Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-09-2015, 12:32 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
2012 20' Flying Cloud
2006 31' Classic
Rincon , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 19
Help - Winter camping freeze problem

I am winter camping in West Virginia with freezing temps all nite and most of the day. I have a 20 foot FC and all systems are working good - tank heaters, water pump, gas heater, etc. The problem I am having is that the dump valves are frozen shut and I am guessing that the exposed dump plumbing is probably frozen solid. I pulled hard enough on the grey water valve that the handle broke and valve did not budge. Has anyone else experienced this and does anyone have advice as to how I might be able drain my tanks in this freezing weather.

The only other option I can think of is to start driving south to warm weather. Am I wrong to think that Airstreams were designed to be used in winter weather? Was I supposed to put Antifreeze in the tanks before embarking on this adventure?

I am fairly new to RVing and Airstream. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
__________________

__________________
richarus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 01:26 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Goal15's Avatar
 
2006 23' Safari SE
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,673
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by richarus View Post
I am winter camping in West Virginia with freezing temps all nite and most of the day. I have a 20 foot FC and all systems are working good - tank heaters, water pump, gas heater, etc. The problem I am having is that the dump valves are frozen shut and I am guessing that the exposed dump plumbing is probably frozen solid. I pulled hard enough on the grey water valve that the handle broke and valve did not budge. Has anyone else experienced this and does anyone have advice as to how I might be able drain my tanks in this freezing weather.

The only other option I can think of is to start driving south to warm weather. Am I wrong to think that Airstreams were designed to be used in winter weather? Was I supposed to put Antifreeze in the tanks before embarking on this adventure?

I am fairly new to RVing and Airstream. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Sorry to hear about your predicament.

AS, like most travel trailers, are more of a three season living space, although some folks here have successfully wintered in their AS and I'm sure many more have taken trips during winter months in theirs, but by and large, unless you are dry camping, camping in below freezing temps are going to be a challenge.

Now as to your dump valves, I would search the Forums using the search function to see what solutions have been offered, other than driving South several hundred miles.

I guess it also depends on how long you are going to be in your current location. If it was me, I would look for some type of safe, yet warm heat source that could be placed near the dump valves to see if they could be thawed. Not a scientist so I couldn't tell you how long it would take to thaw if you could create an enclosed space around the dump valves and heat it with a light bulb or portable heater, but I guess if I was in that situation it would be something I might try. I've got a couple of heat guns that I used for stripping paint, but I think those would probably melt the dump valves, so i'd advise against that. Not sure what you are going to do in the short term about the broken valve handle.

Good luck
Dana
__________________

__________________
Dana and Olga
2006 Safari 23
2011 Tundra Double Cab
Goal15 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 01:46 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,164
Blog Entries: 1
Is the piping and the drain valve exposed so that you can see them? If so I would try to thaw them with a heat source. If the valves are in the belly area of the trailer then the furnace is supposed to keep them from freezing and might thaw them if it runs enough. There should not be water in the pipes outside of the valves. You might try blowing hot air through the waste opening being careful not to overheat the pipe. I am thinking hair dryer. You will have to determine what is broken on the handle. Usually a cotter key and a slip over piece of tubing.
__________________
Bill M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 02:40 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
paiceman's Avatar

 
2017 30' Classic
Upper St Clair , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,434
Images: 1
No RV dump valve is designed to work in the weather we now have without some prep work to open it on the operators part. I would suggest trying window washer fluid poured over the fittings, one might also try hot water but my concern would be cracking of the plastic and or the refreeze almost at once as its only 9 degrees here where we are in western PA. No we are not camping. The hair dryer idea by Bill M might work as well, but it could be frozen in the tank as well. I always dump a bunch of window washer fluid in both black and gray tanks in cold weather camping. Not sure it works, but we have not frozen either.

Good luck
__________________
SAFE TRAVELS
2017 30' Classic - F350 6.7 Diesel Crew
USAF - Military Training Instructor (TI) - 68-72
paiceman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 02:46 PM   #5
4 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
ottawa (greely) , Ontario
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 390
Blog Entries: 1
It all depends how much there frozen I would use a hairdryer , and if it's really cold and windy you will have to make some kind of shelter around the dump valves ,such as insulation But not in contact with the dump valves ,leave a air space around the dump valve and then heat the valves with a hair dryer and of course run the furnace to heat tanks or if you have electric heated tanks you should turn them on.

Don
__________________
2012 silverado ext cab 4x4 ,5.3 L , 6 speed trans,3:42 final drive,tow package standard box 6 1/2 foot . 2014 honda forza 300 scooter, #2 2015 honda crf 250 L (Dual sport)
scamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 02:56 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
tjdonahoe's Avatar
 
2013 31' Classic
billings , Montana
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,843
I think I would go to a warmer climate, the as is not built for real cold weather, it is 8 degrees here and my as is going to stay under the roof ....good luck
__________________
tjdonahoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 03:15 PM   #7
4 Rivet Member
 
crisen's Avatar
 
2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Fairbanks , Alaska
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 268
Images: 5
Lots of suggestions already on thawing it out but as to your question on adding RV antifreeze. We deal with cold weather each year when we leave Fairbanks and we always add at least 2 gallons of RV antifreeze to both tanks prior to using them. Then as long as it is cold we continue to add a little of the antifreeze each day as we are adding waste. So far this has worked to keep the valves from freezing.
__________________
Rick
"When you find yourself in a hole - quit digging!"

2012 1/2 Eddie Bauer, 2016 Ram Laramie 3500 SWB 4x4 6.7L Cummins 68RFE
crisen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 03:23 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
Shacksman's Avatar
 
1960 28' Ambassador
Vintage Kin Owner
1998 25' Safari
Avonton , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,213
To thaw the valve, hook up your sewer dump hose, hold it up and pour some warm water into it. The water will thaw the valve. Use a small vice grip for a temporary pull handle.
__________________
Doug & Terry
VAC - TAC ON-1
60 Ambassador Int.
98 Safari
1950 Spartan
1966 Globetrotter
Shacksman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 03:58 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
Goal15's Avatar
 
2006 23' Safari SE
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,673
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shacksman View Post
To thaw the valve, hook up your sewer dump hose, hold it up and pour some warm water into it. The water will thaw the valve. Use a small vice grip for a temporary pull handle.

Brilliant!


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
__________________
Dana and Olga
2006 Safari 23
2011 Tundra Double Cab
Goal15 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 03:59 PM   #10
4 Rivet Member
 
2007 23' Safari SE
2016 23' International
Fernandina Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 280
Dougs solution may work if there isn't a frozen mess in the bottom of the tanks and if the warm water doesn't cool off and freeze itself. The suggestion of searching the forums is the best. I recall seeing similar thread with some pretty good ideas on how to avoid this situation to begin with. In particular, folks have come up with pretty ingenious ideas on how to keep sewer lines from freezing up... and of course as a result, this allows you to leave the valves open all the time.
__________________
Tomzstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 04:07 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
2002 19' Bambi
Lafayette , California
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 708
Take a look at this thread: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ns-128364.html .

Tim
__________________
Tim A. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 04:15 PM   #12
Figment of My Imagination
 
Protagonist's Avatar
 
2012 Interstate Coach
From All Over , More Than Anywhere Else
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 10,314
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomzstream View Post
Dougs solution may work if there isn't a frozen mess in the bottom of the tanks and if the warm water doesn't cool off and freeze itself.
If the tank is full enough to need dumping, and tank heaters were working as the OP stated, then the valve will be frozen but the tank will not, and Doug's solution will work just fine.

Even if you don't have tank heaters working, ice floats, and you won't have a frozen mess in the bottom of the tank unless the entire tank is frozen top to bottom. In which case you'll have a cracked tank due to ice expansion and therefore a bigger problem than just a stuck dump valve.
__________________
WBCCI #1105
TAC LA-4

My Google-Fu is strong today.
Protagonist is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 05:12 PM   #13
1 Rivet Member
 
2012 20' Flying Cloud
2006 31' Classic
Rincon , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 19
It warmed up a bit today and the sun seemed to warm the the AS a bit. I poured some hot water on the grey dump valve and was able to get it to open. A small chunk of ice came out and it looks like it will drain ok. Since I am not currently hooked to sewer, I closed it. I think I will not mess with the black water tank until we have a full hookups or find a proper dump station . Thanks to everyone for the feedback. This has been a good learning experience to help me understand my AS capabilities for future travel. We will be heading south again in the next couple of days. I really liked Shacksman's idea of pouring water back thru the dump tube. Makes perfect sense.
__________________
richarus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 05:15 PM   #14
Rivet Master
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 811
Quote:
Originally Posted by richarus View Post
I am winter camping in West Virginia with freezing temps all nite and most of the day. I have a 20 foot FC and all systems are working good - tank heaters, water pump, gas heater, etc. The problem I am having is that the dump valves are frozen shut and I am guessing that the exposed dump plumbing is probably frozen solid. I pulled hard enough on the grey water valve that the handle broke and valve did not budge. Has anyone else experienced this and does anyone have advice as to how I might be able drain my tanks in this freezing weather.

The only other option I can think of is to start driving south to warm weather. Am I wrong to think that Airstreams were designed to be used in winter weather? Was I supposed to put Antifreeze in the tanks before embarking on this adventure?

I am fairly new to RVing and Airstream. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
No easy answers here. One could say you are SOL.
My idea is to park the trailer in the sun as soon as it comes up with the dump valves facing the sun. Wrap one or more tarps around the bottom of the AS, duct tape the tarp to the AS and rock the bottom of the tarps. Put two space heaters under the AS near the holding tanks (each must be on a separate circuit.) Turn the furnace on and up to 70 and wait for at least 5 hours before trying the valves and hope that the tanks and or valves have not cracked.
If that does not work all you can do is put the trailer in a heated space, drive south or wait until it warms up.
I'll bet this is the last time this ever happens to you.
__________________

__________________
handn is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Getting ready for the freeze-Winterize john hd Winterizing, Storage, Carports & Covers 385 12-02-2017 03:35 PM
Water Dripping From Fan During Freeze/Thaw/Freeze/Thaw Fly at Night Roof Vents, Skylights & Fans 5 12-16-2011 11:54 AM
Black tank freeze up- Help! tornado-bait Waste Systems, Tanks & Totes 16 02-18-2008 08:50 AM
Water Pipe freeze protection BB 55 Bubble Winter Living 4 05-10-2005 02:02 PM
No Anti-freeze smily Plumbing - Systems & Fixtures 8 04-15-2003 12:11 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.