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Old 01-10-2015, 06:20 AM   #15
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Antifreeze in the tanks before leaving the next time,it sure is fun...one time my tank froze up while hooked up.I let the water run in the kitchen all night,in the morning the tank was full.i had a case of heet that I used in the truck, 5 cans of it went into the tank, it gurgled and boiled then it drained, not recommended ...
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:53 AM   #16
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The reason I questioned the warm water in the slinky solution is that obviously warm water on the other side of the valve did no good (tank heaters on). Attacking the frozen valve from both sides is worth a try I suppose. But if its that cold that tank heaters are useless, then I dunno.

Just a side note, Dumping gray water is prohibited in many parks and not advised. Having hookups, leaving the valves open, and configuring a heated drain hose is still probably the best solution... search the archives for how to's on this method. Sunshine is great too, if you happen to be so lucky as to have it. In Winter, its not always available! If you have a portable generator, you can also position it so the exhaust warms the valves, just don't trust the underbelly sealing to protect you from CO poisoning, esp at night!
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Old 01-10-2015, 07:02 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomzstream View Post
The reason I questioned the warm water in the slinky solution is that obviously warm water on the other side of the valve did no good (tank heaters on). Attacking the frozen valve from both sides is worth a try I suppose. But if its that cold that tank heaters are useless, then I dunno.
Just a reminder, your tank heaters will probably only keep the tanks at about 45°F. Adding water to the slinky straight from your water heater, over 100°F, will definitely melt ice a lot faster than tank heaters!

Tank heaters are not useless. Your tanks didn't rupture from ice expansion, did they? That means the heaters did their job.
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Old 01-10-2015, 07:02 AM   #18
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On the farm we used hot water and rags. Poke a small hole in the lid of a two liter bottle, fill with hot water and go to work squirting with hot water and rags. Then keep the tank and lines empty or warm or something. Water hoses will freeze running with a full stream if it's cold enough, I've seen live steam lines freeze too, but don't recommend everyone to see that. Cold wind will get into places you don't believe and freeze lines too.
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Old 01-10-2015, 07:14 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
Just a reminder, your tank heaters will probably only keep the tanks at about 45°F. Adding water to the slinky straight from your water heater, over 100°F, will definitely melt ice a lot faster than tank heaters!

Tank heaters are not useless. Your tanks didn't rupture from ice expansion, did they? That means the heaters did their job.
OK GUY, quote me on everything I say and then dispute it. Why do you have it in for me? Useless in keeping valves unfrozen... OK?
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Old 01-10-2015, 08:50 AM   #20
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Why do you have it in for me? Useless in keeping valves unfrozen... OK?
Yeah. But I don't have it in for you. I'm a (former) engineer, and I'm analytical by nature. I mean no offense by it.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:27 AM   #21
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The FC 20' has completely exposed dump valves on both the black and gray side. I have a FC 20, so I know. The gray line comes out of the heated tank area, and runs about 10 inches of completely exposed 1.5" line before it comes to the valve so it is very vulnerable to freezing. The black valve and pipe is also exposed in the same way. The only way to keep them from freezing would be to build a small heated box around them, and that would also be a way to thaw them. Or, an electric heater of fair capacity directed right to them also could work.

This is one of Airstream's stupid designs, have tank heaters but totally expose the lines from the tank to the dump valves as if somehow they would magically stay above freezing and work when needed.

One of the issues I have with Airstream these days is they design them, build them, but no one at the factory ever seems to use them in real world situations. There is no "this is stupid" feedback to the system so they go on producing the same problem over and over and over.

I want to be the vice president in charge of trying out Airstreams, listening to feedback from users, and having the clout to change designs based on user experiences. Then Airstream would be a truly great RV.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:33 AM   #22
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The FC 20' has completely exposed dump valves on both the black and gray side. I have a FC 20, so I know. The gray line comes out of the heated tank area, and runs about 10 inches of completely exposed 1.5" line before it comes to the valve so it is very vulnerable to freezing. The black valve and pipe is also exposed in the same way. The only way to keep them from freezing would be to build a small heated box around them, and that would also be a way to thaw them. Or, an electric heater of fair capacity directed right to them also could work.

This is one of Airstream's stupid designs, have tank heaters but totally expose the lines from the tank to the dump valves as if somehow they would magically stay above freezing and work when needed.
This subject came up at the Canopener rally just yesterday, but in regard to Airstream Interstates, which have tank heaters, but no heater for the macerator pump. Kind of difficult to dump your (heated) tanks when the macerator is frozen.

The solution would be some heat tape wrapped around the pump (or in your case the valves) and wire it in to the tank heaters, so when the heaters come on, so does the heat tape.

Here's one source I found for 12vDC heat tape…
12 Volt Heat Cable at OEMHeaters.com
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:38 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
This subject came up at the Canopener rally just yesterday, but in regard to Airstream Interstates, which have tank heaters, but no heater for the macerator pump. Kind of difficult to dump your (heated) tanks when the macerator is frozen.

The solution would be some heat tape wrapped around the pump (or in your case the valves) and wire it in to the tank heaters, so when the heaters come on, so does the heat tape.

Here's one source I found for 12vDC heat tape…
12 Volt Heat Cable at OEMHeaters.com
Thanks, I have not seen any 12 volt heat tape, good to know a source.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:43 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
The FC 20' has completely exposed dump valves on both the black and gray side. I have a FC 20, so I know. The gray line comes out of the heated tank area, and runs about 10 inches of completely exposed 1.5" line before it comes to the valve so it is very vulnerable to freezing. The black valve and pipe is also exposed in the same way. The only way to keep them from freezing would be to build a small heated box around them, and that would also be a way to thaw them. Or, an electric heater of fair capacity directed right to them also could work.

This is one of Airstream's stupid designs, have tank heaters but totally expose the lines from the tank to the dump valves as if somehow they would magically stay above freezing and work when needed.

One of the issues I have with Airstream these days is they design them, build them, but no one at the factory ever seems to use them in real world situations. There is no "this is stupid" feedback to the system so they go on producing the same problem over and over and over.

I want to be the vice president in charge of trying out Airstreams, listening to feedback from users, and having the clout to change designs based on user experiences. Then Airstream would be a truly great RV.
I agree that this is a design flaw for the 20' FC. Tank heaters and inside plumbing seem to be protected very well based on the experience I had the last few days. Last night, it got down to 10 degrees and everything is working perfectly except the exposed plumbing between the tanks and the dump valves. I am certain that there is probably solid ice in these pipes and I am just hoping that nothing breaks or cracks from the expansion. I plan on providing feedback to Airstream about my dissatisfaction with this. I would think that Airstream would be more concerned about maintaining reputation and brand.

I greatly appreciate all the feedback about this issue.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:47 AM   #25
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It sounds like you have it sorted out for now.
Put a large cardboard box with areas cut out for your dump valves / exposed plastic pipe. Put a light bulb into the box and it should allow thawing upwards and keep everything from freezing up - at least it does for us ...until the temps hit well below zero actual.
When all is free flowing, dump 5 gal out at a time into a bucket and take inside to your commode to flush. I would not want to risk the entire tank freezing up ... the expansion on thawing often cracks things ...
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Old 01-10-2015, 12:25 PM   #26
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Wrap an electric blanket around your dump tubes and valves. Safe and easy
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Old 01-10-2015, 12:36 PM   #27
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In thread I mentioned above, I wrote:
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."

The heaters really do work.

Tim
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Old 01-10-2015, 12:59 PM   #28
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Shacksman's idea plus rock salt / concentrated salt solution to prevent re freeze. A hair dryer on low left in a safe position might help free up the valves too. I like the idea of washer fluid (Methanol / H20) in the grey and black tanks. I'd figure at least two gallons in each tank would work well if the temps are going to dwell below 25 degrees F. Good luck.
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