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Old 10-12-2016, 02:43 AM   #1
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More grey water than grey matter?

We just returned from five outstanding weeks of camping and hiking in national and provincial parks in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Our 2014 Escape 21 performed like a champ, except for one puzzling problem near the end of the trip: the grey water tank will not drain.

At the sani-dump, the black water tank drains as normal, but when I close its valve and pull the t-handle for the grey water drain, nothing happens. The monitor indicates that the tank is half-full, which is about right.

Has anyone run into this problem and found a way to solve it? Thanks for any suggestions you might have.
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:04 AM   #2
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I'd put more water in the gray tank and be sure the trailer is level and try again.
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:37 AM   #3
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Could the handle have pulled from the gate? May have to disassemble it. Thankfully it's the gray and not the black. I lubed mine this spring as the gray seemed bound.
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Old 10-12-2016, 08:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catchlight View Post
We just returned from five outstanding weeks of camping and hiking in national and provincial parks in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Our 2014 Escape 21 performed like a champ, except for one puzzling problem near the end of the trip: the grey water tank will not drain.

At the sani-dump, the black water tank drains as normal, but when I close its valve and pull the t-handle for the grey water drain, nothing happens. The monitor indicates that the tank is half-full, which is about right.

Has anyone run into this problem and found a way to solve it? Thanks for any suggestions you might have.
Hi: Catchlight... Try putting some blocks under the wheels to increase the slope of the trailer towards the drain. Our 5.0TA grey drains so slo that it seems like nothing's happening!!!
I remember pulling an errant kids sock from the washing machine drain at home that wouldn't drain. Should have stood up to pull it out!!! Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 10-12-2016, 08:31 AM   #5
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Grey water draining

Like Alf, I often pull up onto a couple 2X6s to aid draining. I also open the sink drains and the floor drain in the shower to make sure I dont have an airlock.
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:27 PM   #6
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While tanks often don't completely drain, staying half-full and not flowing at all doesn't seem like a drainage angle issue to me. It is not just an erroneous level reading, as it is known that a substantial amount of water was added to the grey waste tank. Lack of venting will interfere with proper flow, but even if the vent was somehow completely blocked, there would still be some drainage.

It looks like either the valve is not opening (as Bob suggested), or the piping is blocked (but by what?) If we're running a pool, I'll bet Bob's right. Fortunately, if that's the problem it may be possible to screw the handle's shaft back into the gate without disassembly... unless it's broken.
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:42 PM   #7
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Drains and foot flush

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Like Alf, I often pull up onto a couple 2X6s to aid draining. I also open the sink drains and the floor drain in the shower to make sure I dont have an airlock.
Dave
I have Hepvo valves under my sink and shower in my Casita. What is this about opening sink and floor drains?
I'm also wondering how people flush the toilet in an Escape if the don't pay extra for the foot flush?
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:51 PM   #8
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Hand flush is standard and foot flush is a $60.00 option. Escape doesn't use Hepvo valves and my understanding is that they won't put them in. Shower and sink drains have a stopper valve to open and close.
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Old 10-12-2016, 02:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starbrightsteve View Post
I have Hepvo valves under my sink and shower in my Casita. What is this about opening sink and floor drains?
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Originally Posted by SFDavis50 View Post
Escape doesn't use Hepvo valves and my understanding is that they won't put them in. Shower and sink drains have a stopper valve to open and close.
Hepvo valves serve the same purpose as a trap (preventing gases from the tank from coming up the drain in normal use), as well as preventing liquid backflow (waste sloshing up into the shower pan while driving). Escape uses conventional traps to handle gases, and provides the drain stoppers to handle sloshing.

In the case of this tank draining issue, the drain stopper should not be the problem, since there is a normal tank vent - the shower drain stopper would need to be removed to completely drain the shower plumbing, but would not prevent the tank from draining.
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by SFDavis50 View Post
Hand flush is standard and foot flush is a $60.00 option. Escape doesn't use Hepvo valves and my understanding is that they won't put them in. Shower and sink drains have a stopper valve to open and close.
Dunno if the Hepvo valves meet Canadian plumbing codes...........
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:49 PM   #11
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Dunno if the Hepvo valves meet Canadian plumbing codes...........
I don't think anyone will care if they meet Canadian residential plumbing codes. Escape does follow the applicable CSA standard (CSA Z240; as required by most provinces for new RVs, but not a federal requirement, not needed for owner modifications, and probably not enforced anywhere by anyone).

I went looking for a reference to the CSA standard, planning to note that it is available for purchase but not publicly available, when I found that the CSA Z240 standard for Recreational Vehicles is now available for free view access by the public.

The relevant part of the standard appears to be CSA Z240.3.2-14 Plumbing requirements for recreational vehicles, section 4.4 Traps, cleanouts, and fixture drains, and section 4.5 Prohibited fittings and practices. It does say
Quote:
Plumbing fixtures shall be individually trapped by a water seal "P" trap.
A Hepvo valve would not meet this requirement, and it might also violate section 4.5.3 (which is a prohibition of devices which restrict flow more than normal friction), but it doesn't appear to be specifically prohibited.

I think it is understandable if Escape Trailer Industries is not willing to install Hepvo valves, but if owners want to retrofit them I don't see a problem.
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Old 10-12-2016, 09:48 PM   #12
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But an open tee fitting in the venting system connected to a tank of grey water and the living space is acceptable to the folks that write code
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Old 10-13-2016, 01:10 AM   #13
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If nothing is draining out when you open it, you might as well just take the hose off, open it, and shine a flashlight in there to see what's going on.
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Old 10-13-2016, 07:19 AM   #14
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If nothing is draining out when you open it, you might as well just take the hose off, open it, and shine a flashlight in there to see what's going on.
Sounds like a good idea. What could go wrong?

(Please don't take this wrong. Just reminded be of some some slapstick movies of old.)

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Old 10-13-2016, 08:57 AM   #15
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Sounds like a good idea. What could go wrong?

(Please don't take this wrong. Just reminded be of some some slapstick movies of old.)

Hi: skiman... Check out RV with the late Robin Williams to find out what could go wrong!!! Alf
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Old 10-13-2016, 04:53 PM   #16
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If nothing is draining out when you open it, you might as well just take the hose off, open it, and shine a flashlight in there to see what's going on.
That sounds like a good idea to me... but I would push the handle in, remove the hose, look in with an inspection camera or mirror of some sort, and then (carefully) pull the handle... it would then be apparent if the valve gate is moving.
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Old 10-13-2016, 05:08 PM   #17
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But an open tee fitting in the venting system connected to a tank of grey water and the living space is acceptable to the folks that write code
I assume that would not be acceptable in any residential or commercial plumbing code.

The relevant part of the RV standard appears to be CSA Z240.3.2-14 Plumbing requirements for recreational vehicles, section 8 Venting systems. While it doesn't appear to explicitly prohibit a vent in the interior, it does only describe roof and side wall vents, implying that those are the only allowed designs. I was expecting to find an explicit section regarding air admittance valves, and prohibiting other types of interior vent, but I didn't see one.
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Old 10-13-2016, 05:13 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
That sounds like a good idea to me... but I would push the handle in, remove the hose, look in with an inspection camera or mirror of some sort, and then (carefully) pull the handle... it would then be apparent if the valve gate is moving.
If the 21's are the same as the 5.0TA's, it's a straight shot. Remove the clean out port cover and you should be able to see either the gate to the gray tank or if it's indeed out of the way, right into the gray tank.
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Old 10-13-2016, 05:41 PM   #19
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Ugh!

I would take a back flow flusher such as camco dual flush or flush king hooked up to RV and sewer hose with garden hose attached to the flusher. Once hooked up see if water will flow into the grey tank. If the valve handle is in the open position and water immediately goes down the sewer hose and not up into the tank then you know most likely the valve is not working.

If the valve is not broke and you have a blockage the water pressure going back into the grey tank may unlock the blockage!

If you decide to look up pipe and open the valve make sure family member is video taping so we can all have a laugh if that goes horribly wrong.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-13-2016, 05:57 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I assume that would not be acceptable in any residential or commercial plumbing code.

The relevant part of the RV standard appears to be CSA Z240.3.2-14 Plumbing requirements for recreational vehicles, section 8 Venting systems. While it doesn't appear to explicitly prohibit a vent in the interior, it does only describe roof and side wall vents, implying that those are the only allowed designs. I was expecting to find an explicit section regarding air admittance valves, and prohibiting other types of interior vent, but I didn't see one.
I think that for those of us, used to seeing things governed by standards and codes, just have to accept the fact that ETI and probably the other trailer brands as well, don't strictly follow any known codes that we're used to.

Regarding the plumbing; the "S" trap under the kitchen sink would be a no-no in other plumbing jurisdictions as well as the vertical interior venting stack in a space by the bathroom and the several 90's with a short straight section used by ETI in place of a "P" trap near the grey tank wouldn't meet code either.

But things work OK, except for that annoying slow draining grey tank, it's just a bit jarring to see some of this stuff.

Ron
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