Underslung tanks

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Underslung tanks

Post by sunidorset on Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:04 pm

Has anyone got personal experience of tanks or water pipes freezing? There seems lots of advice and willingness to retrofit heaters and lagging but I can't find anywhere saying to put a thermometer in the eg freshwater tank.
Any serious comments or advice for winter use? scratch head
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Re: Underslung tanks

Post by Quilter on Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:21 pm

We spend most winters living in the van, sometimes in temperatures down to -10 deg C.  We have the AS fitted winter pack but have never used the tank heaters as, off EHU they are likely to flatten the battery if used continuously and, on EHU, the van heating seems to take care of most possible tank freezing issues.

Some random thoughts:

An external padded windscreen cover is a must. If not you will spend much of your time clearing condensation from the windscreen and stopping it running into the dashboard crevices.

Good ventilation is vital, especially when you are cooking.

Try and park somewhere where you will not have icy winds blowing under the van or into the fridge vents or the hab door when open. Remember that the hab door restraint is not very good.

If you dont already have padded covers over the internal wheel arches then make some. They prevent condensation in a cold locker and wet locker contents.

Even if you don’t have 6 kW heating it is worth adding an extra hot air vent to make internal heat distribution more even.

In really long term icy weather drain your water tank and loo reservoir and put a bucket under the open grey water drain. It is much less effort to use an internal water container, a spray bottle to freshen the loo and empty a bucket now and again than risk pipework freezing.

Your external tanks should have some external insulation but you can add some/ more if you want to. It won’t help much in long periods of bitter cold. 

We leave the van heating on a low setting overnight if we are on EHU. If not then be sure you can refill your gas supply easily as heating uses a lot of gas. A small oil fill radiator will take the chill off if you dont want to use the blown air heater.

Make some internal padded screens for your roof vents. It does make a difference and they can be wedged up there and removed in the daytime. Similarly, a thich blanket or curtains to screen off areas of the van you dont use ( cab?) can make it cosier. 

A hot water bottle is a good thing as, on really cold nights, is a scarf or woolly hat and bedsocks !  Good slippers are a must as the floor can be quite cold, even with a carpet.

Lift your EHU cable at intervals to stop it freezing to the ground.

Put something under your windscreen wiper rubbers to stop them freezing to the windscreen. We use offcuts of silicone oven liner and it does the job.


Last edited by Quilter on Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:02 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add note.)
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Re: Underslung tanks

Post by Paulmold on Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:43 pm

I put wine bottle corks under wiper arms to lift them off the screen. Always corks available !!

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Re: Underslung tanks

Post by Quilter on Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:08 pm

Paulmold wrote:I put wine bottle corks under wiper arms to lift them off the screen. Always corks available !!

Ive always wondered about this one. Doesn’t it put the business end of the wiper under strain ?

We do the same thing in summer to stop the rubber melting onto the windscreen. Its a good idea to have a reminder note on the dashboard. You really don’t want to remember the corks / silicone sheet when it starts to rain as you drive along the motorway.

Another thing that is useful in winter: buy a flask. Put any excess hot water in after boiling the kettle; saves on gas and always handy for hot drinks or washing up.
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Re: Underslung tanks

Post by Paulmold on Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:15 pm

I've forgotten about the corks and then switched on the wipers, so good idea to put a note on the steering wheel because there's never a layby when you need one.

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Re: Underslung tanks

Post by sunidorset on Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:51 am

Some really good advice here. Thanks a lot - you are really helpful!
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