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Winterizing: RV antifreeze vs blowing-out the system


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#1 BlackDogs

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 07:10 AM

I was recently advised by the folks at Casita just to use the water pump until the system is dry, drain the HWH, and blow out the system with air using the blow-out attachment through the external water hose connection. This is my third winter in Wisconsin with the Casita and I have previously pumped two gallons of RV antifreeze through the system from the fresh water tank. I am nervous about damage caused by residual water in low spots and junctions, and I might revert to using a recently purchased bypass kit to add RV antifreeze to the system.

Has anyone experienced problems in cold climates just blowing out the water system instead of adding RV anti-freeze. I am trying to keep the Casita in usable mode through the pheasant hunting season (end of January). Rinsing out antifreeze to a point that I can use the fresh water system is not fun or even possible when the house fresh water hose has been stored for the season and all of the outside faucets are off.

Several forum members have mentioned cold weather camping using the internal fresh water system. What do you do between trips to keep the system from freezing without needing to deal with RV antifreeze? Or do you find that the antifreeze is not that big of a problem?

Note: In another thread, Jerry-go-see does essentially what I have done this year in NC without problems. Anyone in colder climes that have tried the blow-out method without problems?

Edited by BlackDogs, 08 November 2007 - 07:18 AM.


#2 Joe Z

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 07:24 AM

there are many different things to do..... with me i drain the HWH and put in winter bypass mode.... drain freshwater tank then push no more than 50 psi of air to empty the lines (not forgetting to open where the city water feed valve empties into the freshwater tank to clear that line which is at the top of my tank)..... add two gallons of pink anti freeze into the freshwater tank and then pump thru all lines including toilet and shower head.... pour about two cups into each "P" trap then drain grey and black tanks.

Now when i want to use the trailer i put a gallon of pink stuff ALONGSIDE the toilet for flushing purposes and bring a few gallons of water for myself............. i do not use the greywater tank at all.
Joe

p.s. my friend just blows his lines clear with compressed air and has never had a problem in twenty years and he owns a camper store....for me two gallons is cheap insurance.

Edited by wrkn2mch, 08 November 2007 - 07:26 AM.

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#3 Don in OKC

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 07:58 AM

QUOTE (BlackDogs @ Nov 8 2007, 08:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was recently advised by the folks at Casita just to use the water pump until the system is dry, drain the HWH, and blow out the system with air using the blow-out attachment through the external water hose connection.

This works, it doesn't address the water left in the drain traps of the shower and sink(s). And by 'system' don't forget to blow out the toilet line.

This is my third winter in Wisconsin with the Casita and I have previously pumped two gallons of RV antifreeze through the system from the fresh water tank.

I like the 2 gallon system because you can 'see' pink stuff come out of each faucet and be assured that it's replaced the water with antifreeze, including the toilet. Then if you let the faucet(s) run for a bit, it automatically gets to the drain traps. And youre DONE!

IMHO, using the blow-out method along with antifreeze is redundant.


I am nervous about damage caused by residual water in low spots and junctions, and I might revert to using a recently purchased bypass kit to add RV antifreeze to the system.

Has anyone experienced problems in cold climates just blowing out the water system instead of adding RV anti-freeze. I am trying to keep the Casita in usable mode through the pheasant hunting season (end of January). Rinsing out antifreeze to a point that I can use the fresh water system is not fun or even possible when the house fresh water hose has been stored for the season and all of the outside faucets are off.

Several forum members have mentioned cold weather camping using the internal fresh water system. What do you do between trips to keep the system from freezing without needing to deal with RV antifreeze? Or do you find that the antifreeze is not that big of a problem?

Most of the winter camping posts I've read have by-passed the heater, use fresh water from bottles for drinking, meals and flushing. Add pink stuff to black/grey tanks as needed.[/color]

Note: In another thread, Jerry-go-see does essentially what I have done this year in NC without problems. Anyone in colder climes that have tried the blow-out method without problems?

[color=#006600]I've had the Casita and did fine without a winterize kit. I installed one in a larger RV and liked it because it had so much plumbing. I don't think the winterize kit is needed on a Casita since 2 gallons of antifreeze will do the job. Small fresh water tank and short plumbing run to the pump makes a difference.


More than one way to skin a cat
Don in OKC - (Useta have a) 2000 16' LD, 98 Chrysler T&C

#4 Pickle-ette

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 08:27 AM

I'm trying something new this season, and will report in the spring on results and or problems. Here are the steps I took:

Opened the WH bypass and drained the WH. Also drained the fresh water tank.

Rigged a fitting to supply 10 psi air to the shore water connection and blew out all lines, including the sinks, stool, and outside shower. Ten psi will lift a 20 foot column of water if I remember correctly.

Opened the filter in the middle of the back of the Casita, and used a towel to catch water there, then used an air hose to blow out any water in the line I could reach.

Poured a half cup or so of antifreeze in each sink and the shower trap, and on the closed valve in the stool (to keep the seals lubricated).

Drained both gray and black tanks.

If this doesn't do it, I may be replacing pipes next spring!

D
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#5 andy101

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 11:08 AM

After reading the precautions on the label there is no way I would put that stuff in the water system, it can be fatal if swallowed! So how much of that gets left behind even after you rinse the system out? I don't want to find out.
I will blow out and use a shop vac to get the lines empty and just leave it at that.
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#6 Ben Idle

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 11:25 AM

QUOTE (andy101 @ Nov 8 2007, 02:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
After reading the precautions on the label there is no way I would put that stuff in the water system, it can be fatal if swallowed! So how much of that gets left behind even after you rinse the system out? I don't want to find out.

andy101,
Are you talking about RV antifreeze? I see on the container I have that it cautions to keep it out of the reach of children and pets and that swallowing it could be harmful, but NOT where it would be fatal to swallow. It should be safe as long as it is reasonably used and flushed out before using the water system for drinking.
Ben

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Owned and operated since Nov. 2005

#7 1kzwoman

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 11:53 AM

It gets -30 here in Wyoming, so I do both compressed air and Rv antifreeze. My Lawn sprinkler guy uses compressed air to clear thoses lines, the first week of October. I winterize then too!

#8 KountryKamper

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 12:20 PM

Here is an MSDS sheet for RV antifreeze

says its safe



http://www.peakantif...v_marine_af.pdf
Tom & Cheryl
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#9 mike712

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 12:49 PM

Our Casita is stored near the Iowa-Minnesota line where it usually goes to around -20 for several nights. I want the maximum protection of RV antifreeze. Several hundred miles south (I-70 and south) I would consider simply blowing out the lines so I could use the rig in winter.
I also blow out the lines and drain all tanks and put pink stuff in drains in October so that I can go camping if we want to. In November I add the pink stuff.
If I were younger and more adventurous and had fewer alternatives, I might blow out the lines and tap in behind the water pump to add pink stuff, leaving the fresh water tank empty (the tank seems to be the hardest place to get rid of antifreeze); then I could add fresh water and go camping in mid winter.
I have used the Casita in late fall and it seems to shrink as the nights grow longer. Mike
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#10 Chris Z

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 12:59 PM

Switch bypass on the heater tank, drain the heater including a vacuum and a wick. Then I try to blow out as much as possible with air and run the pump some while the air is on. After that, I put some of the pink stuff in the water tank and pump it thru the lines and catch it in a bottle as it comes out of the faucet (if it looks as pink as it was going in). Next, I blow out the lines again and catch it again if it looks still pink again. Drain what's left in the freshwater tank back into the bottle again. Make sure a little bit is in the drain.
I did this last year and it seems to me that I only ended up losing a half gallon or less in the whole process. I have the remainder to do again this year. dancinsmilie.gif

If you're worried about the taste ohmy.gif , this should minimize what's in the lines.

Mike it does shrink. Fiberglass expands when it gets hot lol.gif lol.gif
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#11 andy101

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 03:33 PM

QUOTE (Ben Idle @ Nov 8 2007, 12:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (andy101 @ Nov 8 2007, 02:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

After reading the precautions on the label there is no way I would put that stuff in the water system, it can be fatal if swallowed! So how much of that gets left behind even after you rinse the system out? I don't want to find out.

andy101,
Are you talking about RV antifreeze? I see on the container I have that it cautions to keep it out of the reach of children and pets and that swallowing it could be harmful, but NOT where it would be fatal to swallow. It should be safe as long as it is reasonably used and flushed out before using the water system for drinking.
Ben


Hi Ben,
I know I may sound extreme but I did not have a chance to go back and re read but I belive it says it contains ethelyene glycol. That is the ingredient that is in all anti-freeze and if it will kill dogs then it can
be fatal to humans as well. If it was not harmful they would not include the warning...Thats just my take.
Andy and Laura
"The Casita"#2926
2008,17SD
Las Cruces, N.M.

#12 Rand

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 05:20 PM

Hi,

I drain the water tank, then the water heater after switching the valve off, then add two gallons of pink (which I have used for the past three winters without any death, illness or discoloration) run it through all the lines including hte outside shower...add some pink to the drain lines and I'm done....takes me about 15 minutes max. The weather here in SC in EXTREMELY variable...freezing the last two nights and will be 78 in two days...so when we camp and the weather is good...and we have hookups we will use the hose, flip the valve to the waterheater and use the systems as always...AND when leaving the campground and knowing I will not be camping for awhile run the pink from the water tank through after draining the hot water tank...this midwinter switch takes 5 minutes max. I don't think the air blow out works for me...as I really have NO desire to replace plumbing lines...done too much of that on projects for the disadvantaged.

Rand:-) (my opinion and what I do is only my opinion and as such doesn't mean you shouldn't have an opinion that is different than mine...life and people offer lots of opinions and that's fine by me)
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#13 travlinbob

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 06:28 PM

I still feel that this is the best method. Get one of these.

Pump Converter Winterizer Kit
Permanent Pump Converter by Camco lets your pump draw RV antifreeze directly from the bottle.
This Item is In-Stock and Ready to Ship
$13.49
Club Price Reg. $14.99

This ad comes from the Camping World Online Catalogue or is available at most RV dealers.

This is the simplest fastest way to winterize your water system. You just add it to the plumbing between your fresh water tank and the pump. It has a valve that bypasses the water tank. It has a flexable hose tou just poke through the foil seal on your antifreeze jug. Make sure you have your hot water heater bypassed. Close all the valves and turn on the pump. Once your pump stops running, go around and open each valve (hot and cold) and let it run until all the water is out of that line. You can tell if the water is out because what comes out will go from a clear to a solid pink. Then close the valve and repeat until all lines are clear of water. I run a liittle extra out to make sure the p traps etc are winterized. I live in Kansas where the temps may stay below freezing for weeks on end. I have used this method for 9 seasons without a single leak. This would be money well spent. It requires no blowing out of the lines and you dont have to poor that sticky pink stuff in to your fresh water tank. Antifreeze is a whole lot easier to get out of the lines than it is the tank. Personally I dont like to put RV Antifreeze in my fresh water tank since it takes forever to flush back out. I only use one gallon of antifreeze to do the entire job. In fact there is usually a cup or so left over that I just poor down the drains for good measure. In the spring just put some fresh water in your tank, open up the valve on the Converter Winterizer Kit and run all the faucets until all the pink is gone and the water no longer has that sticky feel to it. You will not be disipointed in this method.
travlinbob
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#14 Don

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 07:16 PM

QUOTE (andy101 @ Nov 8 2007, 05:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I know I may sound extreme but I did not have a chance to go back and re read but I belive it says it contains ethelyene glycol. That is the ingredient that is in all anti-freeze and if it will kill dogs then it can be fatal to humans as well. If it was not harmful they would not include the warning...Thats just my take.

Andy, do go back and read the label for RV/Marine anti-freeze (the 'pink stuff') - you will find that there is no Ethelyne Glycol in it. If there were, you would be correct not to put it in your water system and we would be missing a lot of RVers!.

You may have read Propylene Glycol which is very different and considered generally safe by the FDA. The pink stuff is safe to put in your system though some people do not care to do so and instead use compressed air to blow the water out of the lines.

Each method has pros and cons. Personally with my motor home I used compressed air and with my small travel trailers I have used the pink stuff. When preparing for the first trip in the spring, I do a pretty fair job of flushing the fresh water system but have never panicked if a light tinge of pink came out of a faucet. It does not taste great but, then neither does the water at some campgrounds.

Don

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#15 andy101

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 08:07 AM

QUOTE (Don @ Nov 8 2007, 08:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (andy101 @ Nov 8 2007, 05:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I know I may sound extreme but I did not have a chance to go back and re read but I belive it says it contains ethelyene glycol. That is the ingredient that is in all anti-freeze and if it will kill dogs then it can be fatal to humans as well. If it was not harmful they would not include the warning...Thats just my take.

Andy, do go back and read the label for RV/Marine anti-freeze (the 'pink stuff') - you will find that there is no Ethelyne Glycol in it. If there were, you would be correct not to put it in your water system and we would be missing a lot of RVers!.

You may have read Propylene Glycol which is very different and considered generally safe by the FDA. The pink stuff is safe to put in your system though some people do not care to do so and instead use compressed air to blow the water out of the lines.

Each method has pros and cons. Personally with my motor home I used compressed air and with my small travel trailers I have used the pink stuff. When preparing for the first trip in the spring, I do a pretty fair job of flushing the fresh water system but have never panicked if a light tinge of pink came out of a faucet. It does not taste great but, then neither does the water at some campgrounds.

Don


Don,
I stand corected. biggrin.gif
Andy and Laura
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2008,17SD
Las Cruces, N.M.