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Tote tank for winter sewer use?

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Tote tank for winter sewer use?

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:49 pm

A quick question for those who might know better:

Our fiver is not enclosed underneath - the tanks are open to air, despite the rest of the plumbing system (tanks aside) being all enclosed. So, regardless to say, I can't use the freshwater tank (some debate on this, but I'm not willing to risk it) and I'm concerned about even using the holding tanks...but then I started thinking.

My thought was this: I have a 11gallon sewer-tote. If I hookup my sewer to the tote, leave the dump valves for all three tanks open and let it run directly into the tote, and add salt (as was suggested in a thread on another forum) to aid against freezing, am I relatively safe?

We won't be using the toilet for any solids, (#1's only) and other then that it will be just dish washing, hand washing, teeth brushing, etc. With the valves open liquids should pass through the tanks and down into the tote fairly quickly. Whatever little might sit in the bottom of the holding tanks won't present a problem, and I can empty the tote regularly...I even thought about trying to heat the tote tank somehow to help (in addition to the salt) keep it from freezing.

Initially I thought we'd just avoid having any water at all go down the sinks/toilet, but after thinking about it a bit more it seems like if it's done carefully it shouldn't be a big issue, and I can only guess that eventually it'll happen by accident anyways since we have 2 kids. :-)

Lugging in fresh water to the trailer is one thing, but lugging bucket after bucket of used grey water back out to the comfort station to get rid of it afterwards seems even less appealing. :)
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Re: Tote tank for winter sewer use?

Unread postby cwit on Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:29 am

It might work, I would keep the side oppisite the drain side a little higher than normal to help get liquids out faster and maybe a 1/4 gal of the pink stuff instead of salt.
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Re: Tote tank for winter sewer use?

Unread postby skipnchar on Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:18 pm

One thing to consider is "would the dump valve freeze in the open position?". Just a thought.
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Re: Tote tank for winter sewer use?

Unread postby Big Rig Guy on Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:59 pm

Bin there done that, if your using alot of water in the system, the water will freeze coming out of the main sewer outlet. Your valves will freeze in position for sure, then your tanks will fill and become a big block of ice. This is for long term use,

What about tank heater pads, either 12 volt or 120 volt??? Problem is if there is any water that won't drain out of the tank and begins to puddle and then freeze. Additional water will add till the whole tank is one block of ice, don't ask how I know this.

If this does happen, it will expand your tank and crack it. If it does happen, you have to put trailer inside to warm up or skirt trailer and use a 50000 btu fan forced either propane or diesel fired heater positioned carefully to thaw the whole mess out, again don t ask why I know all of this.

I would look into the tank heater pads, they don't use alot of power, especially if your limited to 15 amp service, or get the 12 volt model and make sure you have enough battery capacity.

One cold night in Ontario, and everything can freeze up, if there is a wind it only makes matters worse.

Further, if you are considering camping in the cold months in the future, bring your trailer to my shop and insulate and seal in the underneath, install the heat pads first. Perfect winter time project.
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Re: Tote tank for winter sewer use?

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:25 pm

I'm not too worried about the valves freezing open, they'll thaw eventually.

The quantity of water won't be great, and what does go down will probably be warm/hot water (dishwashing, etc) so it will facilitate keeping things thawed out in the tanks/hoses.
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Re: Tote tank for winter sewer use?

Unread postby tvman44 on Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:47 pm

Sounds good to me, I don't see anything wrong with your thinking. I also do see any problem with the valves freezing. :D
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