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Old 10-17-2015, 08:23 AM   #15
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I just went to a local RV shop to have the pump fitting installed and to watch and learn how to winterize (first 2 seasons this was done at the dealer where I purchased). Seeing it done live - I can't believe I've been having dealers do this! I'm not mechanically inclined but I'm pretty sure I'll be doing this from now on.

However - a couple questions:

1) this RV dealer makes it his habit to drain the water heater, bypass it, pump through all faucets and then reset the WH bypass to "in use" so you don't forget to open it in the spring. I not only don't like that idea - but at one point AFTER resetting the bypass he pumped a little more antifreeze in so it must have gotten in to the WH. Is there a way I can flush that out from the outside of the trailer through the drain before camping next season?

2) we opened the 2 low point drains until we saw pink stuff. There's a 3rd low point drain near the WH (in the bathroom cabinet in my 27FB). When starting the season next year - do I need to open those drains again or just leave them all closed as I start pumping city water through the lines to push out the pink stuff?

Thanks!
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Old 10-17-2015, 01:23 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
That may not always work. A heat pump heats the inside air by cooling the outside air— well, actually by taking heat away from the outside air. So if there's not enough heat in the outside air to begin with, the heat pump can't draw any heat from it, and so can't heat the interior air. Hopefully your HVAC owner's manual will tell you the temperature limitations for heat pump use, but in general a propane furnace or electric heater will do a better job of keeping your plumbing from freezing because the amount of heat produced is independent of the outside temperature. .
"When all else fails read the manual." So, I did. The heat pump in my AS works to -1C, then the thermostat seeks an alternative source which is normally propane, on the road. (Unlike my home's fancy-schmancy heat pump which works far below freezing).

I think that when freezing weather is a risk, I will therefore revert to what I did with my Jayco - a combination of a small 110v oil-filled heater and a 110v Caframo heater/fan. The Caframo is designed to keep moisture levels down in stored boats. That won't heat the grey and black tanks so I think they must be drained.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 10-18-2015, 02:23 PM   #17
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I'd like to buy a socket for the plastic screw cap/plug for the drain on the hot water tank. Grabbing it with a slip joint pliers vertically is not fun. My current socket wrench set does not go that large. Does anyone know what size socket to buy? Is it seven-eighths inch (⅞")?
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Old 10-18-2015, 02:50 PM   #18
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1)Do most folks winterize at home? or at a park with a full hookup?

2) we have an Excella 28ft 1996. There are two lines shut off valves under the bathroom sink and another line/shut off valve in back of the toilet. Our manual talks about 3 but we can't see 3 together. Would the two under the sink be turned off to shut off the hot water tank?

3) do we need to cover up the ac/heat exchange unit? If snow piles on the top - always a possibility here in NY - are we in trouble? Everything is very secure now - no water leakage anywhere.

4) In Feb we'll be heading to FL 0 so I guess we just de-winterize when we get there and hooked up?
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Old 10-18-2015, 02:58 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnijman View Post
I'd like to buy a socket for the plastic screw cap/plug for the drain on the hot water tank. Grabbing it with a slip joint pliers vertically is not fun. My current socket wrench set does not go that large. Does anyone know what size socket to buy? Is it seven-eighths inch (⅞")?
On my 2013 25FB, it is 15/16. I use a short extension on it, and a breaker bar (VERY gently).
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Old 10-18-2015, 03:06 PM   #20
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Great Success!

We camped this weekend, and have successfully winterized the plumbing system.

Went to walmart and got 3 gallons of the pink stuff (only used 2) AND in the automotive section by the oil change stuff, a funnel with a flexible tube attached to it. This worked great.

We drained out all of our water as we usually do when breaking camp, including low point drains and water heater. Then went to the DS and did our waste tanks. Then just pulled back over to our campsite, with the trailer hitched up and connected for power.

Then turned on the bypass and turned off the cold in and hot out valves to the water heater (per the AS owner's manual.)

Then added the 2 gallons pink stuff to the fresh water holding tank using the handy funnel. Then tuned on water pump inside, ran all of the faucets and flushed toilet pink. Removed both indoor and outdoor shower heads, and shook out the outdoor shower line as much as we could. Then opened and re-closed the low point drains. That was it. It was actually pretty easy and logical. Reviewing the owner's manual and some cell phone pictures under the bed of the water pump were helpful as well.

Thanks to everyone for your information and explanations.
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Old 10-18-2015, 05:02 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnijman View Post
I'd like to buy a socket for the plastic screw cap/plug for the drain on the hot water tank. Grabbing it with a slip joint pliers vertically is not fun. My current socket wrench set does not go that large. Does anyone know what size socket to buy? Is it seven-eighths inch (⅞")?
I believe it is 7/8.
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Old 10-18-2015, 05:20 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
I just went to a local RV shop to have the pump fitting installed and to watch and learn how to winterize (first 2 seasons this was done at the dealer where I purchased). Seeing it done live - I can't believe I've been having dealers do this! I'm not mechanically inclined but I'm pretty sure I'll be doing this from now on.

However - a couple questions:

1) this RV dealer makes it his habit to drain the water heater, bypass it, pump through all faucets and then reset the WH bypass to "in use" so you don't forget to open it in the spring. I not only don't like that idea - but at one point AFTER resetting the bypass he pumped a little more antifreeze in so it must have gotten in to the WH. Is there a way I can flush that out from the outside of the trailer through the drain before camping next season?

2) we opened the 2 low point drains until we saw pink stuff. There's a 3rd low point drain near the WH (in the bathroom cabinet in my 27FB). When starting the season next year - do I need to open those drains again or just leave them all closed as I start pumping city water through the lines to push out the pink stuff?

Thanks!
1. If you reset it to "in use" you are probably going to put some pink stuff in the HW tank. I did this once by mistake on an SOB I had long ago. There is nothing dangerous about the pink stuff but I had a devil of a time trying to flush it out to the point where I didn't have the smell and foaming that comes with this stuff. Make yourself a list of things you need to do when you de-winterize. Put it in the sink so next spring you won't miss anything.

2. I would open all three at some point. In the spring, close them, hook up to city water and flush all the pink stuff away. Open the low point drains and drain any remaining antifreeze. Close the bypass to the heater and fill it and you should be good to go.
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Old 10-19-2015, 05:52 PM   #23
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I agree with most of what has been said. One thing I do a little different is use a wet /dry vac in the sink and shower drains before I pour some pink stuff (prop alone glycol ) into the traps. That way it is a little stronger. Not a big deal but I guess I wanted to share


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Old 10-19-2015, 06:49 PM   #24
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My trailer doesn't have room to install winterizing kit on the water pump. I went to Lowes and bought a 1/2" PEX screw on fitting with a barb and about 3 ft of clear tubing. Throw in a 25 cent hose clamp and I have a suction hose for about 5 bucks. I unhook the water inlet hose from the fresh tank and install my homemade hose to suck the antifreeze in.
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:55 PM   #25
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I think that when freezing weather is a risk, I will therefore revert to what I did with my Jayco - a combination of a small 110v oil-filled heater and a 110v Caframo heater/fan. The Caframo is designed to keep moisture levels down in stored boats. That won't heat the grey and black tanks so I think they must be drained.

!

How does the Caframo differ from a small ceramic heater?
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:26 PM   #26
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From my own experience with past trailers (not Airstream) trying to winterize by putting antifreeze in the freshwater tank is difficult for 2 reasons.

First it's hard to determine how much water is left in a fresh water tank once you drain it. Yes no water comes out of the drain but there is the possibility of some water being left in that tank. By pouring antifreeze into that tank you may potentially lose some freeze protection to dilution. How much? You really don't know. Dependent upon your climate and how cold it gets, that dilution may be the difference in what truly is the freeze point of the antifreeze liquid in your plumbing.

Second, I've found that getting rid of the antifreeze in a tank is difficult and takes many flushes.

Due to the water pump location in my Airstream, I can't install a winterizing valve which would allow me to easily pump antifreeze through the pump into the plumbing. I can however unscrew the fitting that connects the fresh water tank to the pump. With that fitting removed, I do have enough room to screw onto the pump a fitting with a soft bendable hose that I can put into a gallon jug of antifreeze. After blowing out the lines I turn on the pump and open each water outlet separately. Once pink is coming out, I close the outlet and move on to the next. I can pretty much complete that with just over a gallon of antifreeze. Don't forget any outside valves, the low water drains, the toilet rinse hose if you have one, and the sink spray hose. Then with the balance of the second gallon I pour a generous amount of antifreeze into each drain.

Once done, I take the hose off the pump inlet and reconnect the fitting that connects the fresh water tank to the pump. That fitting on the trailer can be unloosened and closed by hand. No need for any wrenches.

You will find that by running fresh city water through the system prior to your first trip of the year, you can easily rinse the antifreeze from the lines. Be sure you put some fresh water in the fresh water tank and run the pump prior to hooking up to the city inlet. That makes sure the pump is clear of any antifreeze prior to you doing the real rinse using the city water.

Personally I do drain the black and grey water tanks one last time after doing the last step of pouring antifreeze into the traps. This insures that very little if any liquid is left in the tanks. Again if the residual water in the traps is forced into holding tank and while rv antifreeze is also going into the tank, it is diluted and again may not be the proper strength to prevent freezing. I typically open both the black and grey water valves and catch any outflow into a bucket and dispose of properly. I leave those valves open overnight to insure everything has dripped out. When closing them up the next day, I'm assured that no residual liquid is left.

It's gotten down as low as 17 below here (which is pretty unusual) and I've never had an issue and sleep easy knowing that everything is protected.

Jack
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:37 PM   #27
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One last thing I'm careful to do is to use a name brand RV antifreeze. Prestone is most commonly found around here and costs about $1 a gallon more than no name brands. The reasoning for this was that prior to using Prestone I used to buy the cheap no name brands. One spring when dewinterizing I hooked up the city water only to find water spraying from the innards of the toilet flushing mechanism. After dismantling the flushing lever and assorted hardware, I found that there was a small flexible rubber bladder that is squeezed when the water valve mechanism is activated. I not sure exactly its purpose, but the rubber was soft and mushy like it had either melted or decomposed. Apparently there was a problem with the antifreeze mixture that damaged that rubber. Of course I had no receipt or bottle so I had no recourse. From that point on I always stuck with a brand that I know, even if I have to pay a little more.

Jack
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Old 10-21-2015, 12:49 PM   #28
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How does the Caframo differ from a small ceramic heater?
The ceramic heaters I've seen all run hotter and have a more powerful (noisy) blower. I've never liked those red-glowing elements in the ceramic heaters, at least for unattended use. The Caframo Stor-Dry has a gentle fan and low heat and I suspect uses less electricity. They appear to be used a fair bit here on the west coast by boaters laying their boats up for the winter and who want to keep the interior drier. I bigger RV might need a couple.

The manufacturer's site is Stor-Dry - Caframo Lifestyle Solutions and has a video at that location. Their write-up says:
"The Stor-Dry low wattage warm air circulator is the “must have” product for the winterization season. The model 9406 Stor-Dry combats mold, mildew and musty odors in any boat or RV that is closed up or winterized. This dual action air dryer uses a low wattage heating element and internal fan to both heat and circulate the air. The heat and circulation prevents stale air pockets which in turn prevents mold or mildew forming on the interior surface of the boat. Stor-Dry is available in 120 Volts as well as 230 Volts in Europe."

I use a small thermostatically controlled oil-filled heater (no exposed heating elements but no fan) with the Caframo Stor-Dry to do the air circulation.
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