Let’s take a look at the problems/assumptions contained in this statement: “If you can see holding tanks underneath your camper, you should not use your trailer for winter RV camping.”
Before I get started, let’s first clarify the beginning portion of the statement: “If you can see holding tanks underneath your camper.” The author is referring to the black, gray water, and possibly the fresh water holding tanks being exposed to the elements underneath the RV. This is as opposed to holding tanks that are enclosed, and sometimes heated by the furnace, within the underbelly or interior of the RV.
The first problem is the assumption that “winter RV camping” equates to camping in freezing weather. As we all know, temperatures of 32° F or lower will cause water to freeze. Freezing water expands, which can cause damage to the receptacle containing it. In this case, the container holding the water is your black, gray and possibly the freshwater tank located below the floor of the enclosed heated space of the RV’s interior.
Many RVers, including myself (in Western Washington), live in temperate areas that seldom experience freezing weather in the winter. This alone negates the statement, “If you can see holding tanks underneath your camper, you should not use your trailer for winter RV camping.” If it isn’t freezing, there isn’t a chance of damaging your exposed holding tanks.
A more correct statement
A more correct statement would have been: “If your holding tanks are exposed, take these precautions when RV camping in freezing weather.” Then point out the following:
A) If temperatures only dip below freezing for a few couple hours at night, there is little chance of damage occurring as there are only two possible scenarios: 1) The holding tanks have little in them. In this case, if the contents were to freeze there is plenty of room for the freezing contents (water) to expand without causing damage. 2) The holding tanks are nearly full. In this case, a few hours of freezing temperatures will be incapable of freezing the large volume of material in the tanks. This applies to underfloor freshwater tanks as well.
B) The installation and use of holding tank heaters on exposed holding tanks will prevent freezing, allowing winter RV camp during extended periods of freezing weather.
C) RV antifreeze can be added to holding tanks to prevent the contents (primarily water) of the holding tanks from expanding and freezing solid. This is not applicable to underfloor freshwater tanks.
D) Many RVers opt to keep their RV winterized while camping in freezing weather, using campground restrooms and shower facilities rather than those in their RV. With no water in the plumbing system to end up in the holding tanks, there is no chance of freeze damage.
As Editor Chuck Woodbury pointed out recently, there is much “misinformation out there created by artificial intelligence (AI) robots and content creators who know nothing about RVing, yet pretend they do.” Hopefully, with the help of readers like you, we call out the bad information, while providing an accurate rebuttal.
Now, some questions for you:
- Is there a reoccurring half-truth you keep seeing online that you would like to see addressed?
- Were you taught something by other RVers that turned out to be bad advice?
- Have you recently read something that left you wondering, is that true?
- Do you know something to be true, but none of your RVing friends believe you?
Please share your comments using the comment box below and we will do our best to provide the facts in a future Fact or Fiction entry.