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Author Topic: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?  (Read 12709 times)

mustangary

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Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« on: September 19, 2012, 09:22:36 PM »
New to this RV thing... bought a new Jayco this July.  Reading in the manual last night about winterizing it, which points to 1) simply blowing out the lines through the city fill with an air compressor, and then pouring a bit of RV antifreeze in the drains, or, 2) pumping RV antifreeze into the system until it runs out all the faucets, etc.   Downside of the latter:  Seems the water filter needs to be taken out. 

Issue is:  Will be parking it here in cold country until early January, and then heading south for a couple of months.  So, need to only winterize it for a couple of months (late October through December,  and then I am out of here!).  Am thinking will do #1:  What think?   

It can get pretty cold here in December... maybe as low as 15-degrees (for short periods)... is the air purge (and drain the water heater) plus some RV antifreeze in the drains enough? 

Billy Bob

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2012, 09:59:54 PM »
15 degrees is really cold I am on the TX Gulf Coast so all i do is drain all the tanks put a 1/2 gal. RV antifreeze in the Black & gray tanks, the drain on the potable water tank is on the bottom of the tank so its good with out Antifreeze. Then set my furnace to come on at 40 degrees open all cabinet doors and I am good here.
That said with 15 degree weather I would drain all tanks add one gal. of RV antifreeze to each tank, make sure the antifreeze was in the black & gray drain lines, drain the water heater & leave the plug out, remove the water filter, blow out all water lines and add a cup or more of RV antifreeze to all drains, don't forget the toilet bowl  Maybe someone from up north can help

jerrybell

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 01:22:36 AM »
This is one of those topics that gets debated here anually about this time of year.  From past year's responses it seems that either method works and this seems to be supported by your owners manual.  Go with the method that works best for you.  Either way don't forget about all the non-faucet water fixtures (toilet water supply line, outside shower, icemaker etc.) that you might have and drain your water heater.  A cup of antifreeze in each drain is sufficient.  I don't really see the need for antifreeze in the black and gray tanks as Billy Bob suggests.  Any small amount of water left in a those that may freeze and expand has plenty of room to do so without damaging anything.

flyfishalso

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 08:45:45 AM »
I disagree on the black and gray tanks.  I had a rig where i thought that any would in the tanks would be free to expand and not cause a problem.  What I forgot about was the pipe draining the tanks.  Next spring on of the drain pipes was leaking.  Apparently the residual water drained to the pipe and there was not enough room for the expansion.

Now I put RV antifreeze in both tanks a cheap protection in my opinion.

Carl
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Mopar1973Man

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2012, 09:12:51 AM »
I blow all lines out and sink p-traps out with air. The only place I use anti-freeze is in the toilet. Everything else is completely blow out or drained out. I'm in central Idaho and see some seriously cold temperatures now down to -25*F and never had a issue with blowing out. But 2 times now when I used anti-freeze found it froze up in a thick slushy. I don't want to risk anything so if all the lines are blown dry and there is nothing in them they can freeze period. Not to mention no anti-freeze to foul the the tates of the water system so its a double plus. As for blowing out the sink traps a lot of people say it will let sewage smell in. That is not true if you properly wash out you tanks before storage use bleach solution and plenty of rinse water there is zero smell. Going into my 3 year of this methoad and will winterize sometime in October.
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 09:47:55 AM »
 We get a half dozen or so sub-freezing nights at our north Florida home base, so need to do something for freeze protection when the coach is not in use.  We use the blow-out method rather than heating the RV or using anti-freeze, but with either method you have to pay particular attention to places that trap water, e.g. ice maker valve, clothes washer pump, tank drain lines and valves, water filters, etc. Any or all of those can freeze easily and break a fitting or rupture a valve. I've even had an ice maker solenoid valve damaged after blowing it out - there were a few drops of water caught in a cavity behind the seal, enough to push the seal on the valve face out of position (I was able to re-seat it ok once the leak was discovered).

If using the antifreeze method, you must assure that the antifreeze solution actually reaches all those same places. Just pumping it through the lines to the faucets is not sufficient.
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Rancher Will

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 12:41:51 PM »
This is a subject that each RVer should decide for themselves. I believe either system will work if done properly.

I am a rancher and truck company owner so I have compresors available. For our RV's over the years I have found it most convenient to just use RV Antifreeze rather than the work of using a compressor. I believe it take less time and I know that the job is done properly with using the antifreeze.

Depending on the RV each has, and after learning what process is needed, anyone should be able to determine the preferable method.

BillB3857

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 03:46:31 PM »
If using the blow out method (I do) one thing to be sure and not miss is the overflow line on the toilet.  It has a trap that will need attention.  I use automotive window washer fluid instead of the expensive RV stuff for all the drain traps. That was a helpful tip from the RV dealer where I bought my rig.
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denmarc

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2012, 12:21:43 PM »
If using the blow out method (I do) one thing to be sure and not miss is the overflow line on the toilet.  It has a trap that will need attention.  I use automotive window washer fluid instead of the expensive RV stuff for all the drain traps. That was a helpful tip from the RV dealer where I bought my rig.

A "helpful tip" from someone who is either unaware of the environmental impact of where that WW fluid ends up come Spring, or doesn't care.  Not a good idea.
Mark

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John From Detroit

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2012, 01:25:41 PM »
Automotive windshield washer.... Expensive RV anterfreeze.

I don't know about that,  This time of year there is at least one hardware (ACE) that usually offers a rebate on the pink stuff making it less expensive then the blue stuff .

Just so you know .

Of course.. I use the "S" stuff now days (Drive South) so I don't bother but the last couple of winters where I had to I used the dry method, Pink in drains and toilets where flushign it out come spring..... Not a problem.

Just remember a single blow won't do it.. You need to blow pause blow pause at least half a dozen times if not more,, I think I hit 10 one year.
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scottydl

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2012, 01:29:43 PM »
We've used both winterizing methods, and both have worked equally well.  This is in central IL, where it's common to have several months of subzero temps depending on the year.  I was reluctant to try the compressed air method at first, thinking that some water would be "missed" ... but the trick (as mentioned) is to continue pressurizing the system and leaving faucets on for ALL the water to blow out.  Same as the antifreeze if you use that method, you pump enough pink stuff through to push ALL the water out.

A "helpful tip" from someone who is either unaware of the environmental impact of where that WW fluid ends up come Spring, or doesn't care.  Not a good idea.

I can't imagine that a few cups of windshield washer fluid flushed once per year is going to destroy the planet, or any RV dump septic systems.  No more than the thousands (millions?) of gallons used annually to clean car windows, anyway... all of that ends up on the ground too, prior to evaporating since it's mostly water and alcohol.

But I agree with John about the negligible price difference (especially talking about small amount for just the drain traps) between RV antifreeze and windshield washer fluid, if you hit the right sales.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 01:33:51 PM by scottydl »
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familycamper

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2012, 02:02:56 PM »
I blow all lines out and sink p-traps out with air. The only place I use anti-freeze is in the toilet. Everything else is completely blow out or drained out. I'm in central Idaho and see some seriously cold temperatures now down to -25*F and never had a issue with blowing out. But 2 times now when I used anti-freeze found it froze up in a thick slushy. I don't want to risk anything so if all the lines are blown dry and there is nothing in them they can freeze period. Not to mention no anti-freeze to foul the the tates of the water system so its a double plus. As for blowing out the sink traps a lot of people say it will let sewage smell in. That is not true if you properly wash out you tanks before storage use bleach solution and plenty of rinse water there is zero smell. Going into my 3 year of this methoad and will winterize sometime in October.

I do the same as above and drain the hot water heater as well.
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Mopar1973Man

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2012, 06:39:20 PM »
I do the same as above and drain the hot water heater as well.

Opps...  ::)
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schoolsout2

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2012, 06:42:38 PM »
With all the good advice you have received here, may I add that I remove the Ice maker valve.  It froze on me the first year.  Be sure to follow the Ice maker manual on how to purge that line.  Be sure to set the compressor to no more than 20 pounds.
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Mopar1973Man

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2012, 08:54:16 PM »
Actually I set mine to 40-50 PSI just like the water regular does and allow the water heater to fill with pressure the discharge the pressure through each valve one at a time. Starting from the low point drains working my way to the highest faucet.
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denmarc

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2012, 02:53:07 PM »
I can't imagine that a few cups of windshield washer fluid flushed once per year is going to destroy the planet, or any RV dump septic systems.  No more than the thousands (millions?) of gallons used annually to clean car windows, anyway... all of that ends up on the ground too, prior to evaporating since it's mostly water and alcohol.

I understand what your saying.  And I never said that your usage of it was going to "destroy the planet" all by your lonesome.  But, does that make it ok?

Matter of opinion.
Mark

1994 Jayco Eagle 370FB on 24 acres of paid off paradise in Michigan.

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Jammer

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2012, 03:04:13 PM »
I use automotive window washer fluid instead of the expensive RV stuff for all the drain traps. That was a helpful tip from the RV dealer where I bought my rig.

Window washer fluid contains methanol and is toxic.  It is also more prone to damage seals, and is prone to loss of its antifreeze properties due to evaporation of the methanol.  I wouldn't use it.

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Jammer

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2012, 03:09:00 PM »
The advantage of flushing the freshwater lines with pink antifreeze is that you don't need access to a compressor to do it.  If you put in a 3-way valve on the inlet side of your pump it becomes very straightforward and takes no special tools.

That means that you can be set up to do it in a campground if, say, your furnace fails.

Or, depending on your situation, it may mean that you don't have to get your RV out of storage to bring it someplace where there's an air compressor.  Or bring the air compressor out to it, or whatever.
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threeful

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2012, 09:01:57 AM »
I live in Cent PA and do both, blow the lines out and then add anti freeze. It isn't difficult, takes a few hours, and not expensive.

Not sure why winterizing  is a cost factor to anyone who owns an RV.  It cost me $15 a few yrs ago for the equip to add antifreeze and less than $10 a yr for the anti freeze.  That is a couple gal of gas!
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John From Detroit

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2012, 11:29:24 AM »
With all the good advice you have received here, may I add that I remove the Ice maker valve.  It froze on me the first year.  Be sure to follow the Ice maker manual on how to purge that line.  Be sure to set the compressor to no more than 20 pounds.

Good suggestion (And I have been there myself)

I favor blow the lines out, several times, with pauses between blows (just a few minutes of pause) to let water clinging to the sides of the pipes drip down to where it can be blown out.

You should already ahve an air compressor, (For tire use) this does require one with a tank however.  Set the outlet regulator to around 50 PSI.

Come spring if you put any liquid in the lines, you need to flush it out.
AIR, you do not have to f lush, normal sanitation will take care of it.

Air is free (compressed air close to it)

And it does not damage the environment.  ALL wet methods do.

Yse pink (or the more expensive liquid of your choice) in toilets and drains (Get Pink at ACE hardware for what 2.00/gallon after rebate).  You also do not worry about flushing those come spring.. I mean if a bit of pink remains in the toilet.. WHO CARES?

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2Goldens

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2012, 09:06:37 AM »
I have found RV antifreeze at Walmart for $3.00.  I'm in Las Vegas but my TT is up north and it will get cold and snow.  I'm still using it, but made sure I drained my tanks and opened the low point drains when I left two weeks ago.  I will be back up in about a week to use it again and sometime in November I will button it up. 

I plan on using the antifreeze.  None in the fresh water line.  I will gamble a bit and just try and blow the water out of the line. 

Anthony

2011 Jayco Skylark 21FVB

schoolsout2

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2012, 07:57:38 PM »
BillB:  A few cups = 32 oz X 10,000 RV's = 2,500 gal = 50 barrels.  Sounds like a lot of harm to me.
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Brother Bear

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2012, 09:22:28 PM »
I forget the compressed air and flush the system, save the fresh water tank and water heater, with RV antifreeze. I drain those and bypass the water heater when pumping the pink stuff. In northern Kansas this has not caused me any grief in the four winters I've owned my unit. Even if the pink slushes, it won't freeze hard enough to cause damage to 50 below or the RV antifreeze manufacturers wouldn't continue to make that claim. They'd be afraid of the legal implications of so doing.
Larry
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psycmeistr

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2012, 11:52:02 AM »
I live in Minnesota--  We have some pretty extremely cold temps here (sometimes -20 to -30 F).  I've followed this same procedure now for 12 years in various trailers and motor homes that I've owned, and have never had a problem (and I don't air compress the lines).

Drain and flush the fresh and black water tanks, disconnect city water (make sure your connecting fresh water hose is put away empty); add around two gallons of antifreeze to the fresh water tank (making sure that the drain is closed).  Bypass, then drain the hot water heater, turn on the water pump, run each water faucet (sinks, bath tub, shower, outside shower, toilet) separately until the pink antifreeze comes out-- when doing this with the sink or bathtub/shower, run it enough so that you're sure that the antifreeze has filled the drain traps as well; run the toilet, get some antifreeze in the black water tank, leave some antifreeze at the bottom of the toilet. Make sure you run the outside shower until antifreeze comes out, as well. 

And you're set.

If you really feel you must blow out the lines with an air compressor, by all means, knock yourself out; but in my experience, it is unnecessary.

BTW-- if you look hard enough, there are brands of Marine/RV antifreeze out there that are non-toxic-- they have worked as well as any of the more conventional brands.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 11:55:38 AM by psycmeistr »

denmarc

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2012, 09:58:08 AM »
For what it's worth, I just Winterized the water system on my TT two weekends ago.  Getting down into the low 30's at night. I don't like to take chances when I can't be there during the week. 

Anyhow, it took me about 30 minutes and 2 gallons of RV antifreeze.  Cost me $10.00 and a couple of Bud Lights.  Drain water heater and FWT, put in bypass mode, pumped antifreeze through, which left me with about a pint to pour into the FWT inlet to charge the fitting at the bottom of the tank so it doesn't freeze and split (Been there, done that).

All set for the Winter. And I will still be using the TT until the end of November here in MI.  If I do use the kitchen sink drain, I have an extra gallon to recharge the drain trap before I head for home.  Been doing this for years with no problems. 
Mark

1994 Jayco Eagle 370FB on 24 acres of paid off paradise in Michigan.

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.  It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.

Dr. Seuss

Jammer

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2012, 05:01:13 PM »

And it does not damage the environment.  ALL wet methods do.


The pink antifreeze is propylene glycol mixed with water at about a 50% ratio.  Propylene glycol is not an environmental toxin.  In purer form it's used in food as a humectant. 
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Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
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KL7J

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Re: Winterizing: Air compressor and/or RV Antifreeze?
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2013, 05:34:17 AM »
The pink antifreeze is propylene glycol mixed with water at about a 50% ratio.  Propylene glycol is not an environmental toxin.  In purer form it's used in food as a humectant.

It is more a matter of concentrated amounts discharged and dilution/evaporation. Too much of anything, even bubble gum will kill the mouse.

Methanol is involved daily including through the consumption of various foods, and products washed away such as paint thinners and strippers, adhesives, cleaners, and inks. The theme has to remain not vast quanties in one concentrated area.  A cup or two of already diluted windshield wash and subsequent dilution into a holding tank, then subject to evaoporation and biodegradation ( or combining with some metals ;) is not significant considering the further subsequent sewage treatment flows dilution.

Natural emission sources of methanol include volcanic gases, vegetation, and microbes; note methanol is also formed during biological decomposition of biological wastes, sewage, and sludge.
Unless spilled in high concentrations to ground water, it bio's out in soils via Methylobacterium and Methylomonas capable of utilizing methanol. Note methanol in aquatic organisms is not expected to be significant based on an estimated bioconcentration factor of 0.2

A diluted cup (far from 100%) or two diluted in our holding tanks is insignificant concentrations and gets further diluted in the sani sewage treatment path by exponential amounts and treated.

His use and disposal to the medium is not significant.
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