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Old 10-11-2017, 05:45 PM   #1
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Hold tank heaters: do they work?

Hi,

While I won't be traveling in the north during winter, I can see myself being in places where a few freezing nights may occur. I see some RVs can be bought with heated holding tanks. Do they work? What about the plumbing lines running to/from the tanks? How much power do they take? Do they run from 12V or 110 VAC only?

Thanks for any info!

-Eric
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:05 PM   #2
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Someone with "real world" experience will chime in, I am sure. But you can "study up" a bit here:

https://www.etrailer.com/RV-Fresh-Wa...77-000164.html

and here:
https://www.etrailer.com/RV-Fresh-Wa...77-000164.html

I have non-working heaters on my rig and WGO hasn't been a ton of help. I did ask them about travel with the tank heaters and the shop people said "down to about 20 degrees"...... but none of that is "specd" anywhere that I know of.

If you browse the net you will find that the larger pad heaters for the tanks draw about 5 amps ea. And elbow heaters about 1/3 of that. Mine has a pad for each tank and 1 elbow htr near the gray tank Valterra valve. That was the Winnebago design/installation for my configuration.....I'd wager there are lots of configurations, depending on your plumbing. Mine are powered by the coach batteries; probably all coaches are. My manual gives BIG cautions about battery drain issues if you aren't charging them while the heaters are on.

I intend to re-engineer mine so I have an ammeter showing current draw for each of the 3 heaters.....so I know if one has failed. As designed, I have a red light that shows the heater(s) switch is "on" ...... big deal.

It will be interesting to hear what folks who use tank heaters have to say. I'll sure be listening........

Safe travels............ ed s
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:06 PM   #3
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Ooops......that second link s/b ultraheat.com
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:28 PM   #4
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We have heated tanks and spent a couple of nights in the teens with furnace running also... we do need to put a lightbulb in the belly of our tank release valves to keep those pipes from freezing.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:34 PM   #5
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Never had them, just put a light bulb in the bay. Present rig has heat from the AquaHot forced into the wet bay.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:17 PM   #6
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It is just or more important it heat the dump valves.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
Never had them, just put a light bulb in the bay. Present rig has heat from the AquaHot forced into the wet bay.
Mr D,

Are you taking about leaving the storage lights on, if not are you plugging the bulb in somewhere?

Thanks,
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Never had them, just put a light bulb in the bay. Present rig has heat from the AquaHot forced into the wet bay.
Wow! A 45 ft Class C with AquaHot here on the Class C forum. Amazing!
A lot of help for the OP...................... or not. But maybe he has a 45 footer too..........no info in his post or personal data to know for sure.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:27 PM   #9
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I live up north and this is my concern as well since i am looking at class B+/small C that will see some cold and snow.

A full tank will take a bit to freeze so thats an important factor for the fresh water, and you could probably do a 1:1 antifreeze for the waist. So pipes would be the main concern, more so than the tanks since the heating pads should work well.

Wish i felt more comfortable with them claiming 4 season, even the Canadian company's i am worried about the 4 season claims. Especially dry camping for a while in the cold.
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Old 10-14-2017, 03:04 PM   #10
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Tank heater

What they are is an electric pad glued to the bottom of the tank, must be on shore per 120v or gen to use.
They will only help at reasonable temps for short period of time.
Will not help with any lines out side the coach, will not help with out side shower or drains (low point). Water heater is my biggest worry $$$$. Best to dump and winterize, then dry camp, use RV antifreeze to flush the toilet add some to the grey tank just in case.
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:43 AM   #11
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Personally I question how good the heating pads on the bottoms of the tanks would work in cold weather.They may keep the tanks from freezing,but what about the exposed water lines that come of the tanks,like the fresh water lines that are exposed to the sub freezing winds and weather ? Heated tanks sounds good on paper when you buy the unit but I would'nt trust them for full protection.Unless you have an enclosed under-belly with the lines inside,beware.My water lines are exposed in my Greyhawk class c.
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Old 10-15-2017, 08:50 AM   #12
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Personally I question how good the heating pads on the bottoms of the tanks would work in cold weather.They may keep the tanks from freezing,but what about the exposed water lines that come of the tanks,like the fresh water lines that are exposed to the sub freezing winds and weather ? Heated tanks sounds good on paper when you buy the unit but I would'nt trust them for full protection.Unless you have an enclosed under-belly with the lines inside,beware.My water lines are exposed in my Greyhawk class c.
X2.

Wish there were diagrams for the plumbing. I guess they could rout it in a way little to no water would sit in the exterior pipes. I also just saw that LTV has burst proof pipes?
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:56 PM   #13
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skullpainter, that is why we put a lightbulb in our belly where the water lines donít have any protection.
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Old 10-15-2017, 11:22 PM   #14
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To the OP's question- It seems there isn't a "one size fits all" answer based on the responses from owner's; e.g., my lines (other than waste lines/tanks) are all inside the coach... in the lower cabinetry; so tank heater pads and waste tank valve heater pads would be of some value in freezing temps....within reason (older Class C Winnebago) while skullpainter has some lines exposed to the elements, and Diane and Murray's Class C has lines in a "belly space" where they can add supplemental heat (light bulb[s]). So it all seems to be very configuration dependent. Skullpainter's suggestion to "beware" sounds right on IMHO......assuming travel in freezing temps is a possibility for ya.

Overall, the discussion seems to yield one more plus for the Class A owners, methinks.......they got heated/insulated wet bays and can hang another backup heat source in there for redundancy. I know a lot of Class A owners use wireless temp monitors/alarms in the wet bays too..........neat.

Safe travels everyone
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