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Old 01-27-2019, 11:37 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
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Gray Water Tank and Winterized Bus Build - inside or under?

Hi all,

Still in the research phase of my proposed build, trying to learn more of the details of what I will be looking to do.

I am planning a build for full-time use, will look to follow the good weather for at least a few years of life but want to leave options open. I've family in New England and the more long term possibility would be to purchase property, park the bus and live from it while building a house. So I'd like to plan for a setup that can manage a full Maine winter, with temperatures into the single digits and negatives being a regular thing.

Insulation (lots) and heating are other big areas I've been reading up on, and I've learned that keeping your plumbing internal to the heated space of the bus (and not underneath) is essential for keeping things from freezing during the winter. Makes sense, no questions their. I am just wondering where people place their gray water tanks in a more winterized build?

Thinking that placing the gray water underneath the bus is fine as it doesn't matter too much whether its contents freeze (unless you of course need to empty out the tank...), and read some mention of flushing with some antifreeze when you "open the traps" to just prevent this from freezing (believe I understand what that references, but still new to this subject matter!).

Appreciate any thoughts on the matter, whether first hand experience with such a setup or general knowledge. Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2019, 04:50 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
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Hi
I see no reply
I have the same question
If you found anything on this let me know
Thx
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:21 PM   #3
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I helped a gent here with his conversion that was intended for cold weather living.

We surrounded the tank with 1-1/2" closed cell foam board and installed a tank heater.

Myself, I have tried to avoid really cold weather. When I couldn't avoid it, I would dump RV/boat antifreeze into the tank. It is intended for winterizing your fresh water system. Non toxic.

I once had my sink traps and toilet freeze but my tanks didn't.......
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:50 PM   #4
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Put antifreeze in the gray tank.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:58 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
I helped a gent here with his conversion that was intended for cold weather living.

We surrounded the tank with 1-1/2" closed cell foam board and installed a tank heater.
Interesting! So this was installed underneath the bus still? I hadn't considered insulation/heating of an underside tank.

Was this just for the gray water tank, or was this done with the clean water as well? Any recollection what temperature range/part of the country this was intended for?

I definitely like the possibilities of an insulated/heated tank underneath the bus! Very much a preference to keep the bulky tanks underneath if at all possible, not eat up the interior space. I could initially install the tank(s) under the bus without any of these extras and avoid the cold weather while in a more active travel period of skoolie life and later retrofit underneath the bus to insulate/heat the tanks once I'm planning to full-time in a colder part of the country. This sounds a lot more feasible to retrofit so hoping it is the case. I'd imagine it would be virtually impossible to relocate the tank(s) from underneath to inside without a significant rebuild of interior layout!

Thanks for the input!
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:01 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Put antifreeze in the gray tank.
I am glad to be learning about this option, hadn't known this was possible (and that there was non-toxic anti-freeze intended for this purpose!).

Thank you!
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:04 PM   #7
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It would take a lot of antifreeze in single digit temps. Plus each time you drain there goes the antifreeze. This is assuming you are living in it and therefore always haveing more grey water enter it.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:06 PM   #8
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Either keep the tank inside, or you have to keep it warm. Remember, you only need to keep the tank above freezing - 34-36 degrees should do it,


There are a couple ways to keep the tank warm :


-I'm pretty sure there are commercial heaters built for this very purpose that just get screwed into the tank, and then just need to be plugged in. Some might need a hole drilled in the side of the tank, I'm not sure.

-There's "heat tape", which is a thin wire (with tape) that you wrap around the pipes (and/or tank), and when you plug it in, it heats up. (Some have a built in thermostat.) This is usually for regular homes basements, or homes with an unheated crawlspace underneath. (Don't confuse the stuff for plumbing with the stuff for melting ice dams on the roof,)



-I've seen some people use a timer/thermostat, 100-watt light bulb (incandescent), and lots of insulation.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Machine View Post
I am glad to be learning about this option, hadn't know this was possible (and that there was non-toxic anti-freeze intended for this purpose!).

Thank you!
Why does it need to be non toxic, are you drinking from your gray tank?
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:17 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
It would take a lot of antifreeze in single digit temps. Plus each time you drain there goes the antifreeze. This is assuming you are living in it and therefore always haveing more grey water enter it.
Yeah, how much antifreeze you would go through did come to mind if the scenario is full-time winter living. Currently I've no idea of the cost of the stuff, how much would be needed per tank full, and what that would all add up to!

The electrical heating options coupled with insulation might be the best overall, need to look into this more!
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