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Old 10-31-2012, 06:20 AM   #1
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Default Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough method

Winterizing your RV water system(s) - 20 step thorough method
This is a very thorough method, perhaps even overkill. Approx 3 to 4 gallons of RV antifreeze and an air compressor needed.

1. empty waste tanks at the end of your last use of your RV

2. Drain all fresh water tanks (putting the front wheels of my van on 2"x6" boards lets an additional 1/4 to 1/2 gallon of water drain out)

3. open the pressure release valve of the water heater and then remove the anode rod (Suburban tank) or drain plug (Atwood tank) from your water heater and drain the water from it and then close the pressure relief valve

4. flush out the water heater using a "tank saver wand" to get all the calcium deposits out of it - this may take several flush outs

5. use an air compressor set to 30 psi connected to the RV city water inlet to blow out water - it will first come out of the water heater

6. set the valves at the water heater so that it is "bypassed"

7. replace the anode rod or drain plug in the water heater

8. use an air compressor set to 30 psi connected to the RV city water inlet to blow out all remaining water - open and close every faucet and shower control, toilet water inlet; hot and cold, interior and exterior, until no water comes out

9. turn off and disconnect the air compressor from the city water inlet

10. pour 1/2 gallon of RV antifreeze into every fresh water tank - open any tank interconnects

11. drain the RV antifreeze from the fresh water tank(s) (to eliminate any RV antifreeze dilution worries) and capture the antifreeze (optional) and dump 1/2 in your grey tank via the kitchen sink and 1/2 in your black tank via the toilet - close any fresh water tank interconnects

12. pour 1 gallon of RV antifreeze into your primary fresh water tank

13. turn on the water pump and, in turn, open the toilet water inlet, each faucet and shower control, hot and cold until a steady flow of RV antifreeze flows out each

14. turn off the water pump and open a sink faucet

15. either depress the city water check valve until RV antifreeze flows out of it or use an RV antifreeze pump to make sure RV antifreeze is in the city water inlet pipe

16. close the sink faucet that you opened earlier

17. empty the waste tanks again - important - there's water in those tanks again

18. pour 1/2 gallon of RV antifreeze into the toilet bowl and flush - leave about 1" to 2" of RV antifreeze in the toilet bowl

19. pour 1/3 gallon each into the kitchen sink, bathroom sink and shower drain to make sure undiluted RV antifreeze is in the P traps

20. pat yourself on the back - job well done!
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water system - 20 step thorough meth

Did I miss any steps?
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

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File Type: jpg protect pipe from water tank to pump or bypass.JPG (55.3 KB, 1543 views)
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

On our Roadtrek, if you have the city water fill valve open, while you are running on the pump, it just loops through the system back to the pump. If you were feeding the pump from a bottle, I think it would pump antifreeze into the line and tank.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

Download winterizing guide from Camco:
http://www.camco.net/assets/catalog/winterizeRV.pdf

Quote:
Q. How much water should you add to your -50 RV Antifreeze to achieve a -25?F burst protection?

A. Camco -50 RV Antifreeze SHOULD NOT be diluted. It is a pre-diluted solution that is designed to be used full strength.
Additional water dramatically alters the expansion properties of the propylene glycol solution making adequate burst protection difficult to achieve.
Quote:
Q. I had some -50 RV antifreeze stored in my garage and I noticed it was frozen. Is your product defective?

A. No. Propylene glycol antifreezes are designed to provide burst protection to temperatures of -50?F or below. Ice crystals will start to form in -50 RV Antifreeze at temperatures around +10?F and will appear to be solid ice at around -10?F to -15?F. Propylene glycol based antifreezes continue to contract and will not expand until temperatures of -50?F are reached, thus providing burst protection for pipes. If you need a product that flows at the lower temperature, a higher concentrated product such as Winter Ban -100 or our Premium Ban Frost 2000 should be used.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

That seems like an awful lot of anti-freeze to use for winterizing your RV. I usually only use a half gallon, max, but then I live in the PNW where it rarely goes below 25 degrees. Here is a very good video on winterizing your RV. Although it was done by Roadtrek, it is applicable to most RV's.

[youtube:wv7jya36]3KclDkjfnak[/youtube:wv7jya36]
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Old 11-01-2012, 01:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

Welcome to the forum Xplorer2000. Your account was one of a group that I never got the "new member" notice for. Thank you for you patience. Did you get a "your account has been activated" email yesterday?

I noticed in the video you referenced that there was no mention of the interior shower head - does the shower hose/head in a RS-Adventurous attach to the sink for each use? Also, the shop could have taken a few minutes to flush out the water heater to get all the crud and calcium chunks out. You might as well take advantage of the opportunity to do that when the anode rod is out.

Thanks also for commenting on this "20 step thorough method" for winterizing RV water systems. I tried to come up with the most complete way to eliminate any dilution of RV antifreeze with water whether it is in a pipe, p-trap, fresh tank or waste tank. The "pink stuff" freezes here! In my RV it is undiluted.

Your 1/2 gallon use seems very low to me even assuming you added it straight to the pipes and avoided the fresh water tank and linkage between that tank and the pump. 1/2 gallon shared amongst all piping, 2 p-traps and toilet would leave very little for the two waste tanks. Not enough to cover the seals on the two waste valves to prevent them from drying out.

The pink stuff can be obtained for $2.99 a gallon here. Propylene glycol is given to cattle for the treatment of Ketosis so it is presumably very safe will little environmental impact.

More winterizing links here for reference:

http://www.title-3.com/Winterize.htm

http://roadtrekchapter.org/winter.htm

http://roadtrek190popular.blogspot.ca/2 ... dtrek.html

http://www.roadtrekchapter.org/morewinter.htm

http://www.roadtrekchapter.org/2008_210_Winterizing.pdf

http://www.winnebagoind.com/resources/s ... rizing.pdf

[youtube:1f7dq8hb]HAgpE6qSVVA[/youtube:1f7dq8hb]

[youtube:1f7dq8hb]iY0m9fEdSP0[/youtube:1f7dq8hb]

[youtube:1f7dq8hb]qmZjLh_Lto8[/youtube:1f7dq8hb]
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

Here's a photo of my Tank Saver water heater flush out tool. It really does work and gets all the chunks of calcium out of the tank. I also vacuum out the water heater with a flexible hose occasionally.



Blowing out the RV water system can be a one man job. I just attached a hose to the blow-out plug. Friction holds it in place. If the pressure was too great it would slip off. The little pressure regulator is handy. I use it because my larger compressor was set to 120 psi when the pressure adjustment knob broke.

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File Type: jpg 010.JPG (160.2 KB, 1422 views)
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

Yes Markopolo, you're probably right, a half gallon of the pink stuff is a little light, especially if you live in the northern climates. To be honest, I hardly use the pink stuff at all. I just blow out the lines and the water heater with compressed air, pour a little antifreeze in the traps and call it good. But then it rarely gets below freezing here. And yes I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to activate my account. As for the video I posted, I don't have a Roadtrek, I just happened to see the video on another forum. I have a 2000 Dodge Xplorer XLW. As for the shower head, I just disconnect both the interior and exterior from the faucet and store them for the winter.
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

With our RT we use approx. 2 gals. We have the pump converter winterizer kit installed and it makes it an easy job to winterize. It takes approximately 3/4 gal to pump thru the lines and the rest gets poured down the drains and toilet. We have a macerator pump, which must also be winterized, so we pour a few cups down the black tank and run the pump for a few secs. This year we decided to just blow out the lines and not add the antifreeze to the lines. I know people who have done this for 30+ years and have never had a problem. I did attach the kit to the jug of antifreeze, to run the water pump for a few seconds to fill the filter with antifreeze, and then poured antifreeze down the drains and black tank to run the macerator. We decided to go this route because we will be leaving in Jan for warmer climate and didn't want to go thru the flushing of the lines. On our way back home, we will be using the converter kit and filling ALL lines with antifreeze, since we will not have a compressor with us to do the job. Last year with the lines filled with the antifreeze, it took a long time to flush it out of the system. Now we will be able to fill our 10 gal inside tank before we leave and have water available to use on the trip down.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:52 PM   #11
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

Like you, I've been thinking of how to protect the RV water system for both heading South in below freezing temperatures and returning North to below freezing temperatures.

After winterizing, I added two gallons of RV antifreeze to my single interior fresh water tank (I might add another gallon). I did this so that we can use the toilet facilities for 2 to 3 days by which time I'd be in warmer temperatures. I'd be starting from a Northern location - I'd probably still be in Maine after day 1! We'll have a couple of jugs of fresh water for washing up, dental hygiene and bottled water for drinking and coffee / tea etc.

For the return trip, I'll drain / empty all tanks and put 3 gallons or so of RV antifreeze in the fresh water tank and pump at least a gallon through the system. The remaining RV antifreeze will be used for toilet flushing during the return trip. I'll make sure to get RV antifreeze in the sink P trap after water goes down the drain. RV antifreeze will flow from the faucets in my RV.

I briefly considered Wag-bags but flushing with RV antifreeze seems so much easier. Here; 1 gal RV antifreeze is $2.99 which is the same price as 1 Wag-bag.

Its a toss up - jugs of water and pump RV antifreeze, or water in the system and jugs of RV antifreeze for flushing and P traps.

Great discussion and info - let's hear more tips and methods of doing this.
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

We won't be adding antifreeze in our inside tank, it'll be fresh water. We do not want any antifreeze in the lines. This way we can boon dock and still be able to use the shower. We have used the http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trai...-Bags/14550463 Double Doodie bags for overnight use, they are less expensive. On our trip to FL we'll pour a gallon of antifreeze in the black & gray tanks and use as normal. We only have one day of driving in freezing weather. Any water added to the tanks may become slushy, but shouldn't freeze in the one day drive. Even if it did, there will be enough room for any ice to expand in the tanks.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

My trip method looks overly cautious compared to yours and inconvenient as I'll have to drain and flush out the pink stuff on the trip.

Are you not worried about the shower P trap, exterior shower and city water inlet freezing overnight?
If you anticipated 3 days below freezing would you do it differently?

You have an advantage having a Roadtrek: testing to -18 deg C was carried out
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:10 AM   #14
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Default Re: Winterizing your RV water systems - 20 step thorough met

We will be winterized when we leave, just not with antifreeze. The black/gray tanks and the traps will be filled with antifreeze. We will have a 9-10 hr drive the first day, which will take us out of the freezing zone. By not having the antifreeze in the lines, we can fill the inside tank and possibly the water heater with water. We will not fill the outside tank. By blowing out the lines, we will not have to flush the lines of antifreeze. This will save us water from our 10 gal inside tank. Last year the weather was so nice when we left, and looked good to our first stop in KY, that we de-winterized and filled both tanks, but kept antifreeze in black/gray and traps. The exterior shower and city water inlet will be winterized. Like I said in my post, I have family that have never used antifreeze in their lines, they always blow them out, and never had a problem with freezing lines. They live in Upper Michigan. The water heater is inside the coach, which will also be heated from the inside, and if we get hit with freezing weather on our first night, we can just turn on the water heater. We have spent a few nights in the mid 20s and not be winterized. Two years in FL and a couple of nights in Yellowstone. The day time temps did reach 50s. We carry a chunk of insulation for those nights to wrap around the city water inlet, and carry a jug of antifreeze to pour down the drains/tanks.

What would we do with 3 days below freezing? Hmmmm...Will you be stopping somewhere that will have electric hookups or boondocking? Not knowing your set up, it would be hard to say what I would do. If the lines are blown out and the black/gray are filled with antifreeze, you can still carry water with you. This will save you the step of flushing out the lines and your fresh water tank. I know some people flush the toilet with just antifreeze, keeping the lines winterized with antifreeze. I would not fill the fresh water tanks with antifreeze. Having the converter winterizer kit installed, makes it convenient for winterizing with antifreeze for our trip home. In spring we would have to flush the lines, but well be at home to do it. There is a pump you can get that is used to pump antifreeze into the lines from the city water valve. Maybe it will work for your set up.

http://www.campingworld.com/search/i...p_sort_default
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