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Old 12-06-2011, 07:48 PM   #1
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1988 29' Excella
Waco , Texas
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Winterizing question

When do I need to do a full winterization? I live in the middle of TX, which means inconsistent freezes. Tonight the temp is predeicted to drop to 22 degrees. I've emptied the hot water heater and openned the drain valves in the water lines. What else do I need to do? We are planning to use the AS in a couple of weeks, so am trying to avoid using the antifreeze, but certainly don't want to do any damage.

Also I have a valve under the bathroom sink that says Artic Pro Antifreeze System. I can't figure out what it does. The vavle has "normal operation" and "bypass" options.

Thanks!
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:21 PM   #2
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I drain the water heater, the fresh water tank, then run the pump until it pumps nothing but air. Then open all faucets, and open the bottom drains. After all the water is drained out of the system, close the drains and faucets. I then put 50 pounds of air on the system at the water inlet, and blow all the lines by opening the faucets one at a time. After all that, I put the antifreeze down all the drains to protect the P traps. Then my last step is to keep a small electric heater running in the trailer with all the closets open.

I've not had any damage to the trailer doing this, not even last year at 14 degrees for two days, and all I have to do to use the trailer again is put water in it.
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:22 PM   #3
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Put an electric heater in the AS. Open all the doors to your plumbing and "heat" the AS when it is below freezing.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:12 PM   #4
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Ditto what 6Pack says for unsustained drops in temps, which is most likely what you are going through...we have the same thing here in Tucson... You are most likely OK with what you have done plus the heater as long as the temps don't stay that low into the daytime. The idea is to keep the areas where there is plumbing warm.

We are having some cold nights at the moment too, and we also camp during the winter, so we never winterize. We don't even drain the water... We do crank up the water heater and then the last thing we do before hitting the hay is run hot water through the system... We have the Bambi on shore power so rather than an electric heater we leave the furnace on set to about 40 degrees so that there is some warm air being delivered to the holding tanks. (If you decide to use the furnace you might want to turn the electric heater off ...or the furnace may not kick in to get that warm air to the holding tanks... Using the furnace will use some propane, of course, so make sure you have a reasonable supply in your propane tanks.)

We have camped a couple of times in below freezing temperatures...and we do much the same thing while camping (but a bit warmer!)...in that situation we will disconnect the city water hose if we're hooked up so it doesn't freeze...and if I get up during the night I will run hot water through the pipes just to help. We have never had an issue in our relatively mild winter climate...
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
I drain the water heater, the fresh water tank, then run the pump until it pumps nothing but air. Then open all faucets, and open the bottom drains. After all the water is drained out of the system, close the drains and faucets. I then put 50 pounds of air on the system at the water inlet, and blow all the lines by opening the faucets one at a time. After all that, I put the antifreeze down all the drains to protect the P traps. Then my last step is to keep a small electric heater running in the trailer with all the closets open.

I've not had any damage to the trailer doing this, not even last year at 14 degrees for two days, and all I have to do to use the trailer again is put water in it.
We follow the same protocol. I was advised yesterday by a local service manager that running the furnace would not protect the lines if the temp falls below 25 degrees. Has anyone else heard of that limitation? / or cut off? Zigi
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:53 AM   #6
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Nope

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We follow the same protocol. I was advised yesterday by a local service manager that running the furnace would not protect the lines if the temp falls below 25 degrees. Has anyone else heard of that limitation? / or cut off? Zigi
I must call BS on that one.. If that were the case no one would ever be able to camp in below feezing temps. The furnace is ducted into the belly area to protect the plumbing down there. Just don't let the propane run out! John
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:21 AM   #7
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Depends on the specific trailer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zigidachs View Post
We follow the same protocol. I was advised yesterday by a local service manager that running the furnace would not protect the lines if the temp falls below 25 degrees. Has anyone else heard of that limitation? / or cut off? Zigi
My Safari has the waste water dump valves outside of the belly pan. A few feet of pipe is exposed too. So no mater how much I heat the inside of the trailer, I have to keep these valves and pipe dry or protected with anti-freeze during a freeze.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:30 PM   #8
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I must call BS on that one.. If that were the case no one would ever be able to camp in below feezing temps. The furnace is ducted into the belly area to protect the plumbing down there. Just don't let the propane run out! John
I appreciate your comment. I posed the same question and the service manager's response was that "people have to skirt their units" below 25. I thought that very odd indeed. It just didn't pass the "smell" test. Zigi
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:38 PM   #9
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I drain the water heater, the fresh water tank, then run the pump until it pumps nothing but air. Then open all faucets, and open the bottom drains. After all the water is drained out of the system, close the drains and faucets. I then put 50 pounds of air on the system at the water inlet, and blow all the lines by opening the faucets one at a time. After all that, I put the antifreeze down all the drains to protect the P traps. Then my last step is to keep a small electric heater running in the trailer with all the closets open.

I've not had any damage to the trailer doing this, not even last year at 14 degrees for two days, and all I have to do to use the trailer again is put water in it.
I follow a similar procedure except I don't use an electric heater as it is not needed when the trailer is winterized. My trailer has spent winters in Colorado down to -25f without problems. Also I use an 125 volt tire inflator and don't put anything close to 50 pounds of air in the plumbing. Air is introduced through the city water inlet using an adapter costing a few dollars from Camping World. My last step is to disconnect the water pump on both sides and run it for a second or two to push the water out of the pump.
The whole procedure takes about 45 minutes and is very easy. So easy that I winterize for peace of mind even if I am going to use the trailer in a short time and even when it might not get cold enough to freeze the pipes.
Your trailer has a water heater bypass. An alternative method of winterizing is to pump the water system full of RV antifreeze. I am cheap. By blowing out the lines, I can get by with using only a half gallon of antifreeze for the traps. Two or three gallons are required to fill the water system (except for the water heater which is drained) and the traps.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:09 PM   #10
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We have a whole section on winterization which is good reading.

How I winterize:
1) run faucets and water pump until freshwater tank is empty
2) drain water heater by removing the plug, and place valves in "bypass"
3) shut off water heater switches and tape a note in place not to use until "un-bypassed"
4) open the drain valve for supply tank to drain the last of the water, should be no more than a gallon or so
5) run the water pump briefly with a faucet open to get the last of the water out of the suction line and pump.
6) apply compressed air to the "city water" inlet being careful not to exceed 40PSI and open all faucets one at a time until no more water comes out, being sure to include the toilet, toilet sprayer, outside faucet, and drinking water faucet. Briefly open the two low point drains, one a time, last
7) Repeat step 6 to be sure all the supply plumbing is dry
8) Briefly put the air to the black tank washout fitting to get any water out of the backflow valve.
9) Pour about 2-3 cups of RV antifreeze into each sink drain and into the toilet.
10) go to dump station and dump waste tanks
11) Step on the toilet flush valve so the antifreeze in the bowl goes into the black tank where it will help keep the dump valve from freezing. Pour another 2-3 cups of antifreeze in the bowl to keep it sealed so there won't be any stink.
12) Pour another 2-3 cups of antifreeze into one of the sink drains so there's some antifreeze in the grey water tank
13) Remove and discard the drinking water filter cartridge
14) If time permits put the water heater plug back in, put the bypass valves back to their ordinary "service" position, and close the low point and fresh water tank drains so that the trailer will be ready to go in the spring.

People who don't have compressed air can substitute pumping RV antifreeze through the plumbing for step 6 but it's more complicated unless you have already modified your water pump to draw antifreeze in through the suction line.

That's it for the plumbing but a full winterization has other steps:

A) Remove the soap dispenser pumps and store someplace warm
B) Defrost and clean fridge and freezer, prop doors open
C) Remove any food items accessible to mice (not in glass or metal packages)
D) Remove any water based personal care items that might freeze, body wash, shampoo, shaving cream, some kinds of hair spray
E) Remove any water-based cleaning products that might freeze, bleach, windex, that kind of thing
F) Remove any food and beverage items subject to freezing damage, like pickles, beer, pop. The cooking oil, spices, and plastic wrap can stay in the galley
G) After a cold winter the batteries in the smoke alarm, doorbell, and any portable items (weather radio, alarm clock, kitchen timer, meat thermometer, flashlights) should be replaced. Might be prudent to pull them out now in case they leak.
H) Top off electrolyte in the 12v batteries and be sure they are fully charged, depending on your situation and what kind of converter you have it may make sense to leave the trailer plugged in over the winter to keep them charged
I) Shut off propane at the tank valves
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:25 PM   #11
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Jammer, your's is a list that I have put into my "winterizing" database.

Very complete, and very concise.

Nice work!!!!
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