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Old 12-19-2019, 02:59 PM   #1
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Winterize with full freshwater tank

Here is a weird one. Just picked up my 2019 AI GT from dealer. It was there for seven weeks to fix previous warranty work. A separate long and expensive story. Anyhow, while at the dealer, the weather turned really cold and they called to ask if I wanted the unit winterized. I was just going to call them, so I said sure. Well, I noticed while picking up that the freshwater tank is full. The unit was winterized, but the freshwater tank was not drained. The service manager said that was normal if the tech found the tank full it must be because the client wanted it full. I said that seemed crazy, and I had never heard such a thing. Also, a phone call could have clarified any doubt. The manager then said the tank was in no danger unless we had a prolonged period of sub freezing weather. There were several days where temps got below freezing overnight but warmed up during the day. Has anyone else heard such a protocol?
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Old 12-19-2019, 03:19 PM   #2
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You were fed a bunch of malarkey . . . they were just trying to cover their [embarrassing] omission IMO.

Winterizing an RV should always include draining the water tank, unless they got your explicit consent to leave it full.

Does your service invoice go into detail on this? What are the exact words?

I would get Airstream involved if this is an official Airstream dealer. Also ask for a credit on your account for the full cost of the service. Also speak with the general manager of the dealer, and the owner.

Ridiculous!

Good luck,

Peter

PS -- Here?

https://www.crainrv.com/
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Old 12-19-2019, 03:27 PM   #3
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Agree with Peter.

I’m not a meteorologist so take with a grain of salt....if just below freezing and then warmer during the day it’s possible there’s no harm done. If below freezing 48 straight hours, expect problems and longer than that the tank and some pipes surely would have stress fractures.

Odds seem good to me you need not worry about it. But you have to drain that tank and then Id recommend re-winterizing it all the way through to ensure no water is sitting anywhere in any pipe just waiting to grow in size as ice and break stuff.

Not sure I’d do it at that dealer.

If you’re not sure how to do it yourself, either take it to another dealer (any RV dealer could do it - nothing special about AS there), or phone a friend, maybe in a local WBCCI unit - or learn to do yourself. Good guides have been posted here and if I - the world’s least mechanically inclined human - can do it - you can too

Good luck!!
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:13 PM   #4
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Somebody screwed up. Draining ALL of the tanks and charged water systems is de rigeur when winterizing. That includes the water heater, of whichever variety you have. Whether you choose to use antifreeze is your choice, but at the very least the lines should all be blown out, the p-traps filled with anti-freeze, and all of the tanks drained.

If the temps are just hovering around freezing and are above in the daytime, no harm was done though. Just drain the tank.
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:34 PM   #5
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He was telling you straight.....You are not going to have any significant freezing in temperatures moderately below freezing.....It would take a lot colder temp and prolonged to freeze and cause damage. If they let it freeze in their shop, they are responsible, and they know that.....With temps gettin in the 50's during the day, there is nothing to worry about. It takes outrageous cold temps to freeze a 40 gallon tank of water, that was 50 degrees midday.......the guys in the shop know this, but for sure a little communication would have been beneficial for the customer (you)......
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Old 12-19-2019, 06:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mkcurtiss View Post
He was telling you straight.....You are not going to have any significant freezing in temperatures moderately below freezing.....It would take a lot colder temp and prolonged to freeze and cause damage. If they let it freeze in their shop, they are responsible, and they know that.....With temps gettin in the 50's during the day, there is nothing to worry about. It takes outrageous cold temps to freeze a 40 gallon tank of water, that was 50 degrees midday.......the guys in the shop know this, but for sure a little communication would have been beneficial for the customer (you)......
If the fresh water tank wasn't drained, the unit wasn't winterized.
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Old 12-20-2019, 09:20 AM   #7
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OOPS - the dealer just blow it ... drain the tank then check to see if the is any antifreeze in the lines but I would guess it was never winterized - fingers crossed that no danage was done.
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Old 12-20-2019, 09:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post


You were fed a bunch of malarkey . . . they were just trying to cover their [embarrassing] omission IMO.

Winterizing an RV should always include draining the water tank, unless they got your explicit consent to leave it full.

Does your service invoice go into detail on this? What are the exact words?

I would get Airstream involved if this is an official Airstream dealer. Also ask for a credit on your account for the full cost of the service. Also speak with the general manager of the dealer, and the owner.

Ridiculous!

Good luck,

Peter

PS -- Here?

https://www.crainrv.com/
As another suggested, not so fast...

Now disclaimer: An ounce of caution is better than a pound of cure so unless you have a good reason and some confidence in the weather, it is best to drain the tank(s).

The dealer is absolutely correct that mild overnight freezing followed daily warm ups well above freezing will not cause a tank to freeze solid and will cause no damage.

Overnight freezes will freeze valves, small pipes and tubing so this must/should be winterized and protected. But it will take quite some time to freeze a large insulated tank of water. I can show you the heat transfer calculations and estimate time required if there are any doubters.

You can fault the dealer for not requesting explicit winterizing instructions, but you cannot demonstrate in any way he was negligent or incorrect. Doubt me? Let's run the engineering physical models but prepare to lose this bet.
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Old 12-20-2019, 10:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
. . .
You can fault the dealer for not requesting explicit winterizing instructions . . .
. . .


What?

According to the OP:

Quote:
Originally Posted by hirstpb View Post
. . .
. . . they called to ask if I wanted the unit winterized. I was just going to call them, so I said sure.
. . .
[emphasis added]

Seems explicit enough to these eyes.

Granted . . . there may be some ambiguity lurking about, and we are waiting for the OP to tell us exactly what is on his service invoice:

Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
. . .
Does your service invoice go into detail on this? What are the exact words?
. . .
Discussing the weather and freeze-ability of the water tank is irrelevant IMO . . . just another smoke screen to hide the fact that the dealer appears to have dropped the winterization ball -- big time! [IMO]

Peter
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Old 12-20-2019, 10:25 AM   #10
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Hi Peter, I'm not faulting your opinion nor questioning your intuition that the dealer was covering up for unintentionally failing to ask to drain the tank or just draining it outright. It is absolutely possible, as you postulate, that the dealer did not consider the weather and did not make an explicit decision regarding the tank

That said, the dealer was and is absolutely correct that in the situation described, there was no chance the tank would freeze, it was a physical impossibility.

Disclaimer: Do not use this post as guidance on when to drain the tanks and when not to drain the tanks. If you are not familiar with heat transfer physics, or consulted with someone who does, when in doubt, drain the tanks.
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Old 12-20-2019, 10:53 AM   #11
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winterized includes draining the tank ..... the fact the next week may not get that cold is BS .....you said winterize ....they screwed up and should make it up to you !!
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Old 12-20-2019, 11:24 AM   #12
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winterized includes draining the tank ..... the fact the next week may not get that cold is BS .....you said winterize ....they screwed up and should make it up to you !!
Winterized is a vague term that in most cases means protected from the full range of temperatures and conditions experienced where the trailer is stored. This is the sense I believe you mean. However, the term is also used to describe the steps taken to protect plumbing for a single night or a few hours of limited freezing temperatures. In these situations adding a bit water to the tanks may be a more sensible and practical approach. Allowing the water to drip out of a faucet or two and drain to the sewer may also be an effective alternative in some situations.

The dealer, either accidentally or intentionally "winterized" for those few days with the water tank full, and did so effectively.
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Old 12-20-2019, 01:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post


You were fed a bunch of malarkey . . . they were just trying to cover their [embarrassing] omission IMO.

Winterizing an RV should always include draining the water tank, unless they got your explicit consent to leave it full.

Does your service invoice go into detail on this? What are the exact words?

I would get Airstream involved if this is an official Airstream dealer. Also ask for a credit on your account for the full cost of the service. Also speak with the general manager of the dealer, and the owner.

Ridiculous!

Good luck,

Peter

PS -- Here?

https://www.crainrv.com/


Yep. That’s the place. And, the invoice is detailed regarding the procedure, which includes draining the freshwater tank.
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Old 12-20-2019, 01:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post

Discussing the weather and freeze-ability of the water tank is irrelevant IMO . . . just another smoke screen to hide the fact that the dealer appears to have dropped the winterization ball -- big time! [IMO]

Peter
And with that, I'd concur. The term "winterizing" is commonly understood to mean putting the RV or dwelling, or other structure into such a condition as its systems will not be harmed in sustained below-freezing temps and weather. Equivocating about whether the temps were sufficient to damage the tank is irrelevant. The fact is that if a dealership "winterized" an RV, it should have NO water left ANYWHERE in the systems to freeze and cause damage.

Do you think that they "winterize" RVs on the dealer's OWN lot and leave water in the tank if THEY are subjected to extended periods of sub-freezing temps?

This was a screw-up and a cover-up for their screw-up.
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Old 12-20-2019, 01:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by 85MH325 View Post
And with that, I'd concur. The term "winterizing" is commonly understood to mean putting the RV or dwelling, or other structure into such a condition as its systems will not be harmed in sustained below-freezing temps and weather. Equivocating about whether the temps were sufficient to damage the tank is irrelevant. The fact is that if a dealership "winterized" an RV, it should have NO water left ANYWHERE in the systems to freeze and cause damage.

Do you think that they "winterize" RVs on the dealer's OWN lot and leave water in the tank if THEY are subjected to extended periods of sub-freezing temps?

This was a screw-up and a cover-up for their screw-up.


And with this - I concur!
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Old 12-20-2019, 02:55 PM   #16
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I totally agree, that clearly the unit was not winterized..I was only referring to the fact that it is highly unlikely that any damage was done...

Sounds like they just forgot to winterize it at all !


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Old 12-20-2019, 03:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hirstpb View Post
Yep. That’s the place. And, the invoice is detailed regarding the procedure, which includes draining the freshwater tank.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325 View Post
. . .
This was a screw-up and a cover-up for their screw-up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
And with this - I concur!
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkcurtiss View Post
I totally agree, that clearly the unit was not winterized...
. . .
Case closed . . . over and out!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Peter


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Old 12-20-2019, 05:02 PM   #18
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.....clipped from the manual.....

Touring Coach Winterization
1 Level the touring coach from side to side and front to rear, turn the water pump off, and disconnect the city water
2 Open all the hot and cold water faucets
3 Open the low point drain valves for cold water lines, the fresh water tank drain valve, and water heater drain

etc. etc. etc.
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Old 12-20-2019, 05:09 PM   #19
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And with that, I'd concur. The term "winterizing" is commonly understood to mean putting the RV or dwelling, or other structure into such a condition as its systems will not be harmed in sustained below-freezing temps and weather. Equivocating about whether the temps were sufficient to damage the tank is irrelevant. The fact is that if a dealership "winterized" an RV, it should have NO water left ANYWHERE in the systems to freeze and cause damage.
When a RV is winterized for the season it should have no plain water left in the tanks, I said that already. When a RV is temporarily "winterized" for subzero travel and other scenarios, not so much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325 View Post
Do you think that they "winterize" RVs on the dealer's OWN lot and leave water in the tank if THEY are subjected to extended periods of sub-freezing temps?

This was a screw-up and a cover-up for their screw-up.
Clearly not if subjected to extended periods, but you are moving the goal post. I clearly indicated the situation involved short nighttime freezing combined with non-freezing daytime temperatures. Please don't equivocate.

It may well have been a screw up, that is an opinion.

That the dealer describes the standard winterizing procedure in their written materials, but deviates from it in special situations may be unsatisfactory to some of you but it is not evidence of negligence. You people are speculating and substituting your intuition for fact. I find it disingenuous. It is certainly not "case closed", you haven't even given the accused a chance to respond. This is a kangaroo Kourt.
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Old 12-20-2019, 08:04 PM   #20
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Yep. That’s the place. And, the invoice is detailed regarding the procedure, which includes draining the freshwater tank.
Case closed.
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