Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-04-2017, 08:51 PM   #1
Member
 
Flyview's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Southern California
Posts: 70
Arrow Do I need to winterize my water system?

Hey guys,

First I want to thank you all for all the help this forum has already brought me. I really need to update my penthouse top thread and I will do that as soon as I get all the pictures together and have some time to write everything out nicely.

I'm getting ready to leave down south to Florida within the next 2 weeks. The forecast for the next few days has scared me a little as temperatures are forecasted at right around freezing, 0 to -2C (32 - 28F) at night. Should I be worried about my water lines freezing?

My van is a 1992 EB and has a water heater in the back. From what I can see there are some water lines that run outside the van around the passenger rear from the water heater, and the water fill line running from the driver's rear to my fresh water tank on the driver's side mid-section (inside). I've already emptied the waste water tank (passenger side). Where are the drain valves (stopcocks?) supposed to be? There is a short open tube leading from the fresh water tank through the floor of the van that I used to drain the tank this summer. There is a little pull-up valve on the interior that opens it. However, it was very slow to drain through there when I used it last time, almost as if it was pressurized in the other direction. I opened that valve just now and nothing even came out even though the water line is still above it in the fresh water tank?? I read there's supposed to be a stopcock near the fill port at the back of the van but I have to take a closer look underneath the van to see if I can find it.

I was reading some older threads and people suggested that they had camped down into the 20s (F) without issues, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. If I leave the water heater on those nights, will that be enough to keep all the exterior lines sufficiently warm? This is my first "RV" so any advice is welcome!
__________________

__________________
Full time vanlifer in my SMB.
@ecocamper on Instagram.
Flyview is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2017, 01:03 AM   #2
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,428
Garage
I'd say it's best to be careful below about 28* especially if you have no cab heat. Every van is a bit different from year to year so I can't say where your valves are plus I don't know anything about propane water heaters and how to winterize them. The petcock drain valves are slow draining as you mentioned. I've actually used the pump to get the water out faster. Some members blow out the lines with air and there are a couple threads on it somewhere on the site.

I've had the lines under the van freeze the water in em while driving in snow even though the lines are insulated. Some of the plastic elbows and inlet connector can crack in a hard freeze. I don't worry until it gets down in the teens but I run my Espar water/block heater during the coldest time of the night and it supplies enough heat to keep things thawed. I also run the cab heater on a higher heat setting even if it means opening a penthouse window so I'm not sleeping too warm. I've heard some claim opening the cabinets where the plumbing is to help keep everything warm as possible.
__________________

__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2017, 08:01 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
86Scotty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 6,606
I think you'll be fine. If your van has a city water hookup on the driver's rear corner there is probably a petcock just behind it between body and frame. You might be able to just reach under there and feel it without laying down. In my experience, that city water inlet is one of the most delicate parts of the system. Luckily, they are a common RV part and cheap and plentiful. It's a one-way valve as well and they just aren't very tough. It might be a good idea to buy a spare and keep it in the van. They don't ever break in the parts store parking lot. I'm betting by the age of your van that you have this one:

Chromed ABS Plastic City Water Entry - Chrome - Shurflo 183-029-14 - Faucets & Inlets - Camping World

Dave is right, if you drain, use the water pump to assist. RV water pumps are tough and can run dry without issue.

You probably only have two drain valves. One at the rear corner as mentioned above and one by the tank. In extreme weather I used to unscrew the lines from both sides of my pump with a towel underneath and let all the water drain out. Mine had clear plastic fittings there which didn't look nearly as robust as everything else.

__________________
98 Silver E350 V10 home build
Rusty the Rusty 95 SMB (sold)
Tryptovan the blue CCV van (sold)
Vans flip flops
86Scotty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2017, 09:22 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 153
I've had pretty good luck blowing everything out with an air compressor. Just hook it up to the water inlet and then open all the valves and faucets. I learned the hard way one winter when I forgot to purge the grey water tank and the propane water heater. Both froze solid and the water heater bulged and broke.
CaptainVo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2017, 10:16 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
MountainBikeRoamer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: OrangeCounty, CA
Posts: 824
Garage
Funny you mention that City water inlet 86Scotty.

When it gets at all below 40-45 degrees, mine starts to develop a slow dripping leak. Doesn't even need to be close to freezing. Probably time to replace it!

(For the OP --
hey, we've camped a couple times with the temperatures dipping well into the upper 20's overnight, and the water lines came through just fine. (Temps back up into the 30's during the day though.)
__________________
Mike T
___________________
'95 Ford E250 RB30 PH
MountainBikeRoamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2017, 10:39 AM   #6
Member
 
Flyview's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Southern California
Posts: 70
Thanks for the advice guys. When the rain stops I'm going to locate as many drain valves as I can. I also forgot I have a shower head in the little min tub in the back. At the very least I want to drain the fill-line and leave the water heater on. It's only supposed to go down to -1C for a couple nights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
I think you'll be fine. If your van has a city water hookup on the driver's rear corner there is probably a petcock just behind it between body and frame. You might be able to just reach under there and feel it without laying down. In my experience, that city water inlet is one of the most delicate parts of the system. Luckily, they are a common RV part and cheap and plentiful. It's a one-way valve as well and they just aren't very tough. It might be a good idea to buy a spare and keep it in the van. They don't ever break in the parts store parking lot. I'm betting by the age of your van that you have this one:

Chromed ABS Plastic City Water Entry - Chrome - Shurflo 183-029-14 - Faucets & Inlets - Camping World

Dave is right, if you drain, use the water pump to assist. RV water pumps are tough and can run dry without issue.

You probably only have two drain valves. One at the rear corner as mentioned above and one by the tank. In extreme weather I used to unscrew the lines from both sides of my pump with a towel underneath and let all the water drain out. Mine had clear plastic fittings there which didn't look nearly as robust as everything else.

No, that's not what it looks like, it's much smaller. The ring to tighten the hose on is pretty worn out and cracked so I'll have to replace it at some point anyway. Here's a picture:


Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainVo View Post
I've had pretty good luck blowing everything out with an air compressor. Just hook it up to the water inlet and then open all the valves and faucets. I learned the hard way one winter when I forgot to purge the grey water tank and the propane water heater. Both froze solid and the water heater bulged and broke.
Does blowing air through get rid of water in the propane heater as well then? What about the sink drain's U-catch?
__________________
Full time vanlifer in my SMB.
@ecocamper on Instagram.
Flyview is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2017, 11:06 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 153
Blowing air clears the propane heater in my rig. Just need to open up the drain valve at the back left corner. I also pour whatever deicer I have on hand in the sink.
CaptainVo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2017, 12:57 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Bbasso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Driving slowly to...
Posts: 817
Possibly circulate some cheap vodka through your system to prevent any freezing.
__________________
Rob.
Current:
2001 E350 PSD w/ a bunch of stuff.
And had three other E350s...
Bbasso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2017, 09:41 PM   #9
Member
 
Flyview's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Southern California
Posts: 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainVo View Post
Blowing air clears the propane heater in my rig. Just need to open up the drain valve at the back left corner. I also pour whatever deicer I have on hand in the sink.
Where is that drain valve exactly? Does it empty out the hot water tank as well? Here's a picture of my hot water heater. Is this just the igniter?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbasso View Post
Possibly circulate some cheap vodka through your system to prevent any freezing.
Haha I'm about to cross the border, can't have it reeking like alcohol!

So I went under the van to try and find the stop cock by the water fill port. I couldn't find any at all but I did figure out what all the external water lines are and made a schematic (first pic).

I guess all I can do is drain the fresh water tank using the fresh water tank drain pipe that goes through the floor, and with the water pump out of the shower/sink faucets. Then blow compressed air through the water fill port with all the faucets open and hope that pushes the rest of the water out of the pipes and water heater/water heater tank.





__________________
Full time vanlifer in my SMB.
@ecocamper on Instagram.
Flyview is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2017, 09:57 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 153
Your plumbing is completely different than mine. I bet you could still just open up the hot water side of the sink and purge the tank with the air compressor.
__________________

CaptainVo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.