Freezing temps and grey water valve

Kiltym

'05 Westy
Looking for opinions on our situation.

We are, oddly enough, in a full hookup campground while working at Amazon for the holidays.

It is going to freeze for the next 2 days here, and wondering what to do with the grey water valve. The black is inside, and should not freeze as we have plenty of heat, but the grey is outside, and will freeze. I am leaning towards leaving it open the entire time to avoid the valve having water sitting on/in it which will freeze and expand.... others here (with different rigs), suggested leaving it closed.

Anyone have thoughts on this?
 

Boxster1971

2012 Sprinter 3500 Ext
Looking for opinions on our situation.

We are, oddly enough, in a full hookup campground while working at Amazon for the holidays.

It is going to freeze for the next 2 days here, and wondering what to do with the grey water valve. The black is inside, and should not freeze as we have plenty of heat, but the grey is outside, and will freeze. I am leaning towards leaving it open the entire time to avoid the valve having water sitting on/in it which will freeze and expand.... others here (with different rigs), suggested leaving it closed.

Anyone have thoughts on this?
Just get an electric heat cable and wrap in around your exposed pipes and grey water valve. Home Depot has them as do many other stores.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Frost-King-12-ft-Electric-Heat-Cable-Kit-HC12A/100032792
 

OldWest

2004 T1N Westfalia
Don't know about freezing weather. Could just toss some RV antifreeze into gray water tank and hope it gets to the gray water tank valve.

Anyways, in general, thought folks would say not to leave valves open when hooked up as gases from sewer could flow upstream into RV.
 

SSTraveler

2014 LTV Unity Murphy Bed
You don't say what the low will be and for how many hours. My valves are outside and I have been fine in areas where the nightly low was 28° and daytime high was 40° with no freezing and I left my valves closed. If the freezing temps are for less than 6 hour periods you'll be fine. If you do leave your valve open to the sewer consider creating an S Trap (P Trap) by putting an S shape in your sewer hose. This S will stay full of liquid to block sewer gases from coming back into your rig. As Boxster1971 said you can go to Lowes/HD and buy Reflectix, Pipe Insulation, insulated wraps, styrofoam panels, etc. and tapes/cable ties of all kinds. To create something to insulate your exposed valves, pipes, hoses, tanks to get you through the cold spells. Then of course the best thing is keep your rig warm, open cabinets so they get warm inside as well. There is lots of good information/ideas on Google and YouTube for keeping your stuff from freezing just do some research.
 

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Kiltym

'05 Westy
It will be below 30 for 48 hours. Low is supposed to be 18.

Only concern is/was the grey dump valve, but we have been leaving it open the past week anyway and did not get any sewer back flow into the Westy, so that does not appear to be a concern. I have left it open for the freeze. As long as no water is trapped where valve fits into when open, I think all will be fine. Seems less likely to cause an issue then leaving water sitting on the valve for the freeze.

Will let people know once the temps warm up again.

The diesel heater is great. No issues keeping 70 inside while 20 out.
 
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Wasaabi

Sprinter Westfalia #133
You're only talking 48 hours. What I would do: make sure Espar is running 24/7 to at least 65, and also keep cabinet doors and the lower (under floor) access panel open to allow good circulation. Pretend you are not in a full hookup and keep valves closed. If you don't disconnect the dump hose then at least move it around such that all water has been drained. Get one or two gallons of RV antifreeze and pour into each tank so that it finds its way to the bottom. The propylene glycol is heavier than water so that it should give you some added protection for the super cold nights, although technically with the heat on you shouldn't even need to do that. Since it is only 48 hours, let your tanks fill up normally (you don't go through that much water in 48 hours, right?). When the freeze ends, dump normally. In the event you do have to dump during the freeze, the antifreeze sitting in the bottom should allow you to open the valves as needed.
 

Kiltym

'05 Westy
We are leaving these three cabinets open. My theory being the driver side has the duct work running through, and ambient heat from that should keep those areas ok without keeping cabinets open in the kitchen. The pantry above the stove is always open since we are not moving right now.

The clothes closet.
The access door to the fridge compressor (which should get some heat to the back “utility room”).
The access door to the raised floor.

Also, we have the pilot light on the hot water tank on. The water is surprisingly hot with just the pilot on, just FYI.
 

Wasaabi

Sprinter Westfalia #133
Agreed about the pilot light. I can leave that on and have hot water for months on the same propane fill.

What you are doing with the cabinets sounds about right. When we have been at around 20 degrees outside and 70 inside, you certainly can feel the cold in there. I do wonder, though, if it ever really gets as cold as freezing even with the doors closed. The diesel furnace is so powerful and efficient that the easiest thing to do is keep it in the low 70s as the main form of protection.

More things to look out for:

- We find that the heater vent in the bathroom sometimes gets knocked shut. Make sure it is open so that the bathroom doesn't freeze.

- Make sure you have more than a quarter tank of diesel. The fuel hose that leads to the Espar pump is not at the bottom of the fuel tank, to make sure you don't run down your tank to zero. If you starve the Espar, it will shut off and take several attempt to restart once you get fuel due to pump priming. This happened to us once, and what sucks is that it also means the engine Espar can't operate. So no heat. I was surprised that it really did cut off at around a quarter tank as I had read (at least as indicated by the gauge). So now we always keep a minimum of half a tank when overnighting in cold weather.
 

Riptide

Member
Even if you have a sewer hookup, I thought you are supposed to let the tanks fill like normal, then dump as normal, dumping the black water tank first. By leaving your valves open, you don't get any real volume to push waste down the hose.

However, if your tank(s) are empty anyway, I guess pouring a decent volume of hot water down the drains into the tanks should thaw a valve. When we used our Westy in the winter, I alwasy kept a jug of antifreeze in the bathroom, and poured a little bit down the drains periodically, just to lower the freezing point of the tank contents a little. I guess it worked; we never had anything freeze up on us in use.

I might be more concerned about a full frozen dump hose...
 

Kiltym

'05 Westy
The tanks themselves I am not worried about, nor the black valve since it’s inside. The only vulnerable piece of plumbing I see is the grey valve, since it is outside the van. I agree that some antifreeze, with a closed valve, would probably work. We don’t have any however (ill prepared for winter I guess!), so hopefully leaving the valve open will work ok.

The sewer hose is all downhill, so what little water sits in the hose, should not be an issue when it freezes. If it was not a clean downhill run, yes, a frozen sewer hose could be quite a mess.
 

old-geezer

New member
Looking for opinions on our situation.

We are, oddly enough, in a full hookup campground while working at Amazon for the holidays.

It is going to freeze for the next 2 days here, and wondering what to do with the grey water valve. The black is inside, and should not freeze as we have plenty of heat, but the grey is outside, and will freeze. I am leaning towards leaving it open the entire time to avoid the valve having water sitting on/in it which will freeze and expand.... others here (with different rigs), suggested leaving it closed.

Anyone have thoughts on this?
First I must say our rig is a class C Winnebago View but I'm thinking our experiences should apply.

We recently spent several nights in Flagstaff with overnight lows in the mid teens.

I emptied our tanks and left the valves open (we have a composting toilet so both tanks are grey).

Both were frozen open in the morning but were undamaged and worked fine as soon as they thawed out. I'm quite sure the piping and valves would have frozen and busted had they had water accumulated in them.
 

CaptnALinTiverton

T1N Westfalia
I agree with prior posts. I never hook-up except for electric. Not worth the work and fuss as well as water pressure and sewage fumes problems. I have a short (about 6 foot) hose I made up for quick water tank filling. I also installed swimming pool valve to allow separate G/W dumping. Limited liquid in B/W tank extends dump-out range significantly.


AL
 

Wasaabi

Sprinter Westfalia #133
Al, please explain further. We can already dump the greywater tank separately by using just that lever. What does the pool valve do?
 

CaptnALinTiverton

T1N Westfalia
The pool valve is a T-valve installed on the horizontal plastic drain pipe between the G/W drain valve and the B/W elbow. The handle is reversed with an eye-bolt on the end that I can grab with the awning crank pole hook for operation. The handle is default in the horizontal position so that G/W comes out of the bottom of the T-valve when the G/W drain valve is pulled allowing drain into grass or drive-over dumps without the G/W going through the back hose. When B/W dumping, I pull the B/W drain valve where-in back flush to the G/W system is further prevented by the T-valve. Then I switch the T-valve which allows G/W to wash through the B/W hose as normally done upon G/W drain valve pull; G/W down discharge is blocked by the T-valve in this mode.

Again, most don't see the necessity of this but I minimize use of the B/W (e.g., fluids) whilst dumping G/W as needed without going to a dump as often and not going through the B/W hose for a cleaner environment.

I have posted about this before. Unfortunately I'm constantly on the road which keeps me from posting all of the pictures and write-ups of the many mods I have made.


AL
 

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
An odd suggestion:

Get rid of the valve. My grey is under van with a 1" ID rubber hose discharge. I open/close the drain by removing/installing a 1" OD boat transom expanding rubber plug. Did not want a valve to restrict the flow.
 

CaptnALinTiverton

T1N Westfalia
An odd suggestion:

Get rid of the valve. My grey is under van with a 1" ID rubber hose discharge. I open/close the drain by removing/installing a 1" OD boat transom expanding rubber plug. Did not want a valve to restrict the flow.
Simple is good. How do you keep from getting it all over you when you pull the plug? How do you rinse out the B/W hose after you dump B/W?

AL
 

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
Simple is good. How do you keep from getting it all over you when you pull the plug? How do you rinse out the B/W hose after you dump B/W?

AL
I just have a DIY conversion van.

Just move out of the way when you pull the plug. I dump it on my driveway on 5 acre property. The animals dump much worse stuff there. I first dump the grey tank. Put plug back in and then drain some of the left over fresh water into the grey tank with some Clorox. A couple of days of driving later I dump the grey water tank a second time.

Grey water from shower and sink do not have traps. The piping path is down past bottom of grey tank and then back up into the tank. Pipe path creates the "trap". No problems with smells. I do plug the shower drain with a rubber cork when not in use. Do not want small parts to fall into the drain.

Use a portapotti instead of a permanent toilet to eliminate the blackwater tank and hose.

Simple is better.
 

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