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Old 09-30-2009, 10:57 PM   #1
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Winterizing-- do I have what it takes?!

I'm just formulating our Winterizing plan and wondering if I have what it takes!

I don't have a compressor.
Can I winterize without a compressor (ie, without blowing the lines) ?

Can I drain it all, then use Multiple Gallons of RV Antifreeze? I'd sent it thru the whole system... open faucets, shower, toilet sprayer, etc until they run pink... including hot water heater?

Thanks.

By the Bay
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:22 AM   #2
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The OM for our 76 calls for the use of an air compressor. You may be able to get by without one, but compressor use does help clear the lines of residual water. I seem to recall several members here doing this with a simple 12-volt compressor that is relatively inexpensive.

You're on the right track about opening the faucets, sprayers and such. Also don't forget to pour some antifreeze in to the sink and shower traps as well. If you are going to flood your system with anit freeze I would suggest that you put a by-pass on the water heater before doing so, as it will cut down on the volume of anti freeze required. Just remember to drain the WH before closing things down for the winter if you do use a by-pass.

We never had any luck clearing the water lines in our 76 Sovereign, but the plumbing had been modified by a PO and was therefore a PITA. If you need a copy of our OM section that covers Winterizing let me know and I will send it to you.

Our 73 Avion (the brand our so-called friends ridicule us over) still has the original copper plumbing. It self drains using three valves and a pass up and down on the electric tongue jack.

Best of Luck,

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Old 10-01-2009, 08:27 AM   #3
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I would not trust just draining the trailer. Try and get a portable air tank from someone and use it to blow down the trailer. There are only about $30.00 at Wal Mart. You will not need more than one tank of air if you start with 100 lbs. Most RV shops should have the air adapter to connect to the city water supply.

If you use a tank have someone in the trailer and have them open the fixture closest to the city water inlet and then you apply pressure in short bursts, a second or 2 at first and slightly longer bursts as you go, until they see just drops of water. Towards the end of the process you will be applying burst of 5 seconds in order to see movement at the last fixture. Make sure you do not apply pressure without at least one fixture open. Do hot and cold at each fixture separately, toilet and wand if equipped . Have them close that fixture and move forward in the trailer repeating the process.

If you have a hot water bypass make sure you close it before you start. If you do not have one drain the heater first reseal the heater and then drain it again after you have blown out the lines. I saw this because you will push some water into the empty heater as you blow out the lines.

If you do not have a bypass consider installing one to reduce you antifreeze needs from 6 gallons to less than one gallon. What you save in antifreeze will pay for the air tank. The bypass will be an out of pocket expense.

The problem with relying on draining is many trailer have a relatively long leg of piping from the city connection to the balance of the system. Just draining will not get this water out and when you pump in antifreeze that slug of water is trapped back in that piping.

When you pump in the antifreeze check to see if your rig has a filter between the fresh water tank and the pump. If so fill make you connection to fill the system through the filter because it will have water in it that is not removed during blow down.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:46 AM   #4
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Well- I think you should figure it out... because if you learn to do it once you can do it every year and as you become a more experience Airstreamer- why pay someone to winterize your trailer for you. You are on the right track- lots of anti-freeze. You wouldn't have to put it through you hot water heater- it should have a drain on it. Good luck!
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:49 AM   #5
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problem with draining or blowing-out is that neither will protect your pump. the only way to protect the pump (short of outright removing it, and bringing it indoors) is to replace the water in it with antifreeze.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:09 AM   #6
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problem with draining or blowing-out is that neither will protect your pump. the only way to protect the pump (short of outright removing it, and bringing it indoors) is to replace the water in it with antifreeze.
Sorry. If you use the pump to introduce the antifreeze to the system you have protected the pump. Please reread my comments above.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:24 AM   #7
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right, I'm just sayin'. on a lot of these threads, only "blowing" is advocated.

but while we're on the subject...if you're going to pump antifreeze throughout, why bother with the blowing?
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:50 AM   #8
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See this photo of bypass valve position and Howie E's post here. You definitely don't want to fill your HW heater full of antifreeze. Position the valves as shown in the first link and open the HW heater drain plug. Half an inch of residual water at the bottom of the tank won't matter.

Definitely don't introduce RV antifreeze into your fresh water tank to pump it through your system. You'll never get it all out of there until later next summer...

After my system is blown out I use 2 gallons max of RV antifreeze to winterize. RV antifreeze is supplied at the working strength IIRC and can't be diluted like the very different automotive product. If you use RV antifreeze to force out the water, I'd worry about dilution and possibly not being protected. RV and auto antifreeze are not the same product, so don't cross over to the dead side...

Even without a compressor I'd think it shouldn't be hard to get this done. John HD made a nice blow-out plug for his water inlet that he can thread onto a compressor hose -- I'm not as handy as he is. I found a blow-out plug in a local RV dealer (check farm & fleet stores too) and, with a helper, use the rubber tipped tool (on right in this photo) to put air into the system.
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:06 AM   #9
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right, I'm just sayin'. on a lot of these threads, only "blowing" is advocated.
but while we're on the subject...if you're going to pump antifreeze throughout, why bother with the blowing?
There are a couple of areas that might not be adequately protected if pumping antifreeze was the only approach. The first that comes to mind is the kitchen sink filter. If the cartridge were left in place the antifreeze could flow through the filter to a point that it gave the impression the filter was full when in fact it would just have a diluted solution in it. In fact the cartridge should be removed for winter and the cartridge bypass cover installed before winterizing.

As noted above if you just pump antifreeze in the leg back to the city connection would not be filled with antifreeze.

The need for a good winterizing is very critical with the older trailer that have copper plumbing. Copper is not at all forgiving to freezing and hell to repair in confined areas. Plastic piping is a lot more forgiving
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:32 AM   #10
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There are a couple of areas that might not be adequately protected if pumping antifreeze was the only approach. The first that comes to mind is the kitchen sink filter. If the cartridge were left in place the antifreeze could flow through the filter to a point that it gave the impression the filter was full when in fact it would just have a diluted solution in it. In fact the cartridge should be removed for winter and the cartridge bypass cover installed before winterizing.
ahh. don't have one of those.
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As noted above if you just pump antifreeze in the leg back to the city connection would not be filled with antifreeze.
ok, I can see that. probably depends on your configuration. I can't see how it would be an issue in my setup, as the inlet path is up off the floor, right above a low point drain. There's not going to be anything in that pipe, other than maybe a couple of drops...which shouldn't hurt anything. (unlike the pump, where only a couple of drops WILL cause a problem). there'll always be "a couple of drops" in there, no matter what you do...short of pumping antifreeze in through the city inlet.
In the past, I know there was antifreeze all the way through there, because I had temporarily installed my city inlet check-valve on the outside of the trailer (because the interior one was not working, and not accessible). I ran like that for a couple of seasons. in order to winterize, I had to remove the checkvalve, after which antifreeze would actually flow all the way out and drip onto the ground. The inlet was just like opening any other fixture.
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Old 10-01-2009, 02:37 PM   #11
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problem with draining or blowing-out is that neither will protect your pump. the only way to protect the pump (short of outright removing it, and bringing it indoors) is to replace the water in it with antifreeze.
The procedure in my Airstream manual calls for disconnecting the inlet and outlet hoses from the pump and running the pump to clear the water in it.
Does it work? I guess we'll see next spring.
Regards,
Ken
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Old 10-01-2009, 02:49 PM   #12
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The procedure in my Airstream manual calls for disconnecting the inlet and outlet hoses from the pump and running the pump to clear the water in it.
Does it work? I guess we'll see next spring.
Regards,
Ken
There is no reason to have to remove the pump. In fact the pump is what you use to inject the antifreeze.

The problem with most manuals, Airstream included, is the writer has never used the product and has no idea of what he is writing about.

My DVD player came in with these, and only these instructions.
"Plug the devise into the devise. Plug the other end of the devise into the devise" He clearly did not have a word for cable, DVD or TV.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:37 PM   #13
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Be carefull with the air pressure, add pressure a little at a time until you have the water moving and air coming out the spigots. When you got clear air coming out, then add a fifth of vodka where you're putting in the air. When you got vodka at the spigots, you're done. No nasty antifreeze taste all summer. You might worry about the alcohol fumes and pilot lights until you air out the A/S.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:59 PM   #14
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Some RV antifreeze has a bad taste, some does not. Depends on the quality of the product.

Scrapirony-2 told me the vodka doesn't taste too good after winter is over.

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