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Old 06-01-2023, 06:01 AM   #1
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Winterize - Antifreeze vs. Blowing the lines with air?

Interested in learning the pros and cons of these two approaches. I live in Boston and it get cold here so I need to ensure this is done properly.
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Old 06-01-2023, 06:25 AM   #2
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I do both. We have an RV camp in NH, and it gets much colder than Boston! I find that just using air to blow the water from the lines causes water droplets to form and stick to the waterlines. They eventually will drop off and roll to the low points. If the low point happens to be a plastic fitting, it could crack. PEX tubing is much more resilient than the fittings.

The other reason that I blow out the lines is that there is no water in them when I backfill with antifreeze. With water in the lines, the water will dilute the AF until pure AF flows out. I feel that I use less AF this way. I've been doing this here since 1991 and haven't had a broken line yet (where's that wood to knock on!). I also use the above procedures for my motorhome.

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Old 06-01-2023, 06:42 AM   #3
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Live in Chicago suburbs, gets down below zero quite often. I have only used air to blow out lines for past 27 years. Hook up compressor @ 40-45 psi and open all faucets, toilet and hot water tank drain. Let air blow about 10 minutes then go around and close each faucet until only one is open. Shut off compressor for a few minutes, then repeat procedure by only opening 1 faucet, and toilet,at a time until no more water mist comes out. When done leave all faucets wide open, water heater drain plug out, and some RV antifreeze in sink traps and toilet to keep seal wet. Have never had a problem and don't have the hassle off cleaning antifreeze out of the lines in spring.Also drain freshwater tank and leave that valve open.
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Old 06-01-2023, 06:45 AM   #4
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Many short blasts of air are far more effective than 1 long blast. Don't forget your drain traps.
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Old 06-01-2023, 06:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by stevenapril View Post
Interested in learning the pros and cons of these two approaches. I live in Boston and it get cold here so I need to ensure this is done properly.
Either one or both will work to prevent freeze damage. Just make sure all parts of the plumbing are protected. Forgetting to treat an outside faucet or the toilet can be an issue.

RV antifreeze is quick and easy to suck in if the RV has the proper fittings. It can be done while on the road or in a Walmart parking lot. It does not require a compressor or other external equipment in most cases.

Antifreeze is sometime difficult to fully flush out. Mine takes a day of slow flushing to get all the bad taste out. It requires a shore connection and lots of water.

Using compressed air is a little time consuming and requires a compressor with sufficient airflow. However, it takes almost no time to refill the plumbing.
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Old 06-01-2023, 06:58 AM   #6
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I use compressed air (with inline filter) for the water lines and pour a little antifreeze in the toilet, drains, and grey/black tanks.

It might be easier to use antifreeze, but I really hate pulling out the kitchen drawer, and doing contortions to access the siphon tube, next to the water pump, even after I made the siphon tube 2 feet longer. We camp in the winter, so I do this several times a season.

I have a demand water heater, so no hot water tank to worry about. My fresh water tank has a small depression/well at the bottom where the drain connects. I use the stabilizers and tilt the RV so the fresh water tank drains completely.

With the air compressor hooked to the city water inlet, I start at the bathroom shower faucet and work my way forward. Don't forget the toilet. After all the faucets and outside shower are drained, I open the low point drains, hot then cold, until nothing comes out. After all this, I disconnect the compressed air, close all the faucets except the kitchen, turn on the water pump, and pressurize the freshwater tank using a leaf blower on the gravity fill. This makes sure the water is out of the line feeding the water pump. Then I put about a cup of anti-freeze in the drains and toilet. In all takes about 25 minutes to winterize and no time to un-winterize.
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Old 06-01-2023, 06:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenapril View Post
Interested in learning the pros and cons of these two approaches. I live in Boston and it get cold here so I need to ensure this is done properly.
Back in 1999 when I bought my first Motorhome I paid a private mobile tech to come over and show how to properly winterize my motorhome. We used air and ran the pink stuff thru. He showed me how to do the hot water tank, toilets etc. Then when I got a diesel motorhome with Aquahot and a dishwasher and washing machine I had him come over and show me how to do those items. It’s worth every single dollar I paid him.

So I recommend getting personalized instruction have your wife record it while you winterize with the tech.
Back in 1999 we didn’t have cell phones to record.

Remember this, you can not blow out a RV that has n Aquahot Sytem, it can damage the unit

I have a how-to-video on YouTube for winterizing a motorhome with Aquahot, residential fridge, dishwasher, and a washer.
Here it is. https://youtu.be/F7t7w6LPcnQ

On more thing from 25 yrs of RVing. This is important!
The day you have frozen busted lines in your RV is the day you will cry, believe me I’ve seen it all. It could cost Thousands of dollars. If you blow the lines, use the the pink stuff too. Be Safe!
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Old 06-01-2023, 07:01 AM   #8
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Agree with Romer1
No reason to use pink anywhere except P traps.
Freezing water can only cause damage when itís trapped somewhere and has no room to expand. Blowing out lines well prevents that from happening. I do one final blow after all others after opening low point drains. You donít want any water left in lines leading to them.
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Old 06-01-2023, 07:09 AM   #9
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I live in central Kentucky, and I have found that blowing out the lines works well. I did have a plastic fitting crack earlier. I determined that the selector for 'tank fill' and 'city water' AND the back flow valve at the hose connector had prevented water held there from draining out.
Since then, I'm doubly careful about process and sequence.
Open all drains, tank & low points.
Open all faucets, outside 'shower,' sinks, shower, toilet flush & spray.
Drain the hot water tank.
Connect my air line at about 50 psi, and blow air through, ensuring I select both tank fill and city water. I just give each a modest amount of air, as valves are Open.
Then I close drains and valves, pressurize the system and open faucets starting with those nearest the water inlet.
I may do the last step twice, depending on how I feel.

The advantage of blowing out the system is in DEwinterizing. When I want/need to go somewhere, fill the fresh-water tank and go. There's no need to rinse the anti freeze, which I only use in the toilet bowl and traps.
I can, and have, launched any time from late November to late March without any worry about my water quality or safety.

BTW, I have a motor home, 2012 Itasca Cambria. Some trailers may not have a sealed underbody and be more vulnerable to cold. Fill and travel in winter with suitable care.
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Old 06-01-2023, 09:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
...No reason to use pink anywhere except P traps....
I disagree. This is spoken by someone who's never had a split water pump.

I do both compressed air & pumping through antifreeze. Many people do only compressed air & claim they've never had an issue. Maybe so. But you can't blow out a water pump. However, IMO, for the extra 20 minutes it takes to do the blow out prior to pumping through antifreeze, it's way less time/money than having to tear out a washer because the pump wasn't protected.
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Old 06-01-2023, 09:58 AM   #11
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I disagree. This is spoken by someone who's never had a split water pump.

I do both compressed air & pumping through antifreeze. Many people do only compressed air & claim they've never had an issue. Maybe so. But you can't blow out a water pump. However, IMO, for the extra 20 minutes it takes to do the blow out prior to pumping through antifreeze, it's way less time/money than having to tear out a washer because the pump wasn't protected.

Simple solution - after water tank is drained run the water pump until it is pumping air, anything left won't harm pump.
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Old 06-01-2023, 10:23 AM   #12
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Menards started to carry the non-alcohol version of RV antifreeze for only about $5 a gallon. It's down to -75 Fahrenheit. I found this has less smell and taste to it or at least it doesn't get into the plastic as much. I have the aqua hot and the manifold system of plumbing ,so I have to use antifreeze.
If new to you look out for hidden inline filter to sink dispenser or ice maker. Extra good job on toilet with air, there might a small plastic vacuum break in it.
If you have black tank flush and use it blow it out too.
If I was going to use air when I was done I was remove the aerators from sink and shower head. Then tape a a shop vac hose to the low point drains open everything and let it suck. The shop vac has been far more effective for me than air ,when it comes to removing water for sweating pipes. Lots of CFM and basically downhill.
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Old 06-01-2023, 10:31 AM   #13
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I disagree. This is spoken by someone who's never had a split water pump.

I do both compressed air & pumping through antifreeze. Many people do only compressed air & claim they've never had an issue. Maybe so. But you can't blow out a water pump. However, IMO, for the extra 20 minutes it takes to do the blow out prior to pumping through antifreeze, it's way less time/money than having to tear out a washer because the pump wasn't protected.
I go one step further. After blowing out the lines ,I pump the antifreeze through them , them blow out the antifreeze. After seeing a plastic cattle bucket with 4" of water in it freeze and split the bottom, I don't take any chances.
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Old 06-01-2023, 10:53 AM   #14
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Interested in learning the pros and cons of these two approaches. I live in Boston and it get cold here so I need to ensure this is done properly.


I live in Georgia and do both, why not?
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