SOS - Waste water frozen

Discussion in 'Full Timers' started by bushman51, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. bushman51

    bushman51 Read Only Funster

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    As a full timer on the continent (20 cms of snow - temperature - 6 °), I just made this unpleasant experience: The waste water in the tank of my RV is frozen! This happened although I left the valve open and filled in salt and antifreeze. What ultimate, chemical solution is there to defrost the waste water instantly? Thanks for your very much appereciated suggestions - as this would add to my attempt to survive.
     
  2. The vagabond

    The vagabond Read Only Funster

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    Hi, we are full timers too and here in the UK it has been -10 for many nights, we know the problem well. Salt will not work below -5 or so and anti freeze needs to be a 30% mixture at these sort of temperatures. I don't know of any chemical solution to the problem, you could stop washing. Ha Ha. Best of luck.
     
  3. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    not instant I know, but a hair dryer and a lot of patience can be used. If you have left it open and do as you say, is ity possible that it might be the feeder pipe in to the waste or just the waste outlet itself?
     
  4. bushman51

    bushman51 Read Only Funster

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    It's not the feeder pipe. I have checked this with antifreeze, it still runs down. And it doesn't seem to be the waste outlet, too (I saw antifreeze in this pipe, I was able to defrost this pipe yesterday with a heater whereas the tank itself can't be defrosted with the heater as it's not powerful enough). It seems that the contents of the tank is blocking the outlet into the waste water pipe. With the temperatures here, I can't remove the the waste water pipe, it would break which than would cause an even bigger problem.

    As I suppose to remain only 5 - 10 liters in the waste tank, do you think that I could add 5 liters of antifreeze? Will that do the job? Or does antifreeze not defrost frozen water at all?

    Any other chemical solutions?

    Your answer(s) is/are very important to me - as I'm really struggling. I had been forced to live in my RV, I don't do it for fun... Thanks though, to everybody.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  5. The vagabond

    The vagabond Read Only Funster

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    I am sorry, I do not know whether anti-freeze will defrost water instantly but a 50% mixture must have some effect. Another thing that I have used in the past is methylated spirits but it is not quite so easy to come by. You could test your anti-freeze idea by pouring a little direct on to some ice and see how that looks. Another thing that I would be inclined to try, is to insert some sort of flexible rod in through the outlet and see how far it penetrates because it seems strange that the water in the tank should freeze and yet the pipes remain clear. When we have these problems it is never the tank that is frozen but always the pipes. Hope that you can sort it soon.
    PS. If you do add the anti-freeze, make sure that you close the waste outlet first or it may run passed the ice and straight out having little or no effect.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  6. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi BM I think anti freeze has to be mixed in with water to work rather than just poured onto it :thumb:It will do no harm to the waste side of things so pour away-- keep the waste valve closed so that it mixes in with your waste water until the tank is full then let it go :thumb:it will not freeze and not go to waste that way :Rofl1: ( the idea behind opening the dump valve is so that any water in the tank is let out preventing it freezing and bursting the tank )
    terry
    edit vagabond great minds think a like - you posted while I was typing heehee
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  7. bushman51

    bushman51 Read Only Funster

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    You're just so kind! That's what I call being taken seriousely - which is not always the case as I just have been shown in a German forum where I asked the same question. Thanks though!


    I did exactly this - it didn't do the job! So I don't even think about filling up more water into the tank - I really don't want it to burst.



    I will do the test with the antifreeze. Closing the waste outlet is somewhat tricky when it's frozen, but I think about it should I be able to defrost the outlet and the pipe again.

    As for the methylated spirit: It seems that in France it's easy to get (actually at supermarkets, the French use it to keep simmering their "Fondue"). How many liters do you think I have to add (supposing 5 - 10 liters waste water are frozen)?

    I'll try the rod, too, as I also find it strange that the tank freezes but the pipe remains clear. The trouble with this is that it could do harm to the pipe. I try to be careful.

    Any other chemical solutions are welcome. And I will for sure keep you posted about my success (or non-success...).
     
  8. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi BM if the water in the tank is frozen you stand a chance that the anti freeze will thaw it out :thumb: also any extra water added will not freeze because it will mix with the antifreeze thus preventing it freezing giving more chance for it to unfreeze the existing
    terry
     
  9. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    With such a small amount of frozen water in the tank a couple of gallons of Hot water should sort it:Doh:
    then add any antifeez you propose to use
     
  10. bushman51

    bushman51 Read Only Funster

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    Sorry to say so - but hot water definitely cools out much quicker than cold one. And I just learned that not "any antifreeze" will do but only the ones that don't carry this hazard sign:
    [​IMG]

    Those cheap ones contain a lot of burning alcohol or the already mentioned methylated spirit - which again is highly flammable.

    Don't take it personal - I just want to be on the safe side and don't want to blow up my box :Smile:
     
  11. nomadic

    nomadic Funster

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    Hi Bushman51

    Looking at your issue from a different angle.....would this be a pratical proposal:

    If you have a hairdryer, or heat gun, that a flexible hose can be attached to, then run the hose, with dryer running, pumping warm air through it, you may be able to raise the tank temp. from either the sink waste, shower waste, whichever is the shortest.

    Also, if cables are long enough, aim the pipe up into the drain pipe, but keep the dryer higher then the outlet, don't want water shorting out the dryer.

    If successful, could you pack the under rig area below the waste tank, with a bale of straw, to keep the frozen wind at bay.

    Good luck:thumb:

    Nomadic
     
  12. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    granted and No offence taken BUT
    You are miss quoting a common misconception
    Hot water losses heat more rapidly than cold granted:thumb: it has more heat to loose and when it reaches the same temp as cold it equalises in its rate of loosing heat
    It does not freeze faster
    The point of the hot water was to thaw out the tank and get things flowing again,which it will certainly do faster than any chemical you propose to use
    I didn't recommend any antifreeze or spirit:Doh:
    Diluted antifreeze is not a fire risk as such
    However it is illegal to dump it and or any other chemical into a sewer system:Eek!:
    There is as you probably know a "safe" antifreeze available for wintering fresh water tanks
     
  13. Landy lover

    Landy lover Funster

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    One point worth adding to all the good advice you have had so far is to remember that as the antifreeze takes effect on the contents it is being diluted so it will loose its effectiveness and possibly start to freeze or to stop working on the last bit in the tank
     
  14. Bulletguy

    Bulletguy Read Only Funster

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    Bushman

    Not sure of your personal committments regarding whether you actually need to stay in your present location.........but have you thought of moving to a warmer climate?

    I realise this may be a drastic measure to take, but it is one which is guaranteed to work.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  15. Dodgey

    Dodgey Funster

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    ...or shut the valve/s, get plenty of hot water down the sinks etc and go for a drive?

    Our's has frozen twice recently and fortunatly the first time we had access to hot water via a hose pipe, so an hour spraying the pipes/valve/tanks sorted. Second time no such luck, but the 44 mile(ish) drive home sorted it all out, with a couple of buckets of warm water as a final rinse.



    This years task, investigate tank heaters and lagging, the latter only with the forma.:thumb:
     
  16. The vagabond

    The vagabond Read Only Funster

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    Hello again,
    I was just wondering if you had any luck with the problem?

    I know that it is not a viable solution at the moment and it may involve some difficulty, but I believe that it is possible to place an electricaly powered pond heater in either water tank which can be switched on and off when required (when heavy frost is forecast). This may prevent the same problem occuring in the future.

    Keith
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  17. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Hi, I know it wont help your present problem,but if you are going to stay in cold climates in the future this idea will stop the freezing of your tanks.
    I have droped fishtank heaters in my grey and fresh tanks,these are on switches to a small inverter so that I can use them if I dont have hookup.
    These can be bought cheaply from petshops anywhere,and they do work.
     
  18. Spacerunner

    Spacerunner Read Only Funster

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  19. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    sorry cant help with the ice problem but i certainly wouldnt leave the drain tap open in freezing weather if i was using the van.
    a dripping tap will freeze a lot faster than a tap that is closed. (assuming the tap is draining into an open container and not a drain hose into a sewer.)

    leaving it open is fine if the system is drained and not in use to allow any ice, from residual water, to expand and so not split the valve/tap.
     
  20. Blisters

    Blisters Read Only Funster

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    You need IPA iso propanol alcohol, an industrial alcohol, its the base for deicer, the best deicers are 50/50 ipa/water,
     
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