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Old 09-06-2017, 12:55 PM   #1
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Default Specific winterizing question regarding Roadtrek water heater

Up here in New England it's going to start getting cold, so it's time I learn to properly winterize my '96 190 Popular.

I found the instructions online and it's basically "drain, then add anti-freeze". Seems simple and reminds me of winterizing my swimming pool.

But, the instructions are misleading with regards to what to do with my propane water heater. I have no instructions available. The water heater looks like it has a drain cap... but can someone offer some simple instructions?

Would anti-freeze in the heater core be a problem? Your help would be appreciated.

-Pete
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Old 09-06-2017, 01:22 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by VTPete View Post
Up here in New England it's going to start getting cold, so it's time I learn to properly winterize my '96 190 Popular.

I found the instructions online and it's basically "drain, then add anti-freeze". Seems simple and reminds me of winterizing my swimming pool.

But, the instructions are misleading with regards to what to do with my propane water heater. I have no instructions available. The water heater looks like it has a drain cap... but can someone offer some simple instructions?

Would anti-freeze in the heater core be a problem? Your help would be appreciated.

-Pete

You don't want anti-freeze in your hot water heater.
Just drain it would do.

While you have the tank drained, it is a good time to check your anode.
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Old 09-06-2017, 01:24 PM   #3
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IMO you don't want antifreeze ANYWHERE in your fresh system. Far better to use compressed air.

But if you insist, it depends on whether your heater has bypass valves. If it does, then, yes, bypass and drain. If it does not, then you have no real choice but to fill it with antifreeze. Just Say No!
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Old 09-06-2017, 04:53 PM   #4
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Agree better not to run antifreeze through water heater. A bypass setup avoids the need for that.

What I always did was to start with the HWH, close the bypass, then run the rest of the winterizing, be it air or pinkstuff.

Open the HWH relief valve near the upper section of the device (of course, the water is NOT hot!). Then remove the drain plug to let the water out. Mine were always plastic -- be careful, better to have a correctly fitting socket to remove it. After it drains, there may be more water remaining in the bottom, try to get as much out as you can. I would usually leave the plug out over the winter, in a baggie taped inside the HWH compartment.

That's all there is to it.
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Old 09-06-2017, 05:02 PM   #5
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Actually, when I used to have a hot water heater (my current setup is tankless on-demand), I used to leave the heater tank in the loop when using compressed air. Since I use a dinky flat-tire style compressor, the tank served as a pressure reservoir, making the blow-out easier.
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Old 09-06-2017, 05:43 PM   #6
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Nice write-up here. There are 4 sections in the write-up.

Here is the one on the water heater.

Winterizing: Part 2: Water Heater Bypass | Roadtrek Class B RV Blog
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:30 AM   #7
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Thanks all, that's what I needed to know. But, I'm a bit confused looking at my propane water heater. Maybe someone knows more than I do?

Inside the cabin, there is one (and only one) valve connected to the base of the water heater. It clearly is a bypass valve directing water up a short tube to the top of the heater where there isn't another valve... just a T joint. I guess I better post photos tomorrow. Anyway, if I flip the valve on the bottom, it just seems like water would be pushed through the top T into the tank (unless there's a check valve somewhere I can't see.)

Also, on the outside of the van, the water heater has a pressure relief valve at the top, and a big honkin' hex head on the bottom that at first I thought was a drain... but maybe it's the sacrificial anode. (It's in much better shape than the surrounding tank; looking all shiny and new. Maybe someone replaced it recently?) EDIT: I just read the Meryl & Me article on hot water heaters and sure enough, that hex plug is both the drain and the anode. Who'd have thunk it?

It was dark tonight, so I couldn't read the labels on the tank. Again it's a '96 190 Popular Dodge. But, tomorrow I should be able to post photos and look up the unit online once I brush the dust off the labels. I hope.

-Pete
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:39 PM   #8
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If you have only one valve the other hose going into the water tank may have a check valve. May be brass colored with an arrow on it. Check valves are prone to hard water build-up.

The other thing you can do is fill it and as it is filling close the valve and feel the hose. You should be able to notice a change in flow.

Pictures can help.
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:01 PM   #9
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Joe,
Yes, it's brass with an arrow. I just drained it to check out the condition of the anode... which was very good. I then flushed the tank (nothing loose came out) and reinstalled the anode. Of course it dripped. So, I took it out again and this time put teflon tape on the threads before installing it. It's good to go, and it's nice to know it's 100% operational and ready for the road.

-Pete

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If you have only one valve the other hose going into the water tank may have a check valve. May be brass colored with an arrow on it. Check valves are prone to hard water build-up.

The other thing you can do is fill it and as it is filling close the valve and feel the hose. You should be able to notice a change in flow.

Pictures can help.
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:44 PM   #10
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Good job. You seem to be fixing the problems one by one. Keep up the good work. Its good to see these old rigs brought back to life and keep going for another journey.
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