By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Just because you winterized your RV doesn’t mean you can’t use it. Plenty of RVers get the sudden “hitch itch” in the middle of a cold winter, and to escape “cabin fever” head out on the road with the RV to see how things look when Jack Frost is running the show. But just how, some wonder, can you use the biffy? Hang on, pardner, there’s no need to cross your legs in discomfort until you hit a rest area!
Really, the biggest problem for RV plumbing in cold weather is when there’s water in the water lines. A bit of liquid in the holding tanks isn’t generally a problem. So while you might not want to put water in your fresh tank and use your water pump, you can still use the toilet. But then there’s that rather delicate issue – how on earth can you keep your RV bathroom from stinking to high heaven if you can’t flush the toilet?
HERE”S A HINT to help keep down costs. You don’t necessarily have to grab a gallon jug of antifreeze and just “glug, glug, glug” dump a bunch down the hatch. If your unwanted wastes drop out of sight when you step on the toilet evacuation pedal, then all that remains is probably a light coating of liquid in the bowl. If you fill up a plastic spray bottle with antifreeze, just hold the bowl flapper open and spray a generous jet or two of antifreeze around the bowl to eliminate any unwanted leftovers. This will keep your expenses down, and unwanted odors, too.
Ah, here’s where winter alternative thinking comes in. While it’s a bit more costly than using water, savvy winter RVers know they can flush their RV toilets – and keep things from icing up in the “down under” area of the black water holding tank – by using RV antifreeze to flush with. Yes, sir. Use the “pink stuff” to clear those unwanted leftovers from the toilet bowl.
Some RVers have suggested it might be less expensive to use cheap windshield washer fluid. There’s a bit of controversy over that offer – some say it works great, while others have complained that when they used the stuff, it damaged their dump valves. The counter-argument is, “If it doesn’t damage the rubber in your windshield washer system, why would it damage the rubber seals in your dump valves?” Your wise RV sages can only say, “Duh, we don’t know.” But we do know that the cost of a gallon of RV antifreeze isn’t that much more expensive than windshield washer fluid, so why chance it?
So grab your antifreeze and your road maps. Winter roads are calling!