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Old 11-18-2022, 01:25 PM   #1
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Tahoe Vista , California
Join Date: Jul 2021
Posts: 106
How to bypass water heater, winterize and blow out lines

Hey all, I am about to winterize and was not sure about the procedures for the water heater when blowing out the lines. I am not planing to use antifreeze for any of the fresh water plumbing.

Do I need to drain the water heater first and then blow out the lines?

What about bypassing the water heater, do I need to do that to blow out the lines?

Also, how do I bypass? I have 2 valves, one white and one yellow. The white one looks to got to a drain.

Also, anything special needed to do to get all the water out of the water pump?

And advise on this order of doing things here for dealing with the hot water heater and blowing out the lines would be great.

Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2022, 01:58 PM   #2
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
Longmont , Colorado
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Yellow valve is water heater bypass. White valve is a low point drain. Procedure is simple and here is what I do:
  1. Run pump dry then turn it off.
  2. Bypass water heater and remove white drain plug to let it drain.
  3. Remove water filter and install bypass if you have one.
  4. Connect REGULATED compressor to city water inlet (I set mine to 45PSI).
  5. Open each faucet and toilet to blow out catching water with something. I have an auto oil change pan that fits the Lobster sink perfect which we also use for conserving gray tank space when boon-docking. I go around twice.
  6. Disconnect Shower hoses, inside and out.
  7. Open low point drains and let some air blow through them.
  8. Disconnect compressor.
  9. Open all faucet valves and leave them open.
  10. Go around pouring RV antifreeze into all drain traps and toilet letting some go down the drain to help protect seals in tanks. I use about 1/2 gallon total.
  11. Some will tell you to get some RV antifreeze into the pump. I hate that stuff and have found even in harsh Colorado winter it stores fine as long as you run it dry.
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Old 11-18-2022, 08:37 PM   #3
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Tahoe Vista , California
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Thank you very much! I did all this, however, hardly any water came out of the hot water lines. I decided to switch the hot water bypass back, but not much difference. Then I put the hot water tank plug back in and bam, so much more water came out of all the lines.

How do you blow all the hot water lines without putting the plug back in the hot water tank?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 11-18-2022, 09:46 PM   #4
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Park City , Utah
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How to bypass water heater, winterize and blow out lines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Double J View Post
Thank you very much! I did all this, however, hardly any water came out of the hot water lines. I decided to switch the hot water bypass back, but not much difference. Then I put the hot water tank plug back in and bam, so much more water came out of all the lines.



How do you blow all the hot water lines without putting the plug back in the hot water tank?



Thanks for your help!
If the water heater is bypassed, the amount of water blowing from the hot lines will be the same regardless of if the drain plug is in or not.

If the flow increased with the drain put back, that suggests the tank was not bypassed and the air pressure was mostly filling the tank and blowing out the drain; when the plug reinstalled, the tank pressurized and water was pushed through the lines.

Is it possible the handle on the bypass is not tight on the valve stem and when you turn it, itís not actually turning the valve?
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Old 11-18-2022, 10:02 PM   #5
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2017 25' International
West Lake Hills , Texas
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Reading through previous threads regarding this issue, it appears that through the years the trailers have been plumbed differently. I would not be surprised if the OPís ďbypassĒ valve merely prevented antifreeze (or water) from entering the water heater. Could there be another valve?

Either way, the OP figured it out: drain the WH tank, replace the plug, open the bypass valve, blow the hot lines. IIRC, that is how I have to blow the hot lines on my 2017 International 25. But itís been more than a couple days since I did it last, and I have a very short memory (attention span, too, but thatís a different story).
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Old 11-19-2022, 02:40 PM   #6
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Longmont , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double J View Post
Thank you very much! I did all this, however, hardly any water came out of the hot water lines. I decided to switch the hot water bypass back, but not much difference. Then I put the hot water tank plug back in and bam, so much more water came out of all the lines.

How do you blow all the hot water lines without putting the plug back in the hot water tank?

Thanks for your help!
Well that is interesting. I agree with pcskier that you should not have to do that if the bypass valve is closed AND you did not open the low point drain valve while blowing out the lines. In this state the air/water should not go into the take inlet but be diverted to the mixing valve (component top left in your first picture). This component has a check valve on both inlets (hot water out of tank and diverted cold water input) which should then direct the flow out to the hot water line (to the left on your first picture). A quick test is that when you have everything connected to blow out there should be no air flowing into the tank or out the low point drain line. If you do have air going into the tank then you probably have a bad check valve in your mixing valve.
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Old 11-19-2022, 05:36 PM   #7
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2018 25' Flying Cloud
Windham , New Hampshire
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How to bypass water heater, winterize and blow out lines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Double J View Post
Thank you very much! I did all this, however, hardly any water came out of the hot water lines. I decided to switch the hot water bypass back, but not much difference. Then I put the hot water tank plug back in and bam, so much more water came out of all the lines.



How do you blow all the hot water lines without putting the plug back in the hot water tank?



Thanks for your help!
I had the same experience when blowing out the lines on my 2018 25FBT. With the valve set to bypass the water heater there was very little to no air flow through the hot water lines. With the plug in the water heater and the bypass valve set to flow into the water heater I got the expected air flow through the hot water lines.
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Old 11-20-2022, 10:52 AM   #8
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West Lake Hills , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhhiker View Post
I had the same experience when blowing out the lines on my 2018 25FBT. With the valve set to bypass the water heater there was very little to no air flow through the hot water lines. With the plug in the water heater and the bypass valve set to flow into the water heater I got the expected air flow through the hot water lines.
^My experience exactly with air.

With water: similar behavior. Very little flow when in bypass.
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Old 11-20-2022, 04:14 PM   #9
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Double J and Fungus,
You guys have got me thinking maybe I am missing something or did not get a good blow out in my hot lines. I am currently winterized but I just finished a test that may help. After running the heat a bit I closed all low point drains, faucets and connected up the compressor set to 40PSI full flow. My water heater is plumbed with a mixer and I currently have the water heater bypassed and no plug installed. I then check each faucet for air flow both hot and cold. The flow is a little less with faucets on hot but it is still quite good. Bottom line is I think the mixer and check valves are passing air through to the hot line correctly. I am using a high volume (60 gallon) compressor if that makes a difference? In the manual it states that when you drain the water heater a few quarts will be left in the tank which will not cause harm if it freezes. Is it possible that when you put the plug in and go through the water heater you are getting some of the remaining tank water to pass through hot line?
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Old 11-21-2022, 09:42 PM   #10
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OrangeCrush - Makes me wonder also.

Early December Iíll winterize. Iíll leave the plug open on the way home to slosh out the WH. Then see if anything blows with the drain plug in place and bypass disengaged.
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Old 11-23-2022, 01:55 PM   #11
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Sequim , Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
Yellow valve is water heater bypass. White valve is a low point drain. Procedure is simple and here is what I do:
  1. Run pump dry then turn it off.
  2. Bypass water heater and remove white drain plug to let it drain.
  3. Remove water filter and install bypass if you have one.
  4. Connect REGULATED compressor to city water inlet (I set mine to 45PSI).
  5. Open each faucet and toilet to blow out catching water with something. I have an auto oil change pan that fits the Lobster sink perfect which we also use for conserving gray tank space when boon-docking. I go around twice.
  6. Disconnect Shower hoses, inside and out.
  7. Open low point drains and let some air blow through them.
  8. Disconnect compressor.
  9. Open all faucet valves and leave them open.
  10. Go around pouring RV antifreeze into all drain traps and toilet letting some go down the drain to help protect seals in tanks. I use about 1/2 gallon total.
  11. Some will tell you to get some RV antifreeze into the pump. I hate that stuff and have found even in harsh Colorado winter it stores fine as long as you run it dry.
Thanks for your excellent description & check list for winterizing! One additional step worth explicitly stating before step 1: Drain and rinse both the black and gray tanks and close the valves for both of them. Maybe spray some silicon lubricant on the metal valve stems while the valves are open to be sure they open easily in the spring.
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Old 11-23-2022, 08:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
Is it possible that when you put the plug in and go through the water heater you are getting some of the remaining tank water to pass through hot line?
I doubt it, the outlet of the water heater is about 8 inches above where the water level should be, maybe a little mist might pass through.
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Old 11-24-2022, 01:02 AM   #13
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You are missing the second by pass valve to the water heater. It will be to the left of the top valve in your photo. Hard to see, you may have to feel it. Turn it 90 degrees to off. When you shut both valves, the hot, water line will go around the tank and onto the faucets. If you don't do both valves, then the hot, line won't flow. In the spring you turn BOTH valves to the open position, then water will go into the hot water tank. But drain your tank. Blow out the water so you have fog coming out of all your faucets, cold and hot. Then blow in your choice of antifreeze; My choice is cheap vodka. When you have strong vodka coming out on all faucets cold and hot, you're done. and maybe a eetle bit tipsy from tasting to see if you have strong fodka comins oot.

And don't use the Tahoe adage that Lake Tahoe water never freezes..... Seems like when that story was told to me its was about a Tahoe Vista person and a Cadillack...
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Old 11-24-2022, 09:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestieHouse View Post
Thanks for your excellent description & check list for winterizing! One additional step worth explicitly stating before step 1: Drain and rinse both the black and gray tanks and close the valves for both of them. Maybe spray some silicon lubricant on the metal valve stems while the valves are open to be sure they open easily in the spring.
Thanks - I will add those to my list as well. I like the (food grade) silicon suggestion, especially for that cranky white fresh water drain valve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazbro View Post
I doubt it, the outlet of the water heater is about 8 inches above where the water level should be, maybe a little mist might pass through.
Good point and I believe you are correct.
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Old 11-25-2022, 06:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NevadaGeo View Post
You are missing the second by pass valve to the water heater. It will be to the left of the top valve in your photo. Hard to see, you may have to feel it. Turn it 90 degrees to off. When you shut both valves, the hot, water line will go around the tank and onto the faucets. If you don't do both valves, then the hot, line won't flow. In the spring you turn BOTH valves to the open position, then water will go into the hot water tank. But drain your tank. Blow out the water so you have fog coming out of all your faucets, cold and hot. Then blow in your choice of antifreeze; My choice is cheap vodka. When you have strong vodka coming out on all faucets cold and hot, you're done. and maybe a eetle bit tipsy from tasting to see if you have strong fodka comins oot.

And don't use the Tahoe adage that Lake Tahoe water never freezes..... Seems like when that story was told to me its was about a Tahoe Vista person and a Cadillack...
NO, with the newer water heaters with the mixing valve, there is only one valve plus the mixing valve(that doesn't need to be touched and has an anti-back flow valve built in) to bypass the water heater.
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