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Old 08-07-2011, 06:16 AM   #1
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Winterizing RV...every 2 - 3 weeks?

I use my RV more in the winter for ski resorts, than in the hot summer. I've been using a little Aliner pop up. Has a water pump for sink and outside shower and no tanks. Used a lugaloo and urinal.

My new rig is a Northstar TC with cassette toilet, shower and gray tank...now I'm a high class RV'er!

For the last 6 years or so, I have winterized Aliner by running water pump dry and draining the water tank. No antifreeze, have had no problems with this method. Aliner has no sink trap either.

For my TC I am hoping to get away with the same procedure, except put antifreeze in the traps. I also plan to buy a 'blow out' adapter to install in the city water inlet to blow the lines out with compressed air.

Have any of you had long term experience doing it this way?

I've had great success with this method with houses I've owned, but the houses didn't have a water pump.

It is not practical for me to keep pumping antifreeze through the lines and flushing it out every other week, So I need to perfect a system that is easy and practical for me.

Seems one can't get reliable advice from many RV dealers on the subject either. Mine said he won't even recommend using an RV in the winter. He said I had to remove battery or it will freeze and on and on. But from talking with him further, I can see he is paranoid of being sued.

Thanks
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:12 AM   #2
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I live in Northern Virginia where it doesn't get as cold as Ohio, but I like to winter camp as well - short several day trips. Here are some ideas for you. I make some sacrifices. First, I drain and bypass the hot water heater (so hot water is by heating it on the stove). Next I winterize the fresh water lines. Then I use 1 gal milk jugs filled with water and stored in the bathroom sink to flush the toilet. For drinking water I use clear plastic containers (one Brita in the refrig and one sealed 1/2 gal reused juice container). I try not to use the sinks/shower (short trips). I keep a gal of RV winterizer on hand to refill traps/tanks for real cold snaps. So I winterize the water system and use portable water for the toilet and drinking. I avoid using the grey water system. Basically, in the winter I use the motorhome like camping in my old pop-up.
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Old 08-07-2011, 01:16 PM   #3
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If you have a heated basement you could use the furnace and keep the temp set very low. Or, if you have power, use a couple of space heaters, again, set very low.
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Old 08-07-2011, 01:46 PM   #4
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I live in Northern Virginia where it doesn't get as cold as Ohio, but I like to winter camp as well - short several day trips. Here are some ideas for you. I make some sacrifices. First, I drain and bypass the hot water heater (so hot water is by heating it on the stove). Next I winterize the fresh water lines. Then I use 1 gal milk jugs filled with water and stored in the bathroom sink to flush the toilet. For drinking water I use clear plastic containers (one Brita in the refrig and one sealed 1/2 gal reused juice container). I try not to use the sinks/shower (short trips). I keep a gal of RV winterizer on hand to refill traps/tanks for real cold snaps. So I winterize the water system and use portable water for the toilet and drinking. I avoid using the grey water system. Basically, in the winter I use the motorhome like camping in my old pop-up.

Yep I did the same jug method in Aliner. Was hoping to try better system for long distance trips to Vt.

Although, I can get by with milk jugs, cassette toilet with some window washer fluid mixed in it and showering at truck stops and ski resorts gym.

I'm flexible within the limits of my old body. But getting too old for 29 degree temps inside the old Aliner at night. Feel like a king with my TC.
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Old 08-07-2011, 01:51 PM   #5
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If you have a heated basement you could use the furnace and keep the temp set very low. Or, if you have power, use a couple of space heaters, again, set very low.

No, don't have a basement TC. Only power will be from a gen i may carry.

But the water tank is inside. I can't run the forced air heater too long with 1 battery. Maybe if I drive around some each day to a different resort, the truck will charge it enough. If not, will use the gen. But also plan to use a Cat Wav 3 or 6 heater that uses no electric.

I had this same forced air heater in my Aliner as I do with my TC. I think it is an Atwood? It was a piece of garbage. Could never get it to work. what is worse than getting your leaky pop up rig deployed just to find the heater wont run. After the first time, took a Mr Heater with me for back up.

After 2 years pulled forced air out and went over to a Wav Cat heater 3 in the Aliner. Little small, but it fires up all the time with no electric....love it! The Wav 3 would probably cook me in the well insulated TC!
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Old 08-07-2011, 01:59 PM   #6
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Yes, the method you outlined will work just fine in the winter. Like you, I use mine several times in the winter. You do have to be very careful to make SURE all the lines are blown out and the tanks are drained completely. As to your dealer, ask him what he does to the coaches he has in stock in the winter. I will guarantee you they do not remove the batteries and fill the lines with antifreeze in all their units. They blow the lines out, fully charge the batteries, empty the tanks, and add a little antifreeze to the traps.
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Old 08-07-2011, 02:10 PM   #7
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FWIW, you can re-use RV anti-freeze. I catch it back into the same jug out of the faucets. This way it only takes about 1/2G more each winterization. I drain the lines before pumping RV anti-freeze into the lines, this way there is very little dilution when I pump it back out.
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Old 08-07-2011, 02:11 PM   #8
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I bought my first motorhome in 1974. I started blowing out the water system that winter. When i became ser. mgr. in 1995. I stopped using antifreeze and started blowing out all campers. We had from 55 to 100 campers on the lot at all times. We never had a frozen water system. We just drained all water tanks and hot water heaters one day. Blew out the water lines the next. Drained all holding tanks the next day. and finally added antifreeze to all the p traps. We would pour about 6 ounces into the washing machines to protect the water pump.
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Old 08-07-2011, 05:11 PM   #9
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I live in Iowa and we get the extremes. 100+ degrees in summer and several below 0 in the winter. Not every winter but enuf that you plan for the worst. Blowing out the lines work! Just bypass the water heater and use its drain plug. My brother lived in his for 5 winters and had many tricks to keeping everything working including hauling water in because the campground did not keep everything on during the winter. After 5 years of that he had enuf!
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:12 PM   #10
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FWIW, you can re-use RV anti-freeze. I catch it back into the same jug out of the faucets. This way it only takes about 1/2G more each winterization. I drain the lines before pumping RV anti-freeze into the lines, this way there is very little dilution when I pump it back out.

Never thought of that. Great recycling!
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:45 AM   #11
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Well, i did not start "Winter camping" till I started using the "S" method (Drive SOUTH for the winter) but back when i wintered in Detroit.. i used the air-method (blow out the lines) with excelent results.

Now, some will tell you different, And I'm not about to call them wrong, but here is how I did it.
I opened very valve I could, (including the low point drains) drained all tanks (Which is a job on my rig with the fresh tank) hooked up the air and blew.. then paused, then blew. aout 30-seconds to a minute on and then about a minute off, about 10 cycles or so till no more water came out. Then as you suggest pink up the traps.

Close all valves and consider job done.

The one thing I will argue about is that blow/pause/blow/pause cycle Many o them are needed.. Some folks yammer about water remaining in the lines pooling and damaging.

this multiple blow and pause greatly reduces the odds of that happening. (like to tiny fraction of a percent)

oh, drain the water heater too.
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