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Old 10-03-2015, 11:35 AM   #1
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Winterizing my Airstream

We are new Airstream owners and live in Eastern Washington State. This coming winter our Airstream will be stored outdoors and there will be no electrical power at the storage lot. Other than draining all water lines and the hot water heater, is there anything else I should do to winterize our Airstream? Thank you!
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:44 AM   #2
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Simply draining the lines may leave water in low spots in the line which will freeze and may damage the lines. You could blow out the lines with a compressor and/or fill the ones with RV antifreeze. Does your AS have a water heater bypass? You did not mention draining the fresh water tank.
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by groverpeters View Post
We are new Airstream owners and live in Eastern Washington State. This coming winter our Airstream will be stored outdoors and there will be no electrical power at the storage lot. Other than draining all water lines and the hot water heater, is there anything else I should do to winterize our Airstream? Thank you!
Simple draining, is not the answer. To do so, WILL result in freeze damage.

To properly winterize, all the water lines MUST be empty, including the water heater. Blowing out those lines is the way to go. Then pour some anti-freeze liquid into each sink, so that the P-TRAPS contain only the anti-freeze. Make sure some of the anti-freeze is in the gray, black and water tanks, unless your absolutely positive that they are "COMPLETELY" empty.

Leave all the faucets open, and leave the dump valves open as well. Lastly, remove the water filter cartridge.

Andy
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:54 AM   #4
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As well as blowing out the water lines, the pump must be drained, the fresh water tank drained, the traps protected with anti freeze, the gray and black water tanks drained. Also if you have a black water tank flush system, it must be blown out with compressed air.

If you are not familiar with all of this, a professional winterizing service (maybe Airstream of Spokane) would be money well spent.
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Old 10-03-2015, 01:22 PM   #5
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First year for me to winterize too. Not looking forward to it. The manual reads like putting together a particle fusion disrupter. It's a lot of steps.
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Old 10-03-2015, 03:00 PM   #6
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I would offer this thought to help with Winterizing: It can be nasty or a pleasure - you make the choice on how to frame it. I am not really a positive person but do see winterization as a sign of good fortune and luck.

Winterizing is a part of cold world life that can be enjoyable if you let it. Take your time, read the manual (have lots of extra towels and rags on hand to catch the oops liquid spills), and while doing it remember the good times this past year, and enjoy the "driveway" trailering experience....hey it doesn't' cost you any fuel!!!

Then keep in mind that we are extremely fortunate to have a trailer to enjoy and use. And begin planning your adventures for next year.

For me I need to work at making it a process where I don't think but simply follow the sentences in the manual one at a time. And then realize that I have missed at least one step each year over the last 15. But, having followed the others I have not had a freeze problem (the disclaimer here would be toilet valve draining....).

Enjoy it as it is a part of being in the North and having a really fun toy to enjoy.
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Old 10-03-2015, 03:02 PM   #7
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Make a checklist
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Old 10-03-2015, 05:53 PM   #8
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We always use plumbing antifreeze in the water system just to be 100% sure all is protected.


I know some folk just blow the lines with compressed air, but I have heard that doing that, it is still possible for some water to stay in low points and so using non-poisonous RV antifreeze is a way to be sure

Sometimes I use compressed air initially to blow water out of the system, other times, I just let the antifreeze push it out.

I disconnect the water pump inlet hose and stick it in a bottle of antifreeze to introduce the antifreeze into the system.

We then open all the hot and cold taps one by one until they "Run pink" (The color of the antifreeze.

Do that with the galley sink, (don't forget the veggie rinse) the lavatory sink, the shower, the toilet (don't forget the toilet rinse hose if you have one)

I also momentarily crack open the hot and cold low point drain valves under the trailer to ensure that they are protected and also very briefly open the two valves to the empty hot water tank for the same reason.

As well, if you have an outside faucet and /or shower, crack those open and let a little antifreeze push any water out.

When you go through this process, the antifreeze you have pumped through will also protect the sink / shower drain traps, but if I have any antifreeze left in the jug I just pour it down the sink - I usually wind up using two gallon jugs at maybe $3-4 each.

When done, I also pour some in the toilet bowl to keep the seal wet. If you don't, the seal might dry out and leak in the Spring.


We get some fairly cold weather up here N. of the border, (though relatively mild by typical Canadian standards!), and have yet to have a problem with this process.


I agree with the suggestion to make a checklist I use one! It is easy to forget something to your chagrin!

Brian.
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:29 PM   #9
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Timely information. Thanks for all the advice. I have just moved from CA to WA and I'm looking at winterizing for the first time since buying our AS new in 2001. Keep the advice coming.
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:55 PM   #10
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A key thing to look for in the responses on this forum is "where are they from"? I live in NY, spent 6 weeks below 20 degrees last January to February. So my perspective on adequate protection against freezing is very different than someone from Texas or where ever.

Just saying this is a buyer beware scenario when you read the advice posted.

We were colder than normal, but then again 5 bucks in anti-freeze pumped through my system until it runs solid pink on the ground is well invested money from where I sit....

Lots of opinions from those in the south when the question comes from the north without regard as to how to appropriately answer the question.

Respectfully, IMHO.
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
We always use plumbing antifreeze in the water system just to be 100% sure all is protected.


I know some folk just blow the lines with compressed air, but I have heard that doing that, it is still possible for some water to stay in low points and so using non-poisonous RV antifreeze is a way to be sure

Sometimes I use compressed air initially to blow water out of the system, other times, I just let the antifreeze push it out.

I disconnect the water pump inlet hose and stick it in a bottle of antifreeze to introduce the antifreeze into the system.

We then open all the hot and cold taps one by one until they "Run pink" (The color of the antifreeze.

Do that with the galley sink, (don't forget the veggie rinse) the lavatory sink, the shower, the toilet (don't forget the toilet rinse hose if you have one)

I also momentarily crack open the hot and cold low point drain valves under the trailer to ensure that they are protected and also very briefly open the two valves to the empty hot water tank for the same reason.

As well, if you have an outside faucet and /or shower, crack those open and let a little antifreeze push any water out.

When you go through this process, the antifreeze you have pumped through will also protect the sink / shower drain traps, but if I have any antifreeze left in the jug I just pour it down the sink - I usually wind up using two gallon jugs at maybe $3-4 each.

When done, I also pour some in the toilet bowl to keep the seal wet. If you don't, the seal might dry out and leak in the Spring.


We get some fairly cold weather up here N. of the border, (though relatively mild by typical Canadian standards!), and have yet to have a problem with this process.


I agree with the suggestion to make a checklist I use one! It is easy to forget something to your chagrin!

Brian.
That's exactly how we have winterized our trailers over the years and have never had a problem. Our previous trailer, a top of the line Jayco, had a water manifold in one of the outside storage lockers with valves and an intake for the antifreeze -- was easier than crawling on the floor to hook up to the water pump inlet -- wish Airstream would utilize that approach.
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