Winterize: drain vs antifreeze? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 10-29-2017, 02:50 PM   #1
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Winterize: drain vs antifreeze?

Hello to All, I am a first time travel trailer owner. Purchased our 2017 Aspen Trail 2710BH this last May. We have really enjoyed it so far!

But now comes the seasonal duties to which I have a couple questions since I would like to myself.

1.Where is the water pump located? ( I believe I can see it after I remove the small panel on side of tub)

2. Thoughts on winterizing. Do I really need to pump antifreeze in or can I just drain and blow compressed air thru? ( This is the method I am leaning to but want to make sure I get all water out of pump) how would I accomplished this).

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-29-2017, 03:07 PM   #2
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I actually do a combination of both. I purchased a tankless compressor (Viair 40047 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit) to blow out the lines (sprayport included) and also need to pour antifreeze in the drains (the traps retain water). I drain my system and hot water heater then blow out the lines. I keep the drain lines open so they do not retain any water (or condensation-goes for the freshwater tank also). I also pour some antifreeze in the grey and black tanks (stuff is cheap and I don't regret spending a few dollars more rather than have an issue). Seems to work for me and I have NO REGRETS so far (learned the hard way).
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Old 10-29-2017, 03:18 PM   #3
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Thanks franktafl,
How do I know if the water pump is drained completely?
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Old 10-29-2017, 03:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rojast04 View Post
Thanks franktafl,
How do I know if the water pump is drained completely?
The water pump retains very little water and said water would be blown out during your process of clearing the water lines.
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:13 PM   #5
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Thanks franktafl,
How do I know if the water pump is drained completely?
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Originally Posted by sundancer 87 View Post
The water pump retains very little water and said water would be blown out during your process of clearing the water lines.
If you are uncomfortable with it, you could pour a gallon or two in the fresh water tank... BUT, It's a REAL PAIN to get all that stuff out of there when you start using the fresh water tank again. Sundancer (I believe) is correct. leave the faucet's open, make sure you don't forget to step on the toilet flush to get the water out of that line also. If you have an ice maker or a under sink filter, you would want to address those also. I don't think you can run the water pump when it is dry but turn it on and see if it pumps anything. That should be enough.
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:30 PM   #6
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SHURFLO® REVOLUTION™ Pump 12 VDC 3.0 GPM | RV Products

At the bottom of the text it is stated Shurflo pumps have 'run dry' capability. It has been mentioned before that the diaphragm style can run dry because the diaphragms don't require water for lubrication and cooling as does an impeller pump.

This I know for sure when one of my older type of pumps ran for a few days when the water tank drained due to a leak.
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Old 10-29-2017, 06:17 PM   #7
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I really appreciate all the input guys, definitely useful stuff!
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Old 10-31-2017, 06:18 AM   #8
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My two cents...
Clean Gray and Black Tanks. By pass and drain the Hot Water Heater. It would be a good idea to cut the battery power or throw the Hot Water heater breaker so it can not be turned on by accident while empty. Drain low level water lines and fresh water tank.

It's not necessary to add antifreeze to your fresh, black and gray tank as long as you completely emptied them. A little may end up in the black and gray tank after the process anyway.

Blowing out with air (no more than 50 psi) will get a high percentage of water out of the lines but some may remain in low areas. Not a good idea if you have a older rig with pvc pipes. Blowing air in the city water connection will not empty water out of the water pump. I would not run water pump dry. Could be a problem with priming pump in the spring.

I use antifreeze with water pump antifreeze bypass. I start opening faucets in the bathroom including the toilet and shower. Then onto the kitchen, outside kitchen and shower if you have one. This will also fill the water pump with antifreeze. I use the antifreeze hand pump connected to the city water outlet which takes care of the pipes that run from the city water. I pump till pink comes out in the kitchen sink. Two person job. Also good for black tank rinse if you have one. Add a few ounces of antifreeze to each sink, shower to fill the P Trap.

You will need water pump bypass kit if your rig did not come with one.
Antifreeze hand pump
3 Gallons Antifreeze. You may have some left over but better to have too much than not enough.
Air line connector if you decide to go that route.

Good luck
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Old 10-31-2017, 02:17 PM   #9
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I read a theory once that just blowing out the lines alone is a bad idea if you live where it gets cold for long periods. The belief is that even a small drop of water could expand enough to crack a seal, or that the lack of moisture and the cold air could degrade any gaskets in the system.

People with bigger brains than mine might prove or disprove the theory, but at less than $10 for the anti-freeze and 20 minuets of my time, its worth the added level of production up here in PA


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Old 10-31-2017, 02:58 PM   #10
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From northern New England ...I do the blow out with air ... then the antifreeze pump thru .....then blow out again ..leaves small residue of antifreeze ...but also leaves antifreeze in valves and traps ( gate dump valves also ) to protect from solid freeze
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Old 10-31-2017, 04:16 PM   #11
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I read a theory once that just blowing out the lines alone is a bad idea if you live where it gets cold for long periods. The belief is that even a small drop of water could expand enough to crack a seal, or that the lack of moisture and the cold air could degrade any gaskets in the system.

People with bigger brains than mine might prove or disprove the theory, but at less than $10 for the anti-freeze and 20 minuets of my time, it’s worth the added level of production up here in PA


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It's not possible for a single drop of water to expand to the point of breaking a water line. I think we need to pump the brakes on these winterizing legends.

I have been only using air to winterize my camper for the last 3 winters without issue (besides the spray port I forgot about) My water pump on my camper is buried behind false walls and other such nonsense and would require a lot of effort to access. If you have any basic knowledge of the plumbing/water system, winterizing with air is just as effective as antifreeze.

I do live in Tennessee, BUT, we get well below freezing for extended periods up on the plateau. It was single digits for a solid week here last winter, there's no way a poorly flushed system wouldn't have frozen. Having said that, I do thoroughly blow all ports and tanks out, and make sure the low point drains are completely dry. I do it to the point that there's not even water vapor coming out of the faucets. It probably takes a solid 20-30 minutes of continuous air pressure, I run 35-40 lbs. I also put 8ozs of antifreeze down every drain and in the toilet.

Having said that, if your water pump is easily accessed, by all means run some antifreeze through it. If you have one buried like I do, you can do a thorough winterizing with compressed air. I would have zero reservations about parking my camper in Alaska after winterizing it.
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Old 10-31-2017, 04:41 PM   #12
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All in all, one method may not more beneficial than the other to prevent freezing lines ... BUT... in order to save the hassle of de-winterizing (running water to flush out lines and tanks), I like the air method (I've done both). I didn't think the "pink" would ever come out of the water when I put it in the fresh water tank.

Attention Points are 1. spray port, 2. Toilet, 3. Shower lines (and shower hose), 4. sinks, water softeners, under counter filters, etc., 5. pour anti freeze in the sinks and shower drains. I leave system DRAINS open since DROPLETS of water can collect there and freeze and break THAT line. I pour some in the grey and black tanks (prevents the valves from freezing shut since they usually leak anyway). I leave the faucet valves open since that usually evaporates any left over water DROPLETS or lets them run down to the system drains.... Don't be stingy with the stuff, it's cheaper than a repair.
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Old 10-31-2017, 04:55 PM   #13
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I forgot to mention that I replaced the caps on my low point drains with PVC shutoff valves and leave them open for a few days after winterizing. And I split what's left of the gallon of antifreeze for the drains between the gray and black tanks.
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Old 11-12-2017, 03:19 PM   #14
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Read the previous post and after having blown down all my water lines with air..
But I forgot to blow down the toilet!!! I ran anti freeze thru all the lines and the only item not working is the toilet valve. I'm currently heating the inside of my trailer using the furnace and a small electric heater, praying that the toilet valve isn't damaged. The faucets are all fine as is the shower, but the toilet wont flush!!
Lesson learned... Dont forget the toilet when blowing down your water lines...
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Old 11-12-2017, 04:31 PM   #15
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Read the previous post and after having blown down all my water lines with air..
But I forgot to blow down the toilet!!! I ran anti freeze thru all the lines and the only item not working is the toilet valve. I'm currently heating the inside of my trailer using the furnace and a small electric heater, praying that the toilet valve isn't damaged. The faucets are all fine as is the shower, but the toilet wont flush!!
Lesson learned... Dont forget the toilet when blowing down your water lines...
If the water valve is broken you'd know it by the water or anti-freeze on the floor. Most of them are pretty much straight forward as to operation. When you step on the pedal the valve is opened and the water comes into the bowl.
This sounds like a mechanical problem, check the valve closely, the head of the valve may have snapped off and unless you didn't find it on the floor you most likely wouldn't know. The spring on the toilet valve will give you the necessary feel that everything is working but the water valve may not be.
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Old 11-12-2017, 04:39 PM   #16
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It turns out that I got lucky and the lines didn't freeze solid. After about 45 minutes of heating things up, I first got a bit of slush. After a few flushes the pink stuff came thru..
Yay!! No Damage.....
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Old 11-12-2017, 05:12 PM   #17
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It turns out that I got lucky and the lines didn't freeze solid. After about 45 minutes of heating things up, I first got a bit of slush. After a few flushes the pink stuff came thru..
Yay!! No Damage.....
Good deal! The toilet will be added to the check off list this time I bet.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:19 PM   #18
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A lot of folk blow out their lines, unfortunately when I tried with just 20 PSI I blew out my check valve. It should not have but it did.


Now I just open the facets, remove the hot water heater tank plug, open the low point drains and let it drain over night.


The next day I bypass the hot water heater, recap the low point valves, open the pump inlet at the screen, connect a hose from a bottle of anti freeze to the pump inlet and pump antifreeze through the facets and toilet one by one .


I went to the farm sprayer section of the TSC store for the pump fitting and plastic tubing.


The whole operation tanks about 20 minute and uses about 2 gal. of antifreeze plus another gallon for the "P" traps.
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Old 12-10-2017, 05:51 PM   #19
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A lot of folk blow out their lines, unfortunately when I tried with just 20 PSI I blew out my check valve. It should not have but it did.


Now I just open the facets, remove the hot water heater tank plug, open the low point drains and let it drain over night.


The next day I bypass the hot water heater, recap the low point valves, open the pump inlet at the screen, connect a hose from a bottle of anti freeze to the pump inlet and pump antifreeze through the facets and toilet one by one .


I went to the farm sprayer section of the TSC store for the pump fitting and plastic tubing.


The whole operation tanks about 20 minute and uses about 2 gal. of antifreeze plus another gallon for the "P" traps.

Good thing you were using air instead of water. Funny how that blew out at 20 psi when water is 50 - 100! I pressurized my system with air at 20 - 40 PSI to blow out the shower, toilet, sinks, etc. It holds the 20 PSI and doesn't go down so NO LEAKS!
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Old 12-13-2017, 08:35 PM   #20
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I only use the pink antifreeze in the drains. I bought a small 100 PSI Harbor Freight pancake compressor and just leave in on the RV. I use about 20 PSI and blow air through the lines for maybe 10 minutes rotating out the faucets. Then drain the hot water tank. I drain the fresh tank a couple of times. Water seems to settle in the drain even when you think it's drained. Been doing that for years and never had an issue. They tell me that the pink antifreeze creates a taste in the water. I would suggest not putting the pink stuff in the fresh tank.

In 30 years of RV-ing we only had one line break due to freezing. In that situation it was a low point drain on our first travel trailer. We went camping at the beach and it got down to 15 degrees that night. When the sun came up the next day and the line thawed it started the prettiest spray pattern. I went to the local hardware store, bought the part and fixed it..easy.

My brother never winterizes his TT and has to replace the faucet every year. He puts a space heater in there but..
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