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Old 12-22-2014, 03:02 PM   #1
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Winterized with air, first time

So I winterized with air for the first time and had an experience I'm not too sure about...

I'm wondering how many of you who winterize with air also use the HWH winterizing bypass valves?

It seems to me I should have done that. I ran into a few issues while I was blowing out the lines and ended up stopping mid-process. I think I was getting water from the tank somehow because it just kept coming. I was draining the on board FW tanks at the same time I was blowing the lines thinking as long as I had the pump off, I'd be good to go. I didn't really think about it, so after I stopped, I went to pull the drain plug from the HWH and it popped out like a bullet. I had pressurized the HWH with air which wasn't altogether unexpected when I thought about it, but it startled me.

I thought to myself "gee, I kind of wish I had bypassed the HWH before I pressurized the lines with air."

On youtube, I was able to find one video where the owner DID bypass the HWH and one where he DIDN'T (at least not that he detailed in the video).

So, these are my questions: How many of you bypass the HWH even if you're using compressed air? Is it possible for the FW to come from the tank with the pump off when using compressed air at the City Water inlet? If not, I'm confused as to where all that water was coming from...?

We have another trip planned over the New Year holiday, so I'll get to try again, but in the mean time,
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:12 PM   #2
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When I winterize (although I only do that if it looks like we're going to have a real freeze) here in Texas, I bypass the HWH and drain it. I also rinse it while the plug's out with a gadget that connects to my hose. Usually, I will also drain the fresh water tank first then blow the lines out and put some antifreeze down the drains and into the BW tank.

Doesn't sound right to me that that water was coming from your FW tank. I'm guessing it may have been what was left in your HWH?
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:48 PM   #3
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I would expect you would get water from the WH unless it was by-passed. I've used both methods (air and anti-freeze) but like Quahog says in South Texas it just doesn't freeze all that often. When I use compressed air I will by-pass the WH and treat it as a separate item since it is isolated (pull the bung out and let it drain, this is a handy time to flush it out as well). In our now gone X23B I could blow out the lines with a portable 5 gal air tank on a single 100# fill. Slosh a little anti down the drains (for the P traps) and I was good to go.
Back to your question Camper, yes I would by-pass the WH first and drain it.
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Old 12-22-2014, 06:28 PM   #4
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I always drained and bypassed the water heater before blowing out the lines as well. You shouldn't get water from your FW tank - the same backflow valve that prevents water from your city connection from back-feeding the tank would keep that from happening.
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Old 12-22-2014, 06:56 PM   #5
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Always bypass and drain. There's a lot of water in the tank compared to what's in the lines alone.
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Old 12-22-2014, 07:07 PM   #6
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I blow the lines out as well but I drain and by pass the hot water heater first. I then pump antifreeze into the lines as a safety issue. the only reason I blow the lines out is to make sure the antifreeze does not get diluted.
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:53 AM   #7
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I drain the water heater, then re-install the plug and blow out the lines. Once the hot is mostly cleared, I put the water heater in bypass, remove the drain plug and continue to blow out the lines.

I do this to insure that the little portion of water line between the water heater and the bypass valve is clear, and to insure that any water which can be picked up by the water heater lines are clear. Then putting it into bypass, allows the heater to finish any draining and insure that any water in the bypass circuit is removed.

It's a little extra work, but (at least in my mind) removes all of the water. I leave the lines dry, meaning I do not pump antifreeze through the lines, just down the traps and a in the toilet.

When all done, I blow some air in the water heater. The little remaining water which was in there won't cause any harm, but again I go over board.
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:43 AM   #8
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Ok, so the resounding consensus is to bypass the W/H. Good, now I'll do that next time.

I had the WH drained before I started blowing in air, so I still don't know where all that water was coming from, unless it was from the bottom of the WH tank? But it was happening on the cold side tap... I had thought about that check valve, and that's why I thought there was no way the extra water was coming from the tank, but really, there was nowhere else it could have been. EVERYTHING in the rig was empty except for the on-board fresh tank, and it had been draining for a while, so there couldn't have been much in there. Oh well, I'll just open the LP drains and empty the on board tanks and the WH LONG before I begin the process next time. Then I'll know FOR CERTAIN that all the water is gone.

I like the concept of treating the WH as it's own separate item. I also like the idea of running some air before I isolate it so that all the hoses are empty. I actually use the City Water to flush the tank every time I bring it home from storage. I pull the drain plug, then turn on the city water and as it tries to fill the tank it's actually flushing it out. Perhaps not as good as a "real" tank flush with a wand, but it's all I've got for now. On that note, I couldn't believe the grossness that had collected in my drain plug last time I pulled it; YUCK!

Yeah, it doesn't get that cold down here in S. Texas, so my real reasoning for winterizing using air is that come January, my rig could sit for up to 5 months (I'm a CPA and that's our busy time), and in my experience, that water gets pretty ripe in the pipes being stored in there that long. Especially down here in the hot Texas sun. The added benefit is that draining and blowing out the rig to keep the nasty water to a minimum also accomplishes a very effective winterization procedure, just in case it does get cold enough to do damage...
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Old 12-23-2014, 11:17 AM   #9
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If the water heater is drained I see no need in bypassing it, if you are not filling the lines with antifreeze. I never do.
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by eldermike View Post
If the water heater is drained I see no need in bypassing it, if you are not filling the lines with antifreeze. I never do.
That's a good point. My only concern is that the tank fills up with air pressure when the compressor is pressurizing the lines. I don't know if it hurts it or not, but the process would take a lot less air if I bypass the WH.

But then again, the bypass valves are kind of a PITA to get to being under the bottom rear bunk...
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