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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, we bought an old cabin in the woods this past spring. We gutted the place, but installed a new toilet bowl only - the tank and water line are not attached. The toilet bowl is connected to septic tank without water. We use buckets from the lake to flush it. We have no other plumbing installed at this point. Essentially, it's an 'inside' outhouse!

When we left in the fall we added RV antifreeze but now it's frozen solid in the toilet bowl. There is only an inch or two at the very bottom. It's VERY cold there now and the lake is frozen. We don't plan to use the place until spring but don't want to destroy the toilet. What should we do?

Option 1: Attempt to melt it with a hairdryer and remove the ice we can. Then refill with new antifreeze
Option 2: Don't melt but add new antifreeze - the old stuff may have been diluted or bad
Option 3: Do nothing

What's your vote? Thanks!!
 

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It will be fine. The RV stuff does not freeze solid and expand to break the bowl like water, unless you have diluted it with more water.
 

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What's your vote? Thanks!!
I'm guessing the first batch of antifreeze got diluted in whatever water was in the bowl. I would add more RV antifreeze...there might be a warm snap to melt the old and let the mixture mingle. I had a similar type of cabin toilet for a number of years, flushed with buckets of lake water. RV antifreeze, full strength, never let me down. Diluted too much and it will freeze.

Get some JB weld just in case, I epoxied a toilet bowl back together once after it froze and broke. JB weld works great for pieces that break out clean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, I think it was diluted with some water left in the bowl. A full jug of anti-freeze was added so it wasn't that diluted though.

It's a really cold place and the cabin has no insulation. I think it will be frozen until March at the earliest. More anti-freeze will likely help with any freeze-thaw action after that point though.

Thanks!!
 

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Yes, I think it was diluted with some water left in the bowl. A full jug of anti-freeze was added so it wasn't that diluted though.

It's a really cold place and the cabin has no insulation. I think it will be frozen until March at the earliest. More anti-freeze will likely help with any freeze-thaw action after that point though.

Thanks!!
Don't know what you bought , but need the -40 -50 pink stuff, there stuff out that is not that strong.
 

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Yes, I think it was diluted with some water left in the bowl. A full jug of anti-freeze was added so it wasn't that diluted though.

It's a really cold place and the cabin has no insulation. I think it will be frozen until March at the earliest. More anti-freeze will likely help with any freeze-thaw action after that point though.

Thanks!!
Got a wood stove so you can heat the place up and use the toilet?
 

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I would do nothing until spring. It is already frozen. In the spring it should be ok but if not a toilet is cheap. At my farm the bathroom is heated but abandoned for several months in the winter. In case the heat fails, I put windshield washer antifreeze in the traps and toilet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We don't have a wood stove. The cabin is totally gutted. We don't really need to use the toilet. It's a 3 hour drive away. We were just planning to stop by a few times to check on the place. The toilet is new - just hoping to save it somehow. We'll do a way better job draining it before adding anti-freeze next year. Thanks.
 

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While expensive. If you buy pure propylene and pour it in that you have a 60% water, and 40% propylene mixture. You will have freeze protection to -8°F and burst protection to -60°. At 35% propylene freeze protection to 1°F, and burst protection to -46°F. At 30% propylene freeze protection to 8°F, and burst protection to -18°F.

So 1 gallon could be enough to get 3 or 4 years use out of it.
 

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I dunno...fill the bowl to the top with pure antifreeze, and maybe the liquid-solid interface will melt/dissolve the frozen part? If your frozen part is 50% water, and you add the same volume of antifreeze you'll eventually end up with 25% water, which would have a lower freezing point.

Or get yourself an immersion heater, if you have power there?

Did you empty the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We do have power, but it's really cold to wait around for a heater to do the trick. The tank was never installed - just the bowl and a pipe to the septic tank. Thanks!
 

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We don't have a wood stove. The cabin is totally gutted. We don't really need to use the toilet. It's a 3 hour drive away. We were just planning to stop by a few times to check on the place. The toilet is new - just hoping to save it somehow. We'll do a way better job draining it before adding anti-freeze next year. Thanks.
FYI, you cannot empty all of the water in a toilet because there is water in the trap (the S shape you see on the back side of the he bowl).
 

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Do not use regular antifreeze - glycol, it is bad for your septic system. Dump a gallon of RV antifreeze in the bowl and leave it.

Sent from my Lenovo TB-X606F using Tapatalk
 

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FYI, you cannot empty all of the water in a toilet because there is water in the trap (the S shape you see on the back side of the he bowl).
Well, you can - you just have to sop it out by hand.

It sounds like the OP didn't add enough AF to the bowl and it became diluted with the standing water.

OP - Do you know that the discharge to the septic tank is gravity. Lift pumps and elevated tanks/weep fields are not uncommon in cottage country because they have to be a certain distance away from the lake. If it is old, it might be closer and grandfathered in.
 

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FYI, you cannot empty all of the water in a toilet because there is water in the trap (the S shape you see on the back side of the he bowl).
Most RV antifreeze is made with either ethanol, or propylene glycol.

Sorry, quoted the wrong person.
 

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Do not use regular antifreeze - glycol, it is bad for your septic system. Dump a gallon of RV antifreeze in the bowl and leave it.

Sent from my Lenovo TB-X606F using Tapatalk
That depends. There are different types of "glycol" There is Ethylene glycol, whcih is used as antifreeze in engine cooling systems and is very toxic, and like you say, would be bad for septic systems. There there is Polypropylene glycol, whcih is non toxic, and is used in some RV antifreezes for potable water . (like Beenthere said above, RV antifreeze is usually either ethanol (alcohol) or polypropylene glycol) Propylene Glycol is used as a food additive, it's added to wine and other beverages, so it's pretty safe. I think If I were freeze proofing a toilet, I'd use an RV antifreeze which was propylene glycol based. Ethanol is fairly volatile, and over time I think that the alcohol might evaporate out of the water in the bowl during the non-frozen months.
 
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