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Old 11-09-2015, 06:16 AM   #1
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Winterizing without antifreeze?

Well, not without any at all. Every year, I have blown out all the water lines and ran antifreeze through all the the faucets and toilet, even the water heater.
Atwood says the 2 qts. of water left in the water heater which will not come out after draining will not cause any damage when it freezes. That got me thinking if maybe I could just blow out the water lines, drain the water heater and pour antifreeze into the drains and be assured that all would be freeze proof here in western Maryland where the temps will sometimes go into the teens or lower for a few days. It can stay below freezing for a week or more sometimes.
I ask this question because I never wanted to take a camping weekend in the winter when the temps can come back up to the 60's or even 70's because I knew I'd have to re-winterize again. Maybe a quicker process would be an incentive to grab that weekend, come back and do the shorter method again for the rest of the winter.
Anyone doing this?
Thanks,
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Old 11-09-2015, 06:48 AM   #2
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Hey Rich,

In your area, I think just blowing out the lines would be fine.
I know people here in WNY that's all they do, which we typically get a week or more where it's below 0. So you should be fine if you've done a thorough job of blowing out the lines.

I would also leave all faucets open and possibly low point drain valves and HW tank valve open also.

Good luck.
Hutch
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by vcrt View Post
Well, not without any at all. Every year, I have blown out all the water lines and ran antifreeze through all the the faucets and toilet, even the water heater.
Atwood says the 2 qts. of water left in the water heater which will not come out after draining will not cause any damage when it freezes. That got me thinking if maybe I could just blow out the water lines, drain the water heater and pour antifreeze into the drains and be assured that all would be freeze proof here in western Maryland where the temps will sometimes go into the teens or lower for a few days. It can stay below freezing for a week or more sometimes.
I ask this question because I never wanted to take a camping weekend in the winter when the temps can come back up to the 60's or even 70's because I knew I'd have to re-winterize again. Maybe a quicker process would be an incentive to grab that weekend, come back and do the shorter method again for the rest of the winter.
Anyone doing this?
Thanks,
Rich
I have always winterized my Sunlines like you suggest and have never had an issue. Make sure you leave all your faucets open and pour antifreeze or windshield washer in your toilet to keep the seal soft. I have also used the cheap blue windshield washer in my drains without issues.
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Old 11-09-2015, 10:24 AM   #4
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Thanks Tom and Bubba,
I would think it will also make de-winterizing (flushing all of the antifreeze out of the fresh water system) easier in the spring.
Rich
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Old 11-09-2015, 06:48 PM   #5
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Air does a good job but it does not protect the pump I have an added valve and fitting at my pump I open the valve and suck up a pint of antifreeze then shut the valve off I don't use any in my lines just in the drain traps after I blow them out too. The windshield solvent has alcohol in it and will evaporate unless you pour some veggy oil on top. If there is any water the RV antifreeze protection drops dramatically it says 50 below but that is at 100% antifreeze that is a problem up here where -30 is not out of the question on any winter day.
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Old 11-10-2015, 07:40 AM   #6
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The only problem with blowing lines with air is any residual water can drain back to a low point elbow and freeze cracking it. I found that out the hard way. If you want to use air blow then wait and blow again, wait and blow again
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:11 AM   #7
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mainah and jim, good points. I would think that a pump filled with antifreeze would give good peace of mind when the temps drop and stay low. Also, mainah, you say with a bypass valve you can get antifreeze into the pump and not the whole system? That might be a good way to go.
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Old 11-10-2015, 04:15 PM   #8
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No what it does is disconnects the suction side of the pump from the water tank feed and allows me to suck antifreeze into the pump with a tube. It does of course allow some antifreeze into the water system but I only allow at the most a pint into the pump. I really dislike the antifreeze taste and try my best to keep the stuff out of my water lines.
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Old 11-10-2015, 04:24 PM   #9
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Rich, you already have this--it's the suction tube with the winterizing valve by the pump. All the newer Sunlines came with the full winterizing kit including the water heater bypass and the suction tube. Turn the valve as you would to winterize the whole system with antifreeze, but only let the pump run for a couple of seconds/a pint as Mainah says.

Henry
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Old 11-10-2015, 05:23 PM   #10
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Henry,
I actually don't have that, but I know what you are talking about because I had installed one on our 92 Solaris.
When we went out the first time, I filled the fresh water tank, turned on the pump and was amazed at how quiet it was campared to our 92. Then we go no water. I found the pump and saw why-the previous owner, or the CG he was parked at) had disconnected the suction hose and left it that way (I suppose that's how they got the antifreeze into the system) and it was just pulling air once the antifreeze ran out. That explained why it was so quiet, now it sounds like the 92.
I think mainah has a good idea, fill the pump only. In fact, if both sides of the pump had bypass valves, I guess you could open the pressure side valve in the spring, expel the antifreeze, then turn it to run through the system again.
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Old 11-11-2015, 09:22 AM   #11
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Forgot to mention... I keep an empty plastic bottle--2L apple juice--and first step in de-winterizing is to run that water through the suction tube, pump and closest faucet. After that I hook to city water and continue flushing the lines. Otherwise the af will sit in the pump and run into the system the first time you use the pump.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:21 AM   #12
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Not understanding the purpose of the two liter jug.
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Old 11-12-2015, 08:15 AM   #13
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Not understanding the purpose of the two liter jug.
I'm guessing it's to flush antifreeze out of the pump & into the water lines, then the city water hook-up flushes antifreeze out of the rest of the water lines/system.
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:28 PM   #14
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Yeas ago I filled my old MH lines with antifreeze and could taste and smell the stuff all next summer.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:45 AM   #15
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After I flush my lines I sanitize my system with bleach and water. Leave it sit overnight then flush with plain water. Never had an antifreeze taste after
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Old 11-14-2015, 06:48 PM   #16
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Hi Rich,

I have been using the air blow out method now for about the last 11 years. And the last 2 years here in central OH we have had these week long -15 weeks....

We have often gone out on some of those nice weekends and it is great to get out. You have an entire state park to yourself or only 1 or 2 other die hards...

I will say through when blowing out the camper, it works best to have compressor with a large enough volume that your blowing pressure does not drop off to nothing. If someone if trying to do this with a small tire inflator the end result may not be so good.

The air can fly over the top of the water and the water stays put without enough volume at adequate pressure. With enough volume at the right pressure, it pushes out. There is also a capillary action effect sometimes. The water sticks to the sides of the pipes in a very thin layer. A few hours later after a blow out, that water breaks free from the top inside of the pipe and puddles on the bottom. It will blow out then better if you go back again if any is left.

The toilet is one that has to be blown out well too. Again back to the volume thing. The foot pedal valve of your year Sealand toilet has a natural trap in it. Sealand even says it has one. You have to really blow that one out well or unhook it and let it evaporate out. I only did the evaporate technique as Sealand stated once and all the rest of the time, just blown it out. I was more concerned I would goof up the hose fitting doing it that many times taking it on and off.

And I agree with the others, once blown out, leave all the faucets open so air can get in and any expansion can get have a place to move too.

I have changed my pump piping so I can blow forward from the pump discharge throughout the camper. And I can blow the pump suction line back to the tank and through the pump as a last step. My pump, an upgraded Flo Jet variable speed, has a strainer on the side and I unscrew the strainer cover to allow air to evaporate out anything the blow through did not get. The blow down setup is series of valves setup but it only takes me approx 5 to 10 minutes total effort to blow out the camper. I do it after every trip while I unpack. Come cold weather, then I deal with the traps too. Blow what you can out of them (not much but some,) and then fill with the pink stuff. Some have used the exhaust on a shop vac to blow on the traps. Again only to help get rid of some, the tank vent will not allow a total blow out but it helps not dilute the antifreeze.

John
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:47 AM   #17
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I just saw your reply John.
So you don't use any antifreeze at all? I think it probably stays colder for a longer time where you are than here. Tom said someone near him (Rochester) doesn't use it either. I see others on this site have mixed feelings about antifreeze.
Tanks for the points on capillary action and the Sealand toilet. I didn't know that.
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Old 11-25-2015, 11:47 AM   #18
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Hi Rich,

Correct, I do not use any RV antifreeze in the fresh water system. I do use it in the traps.

Point: If you go to "no RV antifreeze" in the fresh water system, there is still a need to do complete air blow out.

Pending the floor plan, you may have to add additional blow out locations. Just using the city water inlet hose connection as a blow down point, may not totally blow out the camper. The line that is in the most concern, is the line from the pump discharge to where it T's into the main system and the city water connection T's in. Sometimes that line is very short, other times it can be 3 plus feet long. That pump line can remain filled,especially if the piping is going down hill to the pump. Not all floor plans are created equal and you have to check and think, will my blown down clear "every" line? If not, they you have to address it. The hot water heater bypass vertical pipe of the bypass is another suspect. Once complete blow down is done, just flip it in by pass, blow down through the bypass, then flip back to the tank.

I learned the hard way how to do this on mobile homes. We use to have a trailer or 2 for migrant help on the farm. When the season was over, you had to drain the trailer and blow out the lines. You knew come next spring how good a job you did. And you also got good at fixing/soldering 3/8" copper tubing splits.... In time, one mastered the need to do a total good job.

Air blow out may not be for everyone. But it does work and can be repeated successfully with a level of thought before hand and sometimes, piping modifications.

John
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Old 11-25-2015, 12:56 PM   #19
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Thanks for the guidance John,
I looked over the files on this site thinking there might be a plumbing schematic for the 2499, but I didn't see anything. I think the one place that will be most difficult to actually see physically, is the part between the shower and the bathroom sink and that might be right where that "T" your talking about is. If I'm not wrong, it seems that the water lines at that point would have to run under the floor since there aren't any cabinets or other features for them to go through.
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Old 11-25-2015, 09:02 PM   #20
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Hi Rich,

See if this helps. On our 2004 T2499, the city water came in the back of the camper. Here are some inside pics. This layout and line setup allowed the city water line to blown out pretty clean as it Tee'd in a good place. Do not know if Sunline changed this on yours.

The city water inlet line is the blue line to the left of the HW heater


I would blow in at the city water line to clear that line


Back at the water pump I redid the piping, partly due to upgrading to a variable speed pump after I by accident did the standard pump in (left on and it sucked an air bubble, dry locked the pump and ran dry for over an hour before we found it, Now always turn pump off when leaving the camper)

Here I hooked up the air feed



The Flo Jet pump


Some more anti pipe rattle insulation


I hooked the blow out hose here.




I could then blow forward from the pump. On this camper I did not add the valving like on the T310SR to blow down the pump suction line but I could easily unhook the pump suction hose and let it drain down and add a RV anti freeze suction tube if needed.

If I recall right, the pump discharge tied into the cold line behind that bedroom access panel. Ours was about 18" wide by 2 foot tall. It allowed access to the peg board cargo hole where the pump was. Take that panel off and you should see it.

Between the pump blow port and the city water port, this floor plan blew out well. Again the HW bypass, outside shower(remember to do it) and Sealand toilet needed extra attention.

Hope this helps

John
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