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Old 01-29-2016, 12:06 PM   #1
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2001 25' Safari
Fair Oaks , California
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Although I've owned my AS since new in 2001, I recently moved from CA to WA and winterized for the first time this year. I drained all the tanks, water heater, and water lines. Then I blew the water lines and water pump clear of any remaining water with my air compressor taking care to open all faucets, shower, toilet, etc. Then, I poured RV antifreeze into the P-traps for both sinks and holding tank. I did not pump the pink antifreeze through the entire fresh water system, so there is no need to flush it out.

My question is, how to un-winterize the fresh water system for use of the trailer. Do I just fill the fresh water tank and flip on the water pump to refill the water heater and water lines throughout the trailer? Or, hook up to city water and open the water valve to fill the water heater and water lines (filling the fresh water tank separately)? I would think this would also be a good time to sanitize the fresh water system by adding a bit of bleach to the process then flushing the system after a day or two.

Any advice will be appreciated.

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Old 01-29-2016, 12:19 PM   #2
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Mercer Island , Washington
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I hook to city water (because it's right there) and flush that way. I also fill the FW tank and push some of that thru the lines as well. I usually think this is a good time to bleach the FW tank (I don't do that too often).

Where are you located in WA? We sometimes get late season hard freezes, so I wouldn't do this for another month at least, unless you are planning a trip.

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Old 01-29-2016, 12:52 PM   #3
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Since your anti-freeze is only in the septic system technically, I would hook up to the city water system (assuming it is chlorinated and pressurized) and open each valve and allow some water to run. For all intents the chlorinated water will provide enough sanitation for you. Pressurizing the system would also allow you to check for leaks. While I've never had a leak, I have had vibration loosen the connections between the hot and cold water lines that connect to the kitchen sink faucet fittings. That showed up with a drip. You can also easily check the drain traps on the kitchen and bathroom sinks as the water run. As far as the fresh water system goes, I do little other than to add some water to the tank to determine that the pump is working and leak free. If I'm going to use the fresh water to drink, I'll sanitize the tank a few days before I leave. While connected to city water I'll also reverse the water heater bypass valves and fill the water heater and check to make sure it heats. Also be sure to test the toilet, its sprayer (if it has one), and the sink sprayer.
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Old 01-29-2016, 01:25 PM   #4
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I also do not put antifreeze in the water supply lines, but still hook up to city water in the Spring and run tons of fresh water through all the lines hot and cold, and use a drain hose (via reducer cap) from the grey water tank, to let everything get freshened for the new year. The waste traps are also covered this way.

I partially fill the fresh water tank with city water, add some bleach, then fill it and let it sit for a day or so, then drain it out the fresh water tank low point drain (without pumping it through the system). I use the pump enough to make sure it is working OK, and that there are no leaks though.

I tend to leave the fresh water tank empty until just before departing for a trip, when I again add a little bleach and fill it with city water, as non-potable water for showering etc.. All drinking water (tea, coffee, cooking, etc.) is bottled.
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Old 01-29-2016, 01:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jcanavera View Post
For all intents the chlorinated water will provide enough sanitation for you.
Strictly speaking, chlorination for drinking water is different from chlorination for sanitizing/disinfection. The maximum allowable concentration of chlorine in municipal drinking water is 4 parts per million, according to the EPA Primary Safe Drinking Water Standards, so chlorinated municipal water will have a concentration less than that. And because some people with especially sensitive taste buds can detect concentrations as low as 2 parts per million, a chlorine residual of only 1 part per million is far more likely.

The minimum allowable chlorine concentration for sanitizing/disinfecting a drinking water system is 50 parts per million, according to many State health departments. Some even recommend concentrations as high as 200 parts per million. The higher the concentration, the less time the chlorine has to remain in the system to properly disinfect the plumbing.

The key here is, if the system always has water in it, and is never drained, a concentration of 1 to 4 parts per million of chlorine as found in municipal water supplies is probably fine. But if you drain the system (when you winterize OR when you do repairs), you should follow the sanitizing procedures outlined in your owner's manual, which will produce a chlorine concentration of at least 50 parts per million, and then flush the system and refill.
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Old 01-29-2016, 03:56 PM   #6
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You can un-winterize using any water source. I use the tank because it's more convenient for me.

The only difficult part, especially when relying on compressed air or gravity alone in the fall, is replacing the stuff that froze and cracked even though you would have sworn there was no way there could have been any water left in there.
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Old 01-29-2016, 05:18 PM   #7
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Fair Oaks , California
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Thanks everyone. Sounds like no special process is needed to refill the water heater provided its valves are open?

And yes, I'm looking forward to a hopefully successful repressurization of the water lines with no leakage due to freezing of water that I didn't get out of the system. I'm planning to check everywhere I can visually and by touch, then by leaving the water pump on (with city water disconnected). If the pump pressurizes the lines, shuts off, and doesn't kick back on when all the faucets etc. are off, I should have a leak free system.

I'm in Vancouver, WA. I'm not ready to un-winterize yet. Just looking forward to the process in the next month or two or three.
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Old 01-30-2016, 05:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nomad518 View Post
Thanks everyone. Sounds like no special process is needed to refill the water heater provided its valves are open?
Just make sure you close the pressure relief valve [PRV] on the water heater before you run the cold supply water into it. [edit -- and install/close the drain plug/valve obviously] The location of the PRV results in a small pocket of air remaining at the top of the water heater tank, which is necessary for the PRV not to activate when the water gets hot IMO.

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