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Old 12-25-2008, 03:40 PM   #1
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HELP frozen black water tank, not valve

This is the second year I have lived in my 72 Airstream. I made it through last year without too much trouble but this year is a different story. I live out east on the plains from Denver and we had an arctic blast. -25 was the worst but went at least three weeks in the single digits. Now my black water tank is frozen solid. I have a heater up against the toilet but it is doing nothing to defrost the tank itself. It is now full. I know how bad it's been because I have horses and one night their water heater went off and the fifty gallon tank froze solid by morning. Is there anything I can to to defrost this thing. The valve will open and shut but nothing is coming out. YIKES!

Thanks, Charlotte
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Old 12-25-2008, 03:58 PM   #2
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Pour hot water into it and siphon the contents out (yup, through the toilet bowl). Repeat until emptied.

I recommend rubber gloves.
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Old 12-25-2008, 04:12 PM   #3
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I recommend you don't start the siphon with your mouth. Yuk.
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Old 12-25-2008, 04:59 PM   #4
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I recommend you don't start the siphon with your mouth. Yuk.
I agree. Pick up one from the hardware store that has the pump on it to start things off.
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Old 12-25-2008, 05:46 PM   #5
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Do you have a skirt of any kind around the bottom of the trailer?

Hay bales work well in a pinch. Then place a heater, electric preferably, under the trailer. It will thaw the tanks and make the trailer more comfortable, too.
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Old 12-25-2008, 06:08 PM   #6
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As soon as you have siphoned out a few quarts, add several handfuls of rock salt.
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Old 12-25-2008, 06:54 PM   #7
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Hey guys, how do I siphon solid ice. I was wondering about the deicer for car windows. Is any of that stuff too corrosive to put in?

I've siphoned the bottom of my horse' water tank with my mouth. Learned a quick lesson. Yuk.

Thanks for the quick replies.

Charlotte
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Old 12-25-2008, 06:56 PM   #8
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P.S. I've got hay bales around the trailer and shoved insulation around the tank but no joy.
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Old 12-25-2008, 07:25 PM   #9
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If you have the bales around the trailer, put an electric heater under there. The space will warm up and your tank will thaw out.

As for siphoning solid ice, that's why I suggested pouring hot water into the toilet. It will melt some of the frozen waste and allow it to be removed bit by bit. Repeat this process until you can melt all of the waste and eventually dump it out the dump valve. It wont be a fast process, but it's the only way I can think of doing it.
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Old 12-25-2008, 07:44 PM   #10
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If the tank thaws enough to flow by siphon, it will flow out the valve....

With hay bales as a skirt, place heat under the trailer. It will thaw by morning.

Run the 12 volt furnace too, it blows heat to the tanks.
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Old 12-26-2008, 06:37 AM   #11
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Rock salt will melt 14 lbs of ice per lb at 30 degrees the colder it is the more salt you will need, or use calcium or magnesium cloride pellets (ice melt from the hardware store) they are more effective at lower temps. I would start with 10 lbs of rock salt, pour as much as you can in the commode and let it work.
I put rock salt in the tank every winter when we are out hunting.
Siphon?? Yeccchh!!
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Old 12-26-2008, 07:55 AM   #12
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:20 AM   #13
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I would start with 10 lbs of rock salt, pour as much as you can in the commode and let it work.
Great tip! I would think after you're done you'd want to flush it out real good though. Salt is very corrosive ~

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Old 12-26-2008, 11:29 AM   #14
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winter is far from over, go to store, buy heat pad about 15.00 take pan loose uinder tank and lay pad on top of insulation but no touching tank set on med. put pan back up leaving cord out and plug in will take day to melt but is permanent fix. can but rv tnk heater for about 100.00 which peal and sticks to bottom of tnk at most any rv shop but heat pad works fine. rock salt will work temporary, but lime will destroy any metal it touches and unless i'm mistaken your toilet has a cast aluminum base?
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