Winterizing, a "heated observation" - Fiberglass RV

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Old 12-23-2005, 07:05 AM   #1
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John & Sandy M's Avatar
Trailer: 1999 Scamp 16 ft
Posts: 130
I had about 1/2 gallon of pink stuff left over from winterizing our 99 Scamp and needed the container so I dumped it in the fresh water tank and decided to pump it through the system. I decided to run it through the shower since this is at the end of the cold (and hot system). The hot faucet was open and, when I turned on the cold, almost nothing came out. Since the pink stuff was going someplace, I looked inside the front cabinet and low and behold, the antifreeze was being pumped up the cold water line and down the hot. Closed the shower head valve and the rate increased. I then went outside and pink antifreeze was running out the drain valve I had installed in the hot water tank (I added this so I didn't have to mess with the 7/8" drain plug).

What appears to be happening is the antifreeze is being pumped through the cold system and into the hot/cold mixing valve in the shower. Since there is no back pressure on the hot water line, the pink stuff enters the hot water lines here and circulates back to the hot water tank. The inlet valve on the hot water tank is off but the drain valve open to I now have antifreeze in both the hot and cold water system without filling the hot water tank (I feel a bit more comfortable with this vs. the drain method described in the Scamp manual.

This should work with any of the trailers so long as there is no back-flow prevention valve in the hot system.

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Old 12-23-2005, 07:17 AM   #2
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Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van
Posts: 5,009
John, I don't use RV antifreeze in either of my trailers in the fresh-water systems. I've used it in the past, but it really isn't necessary. I blow out all of my fresh-water lines with a compressor and leave all of the faucets open prior to storage. It's important to allow the compressed air to blow until all of the lines run 'dry'. It's not necessary at all to have every last drop water out of the water heater. The one place I make the exception and pump anti-freeze is in the shower drain and drain pump in my Scamp. There's no way I know of to ensure that I can get that blown out properly, but come spring, I don't have to worry about it being properly flushed out either.

I DO pour anti-freeze into all of the drains, though.

It's not the water freezing alone that causes problems for RV plumbing. It's water freezing in a confined space with no room for expansion that causes problems. A drop of water left somewhere will just turn into a drop of ice without causing problems as long as it has adequate room for expansion. The little bit of water left in your water heater won't hurt anything as long as it can expand that little bit it needs to when it freezes. While air does compress, I'd just as soon the lines be able to breath as necessary.


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Old 12-23-2005, 01:34 PM   #3
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Trailer: 2004 Bigfoot 17 ft ('Beastie')
Posts: 564
That's very creative, John (or Sandy). I see a great future for you in RV plumbing. These systems do have their mysteries. I was always amazed how far the WH plug would shoot out if I forgot to relieve the pressure before loosening it.
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Old 12-24-2005, 04:45 PM   #4
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Trailer: 1999 Scamp 16 ft
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The distance the HW plug will fly, without the pressure released, is determined to be, how close is your chest when you remove the plug.

Robert CC1087
Actually the plug would strike you in the great toe of your right foot and, assuming a standard pressure of 45 psig, would be just sufficient to break it at the second joint. Obviously, your attention would be diverted from this event due to the spray of hot water striking you in the face and chest.

Happy Holidays
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