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Old 02-07-2014, 11:32 AM   #1
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Aqua Hot system winterizing

We are looking at a new Tuscany rv that has an AquaHot (or equal) system. My question concerns winterizing the system. As I understand the system the "heating" fluid is an antifreeze solution that runs to all of the radiators. I assume this antifreeze NEVER needs to be drained during the winter since it is similar to automotive antifreeze. However, the water portion - to the sinks etc. needs to be winterized (using pink stuff or blow-down) just as I currently do. Am I thinking correctly? I do not have heated inside storage and I cannot keep the unit at my home. I really do not want to have an RV service group do this every time we return from a trip in the winter. Thanks for your time and your comments!
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Old 02-07-2014, 12:03 PM   #2
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Yes, the heat transfer medium is "antifreeze" and does not need to be drained for winterizing purposes. It may be the toxic automotive type, ethylene glycol, or the non-toxic boiler fluid type, propylene glycol.

The water plumbing in your coach needs to have antifreeze pumped through at least the hot water circuit. The AquaHot has a very long, small diameter copper tube that is coiled around either inside or outside the "boiler" tank depending on model, that carries the water to be heated for domestic use. Because of the length and diameter of the copper tube, blowing out with compressed air will always leave some moisture on the inner tube walls that will condense and settle in low portions of the coil due to outside temperature changes. That condensate can freeze and split the tubing. It is not repairable.

Click Here For Good Aqua Hot Info

Go to the site above for reliable information on AquaHot et al, hydronic heating systems.

FWIW
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Old 02-07-2014, 04:03 PM   #3
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Thanks, I signed on to the website you attached. I will read that information. I assume that pumping the RV antifreeze into the system will work and I assume it will not take much more than the 3.5 to 4 gallons I currently use. Since we travel in the winter (south or west) I tend to re-due the antifreeze a couple of times each year.
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Old 02-07-2014, 04:28 PM   #4
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I have been posting my Aqua Hot problems on another thread , but to address directly the winterizing is the issue here. They are related as it comes to those tiny sealed tubes around the boiler that can cost you 10,000.00 ! I still do not know if I caused my own problem by pumping 12 gal. of pink into the the system and it still froze big time. I am guessing besides Moisture condensation there could also be an air pocket somewhere in the tubing. Most coaches with aqua hot have heated bays and are on a thermostat, but if that part fails to start on its own when temps get down around 0...well good luck ! I am learning the hard way as I am sure many others before me have done...guess we will never really know as my Aqua Hot was 0ver 15 years old.
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Old 02-07-2014, 05:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WindsorDave View Post
Yes, the heat transfer medium is "antifreeze" and does not need to be drained for winterizing purposes. It may be the toxic automotive type, ethylene glycol, or the non-toxic boiler fluid type, propylene glycol.

FWIW
JUST FOR CLARITY (AND SAFETY)... You posted that you are purchasing a "new" Tuscany RV which means you will have a "new" Aqua Hot" system... your system will NOT use ethylene glycol nor should ethylene glycol EVER be introduced in your system!! Please read the cautions and warnings associated with the Aqua Hot.
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Old 02-07-2014, 09:00 PM   #6
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Ed, we have a 2014 Tuscany, so feel free to PM me if you have any other questions specific to that coach.

As to the winterizing, I haven't had to do it myself yet on this coach, but it should be no harder than my two previous ones, which I learned to do myself quickly and cheaply. FWIW, I do a blowout with compressed air, followed by the pink stuff, all of which can be done in less than 1/2 hour for under $20. Aqua-Hot winterizing is critical, but no harder than the rest -- just run pink stuff 'til it comes out the hot water taps, and you've got it covered. And don't forget the washing machine, dishwasher, and icemaker!
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:29 PM   #7
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Crabby Mike, Just finished reading another post that said the system might require as much as 10 to 12 gallons of pink stuff to winterize. That many gallons at $4/gallon gets expensive (cheap). However, I cannot leave it plugged in so I would need to do that at least 2 times per year since we travel in the winter. I suspect that it would take more time to make sure everything had antifreeze than it does now. I will need to check on the Refrig water, ice maker and the washer. I assume you like the coach and have have few problems. I am starting to wonder if getting the XTE without the AH might be a better choice.
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:52 PM   #8
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Thats about right. Think I used 30 liters or 8 US gallons.
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:41 AM   #9
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Keeping your coach attached to shore power has little to do with winterizing , the way I see it. I spent considerable amounts to prepare a " landing pad" and underground 50 amp service for my coach which is great for the batteries but that's about it. I still need diesel fuel , lots of it , if I would keep the Aqua Hot operating all winter. Even then there is the question when it gets down to 10 below 0. Or more, (which is common just about anywhere in the northern states) that any heating source can prevent freeze ups throughout the entire coach. Thinking about this further has me wondering how the charter busses handle this., especially all those I see all winter long parked down by the ski mountian.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:34 AM   #10
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Ed, though like I said I haven't winterized this one yet myself, Thor factory service did it for me in January, and they said it took 5 gallons. That's about in line with my experience with my previous 2 coaches, one of which had an Oasis hydronic system, similar to Aqua-Hot. I don't see why this one would take more than the others. The amount of pink stuff you use might depend on how you introduce it to the system (ideally, at the water pump intake), and that you bypass the water filter. You're only filling the supply lines, after all, and that shouldn't take anything like 8-12 gallons. Properly winterizing the washing machine and dishwasher will add a little. You don't need any in the fresh tank (just drain it, and don't worry about the little bit left in the bottom), and generally only run enough from the faucets to leave some in the traps, which will result in a little getting to the waste tanks. I wouldn't let concern about winterizing scare you off a coach with Aqua-Hot: the advantages are too great, at least to me.

Darstar, I plug in my coach and, on really cold nights, just turn on the heat with only the electric element running for the Aqua-Hot. I set the "upstairs" thermostats at the minimum setting (45 degrees), and the two in the basement similarly. (I have a thermometer down there, and I'm still experimenting with the settings, because the basement thermostats are a different type, and don't seem as precise.) Granted, I live in an area that seldom sees 0 degrees, and -10 would be record-breaking. But I still worry when the temp in my unheated garage gets down in the teens. If I ever felt that wasn't enough, being plugged in I could opt for a small ceramic cube heater, trouble light, or whatever in strategic spots like the wet bay. On my last coach, which was outside, I did fire up the diesel burner on very cold nights.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:56 AM   #11
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Have to agree with Crabby Mike, when I winterized our 40' Beaver I never used more than 7 gallons of "pink stuff". I never bothered to blow out the lines, I just displaced the water in the system with pink antifreeze to include the Aqua Hot system. Can't speak to the Essex because it's fired up and ready to go when the snow disappears!

darstar,
I'm lucky to have a garage to keep the Essex in, albeit un-insulated. I keep a 50 gallon drum with a manual pump in the garage about half full of diesel fuel. As the Oasis System consumes diesel fuel, I top the coach fuel tank back off. Thus far, this has worked well and keeps the coach ready to go (and it acts like a life boat in the event of a major winter power loss).
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