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Old 10-28-2014, 09:26 AM   #1
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Tank Heaters

We're getting ready to get into some possibly below freezing temperatures tonight. Does anyone know how the tank heaters work? Are they electric? Do I need to turn on the propane? Also, do they need to be turned on while actually traveling down the road or just when we're stopped?


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Old 10-28-2014, 09:38 AM   #2
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In my experience, the OAT needs to get below freezing for more than 24 hours before you have any trouble with tanks or water lines freezing. So, I wouldn't worry too much if you don't find an answer to your question.
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:44 AM   #3
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You can always pour RV antifreeze in the grey and black tanks to keep them from freezing. Might help to let some flow out the waste gates to get some in there.

I don't like putting the stuff in the fresh water tank although we rarely use that for drinking and I sanitze it twice a year with bleach in case we have to.
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:05 AM   #4
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The tank heaters are electric, but they are relatively low powered and their current draw is modest. If you are traveling down the road in freezing weather it would probably be a good idea to have the tank heaters on. Just because you are moving does not reduce the likelihood of freezing.
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Old 10-28-2014, 12:45 PM   #5
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We're getting ready to get into some possibly below freezing temperatures tonight. Does anyone know how the tank heaters work? Are they electric?
Tank heaters are electric, but best used on shore or generator power. They will run your house batteries stony dead in less than six hours if you run them off the batteries. I'd drive with empty tanks, fill your fresh tank when you get to your destination, and take in the hose. Then run the tank heaters and furnace while you're parked overnight.
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Old 10-28-2014, 12:57 PM   #6
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I don't believe the tank heaters will prevent the dump valves from freezing.
Antifreeze or dry tanks are a better option.
While the motion of travel may keep the tanks from freezing. There is not much motion at the dump valves.


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Old 10-28-2014, 01:34 PM   #7
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I don't believe the tank heaters will prevent the dump valves from freezing.
The dump valves on an Interstate are on the tanks themselves, and are protected by the heaters. HOWEVER, the macerator pump isn't protected, and WILL freeze! That happened to me while I was camping last New Year's weekend.

Also not protected is the check valve on the black tank flush fitting (which only matters if you've actually used the flush fitting before; if not it's dry and not an issue), or the check valve on the municipal water intake. Both check valves are in positions where interior heat can't get to them to warm them.
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Old 10-29-2014, 03:58 PM   #8
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The dump valves on my 2013 Interstate are about a foot away from the black and gray tanks.....in the drain piping. Not sure about other years.


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Old 10-29-2014, 04:19 PM   #9
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The dump valves on my 2013 Interstate are about a foot away from the black and gray tanks.....in the drain piping. Not sure about other years.
Close enough to the tanks that the tank heaters will keep them warm, especially if there's enough fluid in the tanks to ensure the valves are completely submerged. Ice forms on the water surface, not underwater.
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:20 PM   #10
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Yes...we would not be here if ice were heavier than water


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Old 10-29-2014, 04:45 PM   #11
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Yes...we would not be here if ice were heavier than water
So you've also read Nobel prize winner George Wald's lectures from the 1960s? Kewl!
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Old 10-29-2014, 08:22 PM   #12
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I don't want to start an argument. BUT!
When I am chopping ice a foot+ thick in a stock tank at 0 F. It is hard to believe that ice only forms on the surface.
If don't have anti freeze in the tanks and you are driving in temps approaching 0. That 1 foot of pipe will not be protected. Especially if it is exposed.


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Old 10-29-2014, 08:28 PM   #13
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As you can confirm...tanks and exposed surfaces do get "skin" freezing in cold temps....very cold temperatures


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Old 10-29-2014, 08:39 PM   #14
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I don't want to start an argument. BUT!
When I am chopping ice a foot+ thick in a stock tank at 0 F. It is hard to believe that ice only forms on the surface.
If don't have anti freeze in the tanks and you are driving in temps approaching 0. That 1 foot of pipe will not be protected. Especially if it is exposed.


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I guess technically the surface of the water is always below the ice, no matter how thick the ice


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