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Old 11-02-2010, 10:34 AM   #1
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Winterizing 2010

My standard operation is to open all the stopcocks, drain the tank and all the lines and leave everything open. In addition I used to remove the annode rod from the hot water tank and drive around with it open to try to get the most water out.

Last year, I added vacuuming out the hot water tank with a shop vacuum. Basically take a piece of scrap clear tube (6-8"), insert it into the annode hole and hold the vacuum tip over the other end. You can see the water evacuating through the clear tube, so you know when you're done.

This is about twice the water I pulled out of the bottom of the tank this year, due to not setting the tank bypass before moving on and accidentally refilling the empty hot water tank:


After I was done I used the same clear tube and a funnel to add some good potato vodka to the hot water tank. I figure whatever is left will mix with the vodka and won't freeze.

So after the bypass to the hot water tank was set, I added a new winterizing step using this:


With the system open everywhere I hooked the garage compressor to my remote tank, and that to the city water inlet with the adaptor:



Then using the cut off on the remote tank, played with the pressure while going around the van and closing MOST of the system bit by bit:


Once I'd played around a bit, I found that a reading of about 22psi on the remote tank gauge, while actively airing the water system in the van, was about the right amount of pressure to push water without feeling like I was damaging anything.

With the pressure set I went around again and opened each stop cock or valve, and then closed off the previous one- I never closed the entire system, because I didn't want to pressurize it, just evacuate the water. As as side note, I took the shower head off so that I could use the shower knobs and not have to hold the shower head to keep it open.

I didn't seem to have a problem with the drain and vacuum last year, however there was definitely more water that the air adapter pushed out of my lines.

Normally I go back with vodka and put some in the main tank and then run a bit through the lines, however I ran out after the hot water tank and will have to do this later.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:39 AM   #2
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Re: Winterizing 2010

Your water system can probably hold more pressure than you think. City water is supplied at upto 100psi, and you should be able to hook up to city water and leave it on - just like the real RV's in full hookup parks.

That said, turning the pressure down won't hurt anything.

Mike
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Old 11-07-2010, 12:21 AM   #3
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Re: Winterizing 2010

Steps below are for winterizing a SMB 10 gallon pure water system without a water heater. Also have to go to bottled water for winter camping. Works best with a partner (more hands make everything easier) and takes about 30 minutes after tanks are empty.

Park on slight slope, open pure water tank drain. Open faucet and turn on pump to drain faster. Let stand 24 hours after draining to allow residual water on pipe walls to collect at the low points.

Drain grey water tank into a bucket and dump it on the lawn (or pour down sanitary sewage drain if required).

Open one stopcock and turn on the pump until no water drips out. Close the stopcock and open the next one. Repeat the process until all stopcocks have been drained. Per Shurflow, their pump will run dry (i.e., on air) without overheating or damaging it.

Stage one gallon of RV Antifreeze -50 F ($2.70 at Fred Meyers). Read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and make sure it is propylene glycol, not ethylene glycol; pink not yellow - the difference between life and death for children and pets. Wear vinyl gloves and safety glasses. Open a couple windows in the van. Put a towel down and a bucket beneath your pouring area. Stage a couple absorbent shop towels nearby in case of a spill.

Connect short hose to inside pure water fill connection. Use a funnel that fits snug into hose. Pour gallon of RV Antifreeze into pure water tank and disconnect hose. Run pump for a minute then stop and check to see that none of the stopcocks are leaking. Run pump and open faucet until one cup of antifreeze (pink color) goes down the drain to fill the p trap. Insert stopper into sink drain. Disconnect the fill hose. Go outside and verify the grey water tank is not leaking. Then place a bucket beneath the stopcock near the water entry, open it for a second or teaspoon worth of liquid drains out, and verify it is pink.

Toss the gloves, flush the bucket and hose clean, and put stuff away. When spring arrives, drain and flush the system, then sanitize it (more on dewinterizing next spring).
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:59 AM   #4
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Re: Winterizing 2010

are you guys winterizing because you live in places with freezing temps and your van is parked outside or do you go through this just to camp in cold areas for a few days at a time? I'm thinking about heading to Yosemite in a week or two. Just how paranoid do I need to be about winterizing? My water tank is under the gaucho (so I can expose it to the furnace outlet directly across the aisle from the drop down front) and temps won't be far below freezing. I wasn't counting on having to winterize just to go visit some snow.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:40 AM   #5
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Re: Winterizing 2010

You should be fine. We have camped down to 10-15 degree and didn't have problems with the water system. However, -6 degrees was another story altogether.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:07 PM   #6
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Re: Winterizing 2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by cornercarver
are you guys winterizing because you live in places with freezing temps and your van is parked outside or do you go through this just to camp in cold areas for a few days at a time? I'm thinking about heading to Yosemite in a week or two. Just how paranoid do I need to be about winterizing? My water tank is under the gaucho (so I can expose it to the furnace outlet directly across the aisle from the drop down front) and temps won't be far below freezing. I wasn't counting on having to winterize just to go visit some snow.
The only problem I've had up there is when the slush and snow accumulate underneath the van around the water lines after a drive and then they're exposed to low temps in the mid or lower teens causing the slush to freeze hard. So at camp, I run a little hot and cold water to clear the lines. I also set the flateplate to run around early morning. I do keep the cab at an acceptable temperature usually around the 50 mark and drive the vehicle daily. Temps in to mid 20's have posed no problems for me yet. Have a good trip.
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:26 AM   #7
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Winterizing 2010

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Did you get to Yosemite?
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:39 PM   #8
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Re: Winterizing 2010

Nope
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:59 PM   #9
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Re: Winterizing 2010

OK, I am reviving an old topic here, but I am curious what to do for an upcoming trip.

I am up in Idaho, where for several days last week the temperatures never got above 5 F. It is COLD!!! I am concerned with taking the SMB out of the heated garage for a road trip.

I am craving a road trip to some warm weather, so I am thinking of driving down to Death Valley next week for some bike riding.

My question: If I winterize the water system as per the manual before I leave the heated garage, do I need to do the nasty pink anti freeze thing?

I will want to fill the water tank as soon as I get to Death Valley, and then have to winterize again before coming back home. I really don't want to have to rinse antifreeze out of the system in Death Valley, and hate the idea of the antifreeze in my water anyway.

Any tips on blowing the water system out with compressed air? How thoroughly is water purged from the system?

I know the Vodka tip, but does it really work and how much to put in? How hard to rinse out?

Many thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
My standard operation is to open all the stopcocks, drain the tank and all the lines and leave everything open. In addition I used to remove the annode rod from the hot water tank and drive around with it open to try to get the most water out.

Last year, I added vacuuming out the hot water tank with a shop vacuum. Basically take a piece of scrap clear tube (6-8"), insert it into the annode hole and hold the vacuum tip over the other end. You can see the water evacuating through the clear tube, so you know when you're done.

This is about twice the water I pulled out of the bottom of the tank this year, due to not setting the tank bypass before moving on and accidentally refilling the empty hot water tank:


After I was done I used the same clear tube and a funnel to add some good potato vodka to the hot water tank. I figure whatever is left will mix with the vodka and won't freeze.

So after the bypass to the hot water tank was set, I added a new winterizing step using this:


With the system open everywhere I hooked the garage compressor to my remote tank, and that to the city water inlet with the adaptor:



Then using the cut off on the remote tank, played with the pressure while going around the van and closing MOST of the system bit by bit:


Once I'd played around a bit, I found that a reading of about 22psi on the remote tank gauge, while actively airing the water system in the van, was about the right amount of pressure to push water without feeling like I was damaging anything.

With the pressure set I went around again and opened each stop cock or valve, and then closed off the previous one- I never closed the entire system, because I didn't want to pressurize it, just evacuate the water. As as side note, I took the shower head off so that I could use the shower knobs and not have to hold the shower head to keep it open.

I didn't seem to have a problem with the drain and vacuum last year, however there was definitely more water that the air adapter pushed out of my lines.

Normally I go back with vodka and put some in the main tank and then run a bit through the lines, however I ran out after the hot water tank and will have to do this later.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:12 AM   #10
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Re: Winterizing 2010

When we had our Class C motorhome we would keep it winterized with antifreeze and parked outdoors. When we used it we would just put some water in the fresh water tank and use it to push the antifreeze out of the piping. Then took a jug of water to drink until the fresh water cleared up. The RV antifreeze is safe to eat and cleans out pretty fast. We didn't find that it fouled up the piping at all. One nice thing about the Class C system was we didn't have to put antifreeze in the fresh water tank - it had a 3-way valve to suck directly out of the jug. Don't know if the SMB's are set up that way.
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