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Old 11-23-2017, 11:29 PM   #1
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Winterizing ... bad antifreeze leak

I've been RV'ing for a number of years, live in Wisconsin, so winterizing things is something I've done easily in the past.
We bought a new 2017 Surveyor, bunkhouse version, and this year was the first winterizing on it. Once I found the pump and got to the water heater, getting RV antifreeze in the system was easy.
Here are some facts:
The water heater has two valves at inlet and outlet, and I believe that switching both to the position where the handles align with the bypass hose, isolates the water heater.
My water heater does not have a drain valve, so to drain it, you must remove the anode, which I did.

The events were ... bypassed heater, started pump with hose in AF bottle, and it pulled AF. Ran around inside the trailer, opening faucets and toilet flush, and got nice pink fluid. So far, so good. Went through two gallons, but then noticed a gurgling noise in the water heater. At that point AF came out on the floor underneath the water heater and began to cover part of the flooring under one of the bunks. Frantic removal of bedding and other stored stuff, shutdown pump, wiped up the AF.
Remember the heater is supposed to be bypassed and isolated.
I ran an experiment where I ran the pump again and looked outside ... AF was leaking a little outside from the anode hole and clearly AF had come out earlier. Water heater makes gurgling sounds, no matter what positions I put the bypass valves in. While I do not understand how that is possible, since the heater is bypassed, I also do not see how AF is getting on the floor under the water heater. There were no hose or valve leaks I could find.

As crazy as it seems, the only thing I could come up with was that the AF comes out the anode threaded hole and somehow leaks back into the trailer, on the floor. I just do not see how that is possible, since it is caulked, and the natural drain from that anode hole is outside. Plus ... the heater is supposedly bypassed. It was a significant amount of AF that leaked onto the floor ... a couple of pints.

I am utterly baffled. It is winterized, and so it is OK for the winter, but now I am sweating startup in the spring. Any ideas?
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Old 11-24-2017, 10:31 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum its a great place to get your questions answered. It might be that the bypass valves are not shutting all the way and allowing antifreeze into the heater. there may be an open area under the tank that is allowing the entry of antifreeze. Let the forum know what you find.
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:05 PM   #3
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Welcome, also from Wisconsin. I do not think you have the valves turned correctly. Below is a simple drawing of the bypass valves, all of our trailer are done the same way.
Now, if you are just starting to winterize you may have a cracked pipe from the cold nights we have had these past couple weeks.
Good Luck




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Old 11-27-2017, 04:22 PM   #4
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No, earlier trailers I had used a three valve system. This one does not - it has two valves, inlet and outlet, which can go to two positions. i winterized long before it got below freezing, I jut posted the question late. No leaks from the piping.
I has to be that the valves do not fully seal to bypass, and leaking fluid from the hot water heater outside ... leaked inside. Which means I must have a caulk leak.
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Old 11-28-2017, 09:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfs1951 View Post
No, earlier trailers I had used a three valve system. This one does not - it has two valves, inlet and outlet, which can go to two positions. i winterized long before it got below freezing, I jut posted the question late. No leaks from the piping.
I has to be that the valves do not fully seal to bypass, and leaking fluid from the hot water heater outside ... leaked inside. Which means I must have a caulk leak.
It's possible that one or both of your valves are bad. Wouldn't be the first time I've heard of that happening.
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:46 PM   #6
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So I thought I'd give you guys the end of the story.
The clear silicone seal applied to the joint where the outer frame of the door and the inner frame of the heater was split ... it was a thin smear of silicone and when the door was dropped down, the outer frame lip tilts out and broke the seal. When the AF poured out the anode hole, the trailer had a slight angle to it that made it easy for the AF to run into the broken seal and into the trailer.
Resealed, ran test of winterizing again ... no water in trailer. Still need to figure out the valving that did not bypass the heater, but the big concern I had ... that the heater was cracked ... turns out to be a false alarm.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:02 AM   #7
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so you suspect that one of the valves is leaking. turn the cold water input valve to the winterize (bypass) position and the output to the normal position. then pump antifreeze. if antifreeze gets into the water heater it would appear the cold water valve is leaking. if not it is probably the hot water valve. this is just a stab. i would not bet my life on this being definitive. it is also possible that you did not have the valves fully turned.
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