp somewhere it wouldn't be on winterization.


Posted By: aquarious on 10/04/10 10:22am

I have read many posts for and against RV antifreeze in holding tanks and water lines. I am from the old school that says " a gallon of pervention is worth more than a bale of dollars for repair ". I may have misquoted a little but you get what I mean.


Posted By: 2008FX4 on 10/04/10 10:41am

LarryJM wrote:

downtheroad wrote:

Good grief. Windshield washer fluid vs RV anti-freeze is 'chump change' difference in savings....I just don't get it...

Expensive hobby/pastime. Cost of trailer, tow vehicle, fuel, maintenance, travel expenses, on and on - and worrying about a buck or two when discussing correct winterization?


Well around here you can find the cheapo flue WW antifreeze for close to $1/gal and the cheapest I have ever seen the RV antifreeze is more than $3/gal. So for me it's not about cost, but as mentioned why do your even need it an what should be a basically empty tank.

Larry


$2 for RV Antifreeze here at the wallmarts. And it'll go on sale here in about a month.


TV: 2008 Ford F-250 FX4 6.4L Twin Turbo PSD
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Posted By: Gene&Ginny on 10/04/10 06:17pm

Terryallan wrote:

Thing is. As long as the tank is not full. It won't hurt anything if it freezes. ....

If you believe that look at this picture of my grey drain. Previous owner had it only one winter. Fortunatly with the proper ABS cement it is now good as new and you can'r see the repair.




Gene and DW Ginny
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Posted By: bobbyg123 on 10/04/10 06:56pm

Jimehc wrote:

The tanks are plastic and should be empty... Why any anti-freeze in those tanks??


I won't ever leave my holding tanks totally empty for an extended period of time. I don't want anything in there getting hard and caking to to the walls of the tank. It's not too expensive to simply pour one our two gallons of antifreeze in the black and gray tanks. It keeps the bottom lubricated and only costs me $10-$15/year.


2008 Jayfeather 29A
2007 Ford F-150 5.4L V8


Posted By: Jimehc on 10/04/10 07:15pm

If you are worried about things getting hard and caking - you need to learn how to properly rinse your tanks..


Posted By: aquarious on 10/05/10 07:28am

I never let my tanks dry out. I do a thorough rinse about twice a year when I camp at a full hook up otherwise I dump, add about 5 gal of water to each tank, throw in a packet of detergent and go. I never dump with less than 3/4 tank, I add water if needed.


Posted By: Airstreamer67 on 10/05/10 08:37am

I use windshield washer fluid in my black-water holding tank when traveling in freezing weather, along with the regular pink stuff in the drinking-water plumbing. This way, I can use the toilet and flush with the washer fluid. It protects the tank and its drain piping and keeps my valves free of ice for proper dumping when due.

For drinking water, I use bottled water.

In other words, my plumbing system is not used except for the commode so I don't have to worry about anything freezing on the road.


Posted By: kincade on 10/05/10 03:08pm

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that the main ingredient in WW fluid is methanol; which is highly toxic and should not be dumped in most septic systems, and should never be dumped in a closed septic tank.

I would either drain it or add some salt to lower the freezing point. Salt is cheap and is at least nontoxic.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_freezing_point_of_saltwater

It WILL corrode metal though, i.e. your sending unit sensors.


Posted By: pianotuna on 10/05/10 03:14pm

Hi Geeze,

We use it in the frozen north--here it is rated to -40.

I've added a mechanical thermostat and a 500 watt fan based heater to my waste tanks and valve area, and a 2nd mechanical thermostat near the water pump--connected to some heat rods and a 220 volt light bulb. I keep both thermostats set at 4 C. As I have a medium size battery bank, a good MSW inverter, and a small size solar system, this lets me put off winterizing for a while.

Of course, when I have shore power I keep the system up and running and use as much electric heat as I can, to cut down on propane use.

I've also added an auxiliary thermostat for running just my furnace. This lets me run the heat strip and furnace at the same time.

Geeze wrote:

The freezing point on that blue washer fluid is not very low, maybe zero? I wouldn't trust it if your in a northern climate



Posted By: bobbyg123 on 10/07/10 10:57pm

Jimehc wrote:

If you are worried about things getting hard and caking - you need to learn how to properly rinse your tanks..


What in the Hell are you talking about? I don't care how many times you rinse, use a wand, back-flush, etc, stuff is always going to be left behind. Under no circumstances should the black or gray tanks be left totally empty. That makes no sense whatsoever.


Posted By: lookinin on 10/09/10 11:23pm

Why doesn't the OP come back and say "thanks" or something like that? I mean, I'd be curious by now of people's helpful suggestions, even if most agree that tanks are best drained and left at that. Can't figure some folks out.


On the road again...


Posted By: JIMNLIN on 10/10/10 06:56am

Since '72 I've left my tank caps off in winter storage for the tanks to air out on 3 TCs/a TT and three different 5ers. No lump issues. I'm more interested in keeping bacteria levels down as much as possible.

I certainly wouldn't use WW fluid in a holding tank and then dump it in my or someones septic system.

* This post was edited 10/10/10 07:05am by JIMNLIN *


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