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Old 11-06-2008, 10:59 AM   #1
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Frozen water tank/lines? What to do - winter is here.......

OK -
I was out of town on vacation for 2 weeks and the weather was nice and relatively warm the entire time at home while we were away. I got home a day or so ago to a massive winter storm that dumped 2 ft here at the house and has been really cold ever since.

The van had been sitting in the driveway and the water system was maybe 1/3 full and now it is one solid chunk of ice. The weather looks like it might warm up to a balmy 40 during the day the next few days then it is back to winter temps again. Any suggestions on how to deal w/ this? I currently have a electric space heater set up in side the van w/ the heat cranked. I really want to flush the system and run anti freeze thru for the winter before I really might do some damage. Any suggestions - a heated garage is out of the question - we don't have one.
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:02 AM   #2
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Leaving a 100w bulb lamp on inside the SMB would be a safer/slower method of increasing the temp inside until the water unfreezes.

You'll want to check your gray fill valve after, mine was leaking after a freeze (the only part that was damaged luckily) which caused the pump to cycle constantly.
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:23 AM   #3
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This is what I use at home but it's only good for the cab and you still need to drain the system.

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/st ... assNum=380

Wow... hope this is the correct link.
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Old 11-06-2008, 07:53 PM   #4
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We have a boat to worry about when freezing temps get here, and a well house..... and now a SMB!

For the boat we follow Jage's recommendation. We put an incandescant trouble light on top of the block next to the valve cover and close the engine cover. THis has worked for years. THe last winter we made it easier by adding little gadget that looks like a multi-plug. This little gadget acts like a thermostat, and when the temp gets to 35 it switches on the power. This means we don't have to leave the light on all the time or remember to turn it on when it needs to be on.

We also have a dehumidifier that we have tried to use with the boat in the spring anf fall when the floor gets wet, but it has never worked very well. We have not tried to use it strictly as a heater.

In the Well house we have a oil-filled electric radiator-style heater It has its own thermostat. The well house is a little more volume and the radiator works well.

I have not thought a lot about how we will keep McBeast warm on those chilly nights.

If we drain the fresh water and the grey water, what would the next concern be?

If we drain the fill line and the grey water, we might try using a pet heating pad to warm the fresh water tank.

...I guess I have more thinking to do...
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:31 PM   #5
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Hot water tank if you have it. On mine (Suburban?) you have to remove the annode unless you have the newer annode with a drain plug built in. Either way, unless you drain this way there are supposedly a few gallons in the tank.
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Old 11-07-2008, 06:11 AM   #6
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well, was able to thaw 90% of the water and drain it successfully. The space heater set up in the van for most of the day seemed to do the trick. Later today or tomorrow I'll address the hot water heater/tank and get some RV antifreeze. I did the vodka trick last yr and while it worked - it left a lingering taste for the first few trips last spring...maybe I should have used Citron.....
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Old 11-07-2008, 08:18 AM   #7
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Old 11-07-2008, 08:43 AM   #8
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They also make heating pads for water tanks. I've seen these in larger RV's but don't know how well they actually work. The ones I saw were glued to the tank and are designed to work outside the cab where it's difficult to heat.
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:39 AM   #9
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The pet pad I mentioned would work well for that.. It seems like it is abou tthe same size as the top of the poly water tank.
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:46 PM   #10
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Greg is it 12VDC?
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