When to Winterize - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-10-2020, 05:54 AM   #1
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Name: Steve
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When to Winterize

We are brand new 2013 Scamp 13' owners. We are also brand new to the RV world. We live in Wisconsin and I am wondering when do you northerners winterize your RV's? We are hoping to take a trip to the Smokey Mountains in early November and it would be nice to have drinkable, running water. We also are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon in March or April. April seems safe to dewinterize but March is probably iffy.

What would you with experience do?
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Old 09-10-2020, 06:06 AM   #2
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With our Bigfoot, we winterize twice each year. The first time is after our last trip in October, but that timing is just because we take a camping break until late December. Then, we reverse the process on our way down to Texas in late December, choosing the overnight spot where temps look to stay above 32 the rest of the way. We winterize again on the way north in January and it stays that way until our first spring trip.

It takes several hours below 32 to freeze lines generally, so you just have to watch the weather forecast. You can travel with it still winterized and just carry water until you hit warmer locations.
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Old 09-10-2020, 06:39 AM   #3
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We winterize in the first part of October but we live in Northern Wisconsin .
If we lived in southern Wisconsin then probably closer to Nov 1st
We still use our trailer after we winterize we just don’t use the onboard plumbing system
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:53 AM   #4
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Grand Canyon in March? Its still winter there, and you travel through some cold weather to get there too. Unless you get super lucky, I'd plan on winterizing.

Probably need to winterize on the way home from the Smokies too. I've winterized as many as four times during one winter as I traveled to Florida a couple of times, etc. When camping late in the season like that, I carry my winterization gear with me. Winterized in a campground in Jennings, FL one year. Not a big deal.

And if you don't want the hassle of winterizing, dewinterizing, and repeating the process, then just take jugs of water with you instead.

If going to Grand Canyon in March, I'd also head up to Zion NP. Weather is warmer there, great time of year for SW Utah.
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Old 09-10-2020, 11:06 AM   #5
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You can avoid using RV antifreeze by blowing out the lines with air.
Drain the fresh water tank and water heater first.
the small amount of water left in the lines will freeze but has room to expand, so it won't bust anything.
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Old 09-10-2020, 12:22 PM   #6
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So if winterizing by draining and blowing water out of lines with an air compressor, I’ve heard you should put antifreeze into the traps for sinks. Will the toilet be OK without antifreeze? In my Casita it seems to just open directly into the black tank. Also, how to be sure all 3 tanks are empty (fresh, grey and black)? If there is a little water left in them will it do harm when it freezes? And what do you need to do to de-winterize? Can you just start using the sinks or need to flush out anti-freeze? One last question: is there antifreeze that is odorless? The stuff that came with the camper had a powerful mint smell that leached through the bottle and the plastic bag and permeated the cabinet under the sink. Took weeks for that odor to fully disappear after I removed it from the camper.
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Old 09-10-2020, 12:35 PM   #7
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You can avoid using RV antifreeze by blowing out the lines with air...
My concern is with the pumps, the internals of the pump, the filter, etc. I have never seen a satisfactory explanation of how blowing out the lines gets water put of a stopped pump. So I choose to not take that chance and spend $5. Once I see the pink stuff come out of every possible outlet* in the plumbing I know I'm good for another winter.

* except the water heater which only needs to be drained and can have a little water in the tank safely.
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Old 09-10-2020, 12:38 PM   #8
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So if winterizing by draining and blowing water out of lines with an air compressor, Iíve heard you should put antifreeze into the traps for sinks. Will the toilet be OK without antifreeze? In my Casita it seems to just open directly into the black tank. Also, how to be sure all 3 tanks are empty (fresh, grey and black)? If there is a little water left in them will it do harm when it freezes? And what do you need to do to de-winterize? Can you just start using the sinks or need to flush out anti-freeze? One last question: is there antifreeze that is odorless? The stuff that came with the camper had a powerful mint smell that leached through the bottle and the plastic bag and permeated the cabinet under the sink. Took weeks for that odor to fully disappear after I removed it from the camper.
The RV antifreeze you put in the toilet/shower/sink traps will just go to the holding tanks -black and grey - to help keep them liquid.
It's the fresh water tank and water heater and lines you may not want the antifreeze in. RV antifreeze (the pink stuff) is polypropylene, not toxic to humans.
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Old 09-10-2020, 01:55 PM   #9
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RV antifreeze (the pink stuff) is polypropylene, not toxic to humans.

And, used to make many foods, like ice cream.
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Old 09-10-2020, 02:54 PM   #10
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Actually its propylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is very similar but hazardous. Poly propylene is a type of plastic.
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Old 09-10-2020, 03:38 PM   #11
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Actually its propylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is very similar but hazardous. Poly propylene is a type of plastic.

Correct and corrected, thank you Bill.
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Old 09-10-2020, 09:27 PM   #12
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So if winterizing by draining and blowing water out of lines with an air compressor, Iíve heard you should put antifreeze into the traps for sinks. Will the toilet be OK without antifreeze? In my Casita it seems to just open directly into the black tank. Also, how to be sure all 3 tanks are empty (fresh, grey and black)? If there is a little water left in them will it do harm when it freezes? And what do you need to do to de-winterize? Can you just start using the sinks or need to flush out anti-freeze? One last question: is there antifreeze that is odorless? The stuff that came with the camper had a powerful mint smell that leached through the bottle and the plastic bag and permeated the cabinet under the sink. Took weeks for that odor to fully disappear after I removed it from the camper.
We winterize when it gets cold enough to freeze. Mint smell? Never have heard of anti-freeze smelling minty. Yes you must clean lines when you de-winterize. You don't want to drink or use water from the lines with anti-freeze in them. The toilet valve needs anti-freeze in it. Some people blow out their lines but I had a line freeze once doing that. Wasn't a happy camper the next spring. Water can lay in the lines in low places.
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Old 09-10-2020, 09:33 PM   #13
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You don't want to drink or use water from the lines with anti-freeze in them.

Depends. If you take sugar in your coffee, you'll probably not notice or like it even better. Tastes sweet. Same stuff is in your ice cream and many other food products.
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Old 09-10-2020, 09:38 PM   #14
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Depends. If you take sugar in your coffee, you'll probably not notice or like it even better. Tastes sweet. Same stuff is in your ice cream and many other food products.
No to us the anti-freeze is foul tasting and you should not drink it.
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Old 09-10-2020, 09:41 PM   #15
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No to us the anti-freeze is foul tasting and you should not drink it.

Do you eat ice cream? Is sugar foul tasting to you?


CH3CH(OH)CH2OH. It is a viscous, colorless liquid, which is nearly odorless but possesses a faintly sweet taste.

It is produced on a large scale primarily for the production of polymers. In the European Union, it has the E-number E1520 for food applications. For cosmetics and pharmacology, the number is E490. Propylene glycol is also present in propylene glycol alginate, which is known as E405. Propylene glycol is a compound which is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under 21 CFR x184.1666 and is also approved by FDA for certain uses as an indirect food additive. Propylene glycol is approved and used as a vehicle for topical, oral and some intravenous pharmaceutical preparations in U.S. and in Europe.
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:06 PM   #16
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Do you eat ice cream? Is sugar foul tasting to you?


CH3CH(OH)CH2OH. It is a viscous, colorless liquid, which is nearly odorless but possesses a faintly sweet taste.

It is produced on a large scale primarily for the production of polymers. In the European Union, it has the E-number E1520 for food applications. For cosmetics and pharmacology, the number is E490. Propylene glycol is also present in propylene glycol alginate, which is known as E405. Propylene glycol is a compound which is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under 21 CFR x184.1666 and is also approved by FDA for certain uses as an indirect food additive. Propylene glycol is approved and used as a vehicle for topical, oral and some intravenous pharmaceutical preparations in U.S. and in Europe.
The anti-freeze is not sugar and it says not to drink it. I have tasted the water when just running it through the lines and it does not taste good until I bleach them. No matter what is in food I still do not like the taste of the anti-freeze. I avoid food if at all possible with any junk in it.
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:21 PM   #17
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I have tasted the water when just running it through the lines and it does not taste good until I bleach them.

You must be kidding.
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Old 09-11-2020, 07:35 AM   #18
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There are a lot of food , drinks and substances that I don’t like the taste of but that doesn’t make them harmful
I worked at a plant that produced vegetable oils for human consumption and base stocks for use in RV anti freeze as well as food and neither were considered hazardous or toxic .
If you can taste trace amounts of RV anti freeze, then the list of foods you consume must be rather limited

Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey just doesn’t taste right after they removed the RV antifreeze IMHO
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:48 AM   #19
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Winterizing should be rightly called decommissioning which takes your trailer out of service making it unusable for a significant portion of the year, which takes time, money and effort, both on the way in and on the way out. My goal is 4 season operation to eliminate all of the above and make the unit available 12m/y, 24/7.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:40 AM   #20
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RV Antifreeze.

G'day. Rv Antifreeze--Generally regarded as safe--by who? The manufacturer who wants to sell the product? The FDA which is considered to be corrupt in some circles? All GRAS really means is that it has never been independently double-blind placebo tested for true safety so we really don't know. Not a lot different than glyphosate from Monsanto (now owned by Bayer of IG Farben Auschwitz infamy) who would have you believe it is also safe. Jann Todd has the right idea in my mind--avoid where possible.
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