Should fresh water tank drain completely? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-06-2017, 06:54 PM   #1
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Should fresh water tank drain completely?

I have a Scamp, just wondering if there is a trick to getting the last 1/2" or so of water out of the fresh water tank? The valve to drain it is open and I've tilted the trailer forward so the drain is at the lowest but there is still a fair bit of water in it.

I get that putting antifreeze to winterize will probably dilute it enough so that it won't be an issue, but if it won't ever fully drain how can you clean out the antifreeze afterward? Do you just run water through with the valve open to flush it out?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:06 PM   #2
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I don't put anti-freeze in the fresh water tank. In any event, there is plenty of room for expansion, if the water freezes. You want to pump antifreeze through the lines. I use a hand pump and pump it through the city water inlet after draining and bypassing the water heater. Not sure of Scamp water system, but I wouldn't put antifreeze in the fresh water tank.
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:20 PM   #3
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Clean out for water tank

Here is an idea for you to have a way to clean out that last little bit of water in the tank. You can buy a kayak deck hatch on line in several sizes. Mount the frame on the top of the tank with a sealant and stainless screws. The opening hatch can be screwed on and off easily, so that water won't escape, or you can put a towel in the hole and wipe down the inside of the tank.


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I found that a 5 inch opening was big enough for a towel and my hand. You can find them on ebay, amazon, or other sources.

Dave Heffner
Roseburg, OR
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:59 PM   #4
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I like your style, that is a great idea!
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:43 PM   #5
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Glen, the issue is not the water in the tank, but residual water in the water pump. I've had a water pump blown apart by freezing, and since then, I always put RV antifreeze into the fresh water tank, and use the water pump to pump it through the system. Before and after I do this I blow the lines clear with air, to limit the RV antifreeze to the few low spots I have in the system. I then flush completely in the spring.


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Old 10-06-2017, 11:58 PM   #6
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I run the pump for 20 - 30 seconds after draining the fresh water tank.
That was what I was advised to do and what has worked for eight years now.
My hand pump pushes RV antifreeze through the lines. I have a compressor and used it a couple times, but I like being reassured when I see pink liquid coming out of the taps.
You can add a winterizing kit that allows you to use the electric pump to draw antifreeze from a jug instead of pouring gallons of it into the fresh water tank. I would do that if I didn't already have the hand pump.
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Old 10-07-2017, 03:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Victor Benz View Post
Glen, the issue is not the water in the tank, but residual water in the water pump. I've had a water pump blown apart by freezing, and since then, I always put RV antifreeze into the fresh water tank, and use the water pump to pump it through the system. Before and after I do this I blow the lines clear with air, to limit the RV antifreeze to the few low spots I have in the system. I then flush completely in the spring. Vic
Hi Vic, just tossing this out to those of you that have to winterize. Would just disconnecting one side line of the water pump eliminate a freeze condition as any expansion of freezing water has a place to go?
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:43 AM   #8
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I run the pump for 20 - 30 seconds after draining the fresh water tank.
That was what I was advised to do and what has worked for eight years now.
My hand pump pushes RV antifreeze through the lines. I have a compressor and used it a couple times, but I like being reassured when I see pink liquid coming out of the taps.
You can add a winterizing kit that allows you to use the electric pump to draw antifreeze from a jug instead of pouring gallons of it into the fresh water tank. I would do that if I didn't already have the hand pump.
I have a water pump out in my garage with a cracked lower housing that says otherwise if you live in really cold temps. Previous owner “blew out the lines” but didn’t use antifreeze. First water fill was exciting for me.
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:56 AM   #9
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I open the drain on the ride home. The trailer bouncing around drains the tank. Don't forget to close the valve before adding antifreeze I buy a gallon at Walmart. Dump it in the tank and run the faucet until I see pink then let run a bit more to get some in the trap. Seven Vermont winter's, no issues. Raz
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Hi Vic, just tossing this out to those of you that have to winterize. Would just disconnecting one side line of the water pump eliminate a freeze condition as any expansion of freezing water has a place to go?
If you disconnect the inlet side of your pump and get a fitting with a length of tubing, you can connect it to the inlet side and put the tube into a gallon of antifreeze, and use the pump to winterize the trailer. And as Raz has said, driving with the fresh water tank drain open generally drains the tank completely. And you do want to have a water heater bypass.
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:26 AM   #11
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Great suggestions

Makes perfect sense to drive with the valve open to drain it, also like the idea of the 'deck plate' to be able to fully clean in there. I used to brew beer and don't like the idea of a closed space that I can't see to clean (or boil water in).

CPW - can you expand on the water heater bypass? That is to keep antifreeze out of the water heater I assume. Is that a switch you flip, or something you have to configure separately?
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Old 10-07-2017, 08:43 AM   #12
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If you disconnect the inlet side of your pump and get a fitting with a length of tubing, you can connect it to the inlet side and put the tube into a gallon of antifreeze, and use the pump to winterize the trailer. And as Raz has said, driving with the fresh water tank drain open generally drains the tank completely. And you do want to have a water heater bypass.
You could easily mount a valve before the pump. I had to help a friend with an R-Pod camper and they have one for winterizing. It's at the 6 minute mark in this video:

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Old 10-07-2017, 08:56 AM   #13
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I have the most complex or complete water system offered by Scamp and I live in the upper Midwest where we have plenty of deep freeze temperatures.
Our Scamp has a inlet shutoff valve to the water heater which we use when winterizing.

Our method is far easier to do than to explain.
It takes about 5 minutes and is as follows...

1] Close the inlet valve to the water heater and drain the water heater.
Leave the plug out.

2] Drain the fresh water tank then close the drain.

3] Pour antifreeze into the fresh water tank.

4] Turn the pump on.

5] Open the closest cold water faucet until you see pink, then close it.
Proceed to next furthest and do the same, flush the toilet too.

6] Furthest first,Place your hand over the faucet outlet, open the hot water faucet, then the cold. pink will flow backward to through the hot water lines to the tank. Close the cold then the hot.

7] Shut off the pump and place the plug back into the water heater drain.

8] DONE!

It is important to drain the water heater. remember it stays full unless drained from the outside plug.

Do not sanitize your system at the time you winterize, a few drops of bleach in a gallon of antifreeze will turn the whole gallon clear. This makes it impossible to see pink in the lines or at the sinks.
This method requires no tools except a socket for the drain plug on the water heater.

In the spring simply open the inlet valve on the water heater, put 5 or 6 gallons of water into the empty fresh water tank and run it until all lines run clear.
You could drain the water heater at this point, but it is not really needed.

This would be a good time to sanitize, in the spring after putting the system back in service.

There are certainly other effective methods for winterizing, learn them all and pick the one you like.
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:04 AM   #14
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Draining Scamp Tank

You have the right idea by lowering the front hitch jack.
On our 2000 16 ft Scamp, the drain port is at the right front corner, but on the front wall up off the bottom. It helps to raise the left wheel if you can.
I never worried about drying out the tank.
To remove the antifreeze in spring, after draining as much as you can, give it many small rinses with fresh water. until it drains clear.
RV antifreeze is Propylene Glycol. It is safe for human consumption.

You can add a shot of bleach to kill any "beasties" in there. But may not need that if your water is chlorinated.
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Old 10-07-2017, 12:08 PM   #15
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draing the swamp!

Thanks to all those patient contributors who add their voices to these topics. I learn more here that I ever did in school, but I digress...
I live just North of the 49th parallel on Vancouver Island and we don't normally get sustained winter temperatures below freezing but it's really humbling to see the remnants of a hot water tank that wasn't drained properly. Explosive! Guilty as charged, your honor!
Now I use a compressor like many others and have a pattern for purging all the lines. Drain the tank. Then the water pump - I don't like running them dry but I do for about 10 seconds as the first part of my purging routine - usually the kitchen faucet open. Next I open one faucet at a time - purge, stop the compressed air, close the faucet - repeat as necessary. I start with the furthest away faucet and move closer to the kitchen sink. Cold water tap, hot water tap in the bathroom shower, then the bathroom sink, then toilet flush line then the kitchen sink etc. I blow low pressure air through the lines until NO water comes out. Then I put the compressor away and open the 'inspection' plug on the HW tank and give myself a pat on the back. It works for me.
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Old 10-07-2017, 12:09 PM   #16
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draining the swamp!

Thanks to all those patient contributors who add their voices to these topics. I learn more here that I ever did in school, but I digress...
I live just North of the 49 parallel on Vancouver Island and we don't normally get sustained winter temperatures below freezing but it's really humbling to see the remnants hot water tank that wasn't drained properly. Explosive! Guilty as charged, your honor!
Now I use a compressor like many others and have a pattern for purging all the lines. Drain the tank. Open one faucet at a time - purge, stop the compressed air, close the faucet - repeat as necessary. Usually I start with the furthest away and move closer to the kitchen sink. Cold water tap, hot water tap in the bathroom shower, then the bathroom sink, then toilet flush line then the kitchen sink etc. I blow low pressure air through the lines until NO water comes out. Then I put the compressor away and open the 'inspection' plug on the HW tank and give myself a pat on the back. It works for me.
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Old 10-07-2017, 03:08 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by michaewa View Post
I have a Scamp, just wondering if there is a trick to getting the last 1/2" or so of water out of the fresh water tank? The valve to drain it is open and I've tilted the trailer forward so the drain is at the lowest but there is still a fair bit of water in it.

I get that putting antifreeze to winterize will probably dilute it enough so that it won't be an issue, but if it won't ever fully drain how can you clean out the antifreeze afterward? Do you just run water through with the valve open to flush it out?

Thanks in advance.
Don't put antifreeze in the fresh water tank or the hot water tank. You'll never get the taste or smell out without much difficulty. If you don't have one put a bypass on the hot water tank. We unhook the water line going into the pump and hook a tube with proper fitting to the pump and pump antifreeze into the water lines and toilet through the water pump. You may have a bypass on your hot water heater. Sometimes it is only one valve and it is positioned so that it can't be seen. We had a hard time finding ours. If you don't have a bypass you'll need one to keep from filling the hot water tank with antifreeze so you can pump antifreeze through the rest of the lines. We have a larger RV and a Casita. It took us about 30 minutes to do both.
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Old 10-09-2017, 03:00 PM   #18
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Question about Antifreeze in fresh tank

We just purchased a 2005 Casita LD and are trying to wrap our heads around this winterizing thing. The guy at our local RV dealership cautioned us not to put antifreeze directly into the fresh water tank because it's hard to get out and will leave an oily film in the water that gets on everything. He said to use the bypass method where you put the antifreeze directly into the pump (and he sold us the kit to do so). A couple of posts on this thread have said the same thing.

After doing some research I finally figured out how to find the pump (whew!). But of course it brings up another question. It seems that there is a pretty long hose between the pump and the fresh water tank. Has anyone heard of problems with that hose freezing? It seems that it would either empty when the pump empties the tank or drain back into the fresh water tank, leaving that hose empty. But I want to make sure before tearing apart the system.

Thanks! Wow, so much to learn! From an eager newbie...
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:33 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by margeleept View Post
We just purchased a 2005 Casita LD and are trying to wrap our heads around this winterizing thing. The guy at our local RV dealership cautioned us not to put antifreeze directly into the fresh water tank because it's hard to get out and will leave an oily film in the water that gets on everything. He said to use the bypass method where you put the antifreeze directly into the pump (and he sold us the kit to do so). A couple of posts on this thread have said the same thing.

After doing some research I finally figured out how to find the pump (whew!). But of course it brings up another question. It seems that there is a pretty long hose between the pump and the fresh water tank. Has anyone heard of problems with that hose freezing? It seems that it would either empty when the pump empties the tank or drain back into the fresh water tank, leaving that hose empty. But I want to make sure before tearing apart the system.

Thanks! Wow, so much to learn! From an eager newbie...
Never put antifreeze into the fresh water or hot water tank. You'll never get it out and it tastes awful and fouls the hot water as well. It is a simple process to winterize a Casita. We have a 2007. You have found the pump. I hope you have a pump with the quick connects to hook the water line to it. They have a little blue handle looking thing where the line hooks to the pump. If so then get a towel and put under the line you are disconnecting. It will be on the left of the pump as you look at it or the side the fresh water comes in from. Pull the little blue handle outwards. It does not come off. Pull the line out while the handle is outwards. The water from the fresh tank will empty onto the towel so make sure your tank is empty as it will go. No the hose won't freeze now since it is empty. If you don't have the blue handles it will necessitate the use of the bypass kit. Next get an extra elbow that connects to the pump and about a 2 ft length of tubing that is 1/2 inch in diameter or whatever size fits the connection. Put the connection on the tubing. You now have all it takes to winterize. Look on the inside of the trailer in the cabinet where the hot water tank is. There are red and blue lines. There is one that connects the red and blue at the tank. Feel on the backside of that line where they come together and there should be a bypass. Turn it so the antifreeze does not get into the hot water tank. In the spring when you dewinterize leave it closed until you have cleared all of the antifreeze out of the lines. Make sure you have drained the hot water tank by removing the plug or rod at the bottom of the tank on the outside. I think it takes a 1 inch socket. Now back to the pump. Put the hose you made with the extra connection on the pump. Make sure you get it in all the way and push the handle down to lock it in place. Put the end of the hose into a gallon of antifreeze. Turn on the kitchen cold water until it runs pink for a couple of seconds. Turn off cold and repeat with hot. Go to the bathroom and run the toilet until it is pink and let valve close. Turn on bathroom cold and hot like you did the kitchen. Turn off pump if you run out of antifreeze to prevent pump from running. Use a second jug of antifreeze if necessary. It usually takes us one gallon and sometimes a little more. When it is all pink remove hose from jug and run pump for a second until it empties the hose then it won't drain onto the floor when you disconnect it from the pump. Put water line from fresh tank back into the pump and push blue handle in to lock it in. One more place to put antifreeze in. Open your shower drain valve and pour antifreeze into the trap. The drain valve will open either under the front of the trailer or in the closet next to the bathroom. Never drive with this valve open or you will have a mess in the shower. This valve is the vent for the grey water tank to drain. So when you put antifreeze in the trap close it again. For extra safety you can put a little antifreeze in the kitchen and bathroom sinks. We've done this to RV's for over 34 years and have never froze one up yet except when we didn't know about the shower drain it froze and we had to replace the black trap under the trailer. This seems like a lot but it can be done in 10-15 minutes once you get familiar with it. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:38 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by burrorojo View Post
Thanks to all those patient contributors who add their voices to these topics. I learn more here that I ever did in school, but I digress...
I live just North of the 49 parallel on Vancouver Island and we don't normally get sustained winter temperatures below freezing but it's really humbling to see the remnants hot water tank that wasn't drained properly. Explosive! Guilty as charged, your honor!
Now I use a compressor like many others and have a pattern for purging all the lines. Drain the tank. Open one faucet at a time - purge, stop the compressed air, close the faucet - repeat as necessary. Usually I start with the furthest away and move closer to the kitchen sink. Cold water tap, hot water tap in the bathroom shower, then the bathroom sink, then toilet flush line then the kitchen sink etc. I blow low pressure air through the lines until NO water comes out. Then I put the compressor away and open the 'inspection' plug on the HW tank and give myself a pat on the back. It works for me.
Occasionally there is a low spot that water won't blow out from and it freezes. You are lucky so far. I had a camper I used to blow out until one spring while putting in water I went inside for a minute to come back to water running out of the camper door. Now for $5 or less I can make sure it doesn't freeze.
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