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Old 09-14-2012, 10:56 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Skater View Post
I used to do the antifreeze but I got tired of smelling it (still) two months into the camping season .

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Old 09-14-2012, 01:35 PM   #16
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Quickest, best and easiest way to clean the black water tank is to dump a bunch of ice cubes down the toilet before heading home on the last trip of the season.

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Old 09-14-2012, 02:04 PM   #17
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I used to blow water lines in a previous trailer we owned that had a very simple water system. It had no shower, just a porta potty etc.

When moving to trailers with more elaborate systems, I read that simply blowing the lines "could" lead to problems. inasmuch as some water could remain in the piping and after blowing, might make its way back to a low point and would freeze. If enough accumulated broken pipes could result.

I'm not sure if that is valid or not, but I have decided ever since to use antifreeze. I don't bother blowing the system first.

Costs me maybe a gallon and a half of plumbing antifreeze and easy to do using the existing 12v pump - which itself is then protected as well as the fliter on the intake.

maybe it is unnecessary as many people just seem to use compressed air, but i prefer not to take a chance! For sure I'd be the one person to have problems!

I've never done anything with the black water flush line.

I think the only winterization problem we have had with the AS was the first winter we owned it.

The previous owner had tucked the toiler rinse hose into the back of the toilet and we didn't know it even existed so it didn't get the antifreeze treatment.

Needless to say, water all over the place when we used the toilet and a new Thetford hose/valve assembly needed at the rip off price of about $39 if I recall!

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Old 09-14-2012, 02:54 PM   #18
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I appreciate all the experienced responses. I'm happy with the compressed air treatment. I, too, empty the filter bowl on the incoming line to the pump. I do read about the low point valves. I don't know if my older trailer had one and can't look for it any more. If the new trailer has one where would I look to find it ?????

It was mentioned by Brian ( above ) about not being confident that the compressed air will eliminate all the water. That's a concern that I share. When I do it I lower the pressure to approx. 45 psi and I go around the trailer and evacuate water through each faucet several times. When I'm sure I'm getting nothing but AIR I'm confident the lines are dry.
I never had any issues over the 4 winters I did this. And it's what the previous owner also did. Still not sure what I will do with the black tank spray but I'm leaning towards a low air pressure application just to be sure. OH YES, don't forget that external faucet for those that have one.
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:33 AM   #19
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if you have a filtered water spigot on the kitchen sink you'll need to address that too. i believe that using compressed air may not purge the water from the filter and if frozen will split the filter. if you use antifreeze you'll need to replace the filter when putting the water lines back into service.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:34 AM   #20
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Our old trailer had the filter spigot but it was not in use. The new trailer has the filter built into the faucet. I was advised by my friend ( prev. owner ) to remove the filter cartridge for winter. He also installed a whole house filter in the cabinet of the bathroom and I will remove that one also after blowing the lines.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:55 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
I use only air pressure to winterize. I've never blown out the black tank sprayer and haven't had a problem. But don't forget to blow out the galley sink sprayer and the toilet flusher.
I don't have a toilet sprayer, but use compressed air only to blow out the kitchen sprayer and it works the same as the other water valves.
I use Rv anti freeze for traps and holding tanks only.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:17 PM   #22
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I have just a 1/3 HP, 3 gallon 100 PSI air compressor. Can I get enough volume out of this to adequately blow out the lines on my 22' CCD?
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:32 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by alreed View Post
I have just a 1/3 HP, 3 gallon 100 PSI air compressor. Can I get enough volume out of this to adequately blow out the lines on my 22' CCD?
If it has a pressure regulator, dial it back to 50psi... that is plenty to blow out, and blow up your plumbing.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:33 PM   #24
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Here is one to make you go hmmm.... last year I blew out, and anti-freezed. I had pink everywhere... it got to -40 and my toilet step valve froze and cracked... and pink anti-freeze came running out of it.

This year I bought 'name brand' pink stuff... in the big 3 gallon jugs...
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:36 PM   #25
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Friday, that's a bummer. One year I forgot to purge the toilet valve and send antifreeze through it and it cracked, but since then I remember and no problems. There must have been water trapped in there or the antifreeze wasn't good enough for -40˚ (same temp either C or F). I have read RV antifreeze becomes less effective when mixed with some, maybe not much, water, but don't know how much water or whether it is even true.

It is relatively warm here compared to Canada and I don't think it has gotten down to -20˚ F, but I figure it can get a lot colder in any one year. I blow the lines (45 psi), make sure all faucets and drains are blown out in succession, and then run antifreeze through the water pump bypass. On ours there's a drain under the water heater for a water line (valve just under the water heater bypass) not mentioned in the owner's manual. You can't count on the owner's manual.

The water heater, when drained, still has as much as a gallon in it and Atwood says that's not a problem—it won't affect the tank. But, stuff can accumulate in the bottom—other than turning the trailer over and shaking the water out, you can flush it with lots of water and then try to blow it out with compressed air.

I use a pancake compressor and it works fine. If I run out of air, I wait, it pumps up, and blow some more. The size of the tank only will slow you down briefly. You can get adapters at Camping World to attach to the compressor hose and the city water inlet—that will make it a lot easier than holding the air hose to the hole.

The models with the water pump under the wardrobe in the secret compartment is mounted backwards at the factory so you can't get to the filter or easily attach a bypass. Apparently they've done this for years and may still do it. I got Airstream to pay the dealer to turn it around and attach the bypass kit I had bought. It takes a gallon or so of antifreeze to fill the pipes and fixtures—cheap insurance I think. I also put some in the P traps and a cup or two in the tanks to lub the drain valves (open and close them quickly to coat them with antifreeze). You could leave gallons of water in the tanks and there would be no damage I would think because there's plenty of expansion room, but you wouldn't be able to lub the drain valves.

Remove any activated carbon filters—antifreeze doesn't get along with them and you will have to buy new ones.

I may be overcautious, but the costs of broken lines are more than I want to deal with. There's enough maintenance as it is and winterizing only takes an hour or two. Summerizing takes much more time as I have to flush everything out and then sanitize the system.

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Old 09-18-2012, 06:20 PM   #26
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I can relate lots of instances where clients only blew out the water lines and paid dearly. This is especially a problem in larger trailers and motor homes. Air pressure is no guarantee that you will displace all of the water, as some always seems to drain back and will collect on any low points in your plumbing.

I really look forward to the Snowbirds coming back to FL, especially after Dec. when they have to drive in freezing temps and inevitably blow a valve, ice maker, faucet or other part because they were too lazy, uninformed of just plain cheap to do the job right and winterize with a quality RV antifreeze.

My special favorites are folks that don't use anti-freeze and have Aqua-Hot hydronic heating systems. They inevitably blow a water heating coil, requiring a replacement unit starting at $5000.

Do it right the first time and use anti-freeze!
Lew Farber...RVIA Certified Master Tech...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:50 PM   #27
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Good point Lew.

Your Airstream plumbing is designed for pressures not to exceed 40# if I recall correctly. I set my air compressor to this pressure and have never failed to see a fine mist continue to blow out. Leave it to sit a while and you'll spit out solid glugs of water again. It's always scary imagining what amount of water might settle in the plumbing. Pex may be able to withstand that (I'm not saying so! copper sure can't) but if frost forms at a fitting, all bets are off.

What about using higher pressures? You might get closer to an antifreeze-free plumbing blowout with that if you have a partner with good tap dancing skills (eh-eh.. ). It would be risky even to describe what that might entail. "Dealers do it." Yeah, they assign some flunky to use 80, 100 or 120 psi. Walk ... slowly ... away ... from ... them. For the low price of RV antifreeze I know where I'm putting my $$.

Just don't put the antifreeze to circulate via your freshwater tank and expect it to rinse out before August. Install a bypass valve. Winterizing becomes an easy process once you've done it once or twice. Just one opinion.

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Old 09-18-2012, 09:10 PM   #28
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Someone suggested to me putting a gallon of cheap vodka in the water lines instead of pink RV anti freeze in order to avoid the residual taste problem in the spring. Use regular RV pink anti freeze in the traps. Has anyone tried this?

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