How To Unfreeze A Septic Tank In A Travel Trailer?

Use a blow dryer to slowly thaw the RV holding tank. Hold the blow dryer six to 12 inches away from the tank. Slowly pass the blow dryer back and forth over the entire exposed area of the tank. Repeat several times to unfreeze the tank.

What happens if your black tank freezes?

Keeping both your gray and black tanks closed means you won’t have wastewater freezing inside your hose. If your sewer hose freezes, you’ll be unable to properly dump any of your tanks until you’ve managed to thaw it out. You can avoid this by simply keeping your valves closed and dumping your tanks as needed.

How do you unclog a frozen RV toilet?

Turn off your fresh water.

  1. Turn off your fresh water.
  2. Pour one entire bottle of Unique Tank Cleaner into the toilet bowl, and hold down the flush pedal so the product gets to the clog.
  3. Let the product sit in the toilet for a few hours.
  4. After 72 hours, dump the tank.

How do you melt ice in a tank?

Slowly moving the heat gun over the bottom of the tanks in a slow arc will eventually de-ice them. It may take a while, depending on how large the tanks are, but they will eventually thaw. Be very sure the tanks are completely thawed prior to operating the waste valves for evacuation.

How do you unfreeze a black RV tank?

Use a blow dryer to slowly thaw the RV holding tank. Hold the blow dryer six to 12 inches away from the tank. Slowly pass the blow dryer back and forth over the entire exposed area of the tank. Repeat several times to unfreeze the tank.

At what temp will RV tanks freeze?

As a general rule, the water in an RV’s pipes could freeze when the temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for a day. But in many cases, it would need to get well below 30 for an extended period of time for most RV pipes to freeze.

How do I unclog my RV septic tank?

Begin by boiling several pots of water. Pour the water down the toilet and let it sit overnight. Attempt to dump the tank in the morning. Sometimes the super hot water is enough to break up a stubborn clog, especially if the tank isn’t already full.

How do you get rid of the poop pyramid in RV black?

To eliminate a poop pyramid, you need to get water into your black tank. The first thing you should do is close the black tank valve and get as much water into the black tank as possible. If the poop pyramid prohibits you from putting water into the tank, get some tank cleaner to pour down into the sewer drain.

Can you use a plunger on an RV toilet?

You can use a plunger to clear the clog just like in your toilet at home. Add some water to the toilet bowl if there isn’t any already. Then, put the plunger over the hole. Make sure it completely covers the hole.

How long does it have to be below freezing for RV pipes to freeze?

RVs without special protections can freeze in a matter of hours if temperatures plummet. However, if temperatures hover near or slightly below freezing, it can take approximately 24 hours for your pipes to freeze.

How do I keep my RV water pump from freezing?

How to Keep RV Pipes from Freezing While Camping

  1. Open Cabinet Doors to Allow Heat In. Your RV’s heat source can’t circulate through closed doors.
  2. Heat Bays.
  3. Use Heat Tape on RV Pipes.
  4. Skirt Your RV.
  5. Close Gray Valve and Use Onboard Fresh and Waste Water Tanks.
  6. Insulate Your RV Bays.
  7. Head to a Warmer Location.

How do I thaw my RV sewer line?

Hot water will freeze quicker than cold water so if you try just putting cold water down the drain, it will cool and freeze before you can thaw out a 10 foot section of solid frozen sewer hose. Take the old hose, prop it up at an angle and begin using your wife’s hair dryer on it and thaw it out.

How do you unfreeze ice?

In a bucket, combine a half-gallon of hot water, about six drops of dish soap, and 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol. Once you pour the mixture onto your sidewalk or driveway, the snow and ice will begin to bubble up and melt. Just keep a shovel handy to scrape away any leftover pieces of ice.

Does Dawn dish soap melt ice?

The combination of the dish soap, rubbing alcohol and hot water helps prevent further icing and speeds up melting process. Once the mixture is poured onto icy or snowy surfaces, it’ll bubble up, and melt. Bonus use: put the mixture in a spray bottle and spritz it on your car windows to melt away ice.

What liquid will melt ice?

The most common liquid ice melt is sodium chloride liquid brine. This brine is typically a solution of about ¾ parts water and ¼ part sodium (salt).

Our RV holding tank is frozen – Help!

Dear Gary, I am writing to express my gratitude for the time you have taken to read this letter. How can I defrost the black holding tank in my recreational vehicle? I’m not sure if it’s completely filled or not. In addition, the dump valve is frozen shut. I only require alternatives for a fixed RV because I am unable to transport the 5th wheel to a repair shop. Emergency! Help! — Michael A. Greetings, Mike I’m sorry to hear about your holding tank problems; I know how frustrating they can be!

Never spend more than a few minutes in a single concentrated location.

Begin at the highest level of the tank and work your way down all exposed sides of the tank until you reach the termination valve.

Make sure that the gun is always in action.

  • After the tank has been drained, flushed, and the valve has been closed, add a gallon or two of RV antifreeze or windshield washer fluid to the tank through the toilet.
  • Also, be certain that it is RV antifreeze and that the windshield fluid may be discharged into your septic system without restriction.
  • While it is challenging to continue to use the on-board waste systems in sub-freezing temperatures, it is generally possible in most circumstances.
  • It is possible to install a 100-watt problem light inside an enclosed holding tank compartment to assist keep it warm after you have finally completed the evacuation of the tank fully.
  • More information from Gary Bunzer may be found at
  • RVT824

How Do I Unfreeze My RV Black Tank? (Step by Step)

You’ve probably pondered how to defrost or thaw your RV’s black tank, but you didn’t know where to start. You don’t have to search much farther. We’ve taken care of everything. RVing year-round is a fantastic opportunity to take in all of nature’s splendors, whether of whether it is raining, sunny, or snowing. It’s necessary to take some extra precautions if you’re RVing in the winter, including winterizing your vehicle’s exterior and interior as well as its holding tanks. Unfortunately, many individuals are unaware that they must winterize their holding tanks prior to the arrival of winter weather.

Considering that the black tank contains a variety of unattractive objects, the last thing you want is for the tank to become iced over.

Simply follow the methods outlined below to unfreeze your RV’s black tank, which include: Prepare by moving the RV and putting on your gloves and safety goggles.

The Black Tank Should Be Blow Dryed 5.Fill The Tank With Water 6.Winterize This article will give you with some simple instructions on how to unfreeze an RV black tank, as well as suggestions on how to winterize your RV holding tanks to prevent this from happening again.

How To Unfreeze An RV Black Tank

A frozen black tank in an RV may be quite inconvenient. The inconvenience of having to dethaw a tank full of garbage and other filthy items may make utilizing your RV a chore. Not only that, but it can also compel you to undertake chores you never intended to do. Fortunately, defrosting an RV’s black tank is a lot less difficult than you may anticipate.

1.Move The RV

It’s preferable to transfer your RV as a whole to a safe place where temperatures are above freezing before you start defrosting your black tank in it. Keep in mind that freezing temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius. A garage or any other enclosed space should suffice for this purpose.

2.Put On Your Gloves And Safety Goggles

Put on your gloves and safety goggles now that your RV has been moved to a more temperate location, if necessary. Because black tanks contain such toxic material, it is important to take precautions to keep oneself safe. You may also wish to consider wearing a mask, but this is not always essential. You have complete control over the situation.

3.Wipe Away Items On The Holding Tank

With your gloves and goggles securely fastened to your body, take a rag and wash off the holding tank. It’s possible that dirt and insects are on the outside. For the majority of people, a dry cloth will enough. If there is muck or dead bugs on the tank, you may want to soak the rag with water before using it to clean it.

4.Blow Dry The Black Tank

It is now necessary to begin the process of defrosting the holding tank. Prepare to defrost the tank using a blow dryer. Maintain a distance of between 6 and 12 inches between the blow dryer and the tank. Sweep the blow dryer across the whole surface area in a back and forth motion, carefully. Keep the blow dryer focused on a single spot for an extended period of time, since this may cause the tank to melt if left on too long. You should also inspect the tank for fractures or leaks while it is thawing out to ensure that there are none.

  1. This has the potential to cause the tank to begin to disintegrate.
  2. You will be using the blow dryer for a considerable amount of time.
  3. It is necessary to repeat this process until you can open the termination valve and hear the frozen contents escaping from the tank.
  4. It is inevitable that condensation will form when the tank thaws.
  5. Cleaning the tank can also make it much simpler to tell whether or not there is a leak or fracture in the tank’s walls.

5.Flush Out The Tank

You will hear them evacuating when the contents of the container begin to defrost.

Continue to blow dry the black tank until all of the contents have been removed from the tank. To flush out the tank, you won’t need to do anything additional, but make sure it’s completely flushed out before proceeding to step 6.


Finally, winterizing a black tank is the final stage in the process of defrosting it. After everything has been emptied out, the most critical step in winterizing the black water tank is to add antifreeze to it to prevent it from freezing. We shall go into winterizing holding tanks in greater depth in the next section. Also see: Is it Safe to Combine Bleach with RV Antifreeze? (Removing Antifreeze from the System) You should repeat steps 1 through 6 if you find that any other holding tanks have been frozen as well.

DEFROSTING THE HOLDING TANKS FOR THE RV Take a look at the video below:

Tools You Need For Defrosting Your RV Holding Tanks

Gloves that are disposable SpectaclesBlow dryer Rags

How To Winterize Your RV Holding Tanks

Whatever the case may be, whether your RV’s holding tanks have frozen or you have a new holding tank installed, you must winterize the tanks before the cold weather arrives. Winterizing your tanks now will save you a tremendous amount of time and effort in the future. The use of non-toxic antifreeze while winterizing RV holding tanks is standard practice. If you anticipate that your RV will be subjected to extremely cold conditions, you may also install insulation or heating systems to preserve the tanks in good functioning condition.


RVers use antifreeze to protect their holding tanks from freezing as it is the most effective method. Choose an antifreeze that is non-toxic and designed exclusively for recreational vehicles. RV antifreeze is frequently tinted pink to show that it is non-toxic in nature. Green antifreeze, on the other hand, is harmful to the environment. As a precaution, make sure that your holding tanks are totally empty before adding antifreeze to them. Assuming you’ve already gone through the dethawing procedure, you should have no trouble completing this step.

Using the RV toilet, pour a couple of gallons of antifreeze into the black water tank to replenish it.

This will enable it to be disposed of in the gray holding tank.

You may also be interested in reading:Does RV Antifreeze Go Bad or Expire?


If your black holding tank froze despite the addition of antifreeze, it is possible that you may need to add additional protection to the tanks. It is quite inexpensive and effective to insulate the tanks around them in order to protect the tanks from freezing. When applying insulation, make sure to wrap it around the whole perimeter of the holding tanks.

In certain RV designs, this may be a little challenging due to the amount of open space surrounding the tanks, but it should be achievable in the majority of cases. You may use something like a blanket to wrap over the tanks to provide a little extra insulation and warmth.

3.Heating Systems

Antifreeze and insulation may not be sufficient in the most severe situations. It’s possible to install a heating system to keep the tank from freezing if this is the case. You might, for example, wrap a heated blanket around the tank to keep it warm. This will serve as both an insulator and a heat source at once. You may also include heating pads for the holding tank. The most successful approach is to use them in conjunction with other strategies. To attach these heating pads to a tank, just peel and adhere them together.

You may also be interested in:Can You Put RV Antifreeze in a Water Heater?

Heat Tape For RV Holding Tanks (heater pads)

Heat tape or heater pads can also be used to keep your RV’s holding tank discharge pipes warm or to prevent your RV’s holding tank from being iced over. To use, just remove the heat tape from the roll and secure it to any pipes through which water runs. Heat tapes are pretty inexpensive, and you can find them at most home improvement stores or by visiting Amazon to see what the current pricing is. RV holding tanks heat pads are an excellent way to keep your RV’s water tank from freezing. Take a look at the video below:

See also:  How Many People For 1000 Gallon Septic Tank?

Thaw frozen Black Tank FAQs

Let’s wrap up this article on how to defrost frozen RV holding tanks by providing answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we’ve received about them so far. Learn how to defrost a frozen RV sewage line.

How To Keep RV Pipes From Freezing While Camping

Simply follow the measures outlined below to prevent RV pipes from freezing while camping: Utilize heat tape on pipes and hoses; warm your internal plumbing; and make use of the freshwater tank located within the home. –Use a space heater–Add antifreeze–Dump tanks in a responsible manner

What is a black water tank?

Simply following the measures outlined below will prevent RV pipes from freezing while camping. Take use of heat tape to protect your pipework. Also, warm your internal plumbing by drawing water from the internal freshwater tank. • Make use of a space heater • Add antifreeze • Dump tanks in an appropriate manner

How do I clean my RV black water tank?

It is necessary to clean your RV’s black water tank on a regular basis to ensure appropriate upkeep. It’s usually a good idea to put RV black water treatment to the tank before every camping trip in order to get the greatest results. To get the best results, mix the commercial product with approximately one gallon of water. Make careful to empty your RV’s black water tanks after each trip and before putting it away for the winter. Use a professional solution, then fill the RV tanks with soapy water to keep them clean.

RV black water tanks are susceptible to becoming blocked.

To avoid this from happening, make sure that the tank is properly maintained and that you only use RV-safe toilet paper. Don’t flush anything else down the toilet but toilet paper. If you find a blockage in the black water tank, go to work on clearing it out right away.

What do I need to winterize on my RV?

The winterization of recreational vehicles (RVs) is required before the arrival of cold weather. So far, we’ve spoken about winterizing holding tanks, but there are a number of other elements in your RV that need to be winterized as well. For example, water filters must be removed and bypassed before the installation can proceed. In a similar vein, you must drain your water heater and water pipes, as well as bypass your water heater, before proceeding. Finally, you must put antifreeze to your recreational vehicle.

When it comes to winterizing these components of your RV, you can always hire a professional to take care of the job for you.

When should I winterize my RV?

You want to winterize your RV before the true cold weather arrives, but you don’t want to do it too soon since it will be too late. It is recommended that you winterize your RV by the end of September for the greatest effects. In order to achieve the greatest results, winterize your RV around the end of August or the beginning of September.

Final Thoughts

Without adequate winterization, your RV system is susceptible to freezing, resulting in a variety of problems down the line. Particularly relevant is the case of a black water holding tank. If your black water holding tank has already frozen, there are a few things you can do to prevent it from freezing further. Using a blow dryer to defrost a black water holding tank is the quickest and most effective method. Keep in mind that you must direct the blow dryer toward the holding tank while continually moving it around.

While you’re defrosting the tank, keep an eye out for any cracks or leaks.

In addition to antifreeze, you may want to consider adding insulation or some type of heating system to your home.


Submitted by Garry (calgary) Unfreezing the Holding Tanks of Your Recreational Vehicle What can I do to prevent our gray water tank from freezing? ANSWER:Hi Garry, you don’t tell me how full your Grey Water Tank is, which is a little concerning. Option 1 may not work if your Grey Water Holding Tank is totally full, but it is still worth a try. If it does not work, move on to option 2. Option 1: Grey or black water holding tank that has been partially filled RV Holding Tank Antifreeze will be required in quantities of at least 3 gallons.

  • Then you’ll need to pour approximately 1/2 gallon of boiling water down each of the three drains you’ve identified earlier in this procedure.
  • Check out the Camping World products on sale right now!
  • You should allow the antifreeze to stay in the holding tank for at least two hours if you have a trailer or if it is not possible to drive the RV.
  • To melt ice and free up the dump valve, you can use a hair dryer on the highest heat setting.
  • Option 2 for a holding tank that is totally full Get as muchRV Holding Tank Antifreeze into the holding tank as you can before the tank freezes.
  • In addition, you must get as much heat as possible into the frozen holding tank to prevent it from freezing over.
  • The furnace vents in some RVs are designed to run into the holding tank compartments; if your RV has one of these configurations, you may need to crank up the furnace to a higher temperature than normal in order to melt some of the ice and allow the antifreeze to begin working properly.
  • It may be able to provide enough heat to get the tank warm enough for antifreeze to begin working and things to start flowing again.
  • Become a member of the Good Sam Club today!

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Frozen RV Holding Tank

Gary Bunzer passed away on April 17, 2020, and we are devastated to report his loss. In the meantime, we hope that the RV Doctor website continues to provide useful information for you. Greetings and appreciation for your interest in and support for the RV Doctor – Debbie, Heather, and Gretchen are three friends who have a lot in common.

Frozen RV Holding Tank

How can I defrost the black holding tank in my recreational vehicle? I’m not sure if it’s completely filled or not. The dump valve has also been frozen shut. I only require alternatives for a fixed RV because I am unable to transport the 5th wheel to a repair shop. Emergency! Help! Mike A., and others (Squamish, BC) Mike, I understand your need! I’m sorry to hear about your holding tank problems; I know how frustrating they can be! Using a hair dryer or heat gun to assist defrost the tank is possible if you proceed with caution.

  1. ABS and polyethylene tanks can be melted very rapidly if the heat is too high or if you remain in one place for an extended period of time.
  2. Start at the highest level of the tank.
  3. Keep repeating this process until you are able to open the termination valve and hear the contents emptying.
  4. The valve should be closed at this point.
  5. Also, make certain that it is RV anti-freeze and that the windshield fluid may be discharged into your septic system without restriction.
  6. In sub-freezing temperatures, it is difficult, but not impossible, to continue to use the on-board waste systems in the majority of cases.
  7. It is possible to install a 100-watt troublelight inside an enclosed holding tank compartment to assist in keeping it warm after the holding tank has been entirely emptied.
  8. RVT824

Frozen septic system – HELP!

Greetings, Ho: Motothomes are normally not subject to any restrictions. Even if you open the toilet drain, the tank is usually a straight shoot down, and you can check how filled the tank is by looking down the toilet drain. This, however, is of little use to you because a 5th wheel may not be constructed in this manner at all. Sorry. For plumbing schematics, you may wish to search on the Manufacturer’s internet website, which is accessible 24/7. I own a Winnebago, and their website provides owners with access to plumbing and electrical schematics based on the year and type of their vehicle.

  • Consider simply looking at the Winnebago TT schematics, as it is probable that many manufacturers employ a similar plumbing system.
  • Try using a hair drier and starting as near to the tank as possible and working your way higher from there.
  • It’s possible that will open the door.
  • Your extreme conservatism in the use of flushing water, in my opinion, has resulted in the formation of the dreaded poop pyramid.
  • You may have experienced issues even before the freeze, if your pipes just beneath the toilet were clogged as you described them.
  • In my opinion, you should try pouring a gallon of plain RV antifreeze down the drain to see if it helps.
  • If I were you, I’d utilize this tool to get the job done.

Connect the sewer hose to a sewer line and open the dump valve to complete the job.

Open the toilet valve and push the tool as deep down the toilet as possible.

Because the obstruction is located towards the top of the black tank, it is possible that black water will be forced back out of the toilet.

Once you are able to utilize full water pressure, expect it to take at least another hour to completely empty up the black water tank.

It is effective in melting ice on roadways.

The summery fluid had frozen to a solid state.

It did, in fact, work, and the reservoir was thawed and the windshield washer was operational again within an hour or two.

I’m not sure how it would affect the seals and other components, but if it worked, you could drain the tank immediately and get it out. Someone else might have something to say about this. Wishing you the best of luck.

How to Unfreeze a Frozen RV Sewer Hose

While many glampers are fair-weather weekend warriors, there are still a significant number of people who live in their RVs on a year-round basis. If you’ve been spending time in your RV during the winter months, it’s likely that you’ve had to drain your septic system in frigid temperatures. This presents a unique set of issues, one of which is a frozen RV sewer pipe, which is a common occurrence.

How RV septic systems work.

An RV, like any other home, is equipped with a septic system. However, because of their size, they must be drained after they are completely full. There are some extra valves not found in residential systems, as well as some exposed above-ground sewage lines, which implies your system is more complex. Typically, these lines are underground and below the frost line in a residential setting. Full tanks aren’t normally an issue throughout the rest of the year; you just locate a dump station (which can be found at practically all RV parks and campsites) and empty your gray and black water tanks into it.

It’s far too simple.

With a home septic system, you won’t have to worry about that kind of problem.

What to do if your RV sewer hose freezes.

Due to a frozen sewer hose, there is a backup of black water. You’re an RVer, whether you’re living in it full-time or simply passing through for the weekend, and you have to empty your holding tanks. Because you drain your tanks every couple of days, you leave the line connected to the tank. Although not a major issue most of the time, when the temperature drops below 20 degrees, and you release the drain valve, you find that the sewage water backs up and ceases to flow. You are not the first person to have a frozen RV sewer pipe, so don’t get too worked up over it.

I do have one piece of advise, though.

If there’s ice in there and you start pushing it about, you might cause the hose to burst and cause serious injury.

How to thaw a frozen RV sewer hose.

When dealing with a frozen sewer pipe, hot water is the most efficient method. Because you’re attempting to drain your tanks, it’s probable that your gray water tank is full, and just pouring hot water down the sink is out of the question at this point. You’ll need to find an alternative source of hot water. Unplug the hose from the camper and pour hot water down the hose to flush it out. However, I’ve had luck with one gallon of hot water every ten feet of hose, and I’m sure that’s the optimal quantity.

You can observe how much water is draining from the end of the pipe by looking at it.

You are ready to begin emptying your tanks whenever you notice a surge of water coming from the faucet. To be sure, getting to this point was not the most pleasant experience. Preventive medicine has been proven to be more effective than curative medicine.

Prevention tips for a frozen RV sewer hose.

The simplest method to deal with a frozen RV sewage pipe is to prevent having one in the first place. The following are some practical suggestions to assist you avoid getting into these situations.

  • Keep your lines tucked away in between usage. This is primarily applicable to weekend warriors or RV owners who have their vehicles in storage. If you don’t need the hose right now, save it until you’re ready to drain your septic tanks. Antifreeze made for RVs should be poured into the lines. Full-timers are more likely to leave their hoses connected. Add one or two cups of RV-grade antifreeze to the pipes if this is the case, as a precaution. Make sure to purchase antifreeze that has been approved for use in recreational vehicles and maritime equipment, since it is often septic-safe. Make certain that the slope of your lines remains consistent. As long as there is no water in the pipes, there is no reason for them to freeze. It is important to maintain a consistent pitch without any dips in the lines to guarantee that the water is drained from the lines before it may freeze.

What about frozen septic tank valves?

Another component that is prone to freezing is the valves under the camper that are exposed to the weather. Because these pipes and valves are permanently attached to your camper, you won’t be able to store them. You’ll have to insulate them. We’ve included a small video that demonstrates how to properly cover your exposed pipes and valves in order to avoid their freezing. The good news is that preventing your tank line and valves from freezing is really simple. All that is required is that you wrap them in aluminum foil tape, then in pipe heating cable, and last in fiberglass pipe wrap.

See also:  What Happens When A Septic Tank Is Replaced With A New One? (Perfect answer)

Final thoughts.

Winter glamping in an RV may be a thrilling experience, but you must be prepared to cope with Mother Nature on your journey. Of course, the ideal course of action is to be prepared and prevent having frozen RV sewer pipes in the first place, but this is not always possible. If you find yourself in this scenario, don’t get too worked up over it. You’ll be back in business if you just wait it out or pour some hot water into the pipe to flush it out.

Frozen black tank – Forest River Forums

03-01-2019, 11:55 AM 1
Junior MemberJoin Date: Feb 2015Posts: 20 Frozen black tank

I’ve been camping most of my life,and I bought my first camper 30 yrs ago. I don’t normally close my tank valves unless I’m going to move it,normally it sits on a permanent location. I had just heard from other campers (some newbies) that those valves,grey,gally and black, should be closed until half full then opened. Hence this new knowledge, my son in laws 5er has frozen up and is in a pickle until the thaw. I just would like confirmation about the valves or at least what other people do.

03-01-2019, 12:01 PM 2
Senior MemberJoin Date: Sep 2016Location: Concord, NCPosts: 435 I leave my gray tank open when I’m at full hookup until the day before we leave. Black tank stays closed unless I need to dump it. Otherwise you will have a poop pyramid in the tank.
03-01-2019, 12:05 PM 3
Pickin’, Campin’, MasonJoin Date: Aug 2015Location: South Western PAPosts: 15,526 Tank valves ALWAYS closed until 3/4 full (or full) and then dump.If you have been sitting in a permanent location with the black valve open, the liquids have all run out the sewer connection leaving the solids in your tank.I suspect you have more than the dreaded poo pyramid in your tank.Some folks will let the GREY tank(s) valve open and this is not nearly as detrimental to the tank but it does allow sewer gasses to filter into the tank and possiblly into the R/V if the P-traps are dry or out the roof vent making the area stink.If in freezing conditions, tank heaters or some R/V antifreeze in the tank(s) will eliminate a frozen tank. R/V antifreeze is cheap!_2016 Flagstaff 8529IKBS Diamond Package 5th Wheel�Goodyear Endurance Tires�2017 Ford F-Series SCREW 4×4�Factory Puck�B W Companion�TST Tire Monitor w/Repeater�Sinemate 3500w Gen.F AM Lodge 358 Somerset, PA – JAFFA Shrine – Altoona, PA Days Camped: ’17=38☼’18=49☼’19=58☼’20=110☼’21=116☼’22=32
03-01-2019, 01:52 PM 4
Senior MemberJoin Date: Jul 2017Location: North of Seattle, WAPosts: 13,708 Quote:Originally Posted byDuck8792I’ve been camping most of my life,and I bought my first camper 30 yrs ago. I don’t normally close my tank valves unless I’m going to move it,normally it sits on a permanent location. I had just heard from other campers (some newbies) that those valves,grey,gally and black, should be closed until half full then opened. Hence this new knowledge,my son in laws 5er has frozen up and is in a pickle until the thaw. I just would like confirmation about the valves or at least what other people do.Doesn’t have to wait for the thaw unless he wants to. Rent a “Torpedo Heater” and blow the warm air from it under the trailer. Put a couple sheets of plywood around the perimeter to hold the heat under the trailer. Just make sure to set the heater a bit away from the trailer itself so the air going underneath is somewhat tempered as those heaters can put out some seriously hot air.Then it’s just a matter of being patient. Might take a tank or two of kerosene to thaw the black tank if it’s full. If not full the process could be sped up by pouring hot water into the tank until full. And that heat, along with the heater, will create it’s own “spring”._”A wise man can change his mind. A fool never will.””You only grow old when you run out of new things to do”2018 Flagstaff Micro Lite 25BDS2004 Nissan Titan
03-01-2019, 01:56 PM 5
Senior MemberJoin Date: Jun 2013Posts: 1,007 Quote:Originally Posted byTitanMike”Torpedo Heater”.called a Salamander, used in construction a lot and on the sidelines of football games, serious heat.
03-01-2019, 02:07 PM 6
Gold Tee BoxJoin Date: Nov 2016Location: Rolla, MOPosts: 560 Quote:Originally Posted by5pickerTank valves ALWAYS closed until 3/4 full (or full) and then dump.!Yes, it’s Camping 101!_Success is hiring someone to mow your lawn so you can play golf for exercise.2018 GMC 2500 Duramax Denali2018 Coachman Freedom Express 287BHDS
03-01-2019, 02:43 PM 7
RV There Yet?Join Date: Jul 2018Location: Winona, MNPosts: 970 Quote:Originally Posted bynaythercalled a Salamander, used in construction a lot and on the sidelines of football games, serious heat.Either is correct, we all know what everyone is talking about. the propane versions will work just as well if you have one._2018 17RP2009 Crew Cab King Ranch F150 “Goose”
03-01-2019, 06:41 PM 8
ScoundrelJoin Date: Feb 2017Location: Montrose, ColoradoPosts: 2,165 Valves closed untilat leasthalf full. I don’t open the black tank valve until its nearly full._2014 Micro Lite 19fd2015 F-150 5.0L V8 XLT Crew Cab, 4×4, Tow Package, 36 gal tank, 3.55 locker, 1891 payload, Integrated Brake Controller, Roadmaster Active SuspensionWooden Spoon Survivor
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How to Unfreeze and Empty an RV Holding Tank

A holding tank for an RV is a container that retains both fresh and waste water. Normal circumstances would result in water freezing if the temperature drops below a certain threshold, but the RV’s radiator is equipped with anti-freeze to prevent this from happening. Since fresh water should never be combined with anti-freeze in your RV, this is a dangerous combination. RV holding tanks are divided into three categories: fresh, black, and grey. These are for the water that is used for drinking, toilet flushing, and kitchen sinks.

Step 1 – Preparation

First and foremost, the RV must be covered in order for the temperature to remain above freezing. To perform this task, you’ll need a suitable covered space, such as a large garage, and you’ll need to be able to get to the vehicle’s undercarriage. Put on your protective eyewear and gloves to keep your eyes and hands protected.

Step 2 – Locate the Tank

In order to keep temperatures above freezing, the RV must first be protected from the weather. To perform this task, you’ll need a suitable covered area, such as a large garage, and you’ll need to be able to get to the undercarriage of the vehicle. Put on your protective eyewear and gloves to keep your eyes and hands safe and protected.

Step 3 – Clean the Tank

Remove any collected material from the holding tank of your recreational vehicle. In order to do this, warm soapy water and a towel can be used.

Step 4 – Provide Heat

Connect the hair dryer or blow drier to the cigarette lighter and aim the warm air toward the RV holding tank. Maintain a space of 6 to 12 inches between the dryer and the holding tank, and move the dryer back and forth, up and down, and in a steady, but constant moving sweeping motion around the tank.

Keep an eye on yourself and don’t stay in one place for too long, since this might cause damage or melting to the plastic material of the tank and pipes. Do not allow the dryer to become too hot.

Step 5 – Check

Examine the tank and any connected pipes to make sure that any ice that has formed in the tank has not split them, or that they are not damaged or leaking while you are performing this procedure. Check to see that the fastening rings that link the pipes to the tanks are completely fastened and that they are not broken. If there has been damage to the RV holding tank or any of the connections or pipes, you will need to replace them because repairs are not normally viable in these situations. If this is the case, stop attempting to thaw the tank or tanks and purchase replacements; you will then be able to detach and replace the problematic components.

This procedure should be repeated for each of the three holding tanks.

Step 6 – Empty the Unfrozen Holding Tanks

Once the tanks have been defrosted, they should be sent to an RV waste dumping site. Fill each with stale fresh water in the following order: first the black, then the grey, and finally the stale fresh water.

Step 7 – Replace

It is preferable to use water plus a non-toxic antifreeze component, which can be purchased easily. The addition is made from bio-based materials and is safe for humans to consume. Fill each holding tank with water. This should ensure that, even if temperatures remain below freezing for an extended period of time, each RV holding tank will remain ice free and completely operational.

How Do You Unfreeze A RV Black Holding Tank?

You may feel overwhelmed if you are new to RVing since there is so much attention to detail that goes into maintaining your black water tank. Black holding tanks are notorious for having odor problems, making gurgling noises, and being difficult to predict how long the tank will survive before needing to be emptied. When your tank freezes, on the other hand, it might be one of the most annoying things that can happen. Starting with hot water and a little amount of antifreeze in your tank, you may work your way up to a permanent solution.

  • It may take many days for your tank to entirely thaw out after being frozen.
  • Please keep in mind that while there are many various methods you may try to thaw out your tank, it will take some time to complete the process.
  • You should check your water tanks a few weeks before you go for a trip early in the year so that you have enough time to thaw any ice-cold tanks.
  • These are all straightforward answers, albeit they will need some effort and patience on your part.

This will keep you from freezing even in the coldest of weather conditions. Also, remember not to leave your valves open throughout the winter months, since this might result in freezing. Continue reading for more more excellent ideas for defrosting your RV’s black holding tanks, including:

Ways To Unfreeze Your RV Black Water Tank

Here are some pointers and suggestions for defrosting your RV’s black water tank. These suggestions have been provided by other RVers who have faced this issue. Take a look at these fantastic suggestions:

  • To unfreeze your RV’s black water tank, follow these tips and tricks. RVers who have encountered this issue have provided the following suggestions. Here are a few fantastic suggestions:
  • Heat. Adding more heat to your water tank can aid in the thawing of the tank more quickly. For their black holding tank, many RVers turned to space heaters or heated blankets to keep the temperature comfortable. Consider your options carefully because you don’t want to burn your tank or cause cracks in the walls. Alternatively, you may install a heater below the tank, forming a box around the region to keep the heat in.
  • Antifreeze. While it may take a little longer, simply adding antifreeze to your tank should eventually assist in thawing it out completely. RV antifreeze, on the other hand, is inexpensive and may be brought along on travels in case of cold weather. Make certain to choose non-toxic RV antifreeze (which may be distinguished by its pinkish red hue), rather than standard antifreeze (which will be green)
  • Salt. Many RVers have reported that adding some rock salt to your tank can aid in the thawing of ice. This will also take a bit longer to complete than using hot water or a heating system. Salt is also more convenient to keep on hand in the RV, and it should be used as soon as you see any ice or freezing. Always flush your tank once everything has melted to ensure that there is no more salt left in it.

Take a look at these fantastic products to assist you in thawing out your frozen waste water tank:

RecPro RV Antifreeze

With the help of RV antifreeze, you can gradually thaw your blackwater tank. This is a fantastic brand of antifreeze that has been designed particularly for RVs. This antifreeze is non-toxic, safe for animals, and is only used in recreational vehicles. Make careful to apply this product prior to winter to avoid freezing in your water tanks and drain pipes.

All-Natural Granular Ice Melt

This is an excellent method of thawing the ice in your black holding tank. Simply add a spoonful of salt to your tank, along with hot water or antifreeze, and you’re good to go. This will assist in breaking down the ice more quickly. Make sure to rinse your tank thereafter to get rid of any excess salt that accumulated.

200 Watts Space Heater Lamp

This heating lamp, which is often used for chicken coops or tiny places, would be ideal for use on your black holding tank’s black holding tank. This lamp emits just enough heat to warm things up, but not enough to melt or harm your RV’s black water tank, which is ideal for camping trips. Take a look at this fantastic space warming light.

Portable Electric Heater

This space heater is yet another excellent option for generating heat around your black holding tank in the bathroom. This heater is lightweight, has an adjustable thermostat, and is ideal for heating tiny spaces. Take a look at this fantastic space heater! We hope that this post has provided you with some suggestions for effectively thawing your frozen black water tank. Sharing issues and solutions may make RVing a lot more enjoyable and less stressful. So, if there is something that we have missed that you have encountered, please leave a comment below so that others might benefit from your knowledge.

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Fifth-Wheels: Frozen Black Holding Tank

stackrattKansasNew MemberJoined: 12/28/2012View ProfileGood Sam RV Club MemberOffline

My black tank recently froze when the tempuratures here got down to the single digits. At first, I counldn’t open my valve because it was frozen shut. We live in our camper, so not being able to dump the tank meant it filled up and then the contents of the tank froze. I used a heat gun and got the valve thawed out and opened. Then I was able to get it thawed enough to start seeping out. I now have it where we can use it but I can tell there is still stuff frozen in the tank. Does anyone know if I put some rock salt and water in the tank, would it thaw out the rest of the contents without messing anything up?* This post wasedited 12/28/12 11:47am by stackratt *

wprice5441United StatesFull MemberJoined: 02/02/2009View ProfileGood Sam RV Club MemberOffline

why not heat water on the stove and keep pouring it into the holding tank until all is melted. This would seem like a faster way, also as it seeped out it would gradually clead the dump opening

skibum98391SeattleFull MemberJoined: 10/16/2006View ProfileOffline

I would be careful with letting the liquid that has melted seep out.You are going to be left with frozen solids that are going to be hard to get out.Better to thaw the whole tank first.Options for that vary depending on where you are and what you have available to you.The best option would be to put heat under your trailer with a propane heater that blows hot air.but I am guessing you do not have that option

joelcCedar Point, NCSenior MemberJoined: 02/23/2004View ProfileOffline

If it is the valve that is frozen and not the contents of the tank, then use a hair dryer around the valve until it thaws and you will be able to dump.Do not rush it or force it.Eventually, it will thaw and you can dump.It happened to me one time, and it works.

time2rollSouthern CaliforniaSenior MemberJoined: 03/21/2005View ProfileGood Sam RV Club Member

Salt will help but probably not enough to bother.You really need to add heat.Do you have access to the tank to add a heat pad?Or is in a compartment where you could add a small space heater?Otherwise hot

2001 F150 SuperCrew2006 Keystone Springdale 249FWBHLS675w Solar pictures back up

oneeyesquareBelmontFull MemberJoined: 03/28/2007View ProfileGood Sam RV Club MemberOffline

Ours will freeze quite often. I usually keep 2-3 5 gal buckets of water to dump down the toilet while dumping to melt and flush the tanks. If you close valve/pour/let sit for 5 min it will melt the majority. If it’s super bitter cold, I don’t let it sit long. Our upper tank valve is horrific in the winter. We’ve pretty much gave up on using that toilet/tank during freezing weather.

2012 Ram Dually, BigHorn, HO, Aisin, 4.10’s2013 Mobile Suites Lexington

Old-BiscuitVerde ValleySenior MemberJoined: 06/20/2009View Profile

Is the shower close to toilet?HOT water from shower hose sprayed down toilet with tan drain valve open.Use a clear adapter between end of drain line and sewer hose so you can watch the flow.really need to make sure the poopTP flows out.not just liquids are you will end up with poop pyramid/clogging problems

Is it time for your medication or mine?2007 DODGE 3500 QC SRW 5.9L CTD In-Bed ‘quiet gen’ 2007 HitchHiker II 32.5 UKTG 2000W Xantex InverterUS NAVY-USS Decatur DDG31

WellShooter2West TexasSenior MemberJoined: 03/20/2009View ProfileGood Sam RV Club MemberOffline

Salt will help. Warm Salt water will help more.Good idea, and keep adding salt to prevent more freeze ups.Don’t worry about the ‘poop pyramid’ right now, you can work on that in warmer weather.

2008 2500HD D/A2008 Keystone Challenger

jbtazMissoulaFull MemberJoined: 01/07/2009View ProfileOffline

Been doing it for years for winter. I use water softener salt. After I dump, I fill the bowl with salt, add water and let it soak for awhile before dumping into tank. then add about 2 gallons of water. Has not frozen so I couldn’t dump. Been like a slushy sometimes.

Artemus GordonRedding CaliforniaSenior MemberJoined: 03/04/2011View ProfileGood Sam RV Club MemberOffline

Ok I can’t stand it!We are talking about “Poopsickles”!?

Thaw Frozen Septic Line

Household septic systems perform admirably well, even under the most extreme weather conditions. Septic lines and holding tanks, on the other hand, can freeze if the correct conditions exist. Is it possible for septic systems to freeze when the “proper” circumstances are present? Water that remains stationary at sub-freezing temperatures. The thermal protection provided by a buried system, as well as the flushing and warming effects of routine use, prevent ice formation in the majority of septic systems.

  1. In our particular scenario, our system was doomed to failure.
  2. Our comparatively short septic line, which did not have the luxury of snow to keep it warm, was almost likely over the frost line and cold enough to form ice.
  3. The system was cold, and all that was required for it to form ice was stationary water.
  4. The furnace, to be precise.
  5. Our septic line quickly became clogged with ice as a result of the continual supply of low-flow water that was introduced to our cold system.

So, what might we have done differently to prevent this, and how can we ensure that it doesn’t happen again? Keep the system warm and avoid introducing low-flow continuous water sources into the system, to put it simply.

Septic Systems Freeze For Many Reasons

  • Insufficient depth of the septic line – the line was built above or too close to the frost line. Below compacted soil (driveways, walks), a septic line should be installed since compacted soils tend to freeze deeper. Snow cover is insufficient or compacted, resulting in a reduction in the insulating effect of snow. There is a lack of vegetation or grass cover, which is important since vegetation functions as a soil insulator. a lack of or inadequate heat being provided to the system as a result of its occasional usage

Risks factors for a frozen septic system – things that allow ice to form

  • Infrequent system usage – system use flushes pipes and contributes heat to the system
  • Infrequent system use The use of a continuous low volume water supply (such as furnace condensation drainage or a leaking faucet) allows for the accumulation of ice without the advantage of a flushing mechanism. a septic line that is improperly pitched or has low areas in the line’s trip allows water to not entirely depart the septic pipe, allowing it to freeze

There are a variety of reasons that might contribute to ice development in septic systems. Each of these factors must be taken into consideration and handled in order to prevent future freeze ups. However, before we can begin to solve the issues, we must first de-ice the frozen septic line and re-open the entire system. Prior to addressing the issues, you will need to melt any ice that has formed in your lines and re-open the system, which will take some time.

Your septic line is frozen, now what? Easy; thaw it out!

To repair a frozen septic system, you will need to defrost the ice that has formed and is preventing the system or line from functioning properly. This is something I accomplished myself, and it is certainly something you can do as well. Before you get started, you should definitely consider contacting a professional that specializes in defrosting frozen septic systems to assist you. When my machine stopped for the first time, I did just that. The problem was resolved in 15 minutes for a total cost of $250.

If the prospect of being clean and toasty in your own house while someone else takes care of the repair appeals to you, put down the book and pick up the phone right now.

You may even be able to enhance your septic system and avoid future freeze ups as a result of your efforts.

OVERVIEW | Thaw a frozen septic line


SUPPLIES LIST | Thaw a frozen septic line

Many systems have two access covers (one for the primary or “solid” compartment and another for the secondary or “liquid” compartment), with the primary compartment being the more common. We’re looking for the cover that protects the area where the septic line from the house enters the holding tank (see photo) (typically the cover closest to the house).

  • Open septic tank access cover.
  • It is frequently necessary to use a pry bar or a crow bar to raise the concrete cover from the frozen ground in this situation. If the ground is frozen, take some time to trench out the dirt next to the lid if you have the opportunity.

  • Prepare water supply hose.
  • To prevent the hose from spinning while it is running through the septic system, use a brass nozzle on the garden hose (Thanks to Nancy for the great tip). The length of the nozzle should be more than the diameter of the pipe (which is normally 4 inches in diameter). If you are utilizing hot supply water, keep in mind that the garden hose may soften, making it harder to move the hose farther. PEX tubing can be used in place of garden hose if you want to utilize hot water during the installation.

    (Many thanks to David for the suggestion!)

  • Connect hose to a water source.
  • In an ideal situation, you would use a source that was isolated from your domestic water supply, so that you could be certain that nothing from the septic systems contaminated your drinking water supply. Unfortunately, this may not be a viable choice in the short term. The use of a hose faucet or a utility faucet that draws water from your home should be done with caution because any water that backflows into your domestic water supply could cause a health risk to you or your family. I attached a hose fitting from my utility room to my hot water pipe, which worked well.

    Although hot water is not required, it will help to expedite the process of eliminating the ice blockage.

    The majority of PVC drain and sewage pipe is certified for temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of the temperature limit of PVC, it may be a good idea to avoid thawing services that utilize steam to clear pipes, since the heat from the steam might cause the pipes to crack and break.

  • Locate the septic pipe outlet coming from the house.
  • Many will be equipped with a “T” baffle and will enter the tank from the side closest to the home (supply). Having located the line, you will need to insert the hose into the septic system with the nozzle first, so that it is facing the obstruction (heading back to the house). It may be necessary to bend the hose slightly in order to get the nozzle into the septic pipe (I used a 6′′ nozzle and had to bend the hose slightly in order to get it in past the baffle.)

  • Turn on your water source and advance hose into septic pipe.
  • Attempt to feed the hose into the pipe until it meets with resistance (this should be the ice blockage). The nozzle will now be aimed straight towards the ice, causing it to melt. As the ice melts, you will be able to advance the hose further and farther until the ice has completely melted and you have passed past the obstacle. It should be quite evident when the ice has removed, depending on the volume of waste water in the septic line that was behind the obstruction in the first place. I experienced a significant increase in the volume of water returning to the septic tank, and the water became soapy with white suds.

  • Remove the hose from the septic pipe before turning off the water supply.
  • It is preferable to remove the hose before shutting off the water supply in order to avoid backflow into the hose. Replacing the septic cover and cleaning your tools and garden hose are important steps.To clean the outside of the garden hose, I ran it through a handful of Chlorox disinfecting wipes several times, finishing by pulling it through damp paper towels.To sterilize the entire hose, soak it in a dilute (1:50) bleech in water solution made by diluting 1/3 cup of bleech in 1 gallon of water.

  • Fix the underlying problems causing line freeze
  • You should try to determine the underlying reason of your system’s freeze and make any necessary repairs after you have successfully thawed the frozen line. There are several wonderful resources accessible on the internet, and I have included a few of them here. See the following articles for further information on preventing a frozen septic system:

    1. Using a large-capacity furnace condensate tank and pump system, it is possible to prevent septic line freezing caused by high-efficiency furnace condensate drainage. installing a Septic Heater to prevent ice formation in your septic system

    IMAGE GALLERY | Thaw a frozen septic line

    How to Defrost a Frozen Septic System (with Pictures) The primary holding tank of a septic system should be located and its lid should be opened. Cover for a septic holding tank. Remove the concrete cover from the holding tank. 50-foot non-kink garden hose with a 6-inch spray nozzle Septic system line that has frozen, with the cap off and ready to defrost. Back flow prevention valve installed in the water supply. The hose was passed into the septic line while the flush water was turned on.

    FOLLOW UP | Thaw a frozen septic line

    1. Make certain that there is appropriate natural insulation over the pipe line
    2. Do not remove or compact snow over septic area (do not drive over or plow over septic system)
    3. Snow has an r-value of 1 or more per inch of snow (12′′ of snow = R-12+)
    4. Do not remove or compact snow over septic area (do not drive over or plow over septic system)
    5. Adding a layer of straw (R-1.5 per inch) or wood mulch (R-1 per inch) over the pipe run and other portions of the septic system, as well as planting grass and other vegetation in bare ground areas over the septic system, will help to reduce the amount of water that gets into the system. Add a layer or two of foam board insulation (polystyrene has an R-5 rating per inch of thickness)
    6. Avoid compacting earth over a septic line with heavy machinery (cars, ATVs, etc.), as compacted ground freezes more deeply. Insulate the area around and over the septic system or line. Rigid foam insulation between 2 and 4 inches thick should be installed around septic lines and over the holding tank, with overlapping edges (polystyrene is R-5 per inch). To keep the soil in place, use water softener salt bags, sand bags, or bags of landscaping pebbles. Continuous, low-flow water sources that discharge into the septic system should be repaired or avoided
    7. Fix any dripping faucets or fittings. Options for emptying furnace condensation water should be considered. During the colder months, operate the system on a regular basis
    8. Constant usage will flush the system and contribute heat to the system. Usage the system on a regular basis throughout the colder months
    9. Regular use will flush the system and contribute heat to the system. Normal bacterial activity creates heat in the holding tank. Biological activity in the holding tank creates heat in its normal course

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