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Old 10-09-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
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Operation of 3-Way Valve, Winterizing ???

Have a question regarding the operation of my 3-way selector valve for winterization kit on my H2O pump. Here is a description of the 3 possible valve settings as hooked up in my 5th wheel:

#1) FW Tank - OPEN, Pump - OPEN, Antifreeze - OPEN
#2) FW Tank - OPEN, Pump - OPEN, Antifreeze - CLOSED
#3) FW Tank - OPEN, Pump - CLOSED, Antifreeze - OPEN

I'm using setting #2 during summer/normal use. I believe I'm suppose to use setting #1 to winterize the plumbing for winter, but I do not understand why the valve would still be open to the FW tank for this (I don't think antifreeze gets into FW tank). The only reason I can think of using setting #3 would be for winter storage, keeps the antifreeze from draining back out of pump in case backflow fails.

Looking for feedback whether these connections make sense or if someone was sleeping on the job and hooked this thing up incorrectly. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:11 PM   #2
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Something sounds fishy.... My valve only has two positions. Both feed the pump, but the selection is between the source. I can either pull from the tank, like I do all season, or drain the wank and pull drom the gallon anti-freeze jug.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Instructor View Post
Something sounds fishy.... My valve only has two positions. Both feed the pump, but the selection is between the source. I can either pull from the tank, like I do all season, or drain the wank and pull drom the gallon anti-freeze jug.
How you explain it is just how I always understood the winterization kit should operate, however, my camper has this 3-position valve and it confuses the hell out of me. Almost wondering if the dealer installed this just because it was all he had laying around at the time I purchased the camper, or is there some legit reason. Unfortunately my dealer is no longer in business so I have no way to go back and ask.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:10 PM   #4
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The valve operation absolutely needs to block suction from the tank, or else you'll pull air when the tank is empty. If the valve has a "pointer handle", like mine does, it should either point towards the tank or to the jug pick-up tube.
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:23 PM   #5
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Below is a photo of a 3-way valve that looks like the same 3-way valve i have for my winterizer valve (Thanks to herk7769 for posting this pic in another thread regarding water heater bypass). I added some red text that defines which line is hooked up to the valve ports as installed in my camper, please disregard the water heater in the pic.

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I'm thinking that this may not be the appropriate valve for a winterizer application. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:37 PM   #6
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OK. With only three pipes, there is only two possible combinations for the valve. I'm believing (you'll have to try it) that with the handle in the horizontal position it will flow in-line. Move it to perpendicular and it flows perpendicular. Are you SURE that you don't have your pump and anti-freeze labels transposed?
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:51 PM   #7
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In Herk's photo, with the valve in the position that it's in, water would flow through the water heater, as designed. Turn the handle to perpendicular, and it bypasses the water heater (and an unseen check-valve keeps from back-filling the tank).

I had a problem a few years ago with a design similar to this, in that I drained the tank, turned the valve, and then pumped anti-freeze into the system. Problem was that the short section of pipe between the tank and the valve was actually lower than both the tank drain and the system low-point drain, so water sat in the short piece of pipe, and when it froze, it blew the valve apart. I now drain, blow-out the entire system with air, THEN close the bypass, and then pump in the anti-freeze....
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:50 AM   #8
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OK. With only three pipes, there is only two possible combinations for the valve. I'm believing (you'll have to try it) that with the handle in the horizontal position it will flow in-line. Move it to perpendicular and it flows perpendicular. Are you SURE that you don't have your pump and anti-freeze labels transposed?
No, the labels are accurate. My valve, in the position thats shown in the picture, would have all 3 lines open (Setting #1, as mentioned above). Rotating 90deg counter-clockwise so that the valve handle would be pointing down would be Setting #2 from above where the FW tank and pump are open, anti-freeze is closed. Rotating further another 90deg will close off the pump line and have the FW tank and anti-freeze lines open (Setting #3).

I thought about this a lot last night. I think that if I switch the lines so that the pump line is coming out the left, FW tank line in on the right, and the anti-freeze line in from the top then then it should operate more like a typical winterizing valve. Would just need to rotate the valve between pointing down (winterizing) and pointing towards the FW tank (normal use). I would not have to rotate so that the handle points towards the pump, since this would have all 3 lines open.

See diagram below, I think this is how it should have been hooked up using this type of valve...

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Old 10-10-2012, 07:31 AM   #9
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Something is wrong with your valve if you can rotate it so the handle points down.

The handle should point to the vertical pipe when it is in winterize and the horizontal pipe when you want "flow" from the water tank.

There is a T shaped hole through the center of the valve. When in "flow" the valve should be a "T" with the unused "leg of the T" hole pointing down.

When in Winterize (suck antifreeze) the "T" should be on its side like "-|" with the right arm of the "T" pointing down. It should turn clockwise to winterize and counterclockwise to use the water tank.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:41 AM   #10
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I agree, Herk. Bad Valve. that said, if it can be changed to the configuratiuon that's shown in the hand-drawn post (#8), then it can work, if for nothing more than getting this year's winterizing done.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:55 AM   #11
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Thanks Herk and Fire Instructor for your comments.

Yes, it seems that this valve maybe has more capability than what a winterizing application requires. I never understood the position of the handle relative to the pipe connections being made. I had to disconnect the lines and physically look inside to see the passages in order to figure out what flow paths it was making as you turned the handle. Basically, there are 3 passage openings (spaced 90 degs apart) cut into the valve center. Referring to Herk's photo above that I labeled according to my existing setup, the space on the valve center that prevents flow only is functional to the pump and anti-freeze connections, never to the FW tank.

This is probably a result of an inproper valve that was incorrectly plumbed for a winterizing application. I've winterized the system before, but I must have been sucking a lot of air into the system along with the antifreeze since the valve setup would not allow for these to be isolated from each other. I never had any issues using the pump in normal use since this was the only valve position that kept only the FW tank and pump connections open.

Wow! Sorry for the long explanations, but this has been perplexing me for a couple of years now.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:33 AM   #12
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And to think, it was all installed by a plumber.

Nothing dumber than a plumber -
Basic rules of plumbing are all you need to know:
1) Hot on the left, cold on the right. (Rockwood got THAT wrong on my TT bathroom sink.)
2) S#!+ flows downhill.
3) No matter what, it costs at least $300 to fix it.
4) Payday is Friday.
and the most important one -
5) DON'T CHEW YOUR NAILS!
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:00 PM   #13
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And to think, it was all installed by a plumber.

Nothing dumber than a plumber -
Basic rules of plumbing are all you need to know:
1) Hot on the left, cold on the right. (Rockwood got THAT wrong on my TT bathroom sink.)
2) S#!+ flows downhill.
3) No matter what, it costs at least $300 to fix it.
4) Payday is Friday.
and the most important one -
5) DON'T CHEW YOUR NAILS!
Too funny!
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