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Old 10-07-2021, 10:28 AM   #1
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Question for the seasonals on plumbing.

I'm new to campers as of 2 months ago. So now im winterizing the camper for the winter and have a little confusion on the black and gray waste tanks. My wife was talking with one of her friends at work that's had a seasonal camper for the past few years. This is what she told my wife...she said that the waste goes through the tanks before going down the sewer pipes for the campgrounds sewer system. Now my indicators show about 1/4 or less in those tanks so im wondering how i get the waste out and anti freeze in these tanks? Do i just pump the antifreeze as normal?? like will it work its way though those tanks?
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Old 10-07-2021, 11:01 AM   #2
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If your grey and black tanks are fully drained , they don't require A/F , same with the fresh water tank and water heater .

Fresh water lines , toilets and plumbing P traps are the places requiring the A/F.

From the wording of your question , this RV is stationary on a site , am I correct in assuming that ?
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Old 10-07-2021, 11:26 AM   #3
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Toilet dumps into black tank....waste flows out the drain valve/line

Sinks/showers dump into grey tank...waste flows out the drain valve/line

Dump black/grey until empty (nothing flowing out....guages are unreliable)
Close drain valves
Now you can either do nothing or pour some RV anti freeze down sink drains (good for 'P' traps) and down the toilet
*Never hurts to have some anti-freeze down by the drain valves

Basic RV Plumbing System



Don't forget to drain outside shower faucet/lines and those hot/cold Low Point Drains
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:37 AM   #4
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Don't forget to drain....hot/cold Low Point Drains
OB: I posted a similar question about winterization and you kindly responded to my questions, but I'd appreciate a clarification. From reading the replies, it sounds as if flushing a bit of the "pink stuff" thru the lines is good insurance even after draining and blowing the lines clear with compressed air, but what I can't figure out is how to get RV AF into the pressurized city line from the inlet to where the supply line joins with the pressurized lines from the fresh water tank. Only solution I can come up with is to fill a length of 5/8" hose with AF and then do a short flush thru the inlet, using city water pressure to push it thru. Is there a better/more elegant solution?

Thx for assistance!
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Old 10-08-2021, 12:15 PM   #5
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If your grey and black tanks are fully drained , they don't require A/F , same with the fresh water tank and water heater .

Fresh water lines , toilets and plumbing P traps are the places requiring the A/F.

From the wording of your question , this RV is stationary on a site , am I correct in assuming that ?
Yes it's at a stationary site so im unsure how to make sure tanks are drained. I figure if you use one gallon down the toilet that would get the black water tank winterized and a gallon down all drains would make sure the grey water tank is winterized. Am i correct?
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Old 10-08-2021, 12:39 PM   #6
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OB: I posted a similar question about winterization and you kindly responded to my questions, but I'd appreciate a clarification. From reading the replies, it sounds as if flushing a bit of the "pink stuff" thru the lines is good insurance even after draining and blowing the lines clear with compressed air, but what I can't figure out is how to get RV AF into the pressurized city line from the inlet to where the supply line joins with the pressurized lines from the fresh water tank. Only solution I can come up with is to fill a length of 5/8" hose with AF and then do a short flush thru the inlet, using city water pressure to push it thru. Is there a better/more elegant solution?

Thx for assistance!
I tried putting pink antifreeze down the city water connection but it wouldn't take it. So im guessing that's ok. Fingers crossed!
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Old 10-08-2021, 02:15 PM   #7
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If you drain your fresh tank then run your water pump until it’s dry, there is no need to put pink into the fresh water tank. After this, empty the water heater tank, perform bypass surgery, open low point drains, flush the toilet, then blow tubes. Put some pink in the P traps. You’re done.
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Old 10-08-2021, 02:26 PM   #8
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what they said. Further there is no need to blow out any lines with compressed air if you winterize with RV antifreeze - which is a better method IMO

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Old 10-10-2021, 04:42 PM   #9
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If you are worried about water in the city line or the black tank flush line there is a company that makes a manual pump with a city line connection and another hose to put into the antifreeze bottle. Can't remember who. But if you blow out both with air they shouldn't be much of a concern. Just don't use too high of a pressure on the compressor.

If you choose to only use the air blowout method there is one other area of plumbing you need to address that the others have not mentioned. Many RVs now have a capped length of pipe in the cabinet with the water pump that is used to put into the bottle of antifreeze and suck out the antifreeze into the lines. If that line hasn't been used for this purpose there can be water in that short length of tubing that needs to be drained. Make sure that it is one of the lines that you open while blowing compressed air into the system. Just have a bucket ready or you'll have a bunch of water all over the floor.
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Old 10-15-2021, 02:48 PM   #10
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I'm new to travel trailers, but I assume leaving faucets open would be the next best thing? I have a little 18 footer with only a kitchen sink, toilet, and shower. Burst plumbing comes from pressure within the lines. Leaving multiple lines open would help relieve any pressure.

I live in Texas too so winter isn't all to big of an event here.
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Old 10-17-2021, 07:40 AM   #11
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I'm new to travel trailers, but I assume leaving faucets open would be the next best thing? I have a little 18 footer with only a kitchen sink, toilet, and shower. Burst plumbing comes from pressure within the lines. Leaving multiple lines open would help relieve any pressure.



I live in Texas too so winter isn't all to big of an event here.

I have family south of you, and winter was a huge deal for a time last winter. In short, just leaving the lines open wouldn’t work. Keep in mind that you most likely have cheap plastic PEX fittings, which would easily crack as the ice expands.
RV antifreeze is cheap compared to repairing water damage. Winterizing really doesn’t take much time. Skipping it isn’t worth the downside.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:32 AM   #12
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Before I became a full timer I lived in Michigan and had to winterize. I used to use air to blow the lines and put anti freeze in the P-traps until I lost a water pump (guess it still had some water in it). After that I just bypassed the water heater (and pulled the anode rod) used the water pump to suck anti freeze through everything and wished it well. I would have continued to use just air if I had not messed up the water pump one year.
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Old 10-17-2021, 09:54 AM   #13
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I have family south of you, and winter was a huge deal for a time last winter. In short, just leaving the lines open wouldn’t work. Keep in mind that you most likely have cheap plastic PEX fittings, which would easily crack as the ice expands.
RV antifreeze is cheap compared to repairing water damage. Winterizing really doesn’t take much time. Skipping it isn’t worth the downside.
PEX tubing is freeze resistant. It is unlikely to burst.

Valves, faucets, fittings, flexible connecting lines, and pumps are often not so resilient. P traps, drain pipe, waste dump gate valves are also vulnerable.

Ice makers in refrigerators and clothes washers are a serious issue. Black tank spray systems can be a problem. Fresh water and waste holding tanks are not a problem if drained. There will be residual water in them, but that will not be a problem.

Water heaters must be drained or filled and turned "on".

Low point drain systems:
In the old days, opening faucets and low point drains worked except for pumps. Extra effort to get water out of pumps was necessary. Certain other spots needed special consideration.

Today, RV plumbing designs are more complicated. It is hard to be sure no pockets of trapped water are present when draining.

RV antifreeze:
Use RV antifreeze pumped through the 12 volt pump. Put antifreeze in P traps. Drained tanks are not a problem. Waste gate valves will be OK if you do not try to operate them while frozen. Follow one of the many published procedures.

Diluted RV antifreeze will not protect anything, so residual water in tanks will usually prevent RV antifreeze from protecting waste gate valves. Don't try to operate them when frozen. Leaving gate valves open prevents problems with drain pipes. However, open gate valves can be inviting to rodents looking for winter quarters.

Black tank spray systems probably need RV antifreeze. The "city" water fitting has a check valve in it. Many can be flushed by pressing on the check valve from the outside until pink shows.

More complicated plumbing systems on motor homes and motor coaches may have special requirements. See owner's manuals.

Blow out method:
I have very little experience with the blow out method. These points should be considered.

Any trapped water will freeze and expand. Frozen water by itself is not a problem. Trapped frozen water will expand and burst the container.

Blow out must have enough air volume while blowing that water is removed. A trickle of air may not succeed. Every where there is water must be considered.

Blow out method is a good one for frequent winter trips and in desert environments. The system does not need to be flushed when adding water.

Follow one of the published procedures.

Using both blow out and RV antifreeze is like wearing both suspenders and a belt. Each is usually adequate by itself. But there is always that unlikely scenario where two methods avoids a problem. What is the cost of failure? I don't do both.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:03 AM   #14
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I tried putting pink antifreeze down the city water connection but it wouldn't take it. So im guessing that's ok. Fingers crossed!
Check your water pump to see if it has a hose for winterizing the system.
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