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Old 10-20-2013, 09:39 PM   #1
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Winterizing....Blow Out vs Chemical or both

Curious what those of us who live in the frigid North do for winterization prep on the RV.
Blow out your lines
or use the Chemical
Some do both.
A buddy of mine who is a service manager told me they blow the lines on all of their units and do not use chemical.
Since then I had started doing the same but recently someone told me it was best to do both.
Today, I seen something I had never seen before. A guy in our CG who was also winterizing used a shop vac outside and used it to draw all the water from inside out through the city water inlet on the rig. Opened up his lines from the inside. Guess I will find out next spring if it worked.
Hopefully for me, this is our last winterization as our FT begins next year.
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Old 10-20-2013, 09:46 PM   #2
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For a lot of years I simp[ly connected my air compressor and blew the lines out. Adding antifreeze to the "P" traps and toilet. Now that I have a washer and to ensure that it does not get damaged I now blow out then pump antifreeze thru the lines.
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Old 10-20-2013, 09:49 PM   #3
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You will find a variety of opinions on this issue. Mine is that with
modern complicated coaches, it is fool proof to use the antifreeze
method. In 20 years of boating, and 5 years of motorhoming (sp)
I have never had a problem.
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:00 PM   #4
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The only downside we have experienced with just blowing out the lines, is that if we head south in February, it will take a full day on the road before the residual water thaws, and the water pump and tank are operational again.
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Old 10-21-2013, 06:55 AM   #5
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I can only share my experience... I decided to just blow out the lines one year and treat just the "P" traps... The next spring as I went to service up the water system I had water pouring out on the ground near the Hydro Hot tank... seems that enough residual water drained back to a
low point fitting to freeze and split it open! For me I will ALWAYS use the "pink" stuff!!
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Old 10-21-2013, 06:59 AM   #6
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After draining all tanks, and running the water pump till it is dry, I blow out all the lines, and add pink stuff to the "P" traps in all drains. I also hold the toilet flush valve open a minute or so while I have the lines pressurized. Works for me, here in the great frozen north.
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:28 AM   #7
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For best results you have to let the air blow a long time to get all the water out of lines, if no pink stuff used. Takes a lot of air to remove small amounts of water.
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:32 AM   #8
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Somebody considering blowing out a system should have a pretty good handle on what the on board systems consist of?

I am curious how one 'blows out' a water pump? I mean, I could do one in my sleep. But you aren't going to remove the water from one by hooking an air hose to the city water inlet...

The other problem area are the toilet valves. They're very sensitive to 'residual' moisture and seem to be a crap shoot regarding whether or not they survive after being blown out only. As a former RV tech, I can tell you those are the 2 biggest issues we always saw - and water heaters? People that didn't know you had to drain them, or how? Add in the complexity of other 'stuff' like ice cube makers and washer/dryers, and the need for a pretty good plan of attack that applies to YOUR coach becomes pretty clear?

I remain a fan of pumping anti freeze through the system as a 'last step' in winterizing. Generally, somebody can do an entire coach they are familiar with using a single gallon, leaving the traps filled with anti freeze?
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:42 AM   #9
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I highly recommend blowing out the lines with air only if you enjoy plumbing repairs ! If you blow your lines out you not only need to remove the water but also everything needs to be dry inside. If not then droplets can slide down and gather in elbows and freeze. I would only use the air method if I lived in a climate that occasionally dropped below freezing but up north here you should use the pink stuff.
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:33 PM   #10
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New to RV'ing here, this was my second time winterizing. It took me and my wife (to walk around opening valves inside) all of 15 minutes and not even 2 gallons. I hardly think it's even worth the debate, I've heard too many times about people who just blow their lines out wind up with a cracked line/fitting, I'll always use anti-freeze!

The REAL question/debate should be whether or not to use the hand pump or install in-line siphon???
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:50 PM   #11
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Drain, blow out, pump in antifreeze. I just don't trust only blowing out for the reasons others have stated. It only takes that 1 time of residual water pooling & freezing to really make it a bad day come spring de-winterizing.

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Old 10-21-2013, 09:25 PM   #12
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For those that use antifreeze, what do you do to get rid of the taste left over after the spring flush? I stopped years ago using antifreeze because I could never get rid of the taste. Usually the taste went away about a month away from winterizing again. I usually don't drink the water but our newer motorhome we just purchased I installed a faucet water filter for drinking if needed plus we give the dogs water out of the faucet. Not sure if they care or not but I don't want them ingesting any chemicals even though they say it is safe.
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Old 10-22-2013, 06:46 AM   #13
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First, a LOT of people make the mistake of putting the anti freeze into the fresh water tank to allow it to be pumped through the system. This is NOT a good plan!

There's no way to get ALL of the water out of your fresh water tank when draining. Not easily anyway. This assures that the anti freeze put into the tank will be diluted when coming out of the tank. It also assures you of that nasty residual taste for quite a while. Then, there's also the fact you may need to dump 2-3 gallons in there to get enough for the pump to start drawing it?

Preferred plan would be to locate your pump and disconnect the intake side (after draining the tank!). You'll need to rig a line from that to your gallon of antifreeze. Most pumps use 1/2" pipe thread, which happens to match you're shower hose perfectly? If you remove the shower hose it works great for this! One end on the pump, the other in a gallon jug of your anti freeze!

A better way would be to visit your local RV or plumbing supplier, and buy a Y valve. Install it on the intake side of the pump allowing you to pump water from your fresh water tank in one position, a gallon of anti freeze in the other position? This valve, and a water heater bypass kit (if there's not one there already) make this winterizing thing a matter of just a few minutes to take care of - and do with assurance there will be no surprises come spring?

And the water filter on the drinking water tap? Remove it prior to winterizing! Some of the better ones have a lever you can flip that bypasses the filter element. It's intended to allow you to change the filter element without making a mess, but works perfectly for winterizing as well?
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
First, a LOT of people make the mistake of putting the anti freeze into the fresh water tank to allow it to be pumped through the system. This is NOT a good plan!

There's no way to get ALL of the water out of your fresh water tank when draining. Not easily anyway. This assures that the anti freeze put into the tank will be diluted when coming out of the tank. It also assures you of that nasty residual taste for quite a while. Then, there's also the fact you may need to dump 2-3 gallons in there to get enough for the pump to start drawing it?

Preferred plan would be to locate your pump and disconnect the intake side (after draining the tank!). You'll need to rig a line from that to your gallon of antifreeze. Most pumps use 1/2" pipe thread, which happens to match you're shower hose perfectly? If you remove the shower hose it works great for this! One end on the pump, the other in a gallon jug of your anti freeze!

A better way would be to visit your local RV or plumbing supplier, and buy a Y valve. Install it on the intake side of the pump allowing you to pump water from your fresh water tank in one position, a gallon of anti freeze in the other position? This valve, and a water heater bypass kit (if there's not one there already) make this winterizing thing a matter of just a few minutes to take care of - and do with assurance there will be no surprises come spring?

And the water filter on the drinking water tap? Remove it prior to winterizing! Some of the better ones have a lever you can flip that bypasses the filter element. It's intended to allow you to change the filter element without making a mess, but works perfectly for winterizing as well?
-Al
X2 If you don't have an anti-freeze pickup installed on the inlet side of the pump, you definitely need one or a quick connect with a short piece of hose to attach to the inlet side.

When I had smaller travel trailers (less than 23'), I simply used air. Small systems with not a lot of "hiding" places for water to slowly gravitate to and it was all on one level. It did take a "religious" adherence to a routine I developed, but, in a lot of years I never had an issue.


Now that I have a good size 5er that has water on multiple levels, I've gone back to the anti-freeze method. It is reasonably bullet proof and takes about the same amount of time. I did, however, have to install a Pur water filter for drinking water; I and my wife have sensitive palates and can taste the anti-freeze, even after a thorough flushing of the system. Those same "longer lines" have more area for the anti-freeze to cling to and it takes a while to get it all out. Usually by the end of a trip (our short trips are weeks, great to be retired) it is all out, but, the first couple of days makes for some strange tasting coffee without the Pur filter!
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