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Old 10-21-2013, 03:37 PM   #1
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Winterizing a Berkshire

Due to our unique water manifold system, I am wondering about the best method for winterization. I am leaning toward blowing out the lines with a compressor set at 30 pounds, first removing the water filters in the main canister and refrigerator, then adding anti-freeze to the traps and toilets. Regarding the toilets, the unit in the rear bath has an electric flush and I believe a macerator outlet. For that toilet I am planning to add enough anti-freeze to the bowl and flushing it to ensure the macerator/pump and outlet line is protected. Also, using the air method, I think I can get all of the water out of the residential refrigerator and the washer without putting the chemicals into them.

I am leaning this way to avoid introducing the anti-freeze into the fresh water lines. I know it is supposed to be safe, non-toxic and all of that, and should be mostly gone with a complete and thorough flushing, but it seems better to avoid and will certainly make it easier to de-winterize. My only concern is, with the manifold system, will I get all of the water out? I am assuming there may be some residual water that collects at a low point but am thinking it would be a small amount of little consequence.

Has anyone used the blow-out method on a Berkshire? I read numerous threads, with the pros and cons of both methods, but they always refer to other units and trailers but not specifically a Berkshire.

Any help and advice will be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-21-2013, 04:37 PM   #2
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I do both. After I blow out the lines I pump through the antifreeze. I feel that for a few dollars, it is much better to be safe than sorry. JMHO
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Old 10-21-2013, 06:54 PM   #3
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I used to blow out the lines on my older TTs and 5th wheels that had more simple plumbing but have been told not to with this MH -- especially with possibility of low spots in flexible water lines (kitchen slideout, etc) and water could settle in a low spot while the air passes right over it. Plus having a washing machine, ice maker and On Demand water heater (that has its own bypass lines to winterize also) seems to make the case for using anitfreeze in all the lines.
I have a mobile rv service guy some out and he uses a pump to pump rv antifreeze from 55gallon drum into all of the lines. It is very inexpensive that way and is a very short and fast service call that I usually combine with having him do any minor end of season fixes that need being done. (that is how last year I had a second outdoor light and some other simple goodies installed for very little cost...this year it will be a satellite dish being added at the winterization service!)
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:52 AM   #4
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I park mine in a heated garage over the winter. My father owns a Tiffin Allegro Bus and he built a small tank with an electric pump and will use antifreeze thru the system.

Depending on the climate I would be cautious of just blowing the lines out. The couple gallons of antifreeze is cheaper than paying to have items replaced in the spring when the coach looks like a water fountain.
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:27 PM   #5
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Many Thanks

My thanks for all of the replies and advice. Based on these I decided to go the hybrid route and do both blowing the lines then filling with antifreeze.
As mentioned - it's simply not worth the risk not to.
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:27 PM   #6
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I appreciate this thread as i had some similar questions. I winterized my 2010 Allegro for 3 years with anti freeze and never had an issue. But that coach didnt have a washer, residential fridge or manifold system. Anything special i should know as it pertains to the washer or ice line in the fridge? Do i need to run the washer on a cycle to make sure the antifreeze is pulled through the lines? I'm not sure i could even get the water out of the drain line as i'm sure it is pooled in there.

As for the girard tankless system, the directions say to simply run the fluid through the system. No cut off valve like the old 6 gallon tank i had on the allegro.

Thanks men!

Mike
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mbh818 View Post
I appreciate this thread as i had some similar questions. I winterized my 2010 Allegro for 3 years with anti freeze and never had an issue. But that coach didnt have a washer, residential fridge or manifold system. Anything special i should know as it pertains to the washer or ice line in the fridge? Do i need to run the washer on a cycle to make sure the antifreeze is pulled through the lines? I'm not sure i could even get the water out of the drain line as i'm sure it is pooled in there.

As for the girard tankless system, the directions say to simply run the fluid through the system. No cut off valve like the old 6 gallon tank i had on the allegro.

Thanks men!

Mike

As for the washer & ice maker, just run the pink stuff thru the system.

IMO it is over kill to and just adds more time to blow the lines out and then run antifreeze thru them.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:07 AM   #8
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Winterizing the Washing Machine

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Originally Posted by Mbh818 View Post
I appreciate this thread as i had some similar questions. I winterized my 2010 Allegro for 3 years with anti freeze and never had an issue. But that coach didnt have a washer, residential fridge or manifold system. Anything special i should know as it pertains to the washer or ice line in the fridge? Do i need to run the washer on a cycle to make sure the antifreeze is pulled through the lines? I'm not sure i could even get the water out of the drain line as i'm sure it is pooled in there.

As for the girard tankless system, the directions say to simply run the fluid through the system. No cut off valve like the old 6 gallon tank i had on the allegro.

Thanks men!

Mike
The owner's manual for the Whirlpool front-loading washer states that to winterize:
1. Put 1 quart of RV antifreeze in the drum
2. Run washer on a Drain/Spin cycle
3. Unplug washer or disconnect power
4. Shut off both water faucets
5. Disconnect water inlet hoses from faucets and drain.

I agree with EJM4 that the same would be accomplished by running the antifreeze thru the system. My intent is to run the washer on a cold water cycle until I see 'pink', then repeat for the hot water side. This way both inlet lines are treated, the washer pump will have antifreeze, and any water left in the outlet will also be treated.
** I purchased alcohol-free RV antifreeze (Prestone) since I have read that alcohol may have negative effects on seals and some lines. I don't want to chance damaging anything in either the washer or the refrigerator.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:07 PM   #9
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Well I'm no expert on winterizing a Berkshire I did have mine done today and watched the expert.
First he did blow out the lines. His reason was it takes less antifreeze and less chance for a spot of diluted antifreeze. He used about 5 gallons of antifreeze. When he did the washer he ran a minute or so on warm that got both lines at once. He also poured a half gallon And ran the spin cycle to get it in the pump and drain.
For the ice machine he had a electric cord with connectors on it to go on the water pump. It plugs in where the ice machine does and worked very well. Just a second and it filled the line.
Everything else has been covered already just some highlights. Now I'll just do it myself.



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Old 10-23-2013, 09:46 PM   #10
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This is another good reason I'm glad I live in the south. I don't have to winterize.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:55 PM   #11
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How I Winterize My Berkshire

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This is another good reason I'm glad I live in the south. I don't have to winterize.
You've got the right idea, and after the missus retires, we're right behind you.

However for those of us who have to winterize, here's how I did it:

I winterized my 2013 Berkshire 390 40L motorhome using only (pink) polypropylene (1,2-propanediol) – no compressed air, which is expensive, unnecessary, and involves a setup.


My procedure with a few noteworthy items:
  • Unscrew the water filter housing, remove and discard the filter, dump the water out of the housing, and screw back on
  • Shut off the power to the Girard water heater (switch in the water heater compartment), prior to running the antifreeze into the motorhome
  • Disregard what you may have read (including on this forum) about propylene glycol freezing - a 50/50 propylene glycol/water mixture will not freeze down to -29F http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/pr...col-d_363.html
  • Propylene glycol (pink-dyed fluid) is FDA approved as a food additive and is virtually 100% non-toxic (they use it in ice cream)
  • Turn on the 12V water pump switch
  • Turn the three-way valve to allow the antifreeze fill leg to flow to the 12V water pump, not the fresh water tank
  • Put the antifreeze fill leg into a jug of pink antifreeze
  • At any particular faucet, after running the hot water until it turns pink, switching to cold will appear to run pink right away, but you should allow it to run for three to five more seconds until it runs clear, and another three to five seconds until it runs pink again
  • Don’t forget to unscrew the shower heads (indoors and outdoors), as they don’t drain completely and may crack (I learned this with an earlier RV)
  • Flush each toilet until the inlet water runs pink; the sink P-traps will have the antifreeze in them from running the hot and cold faucets, except you should not forget that the galley is a double sink – put antifreeze into the other sink trap, too
  • Don’t forget to open the drain leg cocks on the hot and cold water side of the water distribution manifold, to run antifreeze in those legs
  • Allow the fridge to run until you get pink color in the ice cube tray to protect the metal supply line from the water manifold (with the ice-maker bail in the “down” position), then shut the refrigerator off
  • Drain the fresh water tank until it stops dripping (I close the valve after draining)
  • After pumping the antifreeze, leave the three-way cock (used on the antifreeze fill leg to the 12V pump) in the fresh-water-tank-off position, to prevent freeze damage to the pump
  • I keep the MH plugged in year round, but I check the level of distilled water in the house batteries at least once every couple of months
  • Turn on the tank heater pads
  • In order to get the tire covers on with the larger 275-80R22.5 tires installed (you do have the June 2013 front end suspension upgrade, don't you?), I start the engine to inflate the airbags, put it up on jacks and level manually* (with wooden blocks under the feet to protect the feet from salt corrosion); I use the Android/iPad ClinometerTM app to level it, noting that not all floor tiles are “level” (find one that is, and is accessible with the slides retracted)
  • Needless to say, I store my motorhome with the slides retracted
  • If there is a small amount of water that is unprotected by antifreeze, remember that PEX tubing is pretty tough stuff, and you might “stand a chance” against freeze damage
  • The above procedure took about 2 1/2 gallons of the pink stuff
*Manually plant the front jacks first, and the rear jacks second ("plant" means the feet just barely touch the ground). Then level the unit front-to-back, then side-to-side.

If you are on steeper than 0.3 terrain front-to-back, or 1 side-to-side, and want it leveled for occupancy (not just storing for the winter), consider level by using boards under the tires, and use the same number of boards under the jack feet as under the adjacent wheels (a 1” thick board is equivalent to 0.6 front-to-back, and 2 side-to-side). With dual tires, use (the same number of) boards under both adjacent tires.

During any leveling process (manual or automatic), the slides should be retracted.

Never overextend the jacks, and never raise any tire(s) off the ground. I have used as many as three 1” boards under all four rear tires and adjacent jack pads in Appalachian campgrounds. I drive on them frontwards, and drive off them rearward; however, I always check to reposition the rear mud/stone guard to avoid damage, before backing off of more than one layer of boards at the rear.
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:12 PM   #12
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Great list of things to do, however we don't let the RV antifreeze into the ice maker, what we do is take the line off the back of fridge, unplug ice maker, run the pink antifreeze thru the line a few seconds and then turn the water line off to ice maker. Took us for ever to get the pink stuff out of ice maker one time.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:11 PM   #13
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Great info- but how do you get to the refrigerator water line? There does not seem to be any access at all to the rear of the residential fridge.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:27 PM   #14
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We have a Dometic fridge so there is an access panel on the outside. Sorry, not a clue on a residentil fridge.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:29 PM   #15
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Great info- but how do you get to the refrigerator water line?
I couldn't find any way to unhook the line to the OEM gas/electric fridge, and it seemed unnecessary.

I just turned the ice maker on (bail in "down" position), left the 12V water pump "On", and the feed leg in a 1/4 jug of antifreeze overnight. In the morning there was a small puddle of pink antifreeze in the ice bin, so I removed the jug, raised the ice maker bail, turned the refrigerator and 12V water pump off, and locked everything up. I didn't bother with unhooking the ice maker feed water line.

The only thing I didn't like about this method was the 12V pump had run dry and was making a real racket in my driveway in the early morning hours. It seems that no harm was done. If there had been pump damage, except for the expense and time, water pumps are easy to replace. However, next year, this will not be an overnight procedure.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:37 PM   #16
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Thanks for the replies. I did winterize the fridge by removing the filter, installed the plug, turned ice maker off, and ran the dispenser until I got pink.
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Old 11-24-2013, 08:37 AM   #17
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With regards to the water tank, which nobody mentioned, it is difficult to get all the water out. If your lines was filled through the provided anti freeze fill line, there will still be a pool of water in the bottom of the water tank, even if you had opened the drain to it. I do not fret this was in the tank because it freezing in the plastic tank will do it no harm. However my concern is the drain valve. If left opened, it should be okay, but if left closed and some water does pool in it, it may be bad for the valve.

Also be aware to fill your sinks and shower traps with anti freeze. If you filled your lines with anti freeze and ran the faucets, then the traps got the anti freeze. However if you just blow the lines only, please fill the traps.
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Old 11-24-2013, 09:27 AM   #18
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When water freezes it also expands, more often than not when in pipes or other small areas there is no room for expansion.
In a area such as a tank there is tons of room, if said tank is not full


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Old 11-24-2013, 10:42 AM   #19
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Hallen01, in all those steps I didn't see anything about bypassing the water heater.

Also, wouldn't it be better to drain your holding & FW tanks instead of turning on tank heaters? That's only going to work if you're plugged into shore power all the time, and that may boil your battery dry.
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Old 11-24-2013, 02:24 PM   #20
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Helen has a Girard on demand water heater so there is no need to by pass. Just run the pink stuff through. When you de-winterize you just run clear water through to remove the anti-freeze.
Instead of boards I purchased some black, rubber mat at either Lowes or Home Depot which I put under each tire. I also made 'blocks' which consist of a stack of 2x10's which I put under each jack pad with the jacks fully retracted. This way, when the coach's air bags empty, the jacks will be on the blocks and support the coach. It will prevent the coach from settling on the suspension and being that the jacks are fully retracted, the pistons will not be exposed to any elements.
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