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Old 11-25-2014, 11:33 AM   #1
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2015 25' Flying Cloud
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Freezing drains

Hi, I have a new 25RB and just returned from a trip in a very cold area. To my surprise my sewer drain and grey drains both froze up. They each have a unprotected section of plastic drain pipe from the tanks to the valve. I am shocked to find this poor design on such an expensive trailer. Every previous trailer I have owned were protected from freezing temps.
Does anyone have any ideas to prevent this problem. I considered a heat tape but that doesn't help when on the road.
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Old 11-25-2014, 11:52 AM   #2
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Drain both and use some antifreeze in both tanks before leaving.
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:18 PM   #3
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Actually, heat tape may work on the road. You can get it in 12v, so as long as you leave the power on in your trailer while en route, you're good. This link is just the first one that popped up in my quickie search. There are many others, that may have lower prices.
Freezstop FLV Heat Cable available at OEMHeaters.com
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:37 PM   #4
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I agree that it is a stupid omission. My 2014 20' FC has 12 volt heat pads on the black water and fresh water tanks (but I don't think the gray water). But the black water drain pipe comes out of the bellypan and runs to the valve with no insulation, and no way to heat it. You can leave the gray water valve open and let it drain by gravity without freezing I guess. So, the tanks might not freeze (if you have power to run the heaters) but the pipes and valves which are outside still will freeze. Dumb, dumb.

And the gray water tank, drain pipe, and valve would freeze if the valve was closed, as it would be when traveling. Why no heater on the gray water tank? (now, it is not clear what tanks have heat, there are only two switches, so I assume only 2 of the three have heated tanks, another omission). It is possible that one switch is for the fresh water and the other is for both the black and gray water tanks. That is not clear.

I can only say "what were they thinking" or "were they thinking things through at all".
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:48 PM   #5
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They make travel trailers that are engineered for cold weather travel and four season use, like the Arctic Fox by Northwood Mfg, but Airstream does not.
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Old 11-25-2014, 03:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
And the gray water tank, drain pipe, and valve would freeze if the valve was closed, as it would be when traveling. Why no heater on the gray water tank? (now, it is not clear what tanks have heat, there are only two switches, so I assume only 2 of the three have heated tanks, another omission). It is possible that one switch is for the fresh water and the other is for both the black and gray water tanks. That is not clear.
My Airstream Interstate only has two tank heaters, one for the fresh tank and one for the gray tank. The black tank doesn't need one because it's above floor level and heated by the furnace.

I'm thinking of getting some 12v heat tape and using it to heat my macerator pump, which will freeze and prevent me from dumping either tank. Which isn't a problem when I'm storing it, but is most definitely a problem for winter camping!
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Old 11-25-2014, 10:35 PM   #7
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Ah yes Protagonist, you made me think, and my black water tank is above the floor, so the switches must be for the gray tank and the fresh water tank, both beneath the floor.

But the drain pipes for both the gray tank and the black tank, and the dump valves will all freeze, because they are exposed. Silly design, protect the tanks but not the drain lines and valves from the tanks? Makes no sense.

One more thing to put on the list to Airstream to change on the new models.
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Old 11-25-2014, 11:03 PM   #8
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I have put 12V heating pads from Ultraheat ( UltraHeat, Inc. - Tank Heaters ) on the exposed drain pipes and valves on our 2002 19' Bambi. On their website, you will find the valve heaters under "Elbow" heaters. We often stay where it gets really cold at night and the heaters have been most useful. They draw a fair amount of current and we only use them when hooked up to shore power. If the pipes and valves freeze, the heating pads will eventually thaw them out. Our experience has been that the valves are what freeze up first. The heaters for those we have on a separate switch.

Tim
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Old 11-26-2014, 08:33 AM   #9
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Howdy! I reckon it would not be a good idea to 'cook' the contents of the black tank... or the Gray for that matter... (different gray matter

It would not be too hard to wrap the tape, connect power to the light nearby on exterior and hide a 'switch'.
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