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Old 10-27-2013, 06:30 PM   #1
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Trouble Winterizing the Hot Water Side of Plumbing

Hi Everyone,

This is admittedly a newbie question as my fiancee and I have just purchased our first travel trailer (95 Sunline T2053) and are still working the kinks out of the learning curve.

I have decided to winterize using Antifreeze. Drained all tanks and hot water heater.

Successfully disconnected water pump from fresh tank, redirected source to antifreeze. This enables me to winterize all cold water lines. (Sink, Toilet, Shower, Bathroom Sink).

This is where my question comes in:

I have so far been unable to winterize the hot side of the system.

Under the bed, at the hot water heater, there are two cutoff valves. One is on the city water side of the heater, the other is on the HOT output side of the heater. I have had both of these valves OFF for winterizing, as I am trying to bypass the water heater so that I will not have to fill it with antifreeze. There does not appear to be any sort of bridge valve that allows me to redirect around the hot water heater, at least where I can see.

1/2" plastic Plumbing with Ring type compression clamps (guessing forum members are familiar with this)

Previous owner used compressed air to winterize so this was never an issue. Please note that I do not have this option at the moment, so antifreeze is my only choice.

Am I missing something? What is my best option? Want to make sure I have it right before I either spend $30 on antifreeze to fill the hot water tank or $30 on parts and tools to install some sort of bypass valve that bridges hot directly to cold.

Thanks to all for reading / replying!!!

Best,

Mike
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:17 PM   #2
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There should be a short pipe between the valves, the term shut off is probably better explained as diverter valves they divert the water from the tank into the short pipe between the two valves so no water goes into the tank and no water comes out it goes between the two valves so the flow is from the cold supply to the hot water piping bypassing the tank. In order for this to work both valves need to be in by pass. If your cold water isn’t it will fill the tank with antifreeze something you don’t need.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:56 PM   #3
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You may have the water shut off from the hot water heater to the system. Not all campers came with a by pass so as Mainah says look for he short piece of pipe between the pipe going in the tank and the pipe going out.

If you do have the by pass pipe and have two valves: The valve handles point in the direction of the water flow so they should point to the by pass pipe. If you have three valves: the one on the by pass pipe should be open pointing in the direction of flow through the bypass pipe and the other two should be off cutting flow from cold to tank and hot from tank.

To test for by pass correctly done: keep the heater drain open, operate the water system and water should flow through both hot and cold piping and faucets as normal without any water coming out of the heater drain. (going through the by pass pipe)

Once correct, make a sketch of pipes and valve positions for both by pass and non-by pass and put it in your book of manuals.

Don't forget the outside shower spray if you have one and the city water "in" hose connection between the hose connection and water pipes. Sometimes the only way to get the water out and fill with antifreeze is to reduce the water pressure when all other pipes are full of antifreeze, remove the little screen at the intake and very gently push the backflow valve just a very little bit until the antifreeze comes out. Stand aside in case there is too much pressure left.
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:08 PM   #4
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I agree with mainah, there should be a short pipe on the back of the water heater connecting the hot and cold lines. If someone took that pipe out then you could remove the connections at the water heater in/out and make a short piece to connect the hot and cold together.

You definitely don't want to put the pink stuff into the water heater. With even a little bit, it takes a lot of flushing to get the taste out in the Spring. ... Don't ask how I know that ..
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:41 PM   #5
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You definitely don't want to put the pink stuff into the water heater. With even a little bit, it takes a lot of flushing to get the taste out in the Spring. ... Don't ask how I know that ..[/QUOTE]

Now you tell me! I just did that. No by pass valve on my '83 T-1550.....Yet that is. A project for next spring.
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:59 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the replies! The strangest thing about my setup is that there are cutoff valves on both the cold and the hot sides of the hot water tank, but no bypass! This is what confused me from the get-go. I figured that if the factory bothered to install shutoff valves on the water lines, it would only make sense to do so because of a bypass system. I guess this is not the case.

Looks like I can order a bypass kit for about $20. The reviews mention a possible loss of H2O pressure after installing a bypass due to the additional valves reducing output...any thoughts?

Also - anyone had success putting together a bypass from scratch? I checked all the big hardware stores but nobody has the correct size 3 way valves, and a plumbing supply wanted $25 for each valve,while the whole kit costs $20 on amazon. I thought I could save by building my own bypass, but I've been wrong before...

Thanks,All
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Old 10-29-2013, 05:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manystoves View Post
Thanks everyone for the replies! The strangest thing about my setup is that there are cutoff valves on both the cold and the hot sides of the hot water tank, but no bypass! This is what confused me from the get-go. I figured that if the factory bothered to install shutoff valves on the water lines, it would only make sense to do so because of a bypass system. I guess this is not the case.

Looks like I can order a bypass kit for about $20. The reviews mention a possible loss of H2O pressure after installing a bypass due to the additional valves reducing output...any thoughts?

Also - anyone had success putting together a bypass from scratch? I checked all the big hardware stores but nobody has the correct size 3 way valves, and a plumbing supply wanted $25 for each valve,while the whole kit costs $20 on amazon. I thought I could save by building my own bypass, but I've been wrong before...

Thanks,All
Buy the $20 kit it will save that in gas running back to the big box store for parts. If there is a loss in pressure you'll never notice it. I can't understand why it has the valves and no bypass plumbing. There are some single valve system that have check valves but that is not what you are describing.
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Old 10-29-2013, 05:45 PM   #8
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Just ordered the kit. I am also at a loss, as there are definitely no check valves. The only thing I can figure is that my setup will allow you to isolate the water heater in order to use the potable water tank while dry camping without the pump having to waste 6 gallons filling the heater (assuming you only want cold water)? Still seems weird to me,but oh well...


So the factory install of the water heater has female fittings for both the hot and cold, attached to my plumbing with male-male elbows. Between the elbow and the tank, it looks like they silicone caulked the hell out of the connection...was this standard? I've had my system pressurized before and no leaks, so i do not believe it to be a faulty connection. My question is: When I install my bypass into the water heater, what is my best method to insulate the connection? Teflon Tape? Should this also be used when connecting my existing plumbing to the brass valve?

Thanks!!!!
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:26 PM   #9
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Lynn, drain, fill, drain, fill several times before heating the water. The less pink stuff that remains on the walls of the tank before heating the water the better.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manystoves View Post
.... Between the elbow and the tank, it looks like they silicone caulked the hell out of the connection...was this standard?....
I don't think so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manystoves View Post
...... My question is: When I install my bypass into the water heater, what is my best method to insulate the connection? Teflon Tape? Should this also be used when connecting my existing plumbing to the brass valve? ...
The bypass doesn't go into the heater directly. It would be a T in each of the hot and cold lines and a "pipe" with a shutoff between the 2 Ts. Should not need teflon tape.

There were a few pictures posted on the forum of peoples bypass piping. If I could find them it would help visualize what you need.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:58 PM   #10
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Well, I guess I need to qualify what I said above. The plastic pipe picture is what I was thinking of but the bypass kit you ordered is probably the picture with the metal fittings.

Yes, the metal fittings should have teflon tape and yes it it quite probable they use silicone where the fitting screwed directly into the tank.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg bypass-kit.jpg (9.2 KB, 122 views)
File Type: jpg bypass1.jpg (11.1 KB, 3 views)
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:43 PM   #11
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Thank you, Gene. Will post once install is complete. Hopefully can get some before / after pics to help out anyone else with similar question.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:08 PM   #12
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Looking forward to seeing them. I need to do a bypass. Funny this trailer is 30 yrs. old and no one did it earlier. Go figure.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:25 AM   #13
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Some Sunlines never came from the factory with bypass kits, and the full winterizing kit was always an option because those in the south really don't need it. Winterizing kits/bypass kits really didn't come about until maybe 20 years ago IIRC.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Some Sunlines never came from the factory with bypass kits, and the full winterizing kit was always an option because those in the south really don't need it. Winterizing kits/bypass kits really didn't come about until maybe 20 years ago IIRC.
I realized the southern states not needing bypass when I posted. What I should have also said was that as far as I know, this trailer has always been in a northern environment for 30 yrs.

Actually I thought all Sunlines came from the factory without bypass. Thought bypass was an aftermarket item.
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