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Old 10-15-2021, 12:53 PM   #1
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Winterization: blow hoses, antifreeze or both?

I apologize as I'm sure this question has not just been asked, but is asked annually...
In a cold weather area (WI), is it sufficient to simply blow out the pipes, drain the tanks, and put antifreeze in the drains? Or, should antifreeze be in the pipes / tanks as well?

Thanks for your input!
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Old 10-15-2021, 01:00 PM   #2
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Thatís what I do. I blow out all the water lines and add antifreeze to the pea traps Been doing it this way for several years. Iím in NJ. Donít forget to drain the water out of the water pump too
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Old 10-15-2021, 01:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Buckeye469 View Post
I apologize as I'm sure this question has not just been asked, but is asked annually...
In a cold weather area (WI), is it sufficient to simply blow out the pipes, drain the tanks, and put antifreeze in the drains? Or, should antifreeze be in the pipes / tanks as well?

Thanks for your input!
The answer is, it depends.

If you follow the plan you stated and spend enough time to get all of the water and moisture out of the lines then you will be just fine. With that, a large compressor (1.5hp or what is considered a home shop compressor), and don't try this with a small 12v style compressor, and spend at least 30 minutes opening and closing each line until absolutely no wet air comes out.

I live in Texas, which you may think isn't a valid comparison to WI winter temperatures, however I know that I did as you stated (air and antifreeze in the drains) and did not have any issues when we had our coldest winter weather on record earlier this year. My temp here got down to -9 degrees with many days in a row in the single digits and nights with temps below zero, no broken lines or damage whatsoever for my RV. Don't get me wrong, for those who make a mistake using air to blow the lines, or those who can't get all the water out of the system for any reason, then RV safe antifreeze certainly works well when it is in all of the water lines, filters, anywhere water would be, perhaps a even a little in the tanks if they are not completely empty.

Best luck, I suspect it is going to be a winter with many challenges this year. ~CA
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Old 10-15-2021, 01:10 PM   #4
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My procedure well in to winter after a few light freezes...(PNW)
Drain hot water tank and switch valves to "bypass". Make sure hot water tank circuit breaker is turned off.
Drain fresh water tank and disconnect 12v water pump lines and gently blow out. Leave disconnected.
Connect 40psi air to city water connection, open all sink/shower/outside faucets and toilet valve, blow out, finish by closing all faucets and open low point drains.
Add Rv antifreeze to all sinks and shower drains.
Don't forget to address ice maker, water filter(s) or Aquahot if equipped.
Something about pumping antifreeze thru everything and leaving it all winter just doesn't appeal to me. YMMV.
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Old 10-15-2021, 01:14 PM   #5
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Thatís what I do. I blow out all the water lines and add antifreeze to the pea traps Been doing it this way for several years. Iím in NJ. Donít forget to drain the water out of the water pump too


A blowing out of the system done properly and getting all the water out , will get you through the winter . You'll need a compressor with regulated output and expect to spend 45/60 mins. A/F in P traps .
My last house was at 4,000 ' and mid winter we did see days of -30 and lower .

You have to remember all the sections of the water system , draining the lines to/from the 12 volt pump and I even used to remove the pump and store it indoors.
If you have a washing machine ( or pre plumbing for one ) remember those lines and trap .
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Old 10-15-2021, 01:29 PM   #6
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I blow out all of the lines and then run anti freeze thru the system as well. As mentioned don't forget the outside faucets, clothes washer, fridge water, ice maker, and dishwasher if so equipped. For the few dollars worth of anti freeze it adds a lot of peace of mind if nothing else.
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Old 10-15-2021, 01:43 PM   #7
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IMO the best answer is simple blow out MIGHT be OK for your rig. Just because it works for others is no guarantee it will work for you. The big problem is you won't know unless you try it and if it doesn't work 100% the implications can be minor or major.
Safest is to blow and add AF and that's what I do. The simpler your rig is the more likely blow alone will work.
Your rig and responsibility to fix and problems so you get to decide.
Don't add AF to tank or water heater and spring flush & sanitizing isn't a big deal. It is recommended to sanitize in spring after storage so good flush will be required anyway.

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Old 10-15-2021, 01:52 PM   #8
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For past 15 years we've done our own winterising and ironically never blown out the lines but have pumped plenty of antifreeze through all our lines, drains, traps and holding tanks left in. We also add intermittently extra antifreeze and veg oil to the toilet to keep seal moist (put Saran Wrap over the bowl to help avoid evaporation as fast.

The first handful of years as new RVers we paid a dealership to do it, including the washer dryer but every spring on start up we had leaks either from a burst pipe or where they'd over tightened the plastic nuts or otherwise. Since we started doing it ourselves we've never ever (touch wood!) had a leak during the Spring flush and sanitising the system. It's gone down to close to -50 odd days as well here!.
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Old 10-15-2021, 01:54 PM   #9
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Antifreeze is less than $3 per gallon. Iím willing to bet a split water line is going to cost many multiples of that.
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Old 10-15-2021, 01:56 PM   #10
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Can't tell you how many broken water lines I've seen from the "just blow it out" method. Nope, not me, well I don't winterize anymore because I'm south of here before it freezes, but I've had people say "I just blow it out good" or "I just stick the hose in the antifreeze bottle and run all the faucets until the pink comes out"

Just one time, just once, in the spring you hook up to water and it's running all over the place. The next time you will blow them out, then run the pink through them, then when you think you have enough pink you'll run it some more.

One broken water line repair cost more than 100 gallons of antifreeze.

And yes, drain the water heater, turn the bypass valve, and leave the nylon plug out. Also in the spring, replace the nylon plug with a new one. I bought ten on Amazon for $7.00.
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Old 10-15-2021, 02:29 PM   #11
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My views air does blow out the water we think but if it doesnít or water settles in a low point $10 bucks of antifreeze would be cheaper than a flood Rv. It really depends on where you live how long it stays below freezing I do both.
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Old 10-15-2021, 02:48 PM   #12
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Do both. Cheap and easy. And peace of mind.
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Old 10-15-2021, 04:01 PM   #13
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How does one find the low points? Been under my rig and can't find any external lines, at least for fresh water.


Fresh water tank is internal under bed) FWIW.


guess I might have to antifreeze after blowing out.

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Old 10-15-2021, 04:12 PM   #14
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Many in the north swear by just blowing out. They say it works & they've never had a problem with anything splitting.

Personally, I wouldn't chance it. All it takes is enough residual water settling/pooling somewhere with temps cold enough/long enough to split something. Then you have hundreds if not thousands in a repair/fix.

For 20 years, we blew out lines then pumped in the AF, with extra poured in the traps. I never once had to worry about an extended cold snap doing any damage to lines, fixtures or pumps. AF is cheap insurance compared to a roll of the dice hoping just a blow out will do.
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