Winterizing tutorial - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-11-2006, 08:47 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
Roger H's Avatar
 
Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Iowa
Posts: 5,000
For folks new to fiberglass RVs, winterizing plumbing is an ominous chore with lots of things to do, and all of the 'stuff' and plumbing is mysterious, but you know that if you DON'T do it, or do it wrong you'll have real problems come Spring! If I've forgotten something, or something's not clear, chime in here members! Let's make it easy for our friends to care for their trailers!

Hopefully this thread will make winterizing your trailer a little easier.

All fiberglass RVs are obviously not identical, but for the most part they all have similar parts. It's mostly the locations of the tanks, pumps, and drains that vary. Use this thread as a general tutorial guide on how to winterize your trailer's plumbing.

When the temps are forecast to fall below freezing for more than a couple of hours, it's time to winterize. Winterizing generally involves removing everything from the trailer that has liquids that can freeze, including the water in the plumbing and tanks. Remove all your canned goods, bottle drinks, cleaners, anything that is liquid and freeze-able.

Next involves winterizing the plumbing. It's really pretty simple, provided that your trailer is plumbed to be winterized. If yours doesn't have a water heater bypass kit, or an anti-freeze intake valve and hose already installed, I suggest you purchase them (from any RV supplies dealer) and install them. They're easy to install (usually) and very worth the time and effort.

The idea is to remove all water from the system. There are two ways to do that, first is to blow the entire system out with compressed air until there is no water vapor coming from any faucet or shower head. This obviously involves using an air compressor and a fitting that screws into the city water inlet with a schrader valve (like a car tire valve) on it for the compressor fitting. It works well provided that you ensure all of the water is out, and you have the time to do it.

The other method is to displace the water in the system with non-toxic RV antifreeze available at most hardware and RV stores. Many of the large department stores even carry it. It's a little more complex to describe, but very easy to do in practice.

First, drain your water heater. It will either have a petcock drain installed or a plastic plug in the drain hole. Open the petcock or remove the plug. Open the relief valve at the top of the water heater to let the system fill with air behind the draining water. That will relieve the 'chugging' as it drains.

Click image for larger version

Name:	water_heater_plug.jpg
Views:	71
Size:	145.1 KB
ID:	5130


If yours doesn't already have a drain petcock/anode installed, this would be an excellent time to install one rather than replacing the plastic plug.

Click image for larger version

Name:	drain_plug_anode_kit.jpg
Views:	73
Size:	183.8 KB
ID:	5131


Next, go find the drain spigot for your fresh water tank. It will generally be located near the freshwater tank somewhere, and have a short drain hose that hangs from the bottom of the trailer. Drain the fresh water tank.

While the water heater and fresh water tanks are draining, go inside and find the bypass valves located on the back of the water heater. They will be turned horizontally in line with the pipes to allow for water flow. You'll want to turn them perpendicular to the pipes (off) to prevent flow to and from the water heater. Bypassing the water heater will allow you to fill the rest of the plumbing system with antifreeze without having to pump six gallons of anti-freeze into the water heater!

Click image for larger version

Name:	water_heater_bypass_valves.jpg
Views:	68
Size:	151.7 KB
ID:	5132


After all of the water has drained from your fresh water tank and your water heater, and you've bypassed the water heater, locate the antifreeze intake line and valve located on the intake side of your water pump. It may take some hunting to locate your pump, but it will generally be plumbed near the fresh water tank.

Click image for larger version

Name:	antifreeze_intake_valve_and_line.jpg
Views:	66
Size:	170.4 KB
ID:	5133


Turn this valve to stop the pump from drawing from the water tank and draw from the hose attached to the valve. Place the end of the hose into your open gallon jug of antifreeze and turn your pump on.

You will want to systematically turn on each faucet in turn making sure that all of the water is pushed out and that pink antifreeze flows freely. Do both the hot and cold sides of each faucet. Make sure that you do your shower and that you have antifreeze flowing through your toilet plumbing as well. Don't forget your outside shower if you have one. Depending on the size of your trailer, this will usually take between one and two gallons of antifreeze. After you're done, re-set the anti-freeze intake valve to draw from the tank. That way you won't have to remember to do it in the Spring.

Once you have all of the fresh water plumbing done, it's time to go dump your gray and black water tanks. You may rinse them and dump them again if you're particular about them being cleaned. After I'm done dumping them, and they're clean, I usually open the valves for 30 minutes or so and let any water out remains in the tanks before closing the valves and putting the cap on for the winter.

Now go to each sink drain and pour a cup or so of antifreeze into the P trap. Also do the same with your shower drain. You should perform this step even if you blow out your plumbing with compressed air and don't use antifreeze in your plumbing.

Now either loosely replace your water heater drain plug or leave your petcock open so the water heater tank can 'breathe' during the winter. Close your fresh water drain.

Congratulations! You have just finished winterizing your plumbing! Come Spring, just close your water heater drain valve, open the water heater by-pass valves, fill your fresh water tank, run your pump, open your faucets, and flush the system until you get fresh water, That's all there is to it!

Roger
__________________

__________________
Roger H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2006, 11:57 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Bigfoot Mike's Avatar
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 ft
Posts: 7,317
<<- Winterizing Page has been replaced.



Check it out.
__________________

__________________
Bigfoot Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2006, 04:56 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Dan Meyer's Avatar
 
Name: Dan
Trailer: Scamp
Minnesota
Posts: 559
Here's how I winterized my 2000 Scamp 16 this year. Please note that it does not require a water heater bypass kit.

1) Fill fresh water tank. (I know - this doesn't make sense - read on)

2) Go to dump station and rinse black and grey water tanks.

3) Park trailer. Place on jack stands if desired.

4) Empty remaining fresh water in the fresh water tank.

5) Drain water heater.

6) Close fresh water tank drain valve. Pour 2 to 5 gallons of non-toxic RV anti freeze into
the fresh water tank

7) Turn on fresh water pump.

8) Close valve on water heater inlet once the pink stuff has filled the heater inlet line.

9) Open cold water valve at shower. Run until non-diluted anti freeze is coming out the shower head. Pump out through the drain pump and into the gray tank.

10) Fill toilet fill valve until non-diluted anti freeze shows up. Then do a bit more to protect the black tank.

11) Put shower head in intermediate position so the shower head is not open. Open water heater tank drain. Open cold and hot water at shower. Close hot and cold water at shower when anti freeze comes out of water heater tank drain.

12) Open cold water at kitchen sink until anti freeze appears. Open hot and cold water valve at sink, and cover the faucet with your palm. Pump until anti freeze solution appears at water heater drain. Close hot and cold valves at sink faucet. Clean up any mess you have made.

13) Open water heater inlet valve for a few seconds again to be certain anti freeze is protecting the water heater feed line. Re-install water heater drain plug at this time.

14) With the water pump still in the run position, press in on the check valve on the city water fitting. Hold in until anti-freeze appears.

15) Optional: Drain gray and/or black water tanks again.

Donít forget to remove all food you may have inside the trailer, not only so it does not freeze and explode, but also to keep mice and other critters from setting up a home.

-- Dan Meyer
__________________
Dan Meyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2006, 05:24 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,306
Registry
Another winterizing method as performed by me.
This won't work in many locations and for some people.

1. Fill the fresh water tank. (We usually don't get long periods of below freezing weather and a full tank doesn't freeze as easily as a smaller volume)

2. Open cabinet doors below the sink and remove dinette cushions and storage covers under the cushions. (Water is on one side and line to the sink is on the other)

3. Plug into shore power and put a small electric heater on the table. Set the heater to one and the temp low.

4. Set the sensor for a remote thermometer on the counter.

5. Set the receiver inside the house.

6. Inside the trailer set a Dri-Z-Air thingy in the sink. (I put another plastic bucket in the sink first.)

7. Make sure the propane tank is close to full.

Now you can monitor the inside tempertature of the trailer from inside your house. If it starts getting too cold in the trailer, go out and turn up the heat. You'd like to keep the trailer between 40į and 50įF.

At my place when the power goes out, so does my water and furnace. However since I have a full tank of water in the trailer and a full propane tank I can move into the trailer for a few days if need be. The trailer is also ready for that week-end get away for that one week-end the rain stops or at least slows down a bit.

This might be pretty difficult or spendy in a area that went for a couple months without getting above freezing.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2006, 07:14 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Roger H's Avatar
 
Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Iowa
Posts: 5,000
Quote:
Here's how I winterized my 2000 Scamp 16 this year. Please note that it does not require a water heater bypass kit.

-- Dan Meyer

Dan I've read this a couple of times, and I'm sure I've just missed it, but if you don't fill the water heater with anti-freeze, and you don't have a bypass, how do you get antifreeze into the hot lines past the water heater?

Roger
__________________
Roger H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2006, 02:43 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Chris Z's Avatar
 
Trailer: 16 Scamp, 17 Casita, 21Bigfoot now
Posts: 412
Registry
Roger
I didn't read REAL close but I got the impression that he's back-filling the hot lines thru the faucets to the hot water tank. That's one way!
I just wish I could figure out WHEN to winterize. I've done it twice now and then we went camping and now we're headed out again. I really am not complaining though.
__________________
Chris Z is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2006, 02:49 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Roger H's Avatar
 
Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Iowa
Posts: 5,000
Quote:
Roger
I didn't read REAL close but I got the impression that he's back-filling the hot lines thru the faucets to the hot water tank. That's one way!
I just wish I could figure out WHEN to winterize. I've done it twice now and then we went camping and now we're headed out again. I really am not complaining though.
I re-read it... and you're right... duh I missed that the first, second AND third times I read it... it apparently just didn't sink in!

Chris, I feel you're pain... I've winterized a couple of times already too... anti-freeze is only $3...

Roger
__________________

__________________
Roger H is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Winterizing Aid Steve L. Modifications, Alterations and Updates 1 04-26-2009 04:03 PM
Gel Coat Repair Tutorial Legacy Posts Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 13 05-28-2007 07:38 AM
Winterizing Bigfoot Mike Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 0 10-11-2006 11:32 AM
Winterizing Legacy Posts Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 10 09-20-2002 10:09 AM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:35 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.