Drained tanks and tried to blow out water lines - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-11-2015, 11:03 PM   #1
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Name: Bryan
Trailer: Scamp
Northern California
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Drained tanks and tried to blow out water lines

It snowed a bit here at our house here in California, so I figured I better winterize the new to us Scamp trailer. I would have done it sooner, but had to fix a leaky bathroom faucet before being able to blow out the lines or put antifreeze through the water system.

So I drained the fresh water tank, bought a 1 and 1/16 long socket and pulled the anode plug. I also bought a little doohickey to help flush out all the deposits, which there were lots. I ran the water pump until there was not any more water coming out of the pump. I installed a new anode plug. I also bought a brass fitting with a presto valve to put into the outside water source fitting. I then turned my compressor down to 30 psi on the outlet side, had the wife go in the trailer and turn on the faucets one at time while I compressed air into the special fitting doohickey. She said some water came out of each faucet, but there is still a bit of water in the lines. I could here gurgling over by the outside of the hot water heater. She could also here gurgling coming out of the faucet (I could also see the water and the air bubbles in the hoses below the bathroom sink). I tried for several minutes to get the water out of the hoses, but nothing more came through the faucets. I turned the compressor to 60 even just to see, but it did not help, and I know 60 is probably too much pressure anyway. I also turned the water pump on again and it pumped more water out. I then tried to compress air into the system one more time just to see but nothing happened. I finally pulled the hot water heater plug again, but no more water came out of it either.

My question is how can I get all the water out of the lines? I would just run antifreeze through the system at this point, but the aftermarket Suburban hot water heater does not have a bypass valve (I did buy one today, but have not installed it and deep down don't really want to put antifreeze in the system anyway, especially because we are camping for a week in about 9 days). A few things I noticed were, that the brass fitting with the presto valve seemed a bit funky. I had to press inward really hard on it to hear the gurgling or to see air bubbles coming out of the brass fitting. It appears that you would have to get the one way valve in the fresh water inlet lined up just perfect for the air device to push in on it and allow air into the trailer water hoses, etc. I messed around with the hotwater pressure valve to make sure that was not leaking air, but nothing happened after that either.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the matter? Do I have to get all the water out of the hoses? I would think it would give me more security to do so. Do you think I have a new leak somewhere? There was a bit of air coming out the brass fitting and the fitting to hook in the water? I had the fresh water tank drain plug closed. What am I doing wrong?
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:26 PM   #2
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Bryan, I wouldn't think that a small amt. of water in the lines would cause any problems since there is room for expansion as the water freezes. I would at least make sure that RV antifreeze would make it to the pump if I didn't have electricity to the trailer to run an electric heater.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:36 PM   #3
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. I would at least make sure that RV antifreeze would make it to the pump if I didn't have electricity to the trailer to run an electric heater.
Dave & Paula
I keep hearing of people running an electric heater in their trailers during the winter. Isn't this very expensive. I had a little electric heater in our trailer the past few nights before I could try to winterize it, and the thing ran all night. Do you guys put insulation over the furnace and fridge vents or something, so that not as much cold air gets in and therefore the heater does not run as much?

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Old 11-11-2015, 11:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAPPYSCAMPER76 View Post
I keep hearing of people running an electric heater in their trailers during the winter. Isn't this very expensive. I had a little electric heater in our trailer the past few nights before I could try to winterize it, and the thing ran all night. Do you guys put insulation over the furnace and fridge vents or something, so that not as much cold air gets in and therefore the heater does not run as much?

Bryan
I run a small heater turned just about as low I can get it. All we're trying to do is keep the inside of the trailer a bit above the dreaded 32F. At with the electric heater set where it is the temperature inside doesn't go much below 40F and I have a window open the roof vent open a bit. You're not trying to keep it at 70 to 75F just enough warmth to keep thing from freezing.

As I mentioned the dreaded 32F is not where things freeze. It's the transition point for water to go from liquid to solid or solid to liquid. For that to be the transition temperature the water has to be distilled and at sea level.

As point out earlier, when water becomes a solid (ice) it expands some, but it there plenty for it to expand no harm done.
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:16 AM   #5
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In the newer Scamps at least the lines are PEX which is rather forgiving of some freezing. The pumps are a different story, especially the shower drain pump if you have one since it is fully exposed under the trailer. I don't really know but I do suspect that blowing out the lines is not very effective at getting water out of the vulnerable parts of the pumps. Using RV antifreeze is fast and easy to do, and IMHO better insurance. It does take longer to flush it out in the spring but if you are sanitizing also in the spring then its all part of the same prep.

Winterizing the trailer's plumbing does not mean you cannot use the camper. You can camp in it without using the plumbing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HAPPYSCAMPER76 View Post
... I finally pulled the hot water heater plug again, but no more water came out of it either.
And although it has been asked many times before, the question always amuses me... Why do you have a device to heat water that is already hot? I much prefer my "Cold water heater"
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Old 11-12-2015, 09:31 AM   #6
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This advice wont help today, but I'd DEFINITELY install a "Bypass" valve on the water heater!! I blow my lines out and have found that some water just refuses to leave....maybe residual water sitting in a joint etc who knows. But I DO know I run antifreeze into my lines and can see it through the piping and am content I'm good for the winter--- and have been for the past 5 yrs.

It may be necessary in the northern part of the states, but I have NEVER ran a heater in my Scamp during the winter....nor need to with my winterization process. I do keep my windows/vent open a bit. So the temp in my Scamp is always equalizing thus no chance for condensation and mold. Again, successful for 5 yrs. The Scamp still has a "new" smell I've been told so SOMETHING must be going right for my method. (only more time will tell)
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Old 11-12-2015, 09:33 AM   #7
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Did you bypass the water heater? you need to drain the heater and then bypass the water to the heater. Then blow out water lines.
If you don't the pump will attempt to push the small amount of water in the heater out the faucets leaving water in the lines which could freeze.
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Old 11-12-2015, 09:37 AM   #8
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I use the blow out method with RV antifreeze only in the p traps.
I also have the trailer plugged into shore power full time and a small heater plugged into a thermo cube

Amazon.com : Farm Innovators Model TC-3 Cold Weather Thermo Cube Thermostatically Controlled Outlet - On at 35-Degrees/Off at 45-Degrees : Electrical Multi Outlets : Patio, Lawn & Garden

I'm not exactly in the frozen north, but we do get occasional extended periods below freezing and rarely temps in the single digits.

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Old 11-12-2015, 10:05 AM   #9
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small detail...

the OP most probably never subjected his system to 60 psi or even 30 (as stated)...

when you set your compressor at 30 or 60 psi it simply compresses air until it "sees" the dialed in value...this won't hsppen unless the system is closed (all taps closed)... pressure will never build up...typically compressors do not generate a lot of volume (what you are really looking for to blow out lines and their inherent low points).......the exhaust side of a good shop or home vac would probably be a better tool to use....jury rigged / plumbed to as large an opening as is convenient
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:30 AM   #10
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Wink Water/anti-freeze

Newbies, you do know not to use green automotive anti-freeze, right? Only use the pink stuff or you may poison yourself.

Everyone knows water freezes at 32F. (Actually, the elevation and/or minerals in the water will affect this number.)

But what a lot of people don't know is that anti-freeze will freeze at a temperature not much lower than 32.

What is the anti-freeze for anti-freeze? Water!

You need a combination of water and anti-freeze in order to have a solution that freezes at a much lower temperature.

So, I wouldn't be concerned about a little water in the system. In fact, you need water in the system for the anti-freeze to work. (I am not so sure about potable system anti-freeze (the pink stuff) and its dynamics...)

This whole thing is why we, personally, don't use our water system. Of course, we don't have a water heater, only a 12 gallon storage tank and plumbing taking it to the sink.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger C H View Post
What is the anti-freeze for anti-freeze? Water!

You need a combination of water and anti-freeze in order to have a solution that freezes at a much lower temperature.

So, I wouldn't be concerned about a little water in the system. In fact, you need water in the system for the anti-freeze to work. (I am not so sure about potable system anti-freeze (the pink stuff) and its dynamics...)

.
I thought that this was only true of Ethylene Glycol based anti freezes (the stuff used in cars) but not the less evil, safer Propylene based anti freeze used in plumping.

I was of the understanding that the more water mixed with the Proplylene based anti freeze used in plumping, the higher the pipe bursting temp goes?
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:45 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Roger C H View Post
...
But what a lot of people don't know is that anti-freeze will freeze at a temperature not much lower than 32.

What is the anti-freeze for anti-freeze? Water!

You need a combination of water and anti-freeze in order to have a solution that freezes at a much lower temperature.....
To clarify, the RV antifreeze you buy already has the right mixture. In fact the instructions state to "Refill system to capacity with UNDILUTED RV ANTIFREEZE." The capitalization is in the instructions.

So if there is a little water in the system, it will further dilute the RV antifreeze and change the freezing point, but if its a little water its not enough to make any difference. Just don't add additional water.

The "to capacity" part of the instructions is arguable to say the least, I am sure not putting 12 gallons plus of RV antifreeze in my system, there is no reason to.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:16 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Roger C H View Post
Newbies, you do know not to use green automotive anti-freeze, right? Only use the pink stuff or you may poison yourself.

Everyone knows water freezes at 32F. (Actually, the elevation and/or minerals in the water will affect this number.)

But what a lot of people don't know is that anti-freeze will freeze at a temperature not much lower than 32.

What is the anti-freeze for anti-freeze? Water!

You need a combination of water and anti-freeze in order to have a solution that freezes at a much lower temperature.


OK, lots of opinions; The fact is: RV Antifreeze already comes mixed with water so it is effective down to minus 50F. Use it straight from the jug.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:24 PM   #14
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In order to blow out the WARM water lines, if you don't have a water heater bypass, and after the water heater is drained, you need to put the drain plug back in, and close the hot tap at the sink, so the air pressure can fill the heater and force water out of the lines going to the shower and sink in the bathroom.
Even so, you will not get ALL the water out. A small amount will remain at the low points in the lines.. It can freeze with no harm done.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:53 PM   #15
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Bryan......

Gordon's observation that one can camp in a pink-stuff winterized trailer is right on the mark. I've done it once in a while.

The potential consequences of having a pump or valve or line freeze are just so time-consuming and potentially expensive that there really isn't much of a rational excuse for not having that bypass valve installed and protecting the system.

And as far as running an electric heater for the season, and that associated expense and bother...... Really? And what does the economic comparison with the pink stuff (Wal-Mart's works fine) tell you? Seriously......

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Old 11-12-2015, 01:49 PM   #16
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Not sure about the Scamp or others, (or even other models of Casita) but my 2001 Casita 17SD has an inline water filter/strainer (factory I think?) between the fresh water tank & the pump (also has the hot water bypass system 'downstream' of the pump). When we bought the trailer last January (from owners in Ft Worth, TX) it had been winterized by blowing out the lines (I've been successfully doing this for many years with a number of different 'stick'built' trailers & cabover truck campers). I didn't know about the filter/strainer in the Casita & we had several 'days-long' periods of teen/low-20s temps here in central Arkansas, & last spring when I filled my fresh water tank to sanitize the system, the filter/strainer (plastic) had developed severe cracks around the top of the unit & when I turned on the pump I 'flooded' my trailer(actually I don't think the pump had much to do with it, just gravity flow from the full tank to the filter). Took 3 days of using my wet-or-dry shop vac & fans to dry it out, after I replaced the filter/strainer. Apparently the pump suffered no ill effects from the freeze(s). This year I'm blowing out all the lines but I'm also adding enough of the pink RV anti freeze to fill both the filter/strainer & the pump, as well as all P-traps & the toilet valve. Since I sanitize the system each spring it'll be no problem to 'flush' out the pink stuff. As for using pressure to 'blow out' the system, I've always just used a homemade (6 inches of the 'male' end of a garden hose with a tire valve stem clamped into the hose end) adapter screwed into the 'city' water inlet, & my shop compressor with longer air hoses and an air chuck to blow the lines/faucets. Longer air hoses are much better than long extension cords as there's no 'line loss' of voltage/current. Never had any damage to my RV water systems as long as I open the faucets. I still leave the RVs plugged in (usually parked under a shed) with a small 'cube' electric heater set on low/very low. That shed/storage area is on a separate meter with a minimum monthly charge of $13, & I don't remember more than a time or two having to pay an extra charge, & then only a dollar or so. I suppose if you're on a regular 'metered' line, an extra $10-$13 might be of consequence but I'd consider it well worth it to prevent damage to water systems...
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:32 PM   #17
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about running heaters.....

it's more than just heat..it's ventilation...

i'm not sure what would be worse...looking at frozen pipe damage in the spring...or mold and mildew to clean up in a lot of places...some very difficult to access

happened to me ONCE....never again....I always run a heater....right now I have one that has a "45" setting.....won't let the temperature drop below that....and when it comes on it moves the air around...I like that

might not be a problem in a "dry" place...but it's "moist" where I live
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Old 11-12-2015, 05:07 PM   #18
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Smile Thanks Gordon & Wayne

I had already forgotten from the one time I used RV anti-freeze about those instructions to not dilute.

Goes to show you that we are all smarter together than individually.

I poured a gallon of pink anti-freeze into my system after draining it as much as I could, then drained the pink stuff after.

I only use a small plunger to clear out the sink to gray water bucket now since we no longer use the plumbing.
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:23 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
it's more than just heat..it's ventilation...
Ventilation is a BIG issue. A trailer that you are able to leave a window or a vent open all winter on is always going to fair better than one that is closed up tight.
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:00 PM   #20
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So far, everyone who heats uses an electric heater. Why not run a propane heater? If propane is priced like gas, then propane should be less expensive than electric to heat. I know it might be more convenient to have the fuel flow through a wire rather than from a tank you have to refill, but are there any other advantages I am not seeing?
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