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Old 04-18-2006, 10:18 AM   #1
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Antifreeze... yuck!

First time we've unwinterized, and...

We're in the process of running our FIFTH full tank of fresh water completely through the system. But the delightful flavor and odor of Pepto-Bismol still lingers in every drop we take from the tap.

I understand the need to make RV antifreeze identifiable (thus the bright pink color), but the use of such a persistently obnoxious flavorant/odorant baffles me. The whole point of paying so much for RV antifreeze is that food-grade propylene glycol has very low toxicity. I understand that we don't want people putting it on their pancakes, but for it to be yet detectable at this dilution is simply ridiculous!

Anyway, anybody got an ETA on when (or if) this odor/taste will go away? Any tips on helping it leave sooner? Does anybody make this stuff with no or at least a less persistant fragrance?

Thanks,
jon
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Old 04-18-2006, 10:43 AM   #2
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jon
I have similar perceptions of the pink antifreeze.

The last time I used it, I sanitized the tank with the cholrine mix, and then added baking soda to the next several tanks of rinse water, Eventually it got better.

Since then, I just drain the water systems and blow out the lines with compressed air very thoroughly. I haven't experienced any trouble doing things this way, and we live in Utah where we definitely frezze up during the winter.

In fact, even tho the pink stuff doesn't freeze, I did a test in the freezer, and it seemed to me that it got kind of slushy and maybe expanded a little bit. I lost the valve in the toilet one winter using the pink stuff - it's a platstic valve and even a little expansion would be bad for it. Haven't had that happen again with the compressed air approach.

To emphasize, I spend a lot of time with the compressed air to make sure the water is out of the lines.

I'll be curious to hear what other people have to say about this.
Bob
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Old 04-18-2006, 10:49 AM   #3
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Some of it is hiding..

Jon-

Though we're fortunate not to have to use it here in Northern Calif, I'v had to flush cleaner and bicarb through system, which is similar problem. Stuff can hide in small places, and require reflushing if it doesn't get out.... Some of usual hiding places we've learned to flush well when trying to clear it..

1. Raise left/street side of trailer to completely drain fresh water tank using drain valve, assuming fresh water drain on curb/right side.. Add partial tank fresh water before beginning city water flushing.
2. Run entire hot water system, including shower and bath vanity and kitchen faucets, and even flush toilet line.
3. Shut off city water and run water pump for a while feeding from drained and flushed fresh tank.
4. Repeat hot water flushing again, as well as cold

If all else fails, you can also get fittings by hose connector to add compressed air from air tank, and open all faucets and drains sequentially and try to blow dry the plumbing above the water tank....

John McG
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Old 04-18-2006, 11:11 AM   #4
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Here is what I've done.

I bought the mint flavored RV antifreeze....you can get it at Ace Hardware (I think they are national).

Then, I flush out the system, and if I get a taste still, I take a bit of baking soda, mix it in the tank and reflush the system out a few more times.

So far it's been ok.

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Old 04-18-2006, 11:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDM16CCD
jon
I'll be curious to hear what other people have to say about this.
Bob
Since you asked....

When I used compressed air exclusively, I had freeze damage to my pump. lines were fine, but you can never completely empty the water out of either the pump, or the lines, but you can replace it with another liquid that won't freeze. a few drops of water in the lines is not a problem, but in the small crevices of the pump, it is. anyway, I wound up with a crack in the pressure switch housing, and upon closer inspection, I could see that it was pushed away from the body of the pump, undoubtedly by expanding ice.

Since it doesn't take any more effort to use the anti-freeze vs. compressed air...way less, imo, I'll be doing that from now on. However, I do not put the antifreeze in the fresh tank. I wonder if the original poster did that...you'll never get it all out of there, if you do, because it never completely empties. I use a water heater bypass, disconnect the pump intake and stick it into the gallon jugs of antifreeze...suck it right from the bottle. only takes 2 gallons to protect the whole system, including the pump, and a complete flushing is quickly and easily accomplished in the spring. never noticed any smell or taste after doing this.
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Old 04-18-2006, 11:37 AM   #6
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hi toasty and others.....

as john suggests the anitfreeze can hide and tilting the trailer really helps....

so does a few trips around the block with full tank of water...

also the hot water heater.....pull the external tank plug and drain....repeat 2-3 times.
minerals also tend to accumulate in the hot tank.....so the triple flush helps with this too....i do this again mid season....because of the mineral slush that happens.

take a 'look' at the shurflo prefilter/screen near the water pump....it has a clear dome....this spot also collects antifreeze and takes forever to clear....

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-18-2006, 12:24 PM   #7
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Chuck:
I know what you mean about water hanging out in the small cracks and crevices, and then freezing and breaking the housing. Not a problem in the lines, but potentially damaging in pumps and valves. I never had that particular problem on my pump, but did (2 times, now that I'm think about it) on the water valve on the toilet. Part of my solution is to leave the little 'chock' in the gate valve in the toilet, which keeps the water valve in the open position so any water drops have a place to go.

For a while, I was doing both methods. I'd drain the system, suck the antifreeze in directly to the lines at the pump like you described, and then blow the antifreeze out of the lines with the compressed air. I lost that setup when I got the new trailer, should probably add it back to be safe.

I'm thinking it wouldn't be difficult to just remove the water pump and store it in the house for the winter, with the rest of the 'freezeables'. I usually disconnect 1 of the lines to clean the pump filter, anyway. I've kind of been wanting one of thoe new, quiet pumps with the improved pressure delivery - maybe this is my year if the pump froze this winter!

Thanks for that input
Bob
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Old 04-18-2006, 12:31 PM   #8
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I typically do both air and anti-freeze. I allow each water device (shower, sinks, head, low end lines, etc) to get the air through it and then follow with what Chuck said with pulling the anti-freeze right from the gallon container. I actually bought a fitting that connected right to the filter before the pump, and added a hose to that fitting. Works great, but does take a bit of priming sometimes.

I also pour between 6 and 12oz of antifreeze into the drain traps (shower, sinks, etc).

Even though I know it's not necc, I do put about 24-36oz of antifreeze into the fresh tank. I do get it all out buy filling the tank a few times, draining, then filling it slowly, while the drain valve is open. I just did it this past weekend and happy to say, no ill tastes or smells. I will admit it does take a fair amount of water to get the stuff out of the fresh tank. The main reason I do it is that there is water left in the tank no matter how hard you try to get it all out, and with my luck it would eventually colllect by the valve and cause and issue. I do the same thing with the water heater too, even though it's not needed. With the antifreeze in there, to me it's cheap insurance for the two or three gallons I use every year, but to each their own.
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Old 04-18-2006, 12:42 PM   #9
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Hi Silver
You make some excellent points about the remaining water in the fresh tank, and water freezing in it and causing a problem (wouldn't that be a headache to fix!). I hadn't thought about that, but I do leave that valve open for the winter.

Seems like the anti freeze odor and taste would be related to how concentrated it is. I think next year I will put a cup or two in the fresh tank, and then leave the drain valve open while I drive the trailer to winter storage. That way any antifreeze in the tank that wants to can find its way out, and you've lowered the risk of freeze damage in the drain valve for the water you can't get out. Not filling the fresh tank, water heater, or lines filled with anitfreeze for the whole winter would seem to reduce the risk of odor or taste the following spring.

I also pour a couple of cups of antifreeze in each drain, and leave the big black/grey tank drain valves open for the winter.

It may be getting to be time to just start spending winters in the trailer down south somewhere!
Bob
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Old 04-18-2006, 01:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
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It may be getting to be time to just start spending winters in the trailer down south somewhere!
Bob
No kiddin'!

In my case though at nearly $3/gallon for fuel, antifreeze and the the air hose are far less expensive lately.

I don't know what's worse, being addicted to petroleum or drugs/booze...both appear to make one just as broke lately.
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Old 04-18-2006, 01:28 PM   #11
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At this rate, gas is going be more expensive than bottled water!

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Old 04-18-2006, 02:08 PM   #12
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Folks,

Thanks as always for your experience and knowledge. It will guide me during my first winterization this fall. I'll just pop this thread up again and use some of your ideas with a mindset of using as little of the pink goo as possible. MAN, I just hate that Pepto Bismol taste; makes my camping trip remind me of stomache aches.

2 more questions:

What about taking out the pump entirely for the winter and storing it somewhere above freezing? Is this difficult or otherwise inadavisable?

The dealer evidently bypassed the water heater when they winterized the unit, and they left its drain plug out. This seems to follow the manual's procedure. Is this the correct way to go, or is there a chance of lurking water and possible freeze damage left in the heater?

thanx,
jon
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:20 PM   #13
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jon
I've not had trouble with water pump freezing (yet), but I have changed them before. If you're at all handy with tools, it's not hard to take it out, so long as it's easy to get to. There's a screen filter that should be cleaned every now and then, anyway, and the hose fittings I can tighten/loosen with just my fingers. There's a few screws holding it to the floor, and an electrical connector.

Do you have access to compressed air? I think the antifreeze lowers the risk of freezing damage, but seems like the less you use (like put it in at the pump, don't fill the fresh tank) and the shorter time you leave it in, the less chance of odor/taste problems like you're experiencing. I like the idea of pumping it in through the lines/pump/valves and then blowing it out with the air.

I was checking Camping World, and they have some products that are supposed to help clean tanks with taste/odor problems. Since that's where you are this year, might be worth looking at and maybe trying.
Bob
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Old 04-18-2006, 03:01 PM   #14
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I wouldn't take out the pump each year. When you are at the Midwest rally, I'll show you a few tricks that will help protect, and keep you smiling in the spring. You could take it out, but I think that would be a bigger PITA than just blowing air through it and a bit of Antifreeze. I'll try to remember the adapter and hose I built and show you how to hook it up.

As for the water heater tank, it's metal and if doesn't have water in it and the plug is out, I wouldn't worry about it. I'm not a big fan of leaving the plug out all winter, so I blow air throught the system, including the water heater, allow the pump to pump some mint antifreeze in the hot tank (not required) cap it, then flush it out in the spring. I'm a bit excessive compulsive, so by no means follow what I do with the water heater tank.

The othter stuff has served me well for 4 years, even though I'll admit, I am a bit compulsive when I deal with the Airstream and do extra stuff that isn't always needed, but it doens't hurt either. The Bambi and Safari were outside in frigid Chicago winters two out of the 4 years I've been streamin' and I had no issues so far FWIW. Not to say you couldn't do less and still be OK....but keep in mind I'm in I.T. We rarely rely on just one system.
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