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Topic: Best alternative to RV antifreeze.

Posted By: rjsurfer on 11/17/16 06:01am

We're trying to get an early start heading out west this year in April. We're going the South route out and North route back so we will experience some freezing snowy weather for sure. A mix of 50/50 boondocking and full hook up sites.

My question is what's an alternative to RV antifreeze, at $3 a gallon and without much alcohol content there must be a more cost efficient mixtures out there? And easier to carry also..

I only need this for my 38 gallon greys and a single 38 black tank, water tank will have its own 12 volt pad heater. Obviously the grey and black won't be full maybe half full most of the time and only for a day or two. Other times we will have full hookups so all tanks (not fresh) will be empty.

Short of making my own Still what are my options?

Ron W


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Posted By: brulaz on 11/17/16 06:30am

Your grey and black tanks valves are not in an enclosed basement, and the basement is not heated? Just using the 12V pad heater on the fresh tank should help with any grey/black valves close by.

But my old trailer had non-enclosed valves that froze solid at -6C once. Once we drove to warmer weather, and they unfroze, they were fine.

I don't like using alcohol based antifreeze in my grey/black tanks as I'm afraid the rubber seals will deteriorate.


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Posted By: SoundGuy on 11/17/16 06:40am

rjsurfer wrote:

We're trying to get an early start heading out west this year in April. We're going the South route out and North route back so we will experience some freezing snowy weather for sure. A mix of 50/50 boondocking and full hook up sites.

My question is what's an alternative to RV antifreeze, at $3 a gallon and without much alcohol content there must be a more cost efficient mixtures out there? And easier to carry also..


A long trip like this will obvious induce some fairly significant costs which you're obviously willing to handle ... but you're not willing to buy a few gallons of purpose designed RV antifreeze? Seriously? [emoticon]

RV antifreeze is specifically designed for the purpose and to be non poisonous not only when it's in the tanks but also when it's later disposed of - not so with other forms of antifreeze. JMO, but what you're proposing just to save a few $$ makes no sense at all. [emoticon]


Posted By: Gjac on 11/17/16 06:50am

To answer your question directly windshield washer fluid is good to -20 degrees and is less than 1/2 the price of RV antifreeze.


Posted By: K Charles on 11/17/16 06:59am

The lines will freeze be for the tanks.
As asked above, you can't afford to add $3.00 to the cost of your trip.






Posted By: schlep1967 on 11/17/16 07:21am

Run your furnace when you can and when you can't leave your basement lights on. Those little 12v bulbs put out some pretty good heat that should keep everything warm.


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Posted By: downtheroad on 11/17/16 07:22am

Walmart $2.50.....good grief.


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Posted By: rjsurfer on 11/17/16 07:25am

Agreed about the cost, it's not really the cost, it's more of an issue of dilution. RV antifreeze is designed to work at full strength, mixing it with let's say 20 gallons of grey and black I'm guessing I'd be using 2 gallons of rv stuff per three tanks, total 6 gallons. I'm not crazy about filling the bed of my pickup with gallon containers.

So back to my question, what's a more concentrated antifreeze that would be easier to carry around.

Ron w


Posted By: brulaz on 11/17/16 07:36am

rjsurfer wrote:


...

So back to my question, what's a more concentrated antifreeze that would be easier to carry around.

Ron w


Vodka?


Posted By: K Charles on 11/17/16 07:41am

Where do you get vodka for less then $3.00 a gallon?


Posted By: rwbradley on 11/17/16 07:51am

You normally get RV antifreeze that is usually rated for -50 degrees, but up here in Canada and probably Alaska, you can get Antifreeze rated for -100 degrees. This means that if you are looking to dilute the water in the waste tanks to lower the risk of them freezing, getting -100 antifreeze would mean you only need to add half the amount vs regular Antifreeze. This would mean carrying half the amount of jugs with you. However you may find the cost to be more than twice as much. Camco 30787 is the p/n for one of them, however it is Glycol not Ethanol, so it costs way more but does not leave a bad taste in your fresh water pipes.


Rob
rvtechwithrvrob.com



Posted By: Chris Bryant on 11/17/16 08:02am

Rock Salt.


-- Chris Bryant


Posted By: MNGeeks61 on 11/17/16 08:11am

Frankly I don't understand the question. If there WERE an alternative to RV antifreeze, I'm pretty sure someone would have mentioned it by now.

For grins I googled it and found no reasonable alternative.

Since you are going to encounter freezing temps - I'd use antifreeze.


Posted By: time2roll on 11/17/16 08:45am

Put heat pads on the tanks or let them freeze a bit. Don't fill more than 80% and keep them drained when possible. Also get some heat tape for the valves.

www.ultraheat.com


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Posted By: Oasisbob on 11/17/16 08:58am

I understand trying to save a buck where you can. May I suggest recycling your anti freeze?


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Posted By: TurnThePage on 11/17/16 09:08am

You can also put heat pads at the valves and outlets.


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Posted By: coolbreeze01 on 11/17/16 09:25am

I buy the pink at Wally. I would also take my heat gun. Have fun.


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Posted By: dave17352 on 11/17/16 10:04am

**** i just overpaid at Menards. Like 3.79. I didn't think of Wally World. Another poster mentioned rock salt. I used that in my unheated black tank and grey tanks on my Jamboree. It worked very good at 0 degree temps. Others will probably mention the salt may not be good for your seals. I never had a problem. All that being said I now would just use RV anti freeze. I wish I would have wrote down my experiment numbers but it doesn't take that much to keep water from freezing hard with the pink stuff. Just depends on how cold you are talking about. JMHO


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Posted By: westernrvparkowner on 11/17/16 10:05am

Actually, you don't need to worry about the tanks. Unless they are completely full, there is plenty of room for expansion due to freezing. The lines, on the other hand, will easily freeze and break. Leaving the water dripping would keep the lines open unless it got really, really cold. Personally, we always just boogie south ASAP and choose travel dates when it isn't forecasted to be bitter cold. We usually blow out the water lines, put some RV antifreeze in the traps and don't use the toilet or shower until we get south of the freezing weather. Bottled water works for drinking, and can actually be used to flush the toilet should you have an _emergency" We use the fuel stops and the facilities where we overnight to take care of non emergency business. Unless you are driving from Nome Alaska, you can get out of the freezing weather in one or two days, tops.


Posted By: ljr on 11/17/16 10:05am

As long as you won't be drinking it, windshield washer fluid works.


Larry


Posted By: dave17352 on 11/17/16 10:08am

Check this chart out just found it on another thread.


rv antifreeze ratio


Posted By: lc0338 on 11/17/16 10:16am

as others have mentioned the tanks should not be a problem unless they are full with no expansion room. The only other place of concern is at the waste empty valve. The RV antifreeze is slightly heavier than water so if when you empty your tanks you put a little antifreeze in it will flow down to the waste gate and protect it from damage and the rest should be OK. Actually the more liquid in your tanks the more resistance to freezing however don't let get too full just in case. A gallon of antifreeze in each waste tank put in when empty should be enough until you dump. Just my opinion.


Posted By: Harvard on 11/17/16 10:26am

IMO, it is a common misconception that holding tanks at a level below 80 percent will not be a problem. The exit plumbing includes piping that will be 100 percent water and will be destroyed in the freezing process.


Posted By: lc0338 on 11/17/16 10:31am

Harvard wrote:

IMO, it is a common misconception that holding tanks at a level below 80 percent will not be a problem. The exit plumbing includes piping that will be 100 percent water and will be destroyed in the freezing process.


Not if antifreeze goes in first. it will settle in exit tube around waste gate.


Posted By: Dennis12 on 11/17/16 10:36am

After realizing I could afford an RV I new at that point that I could afford to use Crown Royal as an antifreeze.


Dennis Hoppert


Posted By: Harvard on 11/17/16 10:41am

This topic of freezing is going to invoke different experiences depending on the North Latitude magnitude of the experience. IMO.


Posted By: dave17352 on 11/17/16 11:15am

My valves on my tanks are in the heated area on both of my campers. In the winter I always leave the discharge valve open at the end because it is exposed to the elements. I don't want that to freeze and break in case a little water escapes the inner valves.


Posted By: coolmom42 on 11/17/16 11:32am

Dump your tanks, then add a couple of gallons of antifreeze. Crack the valves until some antifreeze comes out. Then close them.


Single empty-nester in Middle TN, sometimes with a friend or grandchild on board


Posted By: DutchmenSport on 11/17/16 01:59pm

Dump all the tanks, including the water heater, and blow the lines. Cost $0, minus the price of an air compressor. In the freezing zone, dry camp then. When you move out, easy to add water back.


Posted By: DrewE on 11/17/16 05:19pm

Chris Bryant wrote:

Rock Salt.


x2 on this. Obviously you don't want to use rock salt (or even table salt, which is purer) in your fresh water system, but it's perfectly reasonable for the gray or black water tanks. It will, at least eventually, all dissolve away so not build up crud in the tanks, and it's fairly environmentally friendly, and it doesn't attack rubber seals etc.

Incidentally, the anti-freezing compound in windshield washer fluid (that fluid that is suitable for cold weather use--some formulations are not) is generally ethanol (wood alcohol), which can be somewhat nasty stuff. You certainly do not wan to drink it! Apparently it also attacks some rubber and similar compounds over time, though I don't know if it specifically causes trouble for typical RV sewer valve seals.






Posted By: JaxDad on 11/17/16 05:27pm

Gjac wrote:

To answer your question directly windshield washer fluid is good to -20 degrees and is less than 1/2 the price of RV antifreeze.


That's an incredibly bad idea.

The 'antifreeze' is alcohol because it's designed to EVAPOURATE so as not to form ice on your windshield.

When you pour it into a tank with as much surface area as a grey or black tank, it evapourates very quickly and leaves you with a tank of straight water.


Posted By: theoldwizard1 on 11/17/16 06:00pm

Vodka !


Posted By: mlts22 on 11/17/16 09:02pm

Windshield washer stuff contains methanol. Very toxic and will cause permanent blindness, since it makes formic acid in the body and turns the optic nerve into plastic, which cannot be reversed.

For fresh water tanks, I use my Spec's discount and use the bottom shelf vodka. I blow out the lines, add booze and run it through all faucets, then blow the lines out again.

For the grey/black tanks, I empty the tanks, then squirt some Dawn dish detergent to sit there. Soap + water has a markedly lower freezing point.

Disclaimer: I live in Texas, where at worst, it might get into the 20s for a few days. In a northern area, I would not chance it -- I'd run RV antifreeze through the lines, and for the black/gray, I'd just dump a bit more of that.


Posted By: loggenrock on 11/17/16 09:25pm

Are we not understanding the question? RV antifreeze is intended to displace water in DOMESTIC water lines. It WILL "freeze", or at least "slush up". The difference is the glycol stuff will not expand, which is the issue with water, which is what causes the damage to water lines. The OP is asking about holding tanks, not domestic supply lines. The glycol antifreeze says NOT to mix with water - remember its purpose is to displace water, not mix with it... Propylene glycol has the same specific gravity as water, so it will not "settle" to the bottom of holding tanks. Pretty much add tank heater pads (12V, not 120V so they can be used while travelling) and dump often. You can always add a Porta-Potti in the shower for use in cold weather - easy to dump in any restroom. ST


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Posted By: mgirardo on 11/18/16 06:16am

You didn't list a time table of where you will be when, but it sure seems like your south route will not be an issue. Unless you expect to encounter long periods of time below 27 degrees, I wouldn't really worry about the tanks. We usually get one or two good hard freezes a year here (usually in February). We just keep the holding tanks close to empty, blow out the lines between trips and keep RV antifreeze in the p traps. 1 gallon of antifreeze usually lasts 2 years.

If you are really concerned, purchase heating pads for the holding tanks. Turn them on when it gets below freezing and you don't have to worry about them.

-Michael


Michael Girardo
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Posted By: rjsurfer on 11/18/16 09:20am

OP back...

Let me restate my needs for keeping the holding tanks from freezing.

We'll be going out west via the southern route in the beginning of April slowly heading north through Texas as the weather warms. I'm sure we'll be caught in some freezing weather, not a problem with full hookups but while boondocking I'm looking for something to put in the partially full grey and black holding tanks to keep them from freezing.

As I mentioned, sure I can use a couple of gallons of RV antifreeze in each 1/2 full tank (6 gallons antifreeze total) but carrying and resupplying them is a pain.

I'm just wondering if there is better more concentrated antifreeze that I could use instead, let's say a gallon or less?

As far as the fresh water is concerned I'm putting a 12 heater pad on for the fresh water tank and with all the water lines running through the heated bay no problem with freezing them.

Now, adding 3 more heating pads for the remaining 3 tanks will tax the 12 volt system for sure, hense the need for antifreeze and I'd rather not use the genny all night.

I hope this makes sense....and who knows maybe the RV mixture is strong enough to go with just a gallon per tank, that I could live with.

Thanks

Ron W


Posted By: Gjac on 11/18/16 07:52pm

JaxDad wrote:

Gjac wrote:

To answer your question directly windshield washer fluid is good to -20 degrees and is less than 1/2 the price of RV antifreeze.


That's an incredibly bad idea.

The 'antifreeze' is alcohol because it's designed to EVAPOURATE so as not to form ice on your windshield.

When you pour it into a tank with as much surface area as a grey or black tank, it evapourates very quickly and leaves you with a tank of straight water.
It really depends on how you use it. I open all low point drains and blow out the water lines and use the windshield washer fluid in my traps and toilet. If I go south for the winter I wait until it gets warm enough before filling FW tank. I have never used RV antifreeze and have been winterizing as described for the last 10 years.


Posted By: MEXICOWANDERER on 11/18/16 08:21pm

Ron Sir, April is not January. You may be making more out of this than may be warranted. If the sun-moon-and tides are against you when in Texas why not hole-up for a few days until you see that cold front pass on by? There is a lot of difference between +30F and 0F. I used to flat-out refuse to fight Sierra Nevada blizzards on US 395 and US 95 northbound. Sounds like your trip planning is sort of inviting an unacceptable degree of discomfort. Then again in my ancientness I have grown to despise cold weather. Maybe my sensitivity is. Ot realistic. If she freeze I flees is my mantra...


Posted By: B.O. Plenty on 11/18/16 09:36pm

Gjac wrote:

To answer your question directly windshield washer fluid is good to -20 degrees and is less than 1/2 the price of RV antifreeze.
And it's poisonous if you put any in your regular water system.

B.O.


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Posted By: brulaz on 11/19/16 05:38am

MEXICOWANDERER wrote:

Ron Sir, April is not January. You may be making more out of this than may be warranted.
...


Especially in Texas.
And a light frost should not cause any problems.
I wouldn't worry about it.


Posted By: mike-s on 11/19/16 07:09am

rjsurfer wrote:

As I mentioned, sure I can use a couple of gallons of RV antifreeze in each 1/2 full tank (6 gallons antifreeze total) but carrying and resupplying them is a pain.

I'm just wondering if there is better more concentrated antifreeze that I could use instead, let's say a gallon or less?
RV antifreeze uses propylene glycol. The concentration (an therefore freezing temperature) may vary by region. Around here, they sell 1:1 (50 percent) mix, which is good to -20F, so you get 1/2 gallon of propylene glycol per gallon of antifreeze. But, it's intended to be used as provided, not diluted.

You said you had 38 gallon tanks. If you add 2 gallons of 1:1 to a half full tank (19 gallons), you'll end up with about a 1:20 mix. A 1:5 mix (add over 12 gallons per tank) gets you +20F. That 1:20 mix you wanted - that won't do squat to keep things from freezing, maybe lower the freezing point a couple of degrees, so why even bother?


Posted By: Gjac on 11/19/16 07:41am

B.O. Plenty wrote:

Gjac wrote:

To answer your question directly windshield washer fluid is good to -20 degrees and is less than 1/2 the price of RV antifreeze.
And it's poisonous if you put any in your regular water system.

B.O.
Read my post I don't use it in my water system when I winterize, I just blow out the water lines with compressed air.


Posted By: sonora on 11/19/16 04:46pm

K Charles wrote:

Where do you get vodka for less then $3.00 a gallon?


Russia?


Posted By: JaxDad on 11/19/16 06:33pm

Gjac wrote:

JaxDad wrote:

Gjac wrote:

To answer your question directly windshield washer fluid is good to -20 degrees and is less than 1/2 the price of RV antifreeze.


That's an incredibly bad idea.

The 'antifreeze' is alcohol because it's designed to EVAPOURATE so as not to form ice on your windshield.

When you pour it into a tank with as much surface area as a grey or black tank, it evapourates very quickly and leaves you with a tank of straight water.


It really depends on how you use it. I open all low point drains and blow out the water lines and use the windshield washer fluid in my traps and toilet. If I go south for the winter I wait until it gets warm enough before filling FW tank. I have never used RV antifreeze and have been winterizing as described for the last 10 years.


I'm not sure how many traps or toilets your unit has, but mine takes maybe a cup per.

If you had two sinks, a toilet and another appliance (washer) with a drain that would take maybe 4 cups.

A half a gallon is too expensive? You need to find something cheaper?


Posted By: Gjac on 11/20/16 06:50am

JaxDad wrote:

Gjac wrote:

JaxDad wrote:

Gjac wrote:

To answer your question directly windshield washer fluid is good to -20 degrees and is less than 1/2 the price of RV antifreeze.


That's an incredibly bad idea.

The 'antifreeze' is alcohol because it's designed to EVAPOURATE so as not to form ice on your windshield.

When you pour it into a tank with as much surface area as a grey or black tank, it evapourates very quickly and leaves you with a tank of straight water.


It really depends on how you use it. I open all low point drains and blow out the water lines and use the windshield washer fluid in my traps and toilet. If I go south for the winter I wait until it gets warm enough before filling FW tank. I have never used RV antifreeze and have been winterizing as described for the last 10 years.


I'm not sure how many traps or toilets your unit has, but mine takes maybe a cup per.

If you had two sinks, a toilet and another appliance (washer) with a drain that would take maybe 4 cups.

A half a gallon is too expensive? You need to find something cheaper?
Isn't that the question that the OP asked (a cheaper alternative) I just answered his question.


Posted By: JaxDad on 11/20/16 07:09am

Gjac wrote:

JaxDad wrote:

Gjac wrote:

JaxDad wrote:

Gjac wrote:

To answer your question directly windshield washer fluid is good to -20 degrees and is less than 1/2 the price of RV antifreeze.


That's an incredibly bad idea.

The 'antifreeze' is alcohol because it's designed to EVAPOURATE so as not to form ice on your windshield.

When you pour it into a tank with as much surface area as a grey or black tank, it evapourates very quickly and leaves you with a tank of straight water.


It really depends on how you use it. I open all low point drains and blow out the water lines and use the windshield washer fluid in my traps and toilet. If I go south for the winter I wait until it gets warm enough before filling FW tank. I have never used RV antifreeze and have been winterizing as described for the last 10 years.


I'm not sure how many traps or toilets your unit has, but mine takes maybe a cup per.

If you had two sinks, a toilet and another appliance (washer) with a drain that would take maybe 4 cups.

A half a gallon is too expensive? You need to find something cheaper?
Isn't that the question that the OP asked (a cheaper alternative) I just answered his question.


No, the OP asked for a cheaper alternative to freeze-proof his black and grey tanks, 76 gallons in total, not a couple P traps.

Even at a 50/50 dilution rate (which likely still wouldn't be safe) that would be well over $100 per dump, and reduce his tank capacity by half.


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