Close Grey Water Tank Valve During Winter Months

Close Grey Water Tank Valve During Winter Months, when it’s freezing cold outside, is my lesson of the week. It was a dismal lesson which got my fear rising, of uncontrollable costs but in the end, was ok.

I had heard somewhere that it was a good idea to not leave the black water tank open and draining, but it was ok to leave the grey water tank open. This was because solids in the black water tank would dry up and be stuck in your lines, or worse in your tank, making cleanup a pain in the arse. Well it seems that there is a little more that they didn’t tell me. You see, what they should have said was Close Grey Water Tank Valve During Winter Months. Well, I done F#%&ed up. I left the gray water tank open over night, in the winter time. I really thought nothing of it. Figured grey is ok, it will run out and be ok. Well as I mentioned, it’s winter time.

Close Grey Water Tank Valve During Winter Months

So the other day I go to drain the grey water. It’s not draining. Open the valve, close the valve, nothing’s happening. So I figure maybe the gray water froze in the tank. I closed the gray water valve. So I start by moving our electric heater into the bathroom, figure the heat will help the water down the drains to that. That didn’t work. I also tried putting on the gas water heater – we usually use the electric. That didn’t work either.

Wife decided to wash the dishes and take a shower. Dishes first. As this point, the water is rising in the bathtub. So… no shower. We were doing sponge baths. Alas, this is not a long term option.

Sewage Line?

So I went to check the sewage lines. They’re heavy. It seems that not only was our intake hose frozen solid, so were the sewage lines. When it’s been hitting less then 10 degrees Fahrenheit out, it’s beginning to make sense now. Basically, it comes down to this:  Grey Water Tank Valve During Winter Months.

Close Grey Water Tank Valve During Winter MonthsAt this point, I try breaking up the ice by bending the sewage line, hopefully crushing the ice, and then lifting it up to drain. It might have worked, if the lines weren’t like accordions and able to compress. Those ridges kept the ice in place. I unconnected one of the lines, and kind of whipped the line around, and got some of the ice to go out. It stinks. Seems it wasn’t just grey water which got stuck. Since I live in an RV Park, I needed to move the ice around and kind of stomp on the smaller pieces.

I finally managed to get the lines down to where the ice could move freely in the lines. So I opened the gray water line. The gray water went down, I figured it would melt the ice in the lines, problem solved, right? After about 10 minutes, I went to go listen to see if any more water was coming out – none. I closed the gray water tank valve, and then lifted the sewage line, to make it all go down into the sewage this time…

Still Full

When I was finished, came back inside, checked the grey water level – and it’s still showing full. I looked at the tub, can still see water, which means it didn’t drain, right? No apparently, there must be some solids in the gray water tank which is messing with the sensors. I don’t know how to clean this one, but I do have the tool for the black tank. For now, problem averted.

I spoke with someone last night, who said to run window cleaner down the sewage tank. This apparently will work as an anti-freeze or a de-icer allowing for it to melt the ice enough to get it to drain out. Not sure it will work, but might try next time.

In the meantime all I can say, is that when you are draining black water, make sure after you close the valve, to lift the hose, as the gentle slope might not be enough this should always be done, even in non-winter months.

Hopefully my F-up will not also become yours and this tip about “Close Grey Water Tank Valve During Winter Months“, finds you in good health.

EDIT:  I ended up opening the hose and breaking it into sections and whipping the hose around using centrifugal force to empty the lines. Then I ended up having stinking ice all over the place. Since we live in a park, where everyone is close together, I stomped on the ice and kicked some of it out to the drive. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but with solid ice, it was the best I could do.

EDIT 2: No one noticed or said anything.

EDIT 3: Ammonia based window cleaner can be used as a de-icer. You can buy “special” de-icer liquids to keep in your car which will be either clear or orange, but the regular stuff should work fine to clear your windshield.

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