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Old 08-10-2016, 08:30 PM   #1
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Winterizing and Dewinterizing

All the information I have read on this subject is making my head spin, but, the big question is, all of you talk about filling and draining, and dumping, where are you dumping and draining with apparent ease, I live in a Townhouse - no draining and dumping here and miles from a truck stop, oh, and do they allow you to use city water once you have dumped/drained. at a truck stop?

I have actually lost sleep on this subject, this is our 1st RV I am dumb as a rock about it, so any and all suggestion are welcome.

And since we are on the subject, I am going down south come February, how do I get it ready in the middle of a Colorado winter?
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:36 PM   #2
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We do most all our flushing/draining of tanks on our last RV-ing trip of the season. We always end tje season at a fhu site. Same goes for dewinterizing in the Spring. Our 1st trip of the season is always to a fhu site.

When it comes to low point drains, hot water tank, fridge lines & all that, where we store our coach allows us to drain those on the ground.

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Old 08-10-2016, 08:39 PM   #3
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winterize in the last campground you stay at or the closest to your storage lot.
We leave home in Jan and stay in a motel the first night out. Second night we pull into a campground early in the afternoon and fill the tank,lines and water heater there.
This shouldn't be a topic when the temp outside is 86 degrees ;-)
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:56 PM   #4
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Here is what I do to winterize/dewinterize, some call me crazy, but it works well for me.

First time I purchase 15 gallons of RV antifreeze, a submersible pump and 3 "Homer" buckets. I take one of the Homer buckets, fill it with antifreeze and dump the pump with the coach water hose connected, into the bucket. I refill the bucket as it empties until I pump ALL 15 gallons into the fresh water tank, this gets AF into the incoming water lines. From there I turn on the coach water pump and run all the faucets (both hot and cold and the low point drains) until they run pink. I also run the toilet until I get pink, including the sprayer and with the clothes washer I start a cycle leaving pink AF in the drum. I do not use the water in the door or ice maker in the refer, it is shut off in the utility bay, so I do not need to worry about water in there, if you use yours run them until you get pink AF. Be sure to cycle the ice maker if you use it. I check that there is AF in all the "P" traps. I then disconnect the submersible pump and I am finished "Winterizing". I find that I use about 4 gallons of AF, leaving 11 in the fresh water tank. I leave this extra in the tank for the winter. I use 15 gallons so I have enough fluid to keep the water pump from drawing air, if it does, due to the denser then water, AF fluid the pump will cause the fluid to foam, loosing the prime. About once a month when I exercise the generator, I run water that actually is AF at each faucet to be sure the "P" traps have not gone dry due to evaporation.

To dewinterize I first drain the fresh water tank full of AF into the Homer buckets, cover them sealed to use next year. I completely fill the fresh water tank with fresh water, in my coach that is 100 gallons, I turn on the pump and run each faucet, toilet, etc until the water is COMPLETELY clear and then a few more minutes, this includes the clothes washer. I then drain the rest of the water out of the fresh water tank, refill it, run more water at all the faucets then drain the fresh water tank. I then sanitize the tank with bleach, run water at each faucet, drain and again refill the fresh tank and drain.

If you have not gotten all the AF out of the system you could see pink in the water and be able to taste a sweetness in the water. RV antifreeze is non toxic so other than the color/taste there is no problem.

In my coach this process uses 4 - 5 gallons of AF each year, except the first year when you have to purchase 15 gallons, your coach could use more or less. You end up with the 5 gallons of AF plus the flushing water in the grey and black tanks that will have to be drained.
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Old 08-11-2016, 05:13 AM   #5
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After you do the Gray and Black dumps at the truck stop, leave the cap off and the valves open.

I assume you are parking at your town house. If so, I assume you allowed to wash it.

Thats a perfect time to winterize / de-winterize / sterilize

When you winterize (and are washing your MH) Open all the low point drains and fresh drain. Run the antifreeze through the lines and then dump a little in each sink. Then close the gray and black drain valves (or leave them open for the winter. Put a note on the toilet that the valve is open.

Next spring, Wash you MH again (dirtuy from sitting all winter) Close the Gray and Black valves, then sanitize the water system at the same time.
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Old 08-11-2016, 06:10 AM   #6
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Dr Dave, just curious why you wouldnt install (or maybe you already have) a winterizing "T" and a hot water heater bypass so you would only have to use 2-4 gallons of antifreeze and not have to flush all that crap out of your fresh water tank in the spring?
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Old 08-11-2016, 06:33 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chiefig View Post
I am going down south come February, how do I get it ready in the middle of a Colorado winter?
Chiefig
When we leave Wisconsin in the winter for points south we don't dewinterize the coach until we get to warmer weather.
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:03 AM   #8
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Mel;

We do a trip from Northern Ohio to AZ every winter, Its usually below freezing and we don't see good above freezing until we get 500 miles south.

To prepare for the trip, we turn the heat on inside the MH a couple days before we leave. My fresh tank and pipes are inside and won't freeze. However, the gray and black tanks are under the MH and will freeze.

If it looks like we'll be above freezing, I may add 25 gallons in the fresh tank and add little bleach to sanitize it. I usually don't run the water until absolutely needed. This keeps the antifreeze in the lines as line as possible.

We minimize the use of water during travel (we use bottled water for drinking and cooking) and flush the toilet with windshield washer fluid (make sure its the antifreeze kind, not just blue colored water)

My gray and black tanks shouldn't freeze while in motion (heat from the engine will keep them from freezing) but they could freeze during overnight stops.
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Old 08-11-2016, 08:12 AM   #9
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Mel;

We do a trip from Northern Ohio to AZ every winter, Its usually below freezing and we don't see good above freezing until we get 500 miles south.

To prepare for the trip, we turn the heat on inside the MH a couple days before we leave. My fresh tank and pipes are inside and won't freeze. However, the gray and black tanks are under the MH and will freeze.

If it looks like we'll be above freezing, I may add 25 gallons in the fresh tank and add little bleach to sanitize it. I usually don't run the water until absolutely needed. This keeps the antifreeze in the lines as line as possible.
We minimize the use of water during travel (we use bottled water for drinking and cooking) and flush the toilet with windshield washer fluid (make sure its the antifreeze kind, not just blue colored water)
My gray and black tanks shouldn't freeze while in motion (heat from the engine will keep them from freezing) but they could freeze during overnight stops.
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When traveling south in our winterized coach in below freezing temps we carry gallon bottles of fresh water for cooking and toilet flushing and run both the propane furnace and the fridge.
We've never had a waste tank freeze problem.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:38 AM   #10
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I'd work on that whole "losing sleep" over winterizing thing. You're only stressing about it because you've never done it. Do it once and you'll quickly realize that it's NOT a big deal. Consider paying to have it done once - and then be there to observe, ask questions, take pictures and make notes - as the tech performs the task. Sure, paying to get things winterized is expensive - BUT, if you're somebody who can learn by watching somebody else do it ... it's basically a tuition payment.

As others have suggested - being somewhere with full hookups certainly makes winterizing/dewinterizing a whole lot easier. We often winterize when enroute home from warmer climates. When that's the plan - we do our homework and ensure that our itinerary puts our "last night" stop in an "open year round" FHU park. Once there, we run the freshwater tank dry and then dump the holding tanks in preparation for winterizing. Then - it takes roughly an hour to open the fresh tank valve (which dumps a tiny amount of fresh water on the ground (i.e., < 1-2 gallons), open the low point drain valves ... and then start pumping RV antifreeze through the lines - taking care to ensure that the antifreeze comes out of EVERY faucet and toilet (including the handheld sprayer in the wet bay), the washer/dryer and the ice maker. At that point - the toilet in the rear bath (which is a macerating toilet) is offlimits. We then stick a couple of gallons of pink antifreeze in the mid-ship bath to use for flushing the mid-ship toilet when necessary.

Dewinterizing is easy ... fill the fresh water tank with fresh water and flush the antifreeze out of everything. We usually sanitize the fresh water system when we dewinterize by adding the recommended bleach solution to that first tank of fresh water. Seems like we often leave Michigan winter in a winterized coach - enroute to someplace warm. We like to stop someplace and fill the fresh tank before we get to our final destination. When we do it right - we'll take on a tank full of fresh water, add the bleach solution, run enough of it through the lines to rinse out the antifreeze ... and then drive the last 2-3 hours with the fresh water / bleach solution sloshing around in the tank. Once we get to our destination - and get everything hooked up ... we run the fresh tank dry, dump the holding tanks, refill the fresh tank as a "rinse"... and run that dry as it purges everything (the bleach, any antifreeze). At that point the system is ready for normal use.

I'm pretty liberal in terms of using RV Antifreeze - and plan on needing 10-12 gallons each time I winterize (that's enough to take care of the coach - and leave a couple of gallons handy for flushing the mid-ship bath for the occasional use it gets when the rest of the coach is winterized (a holding tank that's "holding" in antifreeze instead of water won't hurt anything!). I keep an eye out for RV antifreeze sales - and stock up when it's cheap.

We ended up winterizing and dewinterizing three times last year. Once we got the process down - it ceased to be any sort of "big deal". Now it's just an hour of effort and a $35 expense that has to be factored in when the coach is going to be parked and idle in cold temperatures.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:47 AM   #11
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Used to winterize but now leave earlier for the south and return later so the freezing temps are not an issue.
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Old 08-11-2016, 10:16 AM   #12
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I'm used to using a separate line that's tee'd in between the freshwater tank and the pump so that you can stick a hose into the antifreeze bottle and run the pump to fill the lines right from the bottle. Our newly acquired motorhome is plumbed in a way that doesn't leave any room for me to insert a tee, though. About two gallons of antifreeze was all it used to take -- now I guess I'm looking at dumping a bunch into the fresh water tank. Maybe I can minimize waste and time by tilting the MH so that the antifreeze pools by the outlet??

Also, I previously did not have low point drains and I'm not sure how critical their use is. Is the normal process to open the drains, then close them after everything has run out? It seems to me that water is pushed out by the antifreeze, so why is this necessary?

Charlie
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Old 08-11-2016, 10:56 AM   #13
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We do it differently. It depends on your unit. Like everyone we do out last trip where we can dump before we leave. If we use the toilet on the way home it's a non issue. What's in there is not a problem.

With ours there are two issues.

I tape the HW heater switches in the off position, set the bypass valve pattern on the HW tank and remove the drain plug from the HW tank. At that time I also open the fresh water tank drain.

Our water pump has a valve that shuts off the connection to the fresh tank and a T with a pipe that has a fitting for a suction hose on the pump input. Shut off the tank, add a few feet of clear plastic hose to a fitting that screws on to the pipe from the T. Put the hose into a gallon of antifreeze and turn on the pump. It should charge the system then shut off. Turn on each valve in turn until I have pink stuff coming out. Don't for get the toilet and showers. Let each faucet run long enough to end up with a load of pink in the trap and some overflow in the tank. For us that is around two gallons. I always start with 3 on hand in case I screw up.

Before we head out I put the plug back in the HW tank and close the drain valve. When we head south in the cold we take several gallon jugs of water for drinking. Either before we leave or at the first stop I add enough bleach to sanitize 15 gallons or so of water and then around 15 gallons of water. Then I turn on the pump and pump water and bleach though all the piping to and out the faucets and inside shower but not the outside one. Then I switch the HW bypass and let the tank fill. After the system has had a good soak with the bleach and water I fill the fresh tank to dilute to closer to a normal drinking water mix. Chlorine outgasses in the tank so I assume the gas gets to anything not in the soak process. The chlorine also helps get the residual anti freeze out of the system. After filling the HW tank and running out some water I remove the tape from the switches that turn on the water heater. I DO NOT run water through the outside shower. That stays full of antifreeze as long as it is not used. I ignore the outside shower until it will stay above freezing and unless I plan on another winterizing session.

We use bottled water for drinking and cooking until the second tank fill. By then everything is about as flushed out as it will get. We also figure antifreeze in the black and gray tanks are no problem. Ditto a little waste in the black tank. I will dump the gray on the lawn if I need to but do not need to.

Before we hit the road we warm up the house and keep it warm while packing and getting under way. We do not stop and motel because we want to keep the house warm anyway to protect the lines that are inside. This works above 20 deg or so. I am not sure how low it works below that. We pick weather patterns that look safe. If worried we would go the antifreeze to flush and de winterize later method. When we come home we do nothing unless it will be a long time until spring. If it's April then we can have a few nights in the high 20's and they will be OK with heat in the MH overnight. Usually I run an electric heater that cuts off in 50 deg range. That is warm enough to make it through the night.
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Old 08-11-2016, 10:02 PM   #14
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Wow, a lot of folks using huge amount of anti freeze. Instead of flushing with the pink stuff, i like to use the windsheild washer fluid, half the price.
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