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Old 01-04-2009, 02:13 PM   #1
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Have never had to winterize our unit since we are fulltimers but we have to come off the road, in balmy Pennsylvania, for about 2 months so I can have some surgery done.
I followed the Excel manual exactly as described for our 2007 Limited although the picture for the water heater showed numerous valves and I only found one on ours. Diagram on the water heater said to close it for winterizing so I did that. We pumped the RV antifreeze through everything but couple questions for those of you who have done this.

1) What is reverse process to put back in use when we are ready to hit the road again ? Do I need to drain something first before I put valves back the way they were before ?

2) Directions said to leave faucets open for expansion...I did that. What about the fresh water valve in utility center. Should that be closed or stay open ?

Thanks for the help...
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:36 PM   #2
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Linda , I have never had to winterize my unit but I think Id call Smith Center with youre questions. Also instead of RV antifreeze I think Id use vodka so I would not have to worry about getting my unit completely flushed. I have real sensitive skin and I dont think Id react to vodka like I might to antifreeze. Keep us informed on youre surgery and may you be blessed! Book2
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Old 01-04-2009, 07:03 PM   #3
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You should be sure that the outside spray faucet gets winterized and leave both hot and cold open, the low point drains (next to it in our rig) also. I have left them open or closed at various times doesn't matter. I would not advise leaving any of your drain valves open, black, grey or fresh, they will freeze open, better to freeze closed, then warm up as the rig does. In our rig it is practically impossible to get all the water out of the fresh tank anyway.

You actually have 2 valves on your water heater, the one you closed and a mixing valve that should be closed anyway. You have the 16 gallon (ten gallon GE heater with high thermostat and mixing valve to produce 16 gallons) Atwood XT. There may be a problem with the mixing valve after winterizing. I replaced the mixing valve twice(under warranty) right after de-winterizing. Note that this was 2 times in 2 years with 6 or 8 winterizations. Well, the third time it failed (after winterizing) I was out of warranty, so I had it downgraded to a standard 10 gallon water heater. This involved some plumbing, a lower temp thermostat, and some problems with the circuit board, which had to be replaced(probably).

Symptoms of failure of the mixing valve were a burst of hot water as you first turn on the faucet then no hot water at all, just lukewarm. So after you de-winterize I would advise checking to see that you do not have a mixing valve failure. I am not sure why it fails, the valves go back to Atwood if replaced by a certified tech, but I think that there is water in the valve which does not get mixed with antifreeze and damages the valve. This is just a theory, I neither know nor care anymore. It may also have something to do with the expandable wax in the valve (expands with heat) being frozen, it is not clear from the manufacturer's site that these valves are supposed to be used in cold conditions.

Another known problem with them is small particles can get in the valve and get stuck, sometimes pounding on the valve with a hammer (not too vigorously, regardless of how mad you are) will break them loose for a while. A very good filter for your water will help.

For de-winterizing just run a lot of water through, every faucet should show clear, before you put water in the heater. Hot antifreeze does not smell good. Be sure to close the outside faucet both hot and cold. Note that this is not obvious because the sprayer will be off. If you do not you will have similar symptoms as a failed valve: lukewarm water. BTDT.
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Also instead of RV antifreeze I think Id use vodka so I would not have to worry about getting my unit completely flushed. Book2
OMG....too funny. Actually my preference would be kahlua or zinfandel but seeing how both would freeze I'd be no further ahead.

Thanks to all for great info. I think I have everything in good shape to hold us for the next 2 months.
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:47 AM   #5
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Seriously , Linda, I do know two people that do use vodka instead of rv antifreeze!
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Old 02-02-2009, 05:09 PM   #6
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We de-winterized when we got to Florida and I think (based on Hot Air's description in his post)we have a faulty mixing valve as we have lukewarm warm at the faucets and I'm not fond of lukewarm showers. I checked the exterior shower and both cold and warm handles are off. Hot water tank is hot at the inlets in the back (under the sink) so it tells me that it's heating up OK but not letting the water through to faucets. For those of you who have had to replace this valve, is it a DIY type of repair? An Atwood part or a part that can be purchased at local hardware store ? Any and all info is appreciated. Oh, and I tried the "gentle tapping" with a hammer, that Hot Air mentioned but didn't help. Help ! I want my hot showers back
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Old 02-02-2009, 06:06 PM   #7
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I also had the mixing valve failure after dewinterizing. As I recall the valve is manufactured by Watts although mine came from SC as a warranty replacement. You might save a couple of bucks buying it online rather than from PI although it may not be worth the bother. I Googled "watts mixing valve" and came up with this - http://www.pexsupply.com/Categ...asp?cID=322&brandid= - amongst others.

This is a DYI. Good luck!
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:43 AM   #8
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Sent an email to Linda. The owner's manual gives a Atwood part# of 91569 item number 19 for the mixing valve. GE 16 EXT Owner Manual
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Old 02-09-2009, 03:39 AM   #9
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Linda, I pump antifreeze throughout. A hint though is to take a small clear hose and siphon out the remaining water in the HWH from the outside. It holds a good 1/2 gallon below the drain plug line. Then I always run a little antifreeze into it.

I keep my valves closed during the winter but I guess I had better open one to accomodate expansion. But have never had a problem - YET!!

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Old 02-09-2009, 10:31 AM   #10
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If you do buy it online, I strongly advise that you get it from Atwood. Watts builds a variety of valves under the same part number. Looking at the pictures of these valves I was not able to find one with the same configuration as the one on the water heater. Watts will build to OEM specs, and I think that Atwood did exactly that.

With regards to DIY replacement the manual clearly states (page 3) that tampering will void the warranty, and that it must be replaced by a certified technician. At the time I was not able to find that particular valve on-line including from Atwood.
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