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Old 10-17-2018, 02:25 PM   #1
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2018 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Washington DC , Washington, D.C.
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 78
Walking The Winterizing Tightrope

OK, so….the time has come to think about my first winterizing. This is more than just deciding to try and do it myself or take it to a dealer (Colonial offered to let me watch them the first time to learn myself for the future) there are also the big questions of when…and, perhaps, if at all.

I am in the DC area so the real freezes do not come until January. Of course, nights below freezing will happen sporadically in November and December but there are very few days that go below the 40’s and 50’s during daylight. Most evenings are 30’s-40’s. It brings up some dilemmas.

1. I can back up to one of my work warehouses and endlessly use converted shore power running from inside sockets. Is this enough to get me through the milder (but occasionally cold) months of November and December? I doubt that it is enough for January or February in DC but would love to hear your thoughts and experiences for the late fall periods until New Years. If so, are there any special considerations in doing so? Also, if there is perhaps a “Winterization Light” option given the ability to plug into the warehouse. (No, unfortunately there is no room for the rig inside.)

2. My reasoning is that I would still like to use it to head South in December and perhaps out to California in January (via the warmer southern route on I-10). It seems a complete pain to winterize and then roll it back (and do it again on each return). Until I am comfortable with doing it myself I would also need to either schlep the 3 hours north to Colonial each time or find someone in the DC area to do it. Why there is no Airsteam dealer in the DMV is crazy to me. No, the Virginia dealer in Thornburg does not count…it’s 100+ miles south of most of the metro area and better suited for Richmond. How could someone not see the potential of a dealer and service center in the 4th largest Metro area (when including Baltimore) in the country?

Thanks in advance for people’s thoughts on this!

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Old 10-17-2018, 02:37 PM   #2
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2006 22' Interstate
Normal , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2009
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It’s not that difficult, I have now done it five times, also the dewinterizations, by myself.

If you don’t want to do it yourself, you don’t need an Airstream dealer to do it, but any RV sales and/or repair place can probably do it for you. Just make some phone calls.

After my husband died, someone here found a repair place for me in Tennessee that was right on my way...they did the winterization while I waited, and had me headed safely back into Illinois temps.

If you have electricity, and can keep a heater going, you can buy some time, but if it is going to be sitting and unused you would want to drain it of water and blow your lines out.

Some don’t do much more than that, but we have always run the pink stuff thru the system...better to be safe than sorry.

Might look into someplace south to leave your rig between these trips.

Others will have more to add...


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Old 10-17-2018, 02:52 PM   #3
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1966 22' Safari
Hilltop Lakes , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Learn to winterize it yourself. Then the tightrope is gone and the camping season is extended.

Letting Colonial teach you sounds like a great idea, if they're close enough. Many of us winterize and de-winterize several times a season. With a small, inexpensive air compressor from Walmart, I've even equipped to do it on the road.

All it takes is a basic knowledge of the water system and a methodical procedure to make sure you don't forget anything.

I would suggest you install this kit

so you can pull antifreeze straight out of the bottle into your pump and system. It's an easy do-it-yourself install.

Also get one of these

so you can easily connect an air compressor to your fresh water inlet to blow out the lines.

Winterizing my Safari is less than an hours' work.
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Old 10-17-2018, 04:07 PM   #4
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2011 Interstate Coach
Muskogee , Oklahoma
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No way I would risk it. I winterize just after Halloween each year, and I'm a lot farther south (Okla). Damage to too many components could occur. It's not that hard to de-winterize if you want to take it on to warmer climates.
2011 Interstate WD/Lounge
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Old 10-18-2018, 10:23 AM   #5
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2019 25' International
Washington , Washington, D.C.
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I live in DC and winterized my AS last weekend. It gives me peace of mind and means I don’t have to keep an eye on the weather all the time. Holly Acres, an RV / boat repair/maintenance facility just down the road from you in Woodbridge,VA, can winterize ASs. I recommend you watch someone do it first - I did with my first AS -a 19-footer. I took video and photos and wrote it up into an SOP. Being able to winterize your own RV is very empowering - and will save you about a $100 each time you do it.
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Old 10-18-2018, 10:24 AM   #6
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2017 28' International
Baileys Harbor , Wisconsin
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I live in Wisconsin so October it gets winterized. However where you live you have a bit of slack.
1) You should be able to get by without anti-freeze until January if the days are warm.
2) I would learn to blow out the lines and empty the tanks. At minimum put anti-freeze in the traps, the toilet, and disconnect your shower heads and kitchen faucet to keep them from cracking.
3) Also you could keep it connected to shore power and instead of draining the pump of water I would put a trouble light with bulb by the pump. That would keep some heat there and I doubt it would freeze.
4) Should you get a period of unexpected heavy freeze for a long time you could run the furnace at a low temperature (45 degrees). I did that last year when we had a big snow storm in WI in April. That kept the tanks from freezing. LP isn't cheap, but better than a repair
5) Then come January you might want to put anti-freeze through the system. In WI I never just depend upon blowing out the water. I'd rather go the extra mile.

As you can see there are lots of solutions. But I really think you are OK just blowing out the lines if the temps are as you say. Happy Camping.
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Old 10-18-2018, 10:35 AM   #7
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
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The time spent on the original post, and all the replies, represents about what it will take to winterize, after that becomes second nature to you.

Just do it now!

Like learning to ride a bike. Time well spent so the future is wide open for happiness.

Minimize drama . . .

Happy trails on your trips.

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Old 10-18-2018, 10:38 AM   #8

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
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Does every RV on every dealer lot have the pink stuff in the system?
If you have a capable compressor and want to take the time...put the pink in the traps and be done.
Doing so for 10 Seasons, never a problem here in WNY. 👍😂

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Old 10-18-2018, 11:16 AM   #9
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2015 Interstate Ext. Coach
Columbus , Ohio
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Attached is a list of steps to take to winterize an AI. After watching someone (your dealer or an online video) you can use this in the future as a checklist for what things to be sure to do each time

It's not difficult and you'll become proficient at it the more times you do it!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Winterization Cheat Sheet.pdf (45.2 KB, 87 views)
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:06 PM   #10
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2017 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
East Hampton , Connecticut
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 23
Colonial taught me how to winterize. Nice to watch them the first time. Learn to do it yourself. I got caught on a trip where the temps plummeted and I had to winterize in route. You don't want to depend on others.
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Old 10-18-2018, 05:04 PM   #11
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2014 25' FB Flying Cloud
Fitchburg , Wisconsin
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And one more blowout method list. My dealer taught me how to do it using a 5HP compressor which allowed all the faucets to be open at the same time. I don't think my 3/4HP has enough oomph for that.

One of the two cracked toilet flush valves was the result of dealer winterization (by a different mechanic), and one my be after one or two years of personal winterizing experience. I "did it the same way" every time...
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Winterization Blowout Method.pdf (187.5 KB, 53 views)
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Old 10-18-2018, 05:35 PM   #12
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Colorado Springs , Colorado
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Posts: 73

Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Does every RV on every dealer lot have the pink stuff in the system?
If you have a capable compressor and want to take the time...put the pink in the traps and be done.
Doing so for 10 Seasons, never a problem here in WNY. 👍😂


20 years of campers and never had pink in my fresh water system except the first season............. NEVER AGAIN.

We carry a cheap pancake compresser when camping late in the year and have winterized on the road headed back to Colorado.

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Old 10-18-2018, 05:43 PM   #13
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2018 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Washington DC , Washington, D.C.
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 78
Thanks everyone and this is great insight. It seems for no more time than it takes to wash my rig I can just do it myself on the fly when needed. I just scheduled an appointment with Colonial next week and they are going to walk me through the steps with a tech. As well, I will study the attached stuff here you all sent. I am very appreciative!
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Old 10-18-2018, 07:56 PM   #14
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 6,239

Ummmm ..... errr .... it's not just a matter of how far north / south you are. Living within a few miles of saltwater makes a *big* difference in what happens in the winter.

You can get a snap freeze out in the center of the country (we lived in Kansas for a while ....) *much* earlier than you would ever see in Washington DC (which is virtually the same distance south). Equally in Kansas it could be 10 below one day and 60 the next day. Not so much in DC. Record lows in DC are mostly *above* zero degrees for most winter days..... errr ..... not quite so warm for Kansas ....

Still, get it winterized before Thanksgiving at the latest.


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