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Old 03-28-2011, 12:39 PM   #1
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Wet weekend in our Safari OR How I discovered the Blow Out Plug!

After 15 yrs of TT camping I learned a valuable lesson about winterizing!

We arrived at our favorite campsite in East Texas last Friday afternoon and when I turned on the water hookup water came streaming out from under the kitchen sink. The cold water brass faucet stem had ruptured.

So I removed the faucet and made an 85 mile round trip to the nearest store, which was a Lowes, and bought a new faucet.

Got back to the campsite, installed the new kitchen faucet, turned on the water and heard water spewing from under the closet next to the fridge. I opened up the lower access panels to find the fresh water pump had split in the plastic connection cap. Cleaned up the mess and told my wife that this was not repairable at the campsite since we needed a new pump and we'd be spending the weekend without on board water. She more or less
stated, with much frustration that we were throwing in the towel and going home. So we did.

Next morning I took some photos of the pump and headed for my local RV parts place, Holiday World of Mesquite, Tx. The people there were very helpful in getting me squared away with a new pump, and some other things I needed to cover the change out in case I ran into hook up differences with the new pump. And they introduced me to a nice little gadget called a blow out plug.

How I've manged to spend the last 15 yrs Travel Trailering without ever coming across a blow out plug is beyond me. Never had a winterizing issue before. But am convince that this weekends water line problems were directly related to the week of 9 degree temps we had about 2 months ago. And even though I had winterized as usual, I learned that gravity draining the system leaves water in the pump diaphram and, well you get the idea. But the verticle brass faucet stem splitting still baffles me since there was not water in the sink system. Oh well.

Ok...got home, installed the new pump. Hooked up the hose and did a leak test. All good. Then the sink sprayer hose on the new faucet from Lowes blew loose from it's plastic clip on connection under the faucet and here we go again with water works under the sink. Couldn't get it to attach securely so I removed it, took the darn thing back to Lowes and got a faucet with a screw on sprayer.

By now my Friday/Saturday were all used up and I decided to spend Sunday relaxing. Pending a final leak test I think (aned hope) I've got it all fixed and ready for another weekend in the woods. But come this winter, I'm definately using the blow out plug to winterize! That is if I can remember where I put it by then!
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Old 03-28-2011, 03:32 PM   #2
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I have always used a blow out plug, even this winter down in Texas. However, it still won't get 100% of the water. I take all faucet sprayer and shower heads with me to a warm garage. The pump will still have water in it that will need to be manually drained unless you also use a bypass and it can be used to pump anti freeze into the fresh water system.

Freeze damage sucks. I have yet to fill and test mine, which happens to be what I'll be doing this afternoon (or right now).
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Old 03-28-2011, 03:46 PM   #3
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When we replaced our old pump with our newer VSD pump, it had quick connections to the unit. What I do is that I have two sets, one that connects on the incoming side into a gallon container of anti-freeze, and another that connects to the outflow which then pumps it back into the gallon container. This simply costs the two quick connections as well as the 5 feet of flexible poly pipe to create.

Oh yeah, we always keep our blowout plug and use it whenever we think it'll get down below 30 degrees....it only take around 15 minutes to blow everything out.
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:29 PM   #4
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One experience with frozen water lines and you never forget. If there is a chance of freezing I always pump RV antifreeze through all water lines and pour some into the traps. Then dump all tanks and open all drains, including the water heater. Cheap insurance!
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:34 PM   #5
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Wow, sorry to hear your troubles cut your weekend short. Up here in the northern climes we have pink RV antifreeze -- I guess its not available to you southern folks. After letting gravity do it's work we just pump in the pink stuff.....much simpler than blowing out the lines without the potential for damage.
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:52 PM   #6
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I used to blow out the lines but decided instead to use the pink antifreeze. This way I am sure to get all the lines and p traps covered. Doesn't take much and $10 in the fall is cheap insurance.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:37 PM   #7
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I think I removed both hoses on my pump and sucked it full of pink. The rest of my plumbing is on the shop floor:-)
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:56 PM   #8
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For us folks on the west coast that dont get freezing weather... how does a blow-out plug work?
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:10 PM   #9
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Click link below . . .

Amazon.com: Camco 36143 RV Blow Out Plug with Brass Quick Connect: Automotive


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"Screw the plug into your RV's city water inlet, open all drains and faucets, then connect your air compressor quick connect hose."
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:53 AM   #10
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Ok, I see.. so my compressor is set to 150psi. Im sure thats way too much pressure to apply to your lines right? Or is it metered in some way due to the small hole so it self regulates against damage? Seems like a good idea.

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Old 03-29-2011, 08:56 AM   #11
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I did one better this year. I couldn't find my blow out plug after the move and freezing weather was quickly descending! I unscrewed the pull out faucet handle off of the kitchen faucet and used that as my blow out plug. Make sure you turn your compressor pressure down to 50 psi or lower. I personally used 30 psi or lower.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:53 AM   #12
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Sad Story of Water Repair

... hope you've got it all fixed.

I use a blow out plug, turn compressor down to 30 psig or so, so as not to rupture lines. But my experience is that there's always a fair amount of water left here and there ... and my bet is that it would be exactly where I didn't want it to be.

So once I've blown out the lines and drained the water heater, I pump a gallon and a half or so of the pink stuff through the pump (and catch and dispose of the water until it runs good and pink) ... then take the remaining half gallon and put it in the various traps. Never had a problem so far in below zero weather ... so far ...
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:33 PM   #13
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So, since I've never put antifreeze into my TT fresh water system, I'm guessing the goal would be to not put it in the fresh water tank or faucet lines?
But even just adding it locally to the pump or traps is going to eventually pass it onto the rest of the system....so how difficult is it to get it all out of the system prior to Spring use?
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:39 PM   #14
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Don't add it to the tank. Just drain the tank a leave it alone. Same goes for the water heater. Make sure it is bypassed (and drained) before adding antifreeze. No problems or hazards with it being in the lines, but it does have a slight taste but not any more offensive than the already plasticky taste I normally have. To flush it, just fill the fresh fresh tank and pump a few gallon with the pump. I then switch to city water and flush the rest of the lines for several minutes at each fixture.
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