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Old 11-27-2014, 07:17 AM   #1
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My new winterizing trick

I was tired of flushing the antifreeze out of my water heater every spring. Last year I siphoned the water out of the tank. NO antifreeze. ( mouth full of bottom of the tank water…yeah eww ) This year I found a little water pump that is powered by an electric drill. $ 8.99 at the hardware store. Two years ago I just removed the drain plug, and let the water flow out, figuring that the small amount of water, and the shape of the tank would prevent the tank from cracking. Then I got worried that water might be in the lower tank outlet. Sorry if this is old news
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:03 AM   #2
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I was tired of flushing the antifreeze out of my water heater every spring. Last year I siphoned the water out of the tank. NO antifreeze. ( mouth full of bottom of the tank water…yeah eww ) This year I found a little water pump that is powered by an electric drill. $ 8.99 at the hardware store. Two years ago I just removed the drain plug, and let the water flow out, figuring that the small amount of water, and the shape of the tank would prevent the tank from cracking. Then I got worried that water might be in the lower tank outlet. Sorry if this is old news
Has no one ever told you about the hot water tank bypass valve? Most people I know simply drain the hot water tank, then close off the bypass valve before running the anti-freeze through the pump and into each faucet/water outlet in their trailer. The bypass valve basically takes the hot water tank out of the loop so it does not get filled with anti-freeze in the first place. Hence no need to flush the hot water tank at all.
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:12 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by mandolindave View Post
I was tired of flushing the antifreeze out of my water heater every spring. Last year I siphoned the water out of the tank. NO antifreeze. ( mouth full of bottom of the tank water…yeah eww ) This year I found a little water pump that is powered by an electric drill. $ 8.99 at the hardware store. Two years ago I just removed the drain plug, and let the water flow out, figuring that the small amount of water, and the shape of the tank would prevent the tank from cracking. Then I got worried that water might be in the lower tank outlet. Sorry if this is old news
I thought antifreeze in the Stainless steal tank was bad for it. That's one of the reasons for the bypass valve. So I took out the drain plug and installed a valve. I drain the tank and all lines first then I close everything and fill with air. Compressor set at 40psi. When it shuts off I open one thing at a time getting some spray then close. I do this several times until I get no spray. then close the hot and cold valves to the water heater, open the bypass and suck antifreeze into the lines.
Some say doing both, blowing out the lines and adding antifreeze, is overkill but here in the frigid winters of Wisconsin I don't take any chances.
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:40 AM   #4
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Bob, I know about the bypass

I used to use the method in which you open the bypass for a few seconds, to get just a little bit of antifreeze to mix with the water that didn't drain out of the water heater tank. ( so as not to use so much anti freeze )
My new method saves me steps winterizing and unwinterizing, and gives me piece of mind. Perhaps a little better on the environment, and my wallet.
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:48 AM   #5
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If you are working alone, and have drained the hot water heater first, and then using the empty hot water tank as a ballast tank for the air pressure that will work. After you have purged the water from the lines close the bypass valve and fill the lines with antifreeze.

If you have someone to work with just close the bypass valve, let the heater drain, and while you apply air to the system have them open one faucet, don't forget the toilet, at a time till they get air out. This will save running back and forth to open faucets.

Even though a curved sided tank will not be harmed by the last quart of water left in it after draining I like to put an 18 in. piece of 1/4 in. hose in the drain while the tank is draining this will siphon that last water out.
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:50 AM   #6
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GEO……..thanks

Now I understand the HOW TO of blowing out the lines….finally. Thanks
Next year I will try rigging up my 12 volt compressor. One of the reasons that I shy away from blowing out the lines is that the previous owner had to reroute a water line in the belly to make a repair. It is obviously the lowest point and I was concerned that water would settle there, and it's really tough to get at if it did burst. BUT…blowing out the lines, is surely a smart way to go in addition to any other precautions I take.
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:58 AM   #7
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Howie……

I am here to tell you that there is way more than a quart of water left in my tank after I drain it. And as I stated…it occurred to me that the tank inlet might still be filled with water after the tank was drained.
As I stated, last year I siphoned out the tank. What I didn't say was that this year the water smelled funny, and I REALLY didn't want a mouth full of bad water.

AND, my new drill powered pump gets more water out, and much faster, than siphoning.
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Old 11-27-2014, 10:05 AM   #8
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Gotcha!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mandolindave View Post
I used to use the method in which you open the bypass for a few seconds, to get just a little bit of antifreeze to mix with the water that didn't drain out of the water heater tank. ( so as not to use so much anti freeze )
My new method saves me steps winterizing and unwinterizing, and gives me piece of mind. Perhaps a little better on the environment, and my wallet.
Got it! 👍
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Old 11-27-2014, 10:06 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mandolindave View Post
I used to use the method in which you open the bypass for a few seconds, to get just a little bit of antifreeze to mix with the water that didn't drain out of the water heater tank. ( so as not to use so much anti freeze )
My new method saves me steps winterizing and unwinterizing, and gives me piece of mind. Perhaps a little better on the environment, and my wallet.
Opening the tank valves momentarily when you have antifreeze in the pipes also makes sure that there is no water trapped in the valve bodies and that if anything is trapped, it is antifreeze. Trapped water could cause problems I believe especially if they are ball valves - as mine are. I always try to remember to do that!

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Old 11-27-2014, 10:14 AM   #10
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PO left us a turkey baster with an extension tube to get the last bit of water out of the tank after draining it and bypassing. No problems.
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Old 11-27-2014, 11:01 AM   #11
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Brian

I was just thinking about the lower tank stem. But yeah…good point about the valve bodies, cause I really don't like changing them. ( Pex goes in easy, but removing stuff….not so much ) I think that I will keep using antifreeze as well as my other procedures. Especially because I just installed plumbing to allow me to add antifreeze without removing the hose line coming out of my fresh water tank.
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Old 11-27-2014, 11:09 AM   #12
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Jayn….

It's kind of ironic that you posted the great idea of the turkey baster on a day such as this. I can imagine it now……WHERE IS MY TURKEY BASTER???? haha
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Old 11-27-2014, 11:18 AM   #13
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I was just thinking about the lower tank stem. But yeah…good point about the valve bodies, cause I really don't like changing them. ( Pex goes in easy, but removing stuff….not so much ) I think that I will keep using antifreeze as well as my other procedures. Especially because I just installed plumbing to allow me to add antifreeze without removing the hose line coming out of my fresh water tank.
Dave,

I have never worked with pex - I keep thinking I should buy the crimping tool and play with it a bit so as to be all set to use it if/when I need to but have never gotten around to it!

Years ago with a previous trailer I used to just blow the lines with an air compressor and call it good. Then more recently, I read that although that will be fine most of the time, it des not necessarily get all the water out and there is a possibility that some of the water left in the pipes can pool someplace and cause freezing damage so I switched to using antifreeze instead of blowing the lines.

Then I learned that some people do both - i.e. blow with air first then fill with antifreeze so I have been doing that in recent years!

I'm not sure there is really any advantage over just introducing the antifreeze and letting it push the water out - I suppose you could get a bit of dilution of the antifreeze if you just pump it in without blowing the lines first. I can't think of any other reason to do both.

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Old 11-27-2014, 11:35 AM   #14
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It's kind of ironic that you posted the great idea of the turkey baster on a day such as this. I can imagine it now……WHERE IS MY TURKEY BASTER???? haha
Susan (wife) said the same thing.
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