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Old 11-07-2020, 10:03 PM   #1
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Winterizing and black tanks in the PNW

We’re new to the PNW (Portland Area) and plan to use our rig in the winter time. The Portland area can freeze on some nights but not to the same extent as other parts of the county. We’ve already had 1-2 days this fall were it dropped 1-2 degrees below freezing. I’ve been draining the water heater, cleaning the water pump filter and using the blowout method per the manual. Also leaving some antifreeze in the traps/drains.

Question about the black tanks. I usually use some Happy Camper with 2 gallons of water (which has worked great). Am I ok to still do that? Or should I leave the black tank empty with a little antifreeze in it instead? Portland typically only freezes in the night for a few hours and not a consistent all day freeze or for extended periods of time. I wouldn’t think 2 gallons wouldn’t expand all that much but I guess there are also the valves to contend with.

Anyone in that area have any experience?
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Old 11-08-2020, 03:26 AM   #2
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The tanks should be well flushed and completely drained of any liquids as part of winter lay up. Wait until you actual use the coach to add any odor control chemicals or water.

Keep in mind that any liquid you add first fills the tank dump piping backing up from the valves. This smaller liquid mass is where it will freeze first and potentially cracking the hard ABS pipe or damaging the valves. And you know when you'll find the problem?
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Old 11-09-2020, 12:19 AM   #3
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If the valves are exposed, as in a typical TT, then add a gallon or two of pink AF
down the toilet . That should prevent any freezing gear on those nights below freezing. I'm in the Scappoose area NW of Portland so know your concerns. You might also suck some AF into the water pump to insure plain water doesn't still reside inside the pump. Blowing lines doesn't always get the pump clear.
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Old 11-09-2020, 12:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtoste77 View Post
We’re new to the PNW (Portland Area) and plan to use our rig in the winter time. The Portland area can freeze on some nights but not to the same extent as other parts of the county. We’ve already had 1-2 days this fall were it dropped 1-2 degrees below freezing. I’ve been draining the water heater, cleaning the water pump filter and using the blowout method per the manual. Also leaving some antifreeze in the traps/drains.

Question about the black tanks. I usually use some Happy Camper with 2 gallons of water (which has worked great). Am I ok to still do that? Or should I leave the black tank empty with a little antifreeze in it instead? Portland typically only freezes in the night for a few hours and not a consistent all day freeze or for extended periods of time. I wouldn’t think 2 gallons wouldn’t expand all that much but I guess there are also the valves to contend with.

Anyone in that area have any experience?
I am in Dallas area and your weather sounds like ours although we have not had a freeze yet. This is going into our 2nd winter since owning a RV. With the exception of you putting deodorant in the black tank during the winter you are doing exactly what I did last year and we had no issues.

However....This year I was playing around one day with plenty of time on my hands, so I go to a dump facility and let it drain completely, did the sani flush for extra 20 min and water coming out looked as clean as Ozarka Spring water So assuming I was completely dry; I wanted to test it I left the Black tank valve open but put the cap on. Drove home and opened the cap only to find that I had 2 gallons of black water come out

So what learned... The wau my coach is designed if you drain on level service it will never get all of the black water out. Gray water yes at 100% as it drains from bottom of my tank. Black water on on my tank drains from the side. Using my hydraulic lift, when I raise the rear of coach about 3 inches, my black tank goes completely dry

So to answer you question you have to assume you have some black waste water still in the tank and if you drive it, it may get in the valve, I would add at least 1 gallon maybe two in black tank filling p traps in the process.

My resolution is still in process. I bought the jet flo macerator and dedicated black waste hose so I can pump to my home sewer connection, or toilet at home. I will raise the rear of the coach a few inches before pumping out of the black tank. When I finish with black tank flushing, I will then open valve for gray tank, some of the gray will flow back into the black tank. When pumps run dry, I will lower the RV. I have yet to see if any more residual gray will come out when RV is lowered? If so; I will turn pump on again with black tank valve closed. My point and purpose is to be 100% certain that my black and gray are 100% empty. I should not need any anti freeze, in fact I may leave valves open with 3" clear extender and 10' Rhino hose connected to the cap as a safety precaution. No worries about some liquids I should not have freezing my rhino hose
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Old 11-09-2020, 10:40 PM   #5
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Thanks all! I was actually out in the rig when I posted this because we were coming home with the temp dropping to 27°. Because our pluming runs through the heat ducts, we didn’t have to worry about the cold until I got home.

I opted to leave the black empty. I dropped a little of the pink stuff just to be safe. The manual calls for it in the traps as well, which I did.

Although the fresh tank was empty and no more water was draining through the fresh tank drain or drains in the wet bay, when I turned on the water pump a lot of water still worked it’s way out. I kept the pump running until all the fresh water pumped through the exterior drains.

As far as the water pump, the manual actually calls for removing the strain filter and remove excess water which I also did.

I blew out the lines as the manual reads. Oddly, the manual also calls for the lines to be blown while the water heater drain plug is removed. I actually confirmed it with Winnebago today. I always assumed the plug should be back in before blowing out the lines. Anyone else do it that way?

Although we hit 27° we’re back to the normal mid to upper 30s now and don’t see anymore below freezing temps before our next trip on Thanksgiving. I’ll have to do it all over again, lol. Small price to pay to get to keep RVing in the cold months
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Old 11-11-2020, 12:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtoste77 View Post

Although the fresh tank was empty and no more water was draining through the fresh tank drain or drains in the wet bay, when I turned on the water pump a lot of water still worked it’s way out. I kept the pump running until all the fresh water pumped through the exterior drains.


I blew out the lines as the manual reads. Oddly, the manual also calls for the lines to be blown while the water heater drain plug is removed. I actually confirmed it with Winnebago today. I always assumed the plug should be back in before blowing out the lines. Anyone else do it that way?
I argued with my selling Dealer's Service department on the point of draining my freshwater tank. They all but laughed at me when I told them I could not find the fresh water tank drain They were 1100 miles away so it was real frustrating. Opening the low point valves does nothing on my coach but drain water in low points You MUST turn on the water pump in order to drain the fresh water tank. My Manual was even wrong Winnebago actually hads to send me a new corrected Owners Manual which confirms the same. I actually like using the pump because it drains very fast

Where do you connect to blowout your water line? I have a blow out plug that fits into the hot water heater where anode was. I open the faucets / shower one by one until they quit spitting. I also leave my drain valves open for a few days as more water will eventually make it way down into the drain lines. When I am sure it is all out, I close the valve and go with the anti freeze in P Traps & toilet. I do not add RV anti freeze to my fresh water tank (fresh water supply), no matter what people say and how safe it may be. If I can't drain it so be it
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Old 11-11-2020, 10:21 PM   #7
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I argued with my selling Dealer's Service department on the point of draining my freshwater tank. They all but laughed at me when I told them I could not find the fresh water tank drain They were 1100 miles away so it was real frustrating. Opening the low point valves does nothing on my coach but drain water in low points You MUST turn on the water pump in order to drain the fresh water tank. My Manual was even wrong Winnebago actually hads to send me a new corrected Owners Manual which confirms the same. I actually like using the pump because it drains very fast

Where do you connect to blowout your water line? I have a blow out plug that fits into the hot water heater where anode was. I open the faucets / shower one by one until they quit spitting. I also leave my drain valves open for a few days as more water will eventually make it way down into the drain lines. When I am sure it is all out, I close the valve and go with the anti freeze in P Traps & toilet. I do not add RV anti freeze to my fresh water tank (fresh water supply), no matter what people say and how safe it may be. If I can't drain it so be it
Yeah, not much came out the low point drains. I had both low point drains open and the tank drain (which is under the bed). The tank drain drained a little more but still no a ton. Once the pump turned on it must have removed 1-2 gallons. I connect the blowout at the city water (in the wet bay).
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