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Old 12-01-2003, 02:41 PM   #1
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Semi-Winterizing Question

I have a question to ask about our 31' Airstream we keep at our ranch in Southwest Texas, I would like to know if there is anyway to winterize our trailer without draining all the water out of it each time we use it. We have been using it every one to two weeks for deer hunting and have not been draining it up until this past weekend when the tempatures got down to the high 20's. We do not have a city water hook-up right now I have been hauling water from a near by well and filling the holding tank with that and we run the water pump to shower and cleaning dishes. I would like to know if there is a way to mix RV antifreeze in with the water so I would not have to drain everything each time we use it and then have to refill the system everytime we come back. The temps do drop into the upper 20's for a night or two every once in a while but usually not more than that. If we had it directly connected to the water well (We will after this year) it would not be that bad to drain it after each time we use it but hauling the water waste so much by draining everything before we leave. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-01-2003, 02:52 PM   #2
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You could leave the furnace on a low setting, that is what I have been doing. But you may need one of these

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Old 12-01-2003, 02:56 PM   #3
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Bad news

I would not advise mixing RV antifreeze with your water unless you can flush the system before using the water supply. The RV antifreeze, while not toxic, would be very miserable stuff mixed in with your shower water or dishwater; it has a greasy feel to it and probably would leave a taste on dishes.

I'm only about 20 miles from you, by Dripping Springs. Fortunately, I am within an easy drive of the trailer and can winterize it easily. I don't drain for single overnights in the high 20s when the daytime temps are fairly high. If there is a protracted cold snap or temps lower than about 25 predicted, I drain the tabks, drain the water heater, blow out the pipes, and put antifreeze in the traps. I can take the carry air tank and a jug of antifreeze and do this in less than 40 minutes starting from home. I have never had freeze damage doing the above.

Your best bet would to put only what you have to in the tanks so that very little is wasted.
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Old 12-01-2003, 03:18 PM   #4
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Re: Semi-Winterizing Question

Quote:
Originally posted by Hunter
II would like to know if there is a way to mix RV antifreeze in with the water so I would not have to drain everything each time we use it
You can buy a pump converter from Camping World http://www.campingworld.com/browse/s...=SRCH&tcode=37 that could allow you to quickly winterize the water lines and pump. This would not however, protect the fresh water tank and the hot water tank. Hopefully because of their volume you would have enough heat mass to protect you on the nights where the temps drop below freezing.

This solution is pretty fast and its just a matter of switching a valve setting, closing off the hot water bypass for the water heater, turning on the pump and running each outlet until it turns pink. Also let enough run on each faucet to make sure the plumbing traps are protected.

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Old 12-01-2003, 03:25 PM   #5
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If you replace the drain plug on the water heater with a brass valve as well as doing the bypass then draining the heater would be a 30 second job.

There is a member with a MH that added a 3-4 gallon tank that holds antifreeze so he can winterize in 10 min if need be and has it plumbed permanently into the plumbing. Bypass the water heater, flip over to the antifreeze and pump out the lines, drain the hot water tank and open the main tank drain and you are done.
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Old 12-01-2003, 03:42 PM   #6
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Doing it that way Brett, couldn't you recycle/reuse the same anti-freeze? Makes sense to me...however, once we winterize here in November, we're done for the season until April, most of our camping spots are snow-covered this time of year.

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Old 12-01-2003, 03:55 PM   #7
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Shari,

Yeah, I suppose you could use the stuff over again if you wanted to collect it out of the Grey tank, but I for one would not want to put anything I drained out of the Grey tank back into the fresh water system. Also the stuff in the Grey tank may be slightly diluted and therefore less effective?

Once we winterized in WI it was left to be snowed in. The only year we did not winterize until after Jan was the year we went to FL for Christmas.

Spring un-winterizing was done at the first campground and was not a big deal.
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Old 12-01-2003, 03:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by InsideOut
Doing it that way Brett, couldn't you recycle/reuse the same anti-freeze? Shari
Shari,
Everytime you reuse the antifreeze it becomes a bit more contaminated with water and looses its efectivness. A chemist buddy of mine tried to explain to me that the RV antifreeze will not take the kind of dillution that a conventional automotive antifreeze will. I kind of got it . I think Hunter's best bet is to drain out as much water as he can, pour antifreeze down the traps and leave the heat on low. Minimal amount of work, his big issue is the having to haul more water on every trip to add to the tank. The only other option that I can see would be to use a tank heater and hope the power doesn't go out.

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Old 12-01-2003, 06:26 PM   #9
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Thanks for all of your quick replys. Now at least I have some ideas on what to do to make it a little easier to do. Pahaska, I wish I was as close to the trailer as you are but our ranch is half way between Rocksprings and Del Rio. It is 190 miles from our house. We bought this trailer from a couple in Dripping Springs. I will check out the pump converter and the water heater by-pass tomorrow and see what I can come up with. The ideas about leaving a heater on are good but we do not have electricity to the place yet. We have a 6250 watt generator we use until we get electric installed. Thanks for all your great ideas.
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Old 12-01-2003, 09:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hunter
Thanks for all of your quick replys. Now at least I have some ideas on what to do to make it a little easier to do. Pahaska, I wish I was as close to the trailer as you are but our ranch is half way between Rocksprings and Del Rio. It is 190 miles from our house. We bought this trailer from a couple in Dripping Springs.
Sorry, I overlooked the "southwest Texas" and assumed you meant the Spicewood on TX 71, about 30 miles west of Austin.

My quarrel with all of the advice on how to use the pink antifreeze is that you need a lot of water to flush that stuff out of the system and a lot of water is what you are trying to avoid transporting. Personally, I don't want to shower, wash dishes, or brush my teeth with more than a trace of that stuff in the water. In your situation, I would avoid the pink stuff, put in as little water as possible, and drain the system between uses. IMHO, that would require moving the least possible water.
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Old 12-01-2003, 10:06 PM   #11
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Since you have a nice size genset you could just use 60PSI of Air from a small to medium tanked aircompressor to blow all the lines and then all you have to do is refill upon arrival. This eliminates the need for flushing and carrying less water. It does require some work, but the more often you do it the faster you will become!
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Old 12-02-2003, 05:52 AM   #12
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Pahaska, We do live in Spicewood off of Tx 71 but the trailer is at our ranch which is 190 miles from us. We work in Austin. I guess by everything I am reading draining the trailer each trip is about the only option at this point. I will just have to figure out which way will be the quickest and will waste the least amount of water.
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Old 12-02-2003, 08:24 AM   #13
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antifreeze

You have a unique situation having to use well water and manually pour into you tank. I can see why purging the lines each time is not a viable option for you. This requires a creative approach to keeping the water from freezing. I would suggest pouring one gallon of bourbon (or vodka if you want the water to run clear) into the tank with each fill up. I think you'll find that the water won't freeze and your camping/hunting trips will take on a whole new dimension. You may not shoot as straight but you probably won't care.
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Old 12-02-2003, 08:30 AM   #14
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Now why didn't I think of that?

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