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Old 11-19-2007, 03:22 PM   #1
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Winterizing: using a blowout plug

As a new Airstream owner, I wanted to make sure I winterized my trailer right. So when I read that I should use compressed air and a "blowout plug" to remove water from the plumbing, I bought one at the local RV store. It was easy to attach the blowout plug to the trailer...it just screwed right in to the "potable water" connection.

But wait!!! Where's the air come from?

Lots of people tow their trailer to a gas station and hook the blowout plug up to a regular air hose (the kind used to inflate tires). But that was inconvenient for me, and besides, I wanted to regulate the pressure I blew through the plumbing. So I decided to use my air compressor as the air source.

Unfortunately, I had a heck of a time figuring out how to attach my air compressor to the blowout plug. After many frustrating trips to the hardware store, I finally found the solution, which I'm summarizing here. I hope the following info & photos will be useful to other newbies, too.

The solution is to buy an "air chuck", like the one pictured below. Note that this particular type of air chuck has a "safety lever," which means I can snap it onto the blowout plug for "hands free" operation. The blowout plug is also shown in this photo.

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The next photo shows the air chuck connected to the blowout plug. Notice that an air compressor attachment (1/4" NPT Male) has been screwed into the base of the air chuck.

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The following photo shows the blowout plug/air chuck attached to my trailer.

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And the final photo shows the air compressor and hose.

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After completing these connections, I just followed the instructions in my Airstream manual, and BAM!...my plumbing was free of unwanted water. Now I scoff at cold weather!

Hope this info is helpful!

Regards,

Titus
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:30 PM   #2
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Don't forget the pump and traps. They need a bit of antifreeze.
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Old 11-19-2007, 04:20 PM   #3
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Added comments, you did the right thing by getting a small compressor, the cylinder isn't "oil" lubricated like most at the gas stations! Now you don't have to worry about oil inside your water lines! Using the lock-on chuck then allows you to open one faucet or valve at a time!

Living in Northern Wisconsin where it does get cold I have never once used "pink" stuff. With blowing one outlet at a time "dry" excluding the traps, That's the only place I put "pink stuff". I have never experienced a freeze up. Of course maybe I'm lucky in those fifteen years.
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Old 11-19-2007, 04:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Ales
Of course maybe I'm lucky in those fifteen years.
you have. I live in Massachusetts, where it gets cold, but not AS cold as WI...(generally).and I've had damage to my water pump by using the "air only" winterizing scenario.
you'll never get *all* of the water out with air, anyway. The only way to completely remove it is to displace it with another fluid.
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Old 11-19-2007, 05:33 PM   #5
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Yes, displace with another liquid. As 2Air says...."use cheap vodka!". sounds good to me.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:28 AM   #6
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I found that the place you may miss is the shower diverter valve. Lucky for me the plug at the bottom was nylon and easily replaceable. I previously had blown out the lines as you did, but this year I also pumped the pink stuff using the tube and valve attached to my water pump.

It doesn't get that cold here until Jan-Feb, if it does at all. But, the pain of freeze repairs is much worse than winterizing.

Pat
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitusLivy
Blah Blah Blah

The solution is to buy an "air chuck", like the one pictured below.

Blah Blah Blah
Thanks TitusLivy,

I went to Lowe's the other day looking for exactly that. I thought maybe they sold clamp nozzles like you find on cheap tire inflater, but no dice. I hate Lowe's.

What hardware store did you find it at? Mom and pop place, or a national chain?
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:03 PM   #8
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I'm paranoid...I do both...

don't use too much pressure when blowing out the lines-45 psi max rating for plumbing. I keep it lower than that (30 psi), there goes that paranoia again!

Bill
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:07 PM   #9
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Hey, Sky!

I had no luck in any of the local hardware or home supply stores, so I bought my air chuck from amazon.com. Search for "Milton air chuck". Or use google to search the entire web, and you'll get a bazillion hits. I recommend the type that includes the "safety lever" (aka, "safety grip" or "safety clip").

Good luck!

Titus
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:32 PM   #10
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This is a type of tool designed to thread onto schrader type valves
Aircraft Tool Supply - Cookie Warning
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:40 PM   #11
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I must be lucky too. I only use air from my MH compressor with a regulator to blow out the lines and put anti-freeze in the traps only. I will run my pump a little while using air and I remove and blow out the water filter.
Most RV service people will recommend air and anti-freeze in the traps only.
My underground sprinkler guy uses only air and so do all the golf courses without any problem. I could be wrong, but so far no problems.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfred
My underground sprinkler guy uses only air and so do all the golf courses without any problem. I could be wrong, but so far no problems.
no pumps isolated from the air by check-valves in those systems.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfred
I must be lucky too. I only use air from my MH compressor with a regulator to blow out the lines and put anti-freeze in the traps only. I will run my pump a little while using air and I remove and blow out the water filter.
Have used the same procedure for the last four years here in Buffalo, run

the pump while pressureizing the lines,(60psi). Works for me
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:45 PM   #14
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We have mild winters...compared to you guys up north we don't even have a real winter, but I used the air blow-out method for the delivery pipes and pump, and pink anti-freeze in the drains and some in the "empty" holding tanks. I drained the fresh water tank and hot water tank leaving the valve open on each to allow for expansion if there was any water left in either. I removed the faucet water filter and stored it in one of the drawers and left it and all of the cabinet and closet doors open. I then left the furnace on 50 degrees and kept an eye on the gas tank levels. This winter promises to be harsher (by our standards) than last year's so I may not be so lucky, but I plan on going that route again.
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