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Old 10-16-2018, 01:36 PM   #1
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 10,016
Winterizing

Hi

So I'm sitting here with the eternal debate about winterizing going on. Wife and dogs object to anti-freeze residue at very low levels so there is indeed reason to debate the issue.

In the 2017 Classic, you go through the manual and blow out the hot water boiler on the Alde. It then gets cut off from the system and is not going to see any anti-freeze. One hopes the brass mixing valve got nice and dry ....

Looking at the plumbing I can see, it's all plastic. The pipes are plastic and the elbows and tee's are plastic. The fasteners are spring type so they won't rupture if things freeze. Assuming (always a wonderful thing to do on an AS ....) the plumbing I can't see is done the same way, the pipes aren't going to freeze.

You have the water pump and the city water regulator that both do need to be emptied. The manual has a procedure for that. The regulator would not normally see anti freeze if it's pumped in with the water pump anyway ...

The manual goes through the blowout process and stops. It then calls the anti freeze an "added protection" step. That implies it's not a *necessary* step.

What I *think* the vulnerable parts of the system are:

1) The inside shower faucet
2) The outside shower faucet
3) The kitchen faucet
4) The bathroom faucet
5) The toilet valve

Low point drains and the like would stay open so they aren't going to freeze. Since the sewage lines are past where things matter, they of course will get a dose of anti-freeze no matter what.

So am I missing something here? Is the list complete?

If the faucets are open, there isn't a lot of water left in them. It's going to drain back into the pipes or out the spout. The toilet valve is the only thing I can see that might need help to stay open

*If* all that is correct - why anti-freeze on this specific trailer?

I very much am not making this a general discussion. Older trailers do have metal plumbing bits in them. Drain water back into a brass tee and you can freeze crack it. I'm only talking about a trailer set up the way mine is.

Thoughts from anybody?

Bob
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Old 10-16-2018, 02:59 PM   #2
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2014 23' Flying Cloud
Park City , Utah
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I quit with the anti-freeze. Such a pain to flush out in the spring. Gets down to minus teens (F) here...no issues.

Only thing you didn't mention....blow air for a few seconds into the black flush fitting to clear the wand, and the anti-siphon valve that's back there.


I also remove the connection at the pressure side of the pump, and then hit the system with air again...to clear that little section that might not have. Then removed the suction side and run the pump for 20 seconds. Then let it sit, and run it again to make sure it is clear.


The best advice I have is...hook up the compressor (one with some capacity like a 6-gallon pancake model), and go from fixture to fixture to low point to low point...and then go around again. And again. Then a few more times. The toilet valve will blow clear, just like all the others. I don't stop going around my circuit until when pressurized and I open a valve or faucet...not even any "mist" blows out. I will then wait an hour and go around again just in case any moisture in the lines consolidated into a low spot somewhere.

When I'm done I put everything back in 'service' mode, except low points left open. close those in spring, fill things up, hit the road. So much easier.

Antifreeze in traps of course. "Waterless" traps or not. Trust nothing!
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Old 10-16-2018, 03:11 PM   #3
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

The compressor will deliver 2 CFM at 90PSI. I've considered something bigger. What you really need is one optimized for high flow at 30 or 40 PSI. Those do exist, but not in most home shops or at a price you can reasonably afford.

Good point about the black tank spray wand, I did take care of it earlier. I left it off the list.

One thing the AS owning next door neighbor does - he opens everything (except the sewer) up and drives around the block a few times (or opens it all on the drive home). He claims that it pretty much shakes all the water out of the system before he hooks up the compressor.

====

I did to back and poked under the sink a bit. The lines to the faucet there are a bit wonky. They are plastic inside so my guess is that the lines are freeze proof. The fittings are metal so ... not so much. I spent some time moving the spray head around while blowing it out. Hopefully that gets it nice and clear.

Lots of fun !!!

Bob
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:21 PM   #4
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2019 30' International
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I don't know what I do wrong when blowing the lines. I run 50 psi through them, as the manual says to do. The manual says to open everything up and run the air, but I do one item at a time, kitchen faucet, bath faucet, toilet, etc. etc.

The manual also says to remove the outlet side of the water pump prior to applying air. This I presume is to keep air pressure from going in to the pump the wrong way. This deminishes the amount of air going to the open fixture elsewhere.

In any event, every time I finish blowing the lines, I close her up, bypass the water heater, and then use the onboard pump to run antifreeze through everything.

Well, every time, when I run antifreeze through there, I see water come out of the fixtures first, then pink, and this is after blowing the lines for quite a while.

So, am i doing it all wrong, or not long enough? I'd say I spend a half hour or more blowing air through the lines, opening one fixture at a time. I just can't get to trusting the air only thing.

So, if y'all want to specifiy the air only method you use, have at it, as I'd love to read how you do it.

thanks,
majorairhead
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:23 PM   #5
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Are you bypassing and manually draining the water heater? There are 6 gallons of water in a conventional one.

Our tankless just blows dry with air.
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
Are you bypassing and manually draining the water heater? There are 6 gallons of water in a conventional one.

Our tankless just blows dry with air.
Our tank gets blow'd also...👍

Bob
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:46 PM   #7
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So I have blown the lines. And frankly in WI where temps get down to below zero I am not going to take a chance. I run anti-freeze through the lines and the water pump. I’d rather take a bit of extra time flushing the system in the Spring. I just don’t trust blowing the lines alone. I always see water coming out when I put anti-freeze through the system. Goes from light pink to dark pink. And I drain the HW tank and shut off the valve all the time. And I put anti-freeze in the black and great tanks as well. Just enough to make sure. It worked last year just fine.
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:48 PM   #8
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

Ok, at least how I do it:

Start off with everything open. Let it all gravity drain to the degree it can.
Hook up the compressor and blow out whatever more you can with it all open.
Close everything up (water pump still hooked up through all this)
Open a hot water faucet and blow out what you can through it, then close the faucet.
One at a time open / drain / close the other faucets, first hot then cold.
Open, drain, and then close the hot water overpressure valve.
Open, drain, and then close the hot water dump valve (red line through the floor).
Go back and re-do the faucets.
Re-do the hot water heater.
Now switch the valves to "store" mode on the hot water heater.
Run the dump valve on the water heater.
Re-do the faucets.
Open the output switchover valve on the hot water and run the dump valve
Close the output valve
Re-do the faucets.
Pull the compressor off the city water inlet
Blow out the black tank flush
====
Haven't done this yet:
Rig a gasket on the fresh water input (I use a trash bag folded up)
Pressurize the tank to about 20 psi
Blow out the fresh water tank dump valve and then close it
Open the low point drains
Turn on the fresh water pump
Blow the pump out through the low point drains.
=====
Go back to the compressor on the city water
Re-do all the faucets (which includes the toilet flush)
Dump anti-freeze into the toilet and two other drains.

That's the process plus the plan !!

=====

What's the objective?

You want any residual water to be in the plastic pipes. They can freeze / thaw just fine. 28 degrees of freeze is no different than -28 degrees in this respect. I ....errr ... happen to have frozen plastic pipes in the past. There are only a handful of "vulnerable" items on the trailer.

=====

Why all this silly work?

Well, last year we spent two days flushing the trailer (that's 48 hours running water through the system). After that there still was anti-freeze taste / odor in the water. We moved on and all (including the dogs) suffered the consequences. We flushed for another couple days but still got the taste/ smell. Eventually we gave up went with bottled water. After about 16 weeks of camping out, we still could get a whiff of anti-freeze from time to time.

Lots of fun !!!

Bob
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:58 PM   #9
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2014 23' Flying Cloud
Park City , Utah
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majorairhead View Post
I don't know what I do wrong when blowing the lines. I run 50 psi through them, as the manual says to do. The manual says to open everything up and run the air, but I do one item at a time, kitchen faucet, bath faucet, toilet, etc. etc.

The manual also says to remove the outlet side of the water pump prior to applying air. This I presume is to keep air pressure from going in to the pump the wrong way. This deminishes the amount of air going to the open fixture elsewhere.

In any event, every time I finish blowing the lines, I close her up, bypass the water heater, and then use the onboard pump to run antifreeze through everything.

Well, every time, when I run antifreeze through there, I see water come out of the fixtures first, then pink, and this is after blowing the lines for quite a while.

So, am i doing it all wrong, or not long enough? I'd say I spend a half hour or more blowing air through the lines, opening one fixture at a time. I just can't get to trusting the air only thing.

So, if y'all want to specifiy the air only method you use, have at it, as I'd love to read how you do it.

thanks,
majorairhead

Leaving that line from the outlet of the pump unhooked is your issue...you are not allowing enough pressure to build in all the pipes to get them clear. All your pressure is quickly bleeding out that disconnecting fitting.

What I do: Give the system an initial blow to get most of the water out. THEN I disconnect the pump outlet and apply pressure again...to make sure there is no water in the section of pipe coming from the pump outlet. I treat it just like I would a fixture. Then I disconnect the pump inlet, run the pump to clear it. Then reconnect the pump outlet and repeat all the other fixtures and valves, once at at time. Leaving that fitting disconnected might be OK with a super-high volume compressor I guess...but with typical workshop compressors, leaving that outlet disconnected will bleed of all the volume in the tank in a matter 20 seconds. Reconnecting won't hurt the pump...water pressure when on city water is more than the 45 psi you'll apply from the compressor. I wonder if Airstream means to say, disconnect it to blow out that section of pipe, but then reconnect to continue blowing the system.
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Old 10-16-2018, 06:50 PM   #10
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Port Dover , ON Canada
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Non-toxic Propylene Glycol RV Antifreeze

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

... last year we spent two days flushing the trailer (that's 48 hours running water through the system). After that there still was anti-freeze taste / odor in the water. We moved on and all (including the dogs) suffered the consequences. We flushed for another couple days but still got the taste/ smell. Eventually we gave up went with bottled water. After about 16 weeks of camping out, we still could get a whiff of anti-freeze from time to time.
On our International there are two items that you haven't mentioned.

1. When disconnecting the suction side of the water pump, remove the filter basket and empty about 150 ml of water from it. Replace the filter basket.

2. There is a water filter in the cold line under the kitchen sink. Remove it and replace it with the supplied straight piece of PEX with the threaded fittings before blowing out the lines.

If you were still having taste of antifreeze after flushing the lines, I suspect that you may have contaminated the filter.

Another trick, if using antifreeze (use only non-toxic propylene glycol RV antifreeze with NO alcohol) is after running the antifreeze through the system drain and collect it out of the low point drains and blow the lines again. There is no need for the AF to sit in the lines all winter as it will have displaced any residual water. Use the collected AF in the traps and toilet. The non-alcohol RV antifreeze will help to lubricate rubber seals and valves.

In the spring, after flushing the lines with water, fit the water filter back in line. This will take out any lingering taste or odour of the water in the kitchen cold water line.
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Old 10-16-2018, 07:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adventure.AS View Post
On our International there are two items that you haven't mentioned.

1. When disconnecting the suction side of the water pump, remove the filter basket and empty about 150 ml of water from it. Replace the filter basket.

2. There is a water filter in the cold line under the kitchen sink. Remove it and replace it with the supplied straight piece of PEX with the threaded fittings before blowing out the lines.

If you were still having taste of antifreeze after flushing the lines, I suspect that you may have contaminated the filter.

Another trick, if using antifreeze (use only non-toxic propylene glycol RV antifreeze with NO alcohol) is after running the antifreeze through the system drain and collect it out of the low point drains and blow the lines again. There is no need for the AF to sit in the lines all winter as it will have displaced any residual water. Use the collected AF in the traps and toilet. The non-alcohol RV antifreeze will help to lubricate rubber seals and valves.

In the spring, after flushing the lines with water, fit the water filter back in line. This will take out any lingering taste or odour of the water in the kitchen cold water line.
Hi

Yup, did the basket filter on the water pump. The filter under the sink came off before the winterizing and was replaced with the standard pipe. That pipe stayed in until we were done with the first 48 hours of flushing. I replaced it with a brand new filter after that. Since it only works in one side of the faucet, there's only so much it's going to do ....

Bob
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Old 10-16-2018, 07:19 PM   #12
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Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
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Steady 35psi and blow 'til dry...using all the methods mentioned above, except the rong ones. 😂
SEE...everyone else knows everything. 👍
Just do it...

Bob
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Old 10-17-2018, 02:48 AM   #13
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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Good advice so far. We have never used antifreeze in the water supply lines, and our old 25' in the 90's and the current FC20 do just fine.

Avoid questionable chemical products!



One little tweak in some models . . . is that the supply line -- from the water tank to the pump's pre-filter -- can have a low point which traps water. When you disconnect this supply line from the filter housing, you should blow [by mouth] into it, to force the trapped water back into the water tank, from which it then drains out the [already-open] drain valve.

Probably not necessary, but good insurance IMO.

Peter
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Old 10-17-2018, 05:06 AM   #14
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JC does not use anti freeze. I use their method, pressurize system to 60#. Open facets one at a time then wait for pressure to rebuild pressure. First letting everything drain, I open a leave for a while. I blow out boiler sanitary as well. Down to 0 degrees and no issue. But solved all this by taking trailer to FL in September and back in late April
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Old 10-17-2018, 05:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
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JC does not use anti freeze. I use their method, pressurize system to 60#. Open facets one at a time then wait for pressure to rebuild pressure. First letting everything drain, I open a leave for a while. I blow out boiler sanitary as well. Down to 0 degrees and no issue. But solved all this by taking trailer to FL in September and back in late April
BINGO...I doubt that very many dealers do either. 👍

I do the same, but with a 25gal tank, I don't wait and stay away from F L A.😄
Oh... it's an oilless compressor with a separator/dryer.

Bob
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Old 10-17-2018, 05:55 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Oh... it's an oilless compressor with a separator/dryer.
I've been wondering why I haven't seen separators mentioned in these discussions so far. Seems to me you could mess up your fresh water system pretty bad with a cheap compressor and no separator.
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:15 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
I've been wondering why I haven't seen separators mentioned in these discussions so far. Seems to me you could mess up your fresh water system pretty bad with a cheap compressor and no separator.
What is a separator?

Bob, what brand and model compressor are you using?

Mike
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:47 AM   #18
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Most home use compressors use oil for lubrication and some oil gets around the piston into the compressed air. Generally an old worn out or cheap compressor will have more oil in the air. Mix that with the moisture that inevitably gets in the air and it's not something I would want in my water system. Evan a cheap separator/filter would remove just about all of it.
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Old 10-17-2018, 08:44 AM   #19
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Hi

Good point on using clean / oil free air. The compressor isn't the only part of the system that can be yucky. If you use air tools (and thus oiled air) it will get into the air lines you use for that job. I get very careful about separating things into oil and oilless categories. Even so, a filter on the air line probably isn't a bad idea.

The compressor I'm using right now is an oil free cheapo from Home Depot. It's one of their house brand Husky models. It's good for 2 CFM at 90 PSI. Lowes also has oilless compressors as well. They are "what you use" if you are spray painting.

If we full timed, then indeed going someplace warm in the winter would be the answer to all this. That's not how we are set up right now. For us (so far) it's just a bit under 1/2 time on the road.

I agree that the water pump lines are a bit of an issue. Even with the "prior art" of putting in anti-freeze the input lines never saw anything. As mentioned earlier, my plan this time is to pressurize the fresh water tank and blow the entire pump system out. After that, I'll pull it apart and see if it worked or not.

Just for reference, when we originally looked at our trailer it *was* done up with anti-freeze. Colonial had set it up that way for storage over the winter. The pink puddle dripping out of the kitchen faucet was a dead giveaway. Whatever they did to purge the system worked for us. We didn't notice any anti-freeze taste issues the first year. It may be that we got sensitized to the stuff ....

Just for completeness, RV anti-freeze will not poison you. It will have an impact on your system. It actually is a component in some medications. The net result of ingesting it is a quick filling of the black tank and going through an excessive amount of toilet paper .... enough said .....

Bob
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Old 10-17-2018, 04:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
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What is a separator?

Bob, what brand and model compressor are you using?

Mike
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Dryer/regulator.

Disclaimer...I use for it for MUCH more than Winterizing the AS.....
ToolsTools Tools😂




Bob
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