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Old 11-26-2022, 12:37 PM   #1
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Winterizing with compressed air question.

I winterized my rv a while back then headed south for some warm weather. Now my tanks are full and we are driving back north as we speak. At our next stop I will try to winterize as best as I can with what I have in the rv which includes a Viair compressor and a valve to go onto the water tank. Can I use this to empty the water heater or do I need to buy a socket to remove the plug?
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Old 11-26-2022, 12:44 PM   #2
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Buy a socket. Then leave it in your WH compartment. That way you will always have it when needed.
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Old 11-26-2022, 12:46 PM   #3
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BTW a Viair might not produce enough volume to do a good job, so do it again when you get home.
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Old 11-26-2022, 01:00 PM   #4
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BTW a Viair might not produce enough volume to do a good job, so do it again when you get home.
I am afraid it may be all frozen before then. I'll be in Provo Ut tonight then Jackson Wy. Hopefully St George ut has what I need to winterize.
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Old 11-26-2022, 01:01 PM   #5
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I winterized my rv a while back then headed south for some warm weather. Now my tanks are full and we are driving back north as we speak. At our next stop I will try to winterize as best as I can with what I have in the rv which includes a Viair compressor and a valve to go onto the water tank. Can I use this to empty the water heater or do I need to buy a socket to remove the plug?
Depending on what RV you have, and expected temperatures, those factors will dictate what you need to do. In my Discovery, we often travel in the winter with full water tank into mountains. So far even down into the single digits and snow we haven't had a problem while traveling.

A bonus to traveling with full water tank is you can use the facilities even if there were to be stoppage due to an accident. Once we were stopped on a interstate in West Virginia for hours due to a accident. Temperatures were in the single digits and we were able to make coffee and hot chocolate for the first responders. We even provided a "facilities" to drain the coffee.
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Old 11-26-2022, 01:41 PM   #6
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I am afraid it may be all frozen before then. I'll be in Provo Ut tonight then Jackson Wy. Hopefully St George ut has what I need to winterize.
Hello, dont know your set up but on mine all you have to do is run your gas heater which operates on 12 volts and it will keep your water line from freezing. Your driving anyway which will keep the house batteries charged. The only cost is propane which will be minimal and well worth the cost just don't set your thermostat above 50 degrees. Good luck
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Old 11-26-2022, 02:04 PM   #7
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Don't forget to blow out your outside shower. Also other things like ice makers, washing machines, toilet spray hoses, etc need to be blown out and AF put in all P traps.
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Old 11-26-2022, 03:22 PM   #8
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Question low point drains plus air for me.

After 4 winters winterizing, This winter I finally discovered the easiest way for me to winterize our TT.

I first make sure the water pump is turned off.

Open all of the faucets, and shower head

Then opened the low point drains, (Mine has a hot and cold low point drain)
A little over 5 minutes later I found that all my pipes and HW tank were empty. It seems this siphons just about all of the water from the water lines.

I verified this by removing the HW tank drain plug, and using compressed air to blow down the lines. There wasn't enough water left in the lines to cause freeze damage.

While blowing the lines down with compressed air, I only noticed a few drops and bit of a spray from any of my faucets.

I then proceded to bypass the water heater turning the apropriate valves, and finally pump in the antifreeze.

Can't figure why I hadn't thought of this sooner...

The point is if your concerned about pipes freezing, see if there is a quick simple way to empty your water lines.

It may be as simple as opening your low point drain valves.
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Old 11-26-2022, 04:01 PM   #9
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After 4 winters winterizing, This winter I finally discovered the easiest way for me to winterize our TT.

I first make sure the water pump is turned off.

Open all of the faucets, and shower head

Then opened the low point drains, (Mine has a hot and cold low point drain)
A little over 5 minutes later I found that all my pipes and HW tank were empty. It seems this siphons just about all of the water from the water lines.

I verified this by removing the HW tank drain plug, and using compressed air to blow down the lines. There wasn't enough water left in the lines to cause freeze damage.

While blowing the lines down with compressed air, I only noticed a few drops and bit of a spray from any of my faucets.

I then proceded to bypass the water heater turning the apropriate valves, and finally pump in the antifreeze.

Can't figure why I hadn't thought of this sooner...

The point is if your concerned about pipes freezing, see if there is a quick simple way to empty your water lines.

It may be as simple as opening your low point drain valves.
Opening my low point drains with all the faucets open and opening the water tank drain is what I did today before we left the campground and drove home. It isn't a complete winterization for my rig, but a good start.
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Old 11-26-2022, 04:15 PM   #10
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If your traveling in the coach, it’s unlikely things will freeze up unless your in a howling 20 degree wind.

Unless you just don’t use any heat at all and the the water heater door and/or water bay door is facing that wind. Keep in mind - the water heater tank is usually both insulated AND within the warmer interior space of the coach.

If you have on-board water, no need to hook your water hose up (which no one winterizes anyway).

No need to hook up sewer either, except if you need to dump (and that can always wait until tomorrow).

Even at 32 degrees, water doesn’t instantly freeze until enough heat is removed from its mass (a drop will freeze much much quicker than a gallon, but it still takes time relative to the conditions).
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Old 11-26-2022, 04:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photobug View Post
I winterized my rv a while back then headed south for some warm weather. Now my tanks are full and we are driving back north as we speak. At our next stop I will try to winterize as best as I can with what I have in the rv which includes a Viair compressor and a valve to go onto the water tank. Can I use this to empty the water heater or do I need to buy a socket to remove the plug?
A Cresent Hammer will also work.
But yes, you should get socket or actual plug wrench and keep it in the MH.
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Old 11-26-2022, 08:27 PM   #12
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...
Then opened the low point drains, (Mine has a hot and cold low point drain)
A little over 5 minutes later I found that all my pipes and HW tank were empty. It seems this siphons just about all of the water from the water lines.
...

It may be as simple as opening your low point drain valves.
Good tip 1stimerveer

My coach has two sets of low point drains. One set is in the wet bay, the other set is back by the water heater. Make sure you know your coach.

I also found when draining my fresh water tanks (two large side by side tanks joined together by a 3/4inch tube), if the coach is level water will drain and then stop. If I raise the front end, then a considerable additional amount of water will pour out.
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Old 11-27-2022, 05:11 PM   #13
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BTW a Viair might not produce enough volume to do a good job, so do it again when you get home.

Howz about this....
As a possibility, drain all the water lines, as well as the WH. Then with all the valves closed and the WH bypass in the normal use position, the WH will act as air tank to give some volume of air to blow out the lines. Have the outside faucet hot and cold open so the the WH will also allow the cold water lines to be blown out.
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Old 11-27-2022, 07:52 PM   #14
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Th details how RVs are built vary greatly. How we use them is perhaps even more varied. Thus how they need to be winterized varies by both of the above. In no way would I recommend anyone method to be best for all cases.


Some of the factors I see include:
1- Where the RV is used/stored in the winter.

2- How YOUR coach was built and since perhaps modified or enhanced.




For some simply draining at the low level drains is fine. In many cases there are low level bends that won't drain by gravity. In some cases just freezing a section of PEX may cause no troubles. But freezing in fittings and seals can prove to be expensive to repair. Some folks winter their RV in heated spaces and have no real worry provided the heat stays on. For most RVs stored outside it depends on how long and how cold it gets. A few hours at about 30+ is not likely to cause any trouble. Days where lows are below say 10F and highs in the 20s can freeze up most rigs. For those where temps are going down to -20 or lower it's just harder.



RV antifreeze comes in a variety of protection levels. -50F is a common blend. But it frequently leaves a nasty after taste for a while that can take a while to flush out. I find that the -75/-80F blends with a different chemistry don't leave as much of an after taste.


Blowing the water system out may work well on some rigs. On mine I know it won't do what is needed. So I usually start with the -50F stuff but then blow that out of the system to reduce the amount of pipe/antifreeze contact surface area. However, to blow it well you need a significant volume of air at say something between 30-60 PSI. Smaller compressors are not likely to be able to provide the volume to push the fluid out of low level bends. Think of a flat "U" shaped bend as soon as the air has a path at the bottom it will not move much more remaining fluid. If there is a fitting at the bottom you may have problems. If only PEX then it may freeze and thaw without issue.



In my case the RVs are outside and may have a few nights every winter at about 0F to -20F on rare occasions. So I protect for the worst case. We do use both of our RVs in the winter and so I have to winterize and de-winterize multiple times a year. I just finished a trip in Colorado with lows in the low 20s with no issue. But that rig has a heated basement where all the tanks and pipes are located. We've winter camped down to about 0F with no issues with all water systems fully operational. Fo those that follow the sun in the winter and camp where palm trees grow winterization may be a non issue.


Just for example I've posted my own checklist and procedures for our 5th wheeler. There are several custom mods on the water system that required different steps.


Winterization Procedure for 2007 Excel 5th Wheeler

These procedures are tailored to my 5th wheeler, adjust as required for other applications. This rig has a gravity fill for the fresh water tank as well as a fill line from the city water side which is operated by a remote valve. There is a black water tank rinse that needs antifreeze run through it. There is a residential style water pressure regulator built into the system just inside of the city water connection.

I would not advocate any particular winterization process for all RVs. Each make and model year may be unique in some ways. How you need to winterize depends on your rig, how cold it gets where itís stored, if itís indoors or not, etc. For some opening the low level drains and draining the water heater is enough, or compressed air will do the trick. Of course if you winter where thereís palm trees you may not have much of an issue. My 5th has had many custom modifications not frequently found on other RVs. So some details will not apply to your rig.

As I understand some RV toilet valves can retain small enough amounts of water when compressed air is used to permit ice build up and freeze damage. Thus the recommendation for full flushing followed with antifreeze first. This may also be true for some other valves, but just guessing.

When blowing water lines with compressed air, air volume is more important than is the air pressure. A small tire inflator compressor canít produce the required air volume. Amount air volume required is a function of your RVís plumbing system.

We also have a motor home and the winterization procedure for it is different.

Drain fresh water, black and gray water tanks
Darin water heater, open bottom drain and high-pressure relief valve, replace bottom plug and close relief valve.
Open low level water drains, leave open for now
Set bypass valves on water heater
Set the bypass valves on the whole house water filter
Drain the whole house water filter
Close valve between the fresh water tank and the pump, donít want antifreeze in the fresh water tank
Use the pump for transfer from the water bladder to force antifreeze through the city water connection until it comes out the cold low level drain. Plug pump into the 12-volt outlet in the driverís side basement.
Close both low level drains
Use second pump to force antifreeze through the black water flush system
Open the siphon valve
Dump 2 Ė 3 gallons of antifreeze into larger bucket, makes the process simpler than changing one gallon jugs in the process
Place the built-in siphon hose in the antifreeze bucket
Start the main pump
Starting at the nearest facet, open hot and cold until a good pink stream is observed
Work through all facets and valves, kitchen, bath, shower, toilet, outside shower, outside hose bib and water pressure gauge line.
Close the siphon hose feed valve
Run the pump with an empty fresh water tank to make sure the antifreeze is purged from the pump.
Remove and drain the little filter on the input side of the pump.
Attach airline adapter and blow the antifreeze out of all the lines, same procedure as flushing with antifreeze. No need to blow out the black water tank flush. Use between 30 and 50 PSI air pressure
Open the city water to fresh water tank cross fill valve to purge any fluid trapped in this line.
What water plus antifreeze is now in the holding tanks should be fine for the winter. As long as those tanks are not close to full.
Pour about pint plus of antifreeze into each drain trap, sinks, shower, etc.
Pour about a quart or more of antifreeze into the toilet bowl to keep the seals moist for the winter.
De-winterization

Water system
Attach hose to city water connection
Open each valve in turn, closet to farthest to refill the lines and flush remaining antifreeze out of system
Add about five gallons water to fresh water tank
Run pump opening each hot and cold facet starting with those nearest the pump. Needed to flush the pipe segment between where the city water and pump line Tee together.
Open the bottom drain on the water heater and use rinse wand to flush water around the tank. Allow to drain and reinsert the drain plug. If it has an anode rod replace it now if needed.
Reset the bypass valve on the back of the water heater and fill water heater tank and flush though kitchen hot facet
Add two cups of house hold bleach to a gallon of water and add to fresh water tank.
Fill fresh water tank
Run pump to get the chlorinated water through out the system
Using the same second external pump as used in the winterization procedure pump some chlorinated water into the city water connection
Allow to stand for about two to four hours
Drain all water from the fresh water tank
Add fresh water to the tank and run pump to get the chlorinated water flushed out.
Flush the city water connection with a hose
To remove the after taste of the RV antifreeze and chlorine add about 1 cup of baking soda to a gallon of fresh water and add this to the fresh water tank. Add enough water to fill the fresh water to about 20 gallons. Then pump this through the entire system. Let sit for a few hours and then drain the tank and flush entire system to remove remaining tastes.
Dump gray water holding tank in a proper fashion


Note:
At least in this rig I do not totally trust just blowing out the water with compressed air and do not like the after taste of antifreeze in the spring. Thus development of this hybrid system to solve both issues.

I have remote water pump switches located near the siphon hose and another switch in the wet bay.

There is a residential Watts water pressure regulator just inboard of the city water connection that needs to be winterized.

To pump antifreeze through the city intake and the black water tank sprayer I use a second RV water pump I carry sometimes to transfer water from a portable water bladder into my fresh water tank. This also winterizes this pump.

Icemakers, washing machines, dishwashers, and external pressure regulators in some cases, etc may have specialized winterization procedures.
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