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Old 11-02-2002, 09:55 AM   #1
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Question Winter in Airstream

I am going to be in my Airstream for another week on my Colorado farm and the temps are supposed to go into the low 20's. Questions:

Will the forced air heating system keep the inside water lines and storage tanks from freezing?

I could disconnect and drain the outside hose to the hydrant each night but that's kind of a pain. Is there a problem with letting water trickle through the system to keep the outside hose from freezing?

To winterize the lines when I leave, I put antifreeze (the pink stuff) in my empty water storage tank and pump the antifreeze through the lines. I have a bypass valve on the HWH. Is this the proper way to do it?

Earl
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Old 11-02-2002, 12:09 PM   #2
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How would I know if there is a bypass to the HWH? Where would I find it? If there isn't one, is it bad to have antifreeze go into it? It has been recomended that I force the antofreeze through my system in the same manner that you describe but no one mentioned the HWH bypass.

Overlander71
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Old 11-02-2002, 12:11 PM   #3
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The furnace should keep your tanks and lines from freezing, assuming you have sufficient propane and electricity to keep it running.

Why bother with a connection to the hydrant at all? Put some water in the fresh water tank and use the pump with that.

When you get ready to leave, just drain the fresh water tank. What's left in it won't hurt. If you add antifreeze to it, you may wonder next year if the bad taste will ever go away. Most RV antifreeze isn't meant to be diluted with water anyway.

If it's below freezing when you leave, I would keep the furnace running until you get to a dump station and get the black and gray tanks empty. Don't add the antifreeze to them until they're emptied.

If you have low point drains in the cold and hot water lines, open them with all the faucets open. Hold any spray hoses as high as you can (try not to have any U bends) and press the button to let the water drain back down. Make sure the faucets that supply them water are open when you do this. Don't forget to open any outdoor faucet you may have.

Close the drains and faucets and apply compressed air to one of those tire valve to hose connection attachments while opening the faucets and activating the sprayers one at a time. Don't forget to flush the toilet.

Pull the plug on the bottom of the hot water heater tank, let it drain and apply air to the water supply to get as much of the rest of it out as you can. Turn the valves to activate the hot water heater bypass so you won't need 6 gallons of antifreeze in it. In the same area, you may find a valve that bypasses the backflow check valve (to allow the pump to supply water from the fresh water tank to the outside faucet). Make sure it is closed so the city water and outside faucet lines remain empty rather than get filled with antifreeze.

Airstream says to use at least 60 psi, but I keep it at 40 or so where the compressor is putting out 8 cfm/min. Even at that, when the air is removed, I can hear water running back down to some low spot when I remove the air pressure... it's trapped somewhere and not being lifted enough by the air, so I wouldn't even consider not using antifreeze.

You can also use a small shop vac with a rag around the nozzle to blow water out of the traps. The antifreeze you put in the traps won't be so diluted.

Then get the antifreeze attachment for your pump input and pump the antifreeze out each of the faucets, the spray nozzles, and flush the toilet well. If you have a filter in the faucet or line, I'd just go ahead and contaminate it (taste-wise) with antifreeze. You probably ought to be replacing these at least annually anyway.

I'd preferably do all this (except adding antifreeze to the black and gray tanks) before dumping the tanks so any water from the lines and drains that got in them is dumped. If you can't do that, at least dump the gray water tank before adding antifreeze to them. You add antifreeze to these tanks mainly to keep the seals on their valves flexible.

Hope this helps,
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Old 11-02-2002, 12:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by overlander71
How would I know if there is a bypass to the HWH? Where would I find it? If there isn't one, is it bad to have antifreeze go into it? It has been recomended that I force the antofreeze through my system in the same manner that you describe but no one mentioned the HWH bypass.

Overlander71
You'll find it close to the hot water heater. There are two lines going to the hot water heater, cold water in and hot water out. A bypass will put a valve on each of these lines that you close. The bypass will also put a line joining the cold water in and hot water out lines OUTSIDE the valves it added. This line will have a third valve in it, and this is the one you open to allow water from the cold water in line to migrate to the hot water out line without going through the tank.

Next spring when you go to use the trailer, you open the two valves to allow water in and out of the hot water tank, and close the one that allows water and antifreeze to bypass the tank.

The antifreeze won't hurt the hot water heater, but without a bypass, you'd have to fill it with 6 gallons of antifreeze before you could get antifreeze into the hot water lines to the faucets etc.
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Old 11-02-2002, 12:23 PM   #5
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Great tips about getting the water out of the faucets, etc.. It's back to the AS to continue the process thanks to your helpful info.

Overlander71
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Old 11-02-2002, 12:29 PM   #6
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Iam making a word document with these hints in it so that I can print them out and add them to the AS manual. Thanks for sharing your expertise with a new RVer.

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Old 11-02-2002, 04:02 PM   #7
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You're welcome. I'm just passing on what was passed to me. The best thanks you can give is to pass on to others what you've learned and discovered on your own.
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Old 11-02-2002, 06:24 PM   #8
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information requested

just purchased a 65 overlander ( guy told me it was a tradewind on the phone, no problem) in nice shape, but the holding tank, battery , and water pump has been removed ( they had it hooked to municipal supply and sewer) does anyone have a diagram and or photos of the layout of these items? it would help me in replacing them. thanks, Bill barnacle@kyol.net
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Old 11-02-2002, 06:54 PM   #9
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Spring Cleaning

Winter won't last forever. Back when we lived in a winter-wonderland, we sanitized our fresh water tanks after draining the antifreeze.

Here is a link to a thread with cleaning/sanitizing instructions.

Good luck to all.
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Old 11-02-2002, 07:28 PM   #10
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"Then get the antifreeze attachment for your pump input and pump the antifreeze"

the easy way to do this is to get 3' of clear silicone tubing about the same i.d. as the threads on your water pump. (3/4 or 1")

then slightly heat the end of the tubing with a lighter, and it will slip right over the threads.

then you can stick the other end in the jugs of anti-freeze.

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