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What do you cold weather groomers do?

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  • What do you cold weather groomers do?

    OK, so I just moved back to Alberta and cold winters. My previous mobile business was on the west coast, rarely goes below freezing so my van is suited for that - I use the clients water (garden hose) and their power. I'd like to go mobile here but I can't figure out how the water thing would work in winter, even if I had a holding tank and carried my own water. Doesn't it freeze? What do you do when you park overnight? What about grey water?
    So what do you do cold weather mobile groomers?

  • #2
    I haven't done mobile yet but from what I've read and researched you need to have your van winterized for colder climates and some people plug in a cermic heater inside the van to keep the water and pipes form freezing overnight


    • #3
      I'm in TN and its been rather cold here.....more than usual anyway. We have already had single digit lows and were in the teens for about 10 days. Usually two heaters would get the job done, but it didn't so I made changes to my mobile to plan for the worst. Since then I have had zero issues with anything freezing.

      However in Alberta I'm sure it get far colder than it does here in TN, but I figure what I have done would do the trick up there.

      Here is what I did. I discovered that you can use heat tape on reinforced clear PVC hose or PVC pipe. You must first wrap the pipes in aluminum foil. Then attach the heat tape and then wrap it in insulation. YOu will want to get a heat tape regulator. It will automatically turn on the heat tape when the temp of the line reaches 35 degrees and shut off at 50 degrees. The floor in some mobile are not insulated so if the lines ly on the floor you will need to place insulation under them to get them up off the floor away from the cold. My heat tape runs from the outlet on the bottom of my holding tank across the inlet and outlet of my water pump and continues until the line enters the water heater. I also made sure that the grey water line does not touch the floor. You cannot use heat tape on the grey water line since they are not always full of water. I also insullated my rear wall and under the tub so the hot air from the heaters is trapped in the rear of my mobile so the heat is more concentrated. I take my shampoos or anything that is liquid that might freeze and leave them in the house until I head out in the morning. I run an oil heater in rear next to the holding tank. It radiates enough heat to keep the holding tank from freezing. I then run a ceramic heater on the other side next to the grey tank so its directing hot air across the grey tank line, under the grey tank and up under the tub area where the hot water heater is installed.

      I doubt that you could feed water from a clients house to your mobile in alberta unless it was hot water only since it would probably freeze. Sonds like you might need to modify your mobile to carry hot water and store the grey water. Directly dumping grey water onsite might cause a big ice slick that the owner may not want. I dump my grey water once I get done at the end of the day and fill my holding tank the night before.

      If you are doing only small dogs you can probably get away with a 30 gallon tank. Mine is only 30 gallon. If I fill it completely to the top and with the size of line and my water heater that holds 6 gallons I have about 36 to 37 gallons of water total. That usually is enough to do 6 small dogs and or a combination of 2 large dogs and 2 to 3 small dogs..

      Another option would be the use of a 30 to 40 gallon water heater. You would wire the water heater into your vans electric system so you could just plug your van in so it heats all of the water all night long once you have t filled. I pretty sure this is how Hitch-on does their mobile trailers. You might also need to build a heated garage big enough to park your mobile in overnight. I think some of the northern state groomers on here do that as well.


      • #4
        Make sure whatever unit you have is well insullated. During the winter time I run two heaters in the back when it gets really cold out. One heater if it's not too bad. One blows right on my water pump which is also next to my shampoo's. THe other is an oil heater that sits next to the water tank. I don't have a water heater, I heat my water via the engine, so I just put warm water in before I leave and the hoses running from the radiator are able to keep the water warm. Others with water heaters, I think they usually start them up to warm up the water before they leave. Some of the mobile units have furnaces you can run overnight, though many I have talked to said they still had to run a ceramic heater. I'm in upstate NY. My only continuing problem is the outlet pipe from the grey tank freezing, but usually once I get grooming and the warm water starts pouring into the grey tank it thaws everything. I've had my water pump freeze a few times, but I think it was more water freezing in the hose, so now I push the hose down underneath where the heaters are when it is cold. I fill my tanks from a hose inside my house, from my basement utility sink actually. I know some still use their outside faucets, but since my outside faucet has no hot water I just do it the way I do. Hope that helps!
        What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.


        • #5
          I can only speak regarding WGT mobile vans…..You need to circulate antifreeze through your water pipes, both fresh pipes and any bathing system pipes, (an antifreeze system needs to be installed if you live in the northern states or Canada). Then you need to turn on a ceramic heater, directed towards the pipes in the back part of the van. You need to turn on your furnace, at it’s lowest setting at the end of the day. The heat pipes surrounds the fresh water tank, thus, preventing it from freezing overnight. Grey water tank needs to be emptied.

          Happy Freezing Up

          Dolly’s Barking Bubbles, LLC


          • #6
            I've only used my anti-freeze system twice....when my van was not at my house, but rather away at shows in November. If the heater is plugged in the back, and the furnace is on, the anti-freeze doesn't need to be put through the pipes. They won't freeze even when the weather is in the single digits. I know several WNT owners in my area that don't have the anti-freeze option, and they've never had an issue.
            don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.


            • #7
              Yes, we have freezing winters, best advice, find heated indoor storage that will hold your mobile unit. One with water too. I have done both inside storage and parked it on my drive. It is well worth the extra money each month to have the van thawed before the next morning. We don't even get as cold as you. Good luck.


              • #8
                Yes, the best solution is to try to find a storage to park your van. I am very fortunate to find a trucking company in my town that rents out their 2 warehouses for cars, trucks, trailers and etc. Carpet cleaning people also have to park their van inside, you may check with them to see where they park their van. I am also able to fill up the water and dump the water inside the warehouse. One of my warehouse neighbours is a carpet cleanning company. We share the water hose (his was so old, I brouht mine to share) and the drain. It's worth every dollar I spend. (it is less than $100/month).


                • #9
                  You will definitely have to have your own water tanks. Finding outdoor water faucets that AREN'T froze or winterized is near impossible (at least here)....had that issue last week when I ran out of water and needed to fill up but tried a few different houses and everyone was froze up. I had to drive all the way home to fill my tank. I actually use the faucet in my basement and haul a huge hose all the way up the stairs and out the door to my truck. Better than fighting the ice outside though.


                  • #10
                    cold weather mobile grooming...

                    can be fun and easy. (haha I tell myself this every night...) I live in SW Montana and don't freeze even in sub-zero temps. I keep a space heater in the rear utility area of my '01 wgt pet pro. I turn this on every evening when I return home. (I do not have a garage to keep my rig in at night.) On seriously cold nights, (under zero) I simply use the space heater in the back, the hot water heater on and the furnace on set to 50 degrees which is the lowest setting. And I only turn on the furnace and/or hot water heater if the overnight low reaches 5 degrees above zero or less. I use a heat gun to thaw the fresh water inlet valve before I can even open it and fill up for the following day. The evening filling routine takes me about an extra 20 minutes in winter. I don't use any antifreeze but I do make sure my fresh water pump is off and valve is open. One more thing... I'm looking forward to Spring.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the info!

                      Thanks everyone for the information. Sounds like the heated storage option is the best. I would need to put in a hot water tank if I wanted to pursue this.
                      Hmmmm. Lots to think about.


                      • #12
                        Middle Tn area

                        winter, we are parked, the whole town is parked,show storm then freezing rain on all these hillside roads created quite a driving experience, so we are not getting cals now.


                        • #13
                          I am in PA and we have had single digit temps. My rig is insulated with r50 I fill my tanks at night and run a ceramic heater on high all night long my water is nice and warm in the am. I also run a ceramic in the grooming area on low. I have a propane heater in the grooming area to use during the day. I have a gray tank and 2 35 gallon fresh tanks. I only hold gray water if it is below freezing and will pull into a self service car wash to empty the tanks. I have not had a problem with anything freezing. I also have a 6 gal. hot water heater. Have been doing it like this for 4 yrs.
                          If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!