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Old 10-17-2021, 07:37 PM   #1
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Winterizing with Air, residual water remains

Blew my lines out, took a long time to get the water out, I had emptied the water tank, opened low point drains, emptied the water heater, still took a while.

Question is, I can still hear faint gurgling of water when I listen into a faucet and I am blowing air in there. It wont get 100% clear, but no water is coming out.

What your experience? I don't want to go back to antifreeze.

Thanks
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Old 10-17-2021, 07:42 PM   #2
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You will be fine, there is not enough water left to form a solid ice cube, the line needs to be full in low spots for the freeze to expand and cause the lines to rupture. You can also leave some faucets open to allow for the water to evaporate and to relieve the pressure. I have used only air for 12 years in - 20 cold and have had no problems.


Gary
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Old 10-18-2021, 10:12 AM   #3
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I thought I would be fine but wasn't... 76 Argosy, did blow out, seemed OK, buuuut... apparently just enough water settled in the valve assy. for my particular water pump (1 year old). Froze. Cracked valve housing. Threw away. After that since it was convenient did blow out and then removed pump from trailer and brought it in the house, problem solved.
Good luck... Mark D
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Old 10-18-2021, 11:56 AM   #4
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Hi

Every trailer is a bit different. The pipes in the modern trailers are PEX. It will withstand freezing ok. That's not to say it *likes* the process, just that it should survive without damage. The fittings and crimps on the pipes ... hmmm... that part is a bit less clear. They *should* be ok, but there have been reports of issues.

What isn't ok with freezing is any part of the system made of metal. Even very small parts and very small amounts of water can turn into damage if they mate up. The valves and faucets are all vulnerable to freezing. The odd place they decided to use a brass right angle instead of plastic .... yup, also vulnerable.

If you have a small compressor that does not put out much air, you can easily get to the point that water isn't blasting out of the pipe. If you have a larger compressor and watch for mist coming out ... the pipes really never seem to get dry. You can go for hours. If you think they are dry, stop for 24 hours and try it again .... out comes (some) water.

If you have an industrial air setup that runs on 240V power and is targeted at < 100 psi, you likely can rig to get enough air flow to really move out the water. For most of us, this isn't an option. We simply don't have that sort of setup in the garage with the trailer.

The net result is a "maybe it works 99% of the time" sort of process when done at home. Most of us won't keep a trailer for 100 years. How lucky do you feel?

One simple answer:

1) Open all the low point drains and faucets. Drive around the block a few times. ( or open them and drive home from your last campground). Flush and empty the black and gray tanks.

2) Close the drains and faucets, run air into the city water input. Blow out each line one at a time. This means open every faucet or valve one at a time and get "clean air" out of it. All the low point valves are on that list. So is the toilet.

3) If your hot water heater has a drain plug that needs to be pulled ( check the manual !!) pull it to drain the last of the water out of it. Some do, some don't. Those that do often can't be blown fully empty. Set the various valves to "partition off" the hot water heater.

4) Grab a jug of antifreeze. and pump enough through the water pump to push out pink at each faucet. You don't need a lot, just enough to see the color. Same list of points to run to as in step 2.

5) Now go back to the compressor. Repeat the blow out process, blowing out the anti-freeze. This also runs to the same list of points, also one at a time. Again, you run to the point you get reasonably clean air coming out.

6) Grab a bucket and empty whatever got into the black and gray tanks doing this. A "slow open" on the valves might be a good idea . Close them back up. Put a "plug" of pink stuff down each drain and two plugs down the toilet. Anything over a cup per glug is plenty. Note: if you do this all at a full hookup campground, just leave the black and gray open during steps 2 through 5.

This sounds like a lot of work. Really it's just a lot of running around. The amount of time spent is actually less than doing it some other ways. You also don't have a *ton* of antifreeze to flush out in the spring.

For a 30' Classic we use < 2 gallons of anti freeze this way. For < $5 it eliminates a lot of concerns. Whole thing takes < 2 hours and no I don't run very fast doing it

Bob
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Old 10-18-2021, 12:21 PM   #5
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I've never had freez concern, but with dual stage 25g compressor I can maintain 35-45psi while I open and close up the 3 lines at a time.👍

It takes more patience and longer time to do one line at a time with a portable compressor, but I did it for seven seasons without a problem.

Bob
🇺🇸

This it with the bathroom & kitchen sink open...usually 10min or so.
Then on to the others and repeat as needed.
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Old 10-18-2021, 12:30 PM   #6
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Step #4 needs to be addressed when winterizing with air only. I do not use pink stuff in my water pump. If I could do that easily I wouldn't use air, just fill all the lines and faucets with pink.


When you blow out the lines there will always, always be water left in the pump. This is a bad thing for all the obvious reasons. After draining the FW tank and blowing the lines I go back and run the pump dry. No, it doesn't hurt the pump to do this. The water is now out of the pump but still sitting in the lines. I reconnect the air and blow the lines again. I might even do this a few times to make sure the pump is empty.

It is true that a "little" bit of water left behind will not cause damage. Again, I have been doing this on my Airstream since 2009. No problems with the pump.
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Old 10-18-2021, 07:32 PM   #7
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I'm going to set up my shop vac and suck the line clear of water. I think that is going to work better.
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Old 10-19-2021, 04:52 AM   #8
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Blow out plus antifreeze

I first blow out the lines, and follow up with adding antifreeze in the fresh water tank, and then pump the antifreeze through the lines. This takes care of the water pump as well as the lines. May be overkill, but have never had a problem by doing both. Only takes 2 gallons of antifreeze. Cheap insurance.
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Old 10-19-2021, 08:51 AM   #9
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Genuinely curious—why the aversion to antifreeze? It couldn't be cost—is it that it's a chemical?

It's the easiest way to ensure the lines are winterized. Based on my (limited) experience with both methods and reading/watching videos, blowing out the lines is an optional step and even then adding pink stuff is recommended.

I store in a garage now and technically don't need to do either. But I still do both (but am not obsessive about the air).
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Old 10-19-2021, 08:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nryn View Post
Genuinely curious—why the aversion to antifreeze? It couldn't be cost—is it that it's a chemical?

It's the easiest way to ensure the lines are winterized. Based on my (limited) experience with both methods and reading/watching videos, blowing out the lines is an optional step and even then adding pink stuff is recommended.

I store in a garage now and technically don't need to do either. But I still do both (but am not obsessive about the air).
For me...because it's not needed.

$$$$ maybe a little, aversion to pouring it down the drain, $$$$ bucks a gallon this year.😂

Bob
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:08 AM   #11
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I'm having a bit of a brain fart here......if one installs the winterizing kit (for pink stuff) downstream from the pump, couldn't you utilize the antifreeze port to blow through the pump? It's a diaphragm pump ...so couldn't low volume, low pressure air just pass through it?
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
I'm having a bit of a brain fart here......if one installs the winterizing kit (for pink stuff) downstream from the pump, couldn't you utilize the antifreeze port to blow through the pump? It's a diaphragm pump ...so couldn't low volume, low pressure air just pass through it?
Oh... it's down stream. 🥴
I always thought they were using the pump to suck it thru the system.

When we first got 'Cloudsplitter' I followed the AS manual to the letter on it's first Winterization, made such a mess I never did it again. For three seasons I dumped several gallons into the FW tank pumped it thru and spent a week getting the taste out.
Set up my garage, got a compressor and haven't looked back.

Bob
🇺🇸
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
I'm having a bit of a brain fart here......if one installs the winterizing kit (for pink stuff) downstream from the pump, couldn't you utilize the antifreeze port to blow through the pump? It's a diaphragm pump ...so couldn't low volume, low pressure air just pass through it?
If I had one of these I would just run pink stuff through the system, done. The problem with me isn't so much the cost of the pink as it is the ease of getting to the pump to install the bypass. I never liked the idea of putting pink in my FW tank. Did this on our tent trailer years ago. Flushing in the spring was very important and sometimes I didn't do such a great job with that.
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:25 AM   #14
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Oh... it's down stream. 🥴
I always thought they were using the pump to suck it thru the system.

When we first got 'Cloudsplitter' I followed the AS manual to the letter on it's first Winterization, made such a mess I never did it again. For three seasons I dumped several gallons into the FW tank pumped it thru and spent a week getting the taste out.
Set up my garage, got a compressor and haven't looked back.

Bob
🇺🇸
I meant upstream, as in between the tank and pump. Told you I was brain farting.
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Old 10-19-2021, 10:23 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by n89217 View Post
I first blow out the lines, and follow up with adding antifreeze in the fresh water tank, and then pump the antifreeze through the lines. This takes care of the water pump as well as the lines. May be overkill, but have never had a problem by doing both. Only takes 2 gallons of antifreeze. Cheap insurance.
Hi

I would not put antifreeze in the fresh water tank. It can take an eternity of flushing to get all of the residue out of there in the spring. Same issue with the hot water heater......

Bob
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Old 10-19-2021, 04:57 PM   #16
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that's what i did

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted S. View Post
I'm going to set up my shop vac and suck the line clear of water. I think that is going to work better.
after draining and blowing air, i brought out the shop vac and an extension hose i use for cleaning the vehicles and:
1. disconnected the water supply to the toilet and vacuumed the line and the toilet foot valve through several rotations of the valve.
2. vacuumed the BR sink faucet while rotating hot to cold several times
3. disconnected shower head from faucet and did the same
4. disconnected the input and output from the pump and expansion tank i installed and vacuumed all hose/line ends, the expansion tank and ran the pump with the vacuum hose placed at the output side. Also opened the screen on the tank side and vacuumed there - showing me that the tank drain surely did not allow all the water to drain out!
5. vacuumed the kitchen sink faucet cold/hot before, during and after disconnecting the sink head from the supply lines under the sink.
6. found a small diameter tube and held it to the end of the vacuum hose while pushing the other end into the water heater drain plug hole.
7. vacuumed the exterior shower fittings and hose.

In all there wasn't a pint of water in the bottom of the shop vac - but it was my best belt and suspenders approach.
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Old 10-19-2021, 05:18 PM   #17
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I meant upstream, as in between the tank and pump. Told you I was brain farting.


Let us give thanks we can all still fart... Can I get an Amen?

Bob
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Old 10-19-2021, 05:45 PM   #18
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Amen!
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Old 10-20-2021, 07:42 AM   #19
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Let us give thanks we can all still fart... Can I get an Amen?

Bob
🇺🇸
What did Jack Nicholson say? (among two other things) "Never trust a fart..."
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Old 10-20-2021, 08:49 AM   #20
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Hi

A shop vac trying to suck the water out is working against atmospheric pressure. That means (at most) 15 psi. The typical shop vac does not get anywhere near a full vacuum so something in the 3 psi range is more realistic. Even with 60 PSI out of a compressor, getting all the water out of the lines is problematic at modest flow rates.

Bob
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