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Old 01-27-2022, 06:14 PM   #1
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Has anybody added a Gray water, freshwater, black water tank heater to their trailer

Wondering how effective these are when you self install them. Not sure about a AC or DC system. Wondering how easy it is to install and how effective they are in keeping the fluids from freezing.
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Old 01-27-2022, 06:37 PM   #2
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Our tank heater was installed by the builder.

In looking at it, not too difficult of a job. Have to run small gage wire to the heating pad and to the new switch inside to turn them off and on. You might have to remove any coroplast covering first to gain access.

They activate when the temp gets to about 40 degrees or so.

My grey and black are in a heated space fed by furnace and aux heaters we have inside the living space.

Mostly grunt work.
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Old 01-27-2022, 06:54 PM   #3
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I installed tank heaters last year, my coach was prewired so it was relatively easy. I've been checking the temps of the tanks and they seem to stay about 45F when it's cold out. I have a remote temp sensor to check temp. I also installed an indicator light so I can see when the tank heaters are working.
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Old 01-28-2022, 07:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Pslif View Post
Wondering how effective these are when you self install them. Not sure about a AC or DC system. Wondering how easy it is to install and how effective they are in keeping the fluids from freezing.
I have added a tank heater on each of my 3 tanks. I have used them when plugged into shore power. They worked to keep water temperature above freezing. They do not keep pipes, fittings, and valves above freezing.

To keep everything warm, the TT needs a cover on the bottom, sealed, and insulated so the heat from the tanks keeps the pipes warm.

I also have a 4 inch duct to the belly around the tanks from the furnace. This is what I use for most dry camping.

12 volt heaters are not useful for dry camping. They draw too much power to be used from my 200 amp hour battery bank. 12 volt heaters may be Ok for use while towing as long as the tow vehicle has a good system for charging the TT battery.
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Old 01-28-2022, 09:06 AM   #5
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I get that a tank heater can keep the tank warm...but what about all of the hoses and fittings what is much more likely to freeze and crack?
And if you add a heating unit that keeps the hoses above freezing...then the tank is also above freezing so no tank heater needed.
My RV has a separate Hydrohot temp controlled radiator for the wet bay that keeps everything above freezing.
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Old 01-28-2022, 09:15 AM   #6
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My MH came with 12V heating pads for the grey and black tanks installed by the factory. They draw about 3 amps, so not too bad. The fresh water tank is above the floor in a covered compartment, so as as the coach's inside temp is maybe 50+ enough heat will leak in to keep it from freezing.

But as noted above, the real problem is the waste dump lines. Keeping the tanks fluid doesn't do much good if those lines freeze up and worse if they crack and leak once the temps get higher.

I haven't done it yet, but I have a plan to install 12V pipe heating pads on both dump lines down near the gate valves. Then I will insulate them with foam tape and wire them to the same circuit as the tank pads. These draw less than an amp each and with the existing circuit on a 10 amp fuse I should be fine. The whole thing will draw about 5 amps which I can manage by running the generator for a few hours to recharge.

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Old 01-30-2022, 09:09 PM   #7
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We stuck in Connecticut due the snow storm. Temperature outside at night is -3F. And I found a way to keep warm the hose, water pump and fresh tank. Let buy an adapter 1/2 FIP to Male garden hose. Install it to outside shower, then hook your water hose to it. Run the hose anywhere you want to keep warm and hook the other end to your inlet of freshwater tank. Open the hot knob, it will circle hot water from the water heater to water tank and keep warm your compartments, water hose, pump and tank. You will want to adjust the hot knob to save your propane. For me, the pump runs 2 seconds, stop for 50 seconds frequency is the best.
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Old 01-30-2022, 09:21 PM   #8
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We stuck in Connecticut due the snow storm. Temperature outside at night is -3F. And I found a way to keep warm the hose, water pump and fresh tank. Let buy an adapter 1/2 FIP to Male garden hose. Install it to outside shower, then hook your water hose to it. Run the hose anywhere you want to keep warm and hook the other end to your inlet of freshwater tank. Open the hot knob, it will circle hot water from the water heater to water tank and keep warm your compartments, water hose, pump and tank. You will want to adjust the hot knob to save your propane. For me, the pump runs 2 seconds, stop for 50 seconds frequency is the best.
Now that is slick and could be a real answer for an emergency situation.
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Old 01-31-2022, 06:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BlueFin1919 View Post
We stuck in Connecticut due the snow storm. Temperature outside at night is -3F. And I found a way to keep warm the hose, water pump and fresh tank. Let buy an adapter 1/2 FIP to Male garden hose. Install it to outside shower, then hook your water hose to it. Run the hose anywhere you want to keep warm and hook the other end to your inlet of freshwater tank. Open the hot knob, it will circle hot water from the water heater to water tank and keep warm your compartments, water hose, pump and tank. You will want to adjust the hot knob to save your propane. For me, the pump runs 2 seconds, stop for 50 seconds frequency is the best.
I wonder how feasible it would be to make a permanent setup for this. My thinking would be to run a tee off the hot water line on the tank (probably next to the bypass valve) and the water line to a petcock located inside. Then off the valve straight to the fresh water tank, either tee’d in to the fresh water inlet or to a new inlet fitting on the water tank.

I’m intrigued on the setup, I’ll definitely look at my trailer once out of storage to see how easy it would be.
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Old 02-02-2022, 09:48 AM   #10
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Winterizing:

We have a 2021 Newmar New Aire. We had it winterized by the dealer but now we want to do some winter camping. Does anyone have a good idea for how to de-winterize and then re-winterize quickly and easily without the lengthy process of blowing out the water lines, adding anti-freeze, etc.

I wonder if anyone has tried putting a small electric space heater in the water bay. Is that dangerous? Would it keep the entire water system from freezing?

Ideas and experience are welcome. Thank you.

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Old 02-02-2022, 09:59 AM   #11
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Winterizing:
Does anyone have a good idea for how to de-winterize and then re-winterize quickly and easily without the lengthy process of blowing out the water lines, adding anti-freeze, etc.

Krikati
There is no way to completely winterize without blowing out the lines and filling them with AF. You could try to get away with just blowing out the lines and adding AF to the P Traps but for me the risk is too great - AF is cheap and easy. If you are not wanting to rewinterize after your trip you should just plan to not use the water system.
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Old 02-03-2022, 02:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
I installed tank heaters last year, my coach was prewired so it was relatively easy. I've been checking the temps of the tanks and they seem to stay about 45F when it's cold out. I have a remote temp sensor to check temp. I also installed an indicator light so I can see when the tank heaters are working.
Jim, I am curious about how you did that. I'm pretty sure that the tanks in our Windsor are stacked, so I'm wondering how you were able to attach the heating pads.
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Old 02-03-2022, 02:49 PM   #13
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I may get a little flack for saying this, but it isn't absolutely necessary to first blow out the lines with compressed air before flushing antifreeze through.

I drain my fresh water tank down, open the hot and cold drain valves to drain most of the water out of them. Open each fixture to vent them. Then close the fixture and drain valves, turn the three way valve so the tank is cut off and the pump is taking suction from the antifreezer fill port. Drop the tubing into a jug of antifreeze and one by one turn on the hot and cold faucets until strong pink stuff flows out.

Yes it probably takes an extra quart of two of antifreeze to push out the last of the fresh water that is trapped in the lines, but as noted antifreeze is cheap. I can completely winterize in fifteen minutes after the fresh water tank is drained.

So drive to your campsite with the RV winterized, and when you get there, dewinterize by returning the valves to normal, filling the water tank and running a few gallons through each fixture. Then before you head home, winterize with just RV antifreeze, about $10 worth and 15 minutes of time. Be sure and dump a couple of cups in each drain to flush the p traps.

Makes you mad about how much you paid to have the dealer do it, right?

David
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Old 02-05-2022, 08:43 PM   #14
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I put 12V heat tape on my under belly water lines.

Tanks freeze slowly and we had some trouble on our first cold nights. Later seeing pex run under a tank, just over the coroplast, I decided that was more important. So I found this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B095CX7CQH self regulating heat tape. And put pipe insulation over it. A big job but noe it's gone through below 0F nights. Black tank drain froze when the propane ran out.

The same stuff could wrap drain lines or whole tanks! Self regulating mean it only uses the power needed!
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