Tuesday 17 November 2015

Switching to Winter Mode . . . For Real This Time

I dumped my black and gray water tanks on Friday afternoon, telling myself that was it, that I wouldn’t use them again. The trouble is that it is hard to not use something that is right there and something that you use every day. 

Seriously, imagine if you had to refrain from using any of your sink drains (even tub/shower) and toilet, for the next four months at least. It is something to get used to . . . again. 

The warmer weather this weekend called to me and so I continued to use my tanks as normal. Well, the colder weather yesterday, along with a look at the long term weather, smartened me up. I could see that it was going to be cold, or rather stay below zero, for some time to come. 

What this means for me is that today is probably the last chance that I will get to dump my tanks for some time to come, perhaps months. So, I will pay to dump my tanks again after work. 

I can feel it in my bones that the real cold weather is finally coming. While I don’t know how cold it will get, all that I need for it to be trouble for me is for it to be below zero for long. 

Why is this a problem for me and my tanks? Well, technically in the tanks themselves it is not that much of a problem of freezing. There is a large amount of water and it is not that full, so freezing solid and cracking the tanks is not an issue. 

What is the issue for me is at, shall we say, the “business” end of the system, where I dump my tanks. Behind and on the driver’s side of Wanda is where a pipe from each tank extends down a few inches. They extend down from Wanda’s underbelly and join up to one single pipe connection leading out. There is one sliding “Guillotine Valve” on each pipe which means you can control which tank you dump. 

What this means is that water (and I will use that term loosely) is on the other side of each valve, all the time. This pipe section is always exposed to the elements, so it is here that the “water” will freeze, and yes immobilize those valves. 

I can’t say for certain that the water won’t freeze and crack those pipes or if the freezing water will nicely form and move up the pipe into the tank. For one, this is not a risk that I want to take. For another, I don’t really feel like hauling around partially full gray and black water tanks for the next few months as I wait for the above zero temperatures to return long enough to defrost those pipes. 

This is why it is important to dump your black, gray and fresh water tanks and yes winterize before the sub-zero weather hits. It is more vital that the fresh water tank be dumped and yes the freshwater lines be drained and filled with proper antifreeze. Those pipes will burst if water freezes in them and that will be a mess, especially when they defrost. 

So, for me it means washing dishes in my small tub, pooping in a bucket and finding a tree to pee on in the middle of the night for the next few months . . . *Le sigh.

Ah well, I will get through this, after all I did it last winter. 


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