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Old 11-22-2015, 02:00 PM   #1
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Winterizing with compressed air - first timer

I will be winterizing the trailer this afternoon for the first time. It's just starting to get down to freezing temps at night, so no time like the present.

I don't really like the idea of putting chemicals in the fresh water tank, so I want to use compressed air to blow the water out.

My concern is this: The manual states:

"If the recreation vehicle is going to be stored in a non-temperature controlled environment with a risk of temperatures reaching 32F or lower, the air pressure method alone is not adequate, winterizing wtih RV antifreeze is the proper method to use."

I live in the pacific northwest, about 500 ft. above sea level. It does freeze regularly during the winter, but usually not through an entire day (maybe a few hours at night), sometimes there will be a stretch of a few days that it stays below freezing the whole time. Honestly, there have been a few winters when I forgot to put insulation over the hose bibs for an entire winter, with no problems whatsoever.

What is the concern if there is no water in the lines? I don't understand why air wouldn't be sufficient?

Off to go buy some RV anti-freeze (it's recommended to put some in the grey and black water tanks anyway), but would love to hear when I get back whether I really need to use anti-freeze in the lines or not...

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-22-2015, 02:04 PM   #2
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I think the biggest concern is compressed air may not remove all the water from every place and extend cold could still cause damage.
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Old 11-22-2015, 02:23 PM   #3
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Also don't forget about drains
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Old 11-22-2015, 02:26 PM   #4
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Hi Ecksdude,

I'm up here in Vancouver WA. I too was wondering kind of along the same lines.
First though there should be no need to put ANY RV Anti Freeze in your fresh water tank as long as it basically empty. Just make sure your plumbing is protected and your tanks are empty.
However with our fairly mild winters I'm still going to go ahead and add the pink stuff and have complete peace of mind....it takes less than an hour to do and costs less than $10 how can you go wrong?
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Old 11-22-2015, 03:07 PM   #5
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Wink

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Originally Posted by nolanskii View Post
Hi Ecksdude,

I'm up here in Vancouver WA. I too was wondering kind of along the same lines.
First though there should be no need to put ANY RV Anti Freeze in your fresh water tank as long as it basically empty. Just make sure your plumbing is protected and your tanks are empty.
However with our fairly mild winters I'm still going to go ahead and add the pink stuff and have complete peace of mind....it takes less than an hour to do and costs less than $10 how can you go wrong?
My wife is one of those "chemically sensitive" people. She doesn't want us putting anti-freeze in the fresh water tank if we can avoid it.

Due to my need for "peace of mind", I have the same thought you do: manual says do it, better do it.

I'll have to put some sort of filtration system near the kitchen sink. That should make her happy in the end, methinks. It will be a PITA, but it will make her happy.
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Old 11-22-2015, 03:18 PM   #6
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Hello all,
I'm down here in Arizona no freezing but from what I have read and heard the RV antifreeze has not only a non freezing ingredient in it but also a conditioner for the plastic piping. We don't worry about freezing here but heat rot. I'll be using it just for the conditioning part but will also sanitize everything including the black holding tank at least once a year. Better safe than sorry.
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Old 11-22-2015, 03:42 PM   #7
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Don't use the pink stuff and never have. Have owned rvs for over 15 years and have lived in Indiana and Ky both experience freezing temps sometimes below zero. I have used the air compressor method every year with absolutely zero problems or issues. All you have to do is follow a careful methodical procedure and don't miss any of the plumbing fixtures and valves. People often forget to blow out the line to the toilet, the handheld shower and the outside shower. I remove the handheld hose at the faucets and carefully drain all water from the hose by opening the spray head and letting gravity do its thing. Bypass and drain the water heater first, then open the low point drains and allow all the water to drain. You need to open [w/ pump off] a faucet inside to allow the water to drain. Once the drains stop flowing, its time to use the compressor. I use a low power 12V one like you can get at Wally World and a adapter that will allow you to connect the air hose to the fresh water hose input. After closing the low point [all ] drains, turn on the compressor. then go fixture by fixture and open each valve until it stops flushing water and all you are getting is air. Close that one and move to the next one. Go from the kitchen to the bathroom, including the shower and toilet as well as the sink. Then go outside and do the same for the outside shower faucet. Then just to be safe I go back to each fixture and repeat the previous procedure. When you have done the above, take a gallon of pink stuff and pour a cup into each drain including all sinks and the shower. Pour a small amount into the toilet, not sure why but it supposedly helps to keep the flush seal healthy. After all this is said and done, I open the low point drains for one last time as a little water seems to settle into the lines just above the valves. This whole process shouldn't take more than 30 minutes.

Its not about saving $10 bucks on the pinkstuff, its about not having that taste and smell in your water in the spring. Protecting the plastic pipes is pure BS.
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Old 11-22-2015, 04:05 PM   #8
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Sometimes says it all.
Protecting plastic plumbing from winter temps in a RV in the fantastic Pacific Northwest is never BS.
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Old 11-22-2015, 04:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecksdude View Post
My wife is one of those "chemically sensitive" people. She doesn't want us putting anti-freeze in the fresh water tank if we can avoid it.

Due to my need for "peace of mind", I have the same thought you do: manual says do it, better do it.

I'll have to put some sort of filtration system near the kitchen sink. That should make her happy in the end, methinks. It will be a PITA, but it will make her happy.
I use antifreeze in the entire fresh water system. But I bypass and drain the HW heater (leave the drain plug out). And I never, ever put any antifreeze in the fresh water tank. I just drain it and leave the drain valves open. I also open the tank dump valves until all the antifreeze drains out (from the stuff that runs down the drains during winterizing), then close the dump valves.

I just winterized the other day and it took only two gallons. It costs less than $3.00/gallon. Pretty cheap insurance. (And BTW - you use less antifreeze if you blow all the lines out first and avoid the risk of having watered down antifreeze left in the lines.)

But I would advise filling every line and the all the drain P-traps with antifreeze - if for no other reason than CYA. Better safe than sorry. I just
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Old 11-22-2015, 04:12 PM   #10
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X2 bassdogs: Water is the medium that freezes, expands, and that is what burst lines. Buy a short piece of pic pipe and place it in your freezer until it breaks! Expanding water is the item that breaks things. I hook my compressor (set at 40 psi) and start at the faucet at end of run or furtherer away from water inlet, and work my way backwards. I do this two or three times just to be sure. Then I open low point drains, and leave them open. Leaving on the compressor during operation, will assure that water, all water stays at end of each pipe and not run back to a cleared section. I'am good to go whenever I want to travel.
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