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Old 11-01-2011, 03:36 PM   #1
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Winterizing Methods: blowout or pump-in?

There seems to be two often talked about methods for winterizing the water system in a camper.

Blowout Method

  1. A compressor is connected to the "city water" connection
  2. air pressure (30-40 psi) is used to remove water from the lines.
  3. Hot water tank is bypassed and drained
  4. "low-point" water line caps are opened
  5. fresh water tank is drained.
  6. Anti-freeze is poured into drains
  7. If present, water filter container is emptied
  8. A small amount anti-freeze is cycled through the water pump to protect its internals.
Pump-In Method

  1. Hot water tank is bypassed and drained
  2. if present, water filter container is emptied (bypassed?)
  3. Anti-freeze is pumped through the entire sysetm
  4. Anti-freeze is poured into the drains (though this can be accomplished while completing #3.
Some seem to preach blowout and other swear by pump-in, thoughts?

Is the full pump-in method really necessary? Seems like overkill to me.

I have also seen the two methods combined in which the anti-freeze is blown-out after it has been pumped-in.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:55 PM   #2
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1. bypass water heater and drain by removing anode rod
2. blow or vacuum water lines with shop vac or blow with compressor by disconnecting at pump outlet starting closest to furthest(outside shower, inside shower sinks and toilet)
3. reconnect water pump and if equipped with winterizing suction line run pump to draw AF from gallon jugs(apprx 2) and run each tap from furthest to closest till pink stuff appears
4.pour some AF in drain traps
5 open fresh water tank drain
6. shut pump off and leave all faucets and taps open
7. make sure all waste holding tanks are empty
8. bring LCD and plazma tv's indoors
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:13 PM   #3
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I live in AR and the winters are not real brutal. I use the blow out method:

1. Drain your fresh water tank I normally close my drain after the tank is empty.

2 Remove water heater annode and drain. Open a hot water tap before removing the annode. It gets messy if you have residual pressure in the system. After the water heater is empty replace the annode. You can use the bypass if so desired. I don't like removing the screws on my Flagstaffs access door so I leave the bypass alone.

3. Remove the access cap and open holding tank valves. ( It is assumed that you have already purged them)

4. Install blow out connector in city water connector. I made my connector, by the way. Used a brass male hose repair kit and a male quick air hose connector. I tapped the hose connector out 1/4 NPT and threaded the quick connector in. Works great and is really sturdy. It is cheap if you have a pipe tap, but probably not cost effective if you have to buy one.

5. Connect air compressor to blow out connector. (Compressor charged with line pressure not exceeding 40 P.S.I.)

6. Open and bleed all faucets in sequence, furtherest to closest to inlet port. Don't forget the toilet.

7. Repeat the bleeding process. I have not mentioned emptying the water filter because mine is self purging. I do remove the filter element after the purging process for replacement the following season.

8. Once I am satisfied that the water is purged I remove the air supply from the adaptor. Then I remove the two drain caps on the water supply lines under the camper. I then hook the air back up to the inlet and blow those out as well. Then I disconnect the air and replace the caps.

9. Be certain to remove the shower hose from the connector on the bottom side of your faucet. They can and will freeze up. I know first hand. My older campers would drain the shower head. My current one has a check valve in the faucet and it holds water. Learned the hard way.

10.After you are satisfied that you do not have water in the distribution system pour about a pint of good anti-freeze down each drain.

11. Remove anything that might freeze from the camper and then look again. Things have a way of hiding and reminding you after the spring thaw.

12. Make certain to leave the fridge and freezer doors open. No matter how clean they are they always seem to mold over a protracted period of being tightly closed.
I also leave the faucets open.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:27 PM   #4
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I blow out all the lines. put antifreeze in the P-traps and I consider I'm done. Temps here in Anacortes rarely go below 25F even in the depths of winter and it's almost unheard of to have a high that isn't at least 34.

If you're in the regions where -40 overnight and -10 during the day is typical, maybe you need to be more rigorous. Sure glad I don't have to face that crap!
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:08 AM   #5
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Did the low point drain/blowout routine and spent a little extra time ensuring the HW tank was completely empty after draining - employed an air gun to blow out the residual water sitting below the level of the anode/drain port. Poured some AF into the p-traps and and the toilet to keep the seal lubed. Removed the water filter, reinstalled the filter housing and ran the pump to purge what was left in the FW circuit - drain the filter housing. Scrutinized the process carefully because the mercury can dive to -40 in this neck of the woods.
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:07 AM   #6
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Air compressor size

Newbie I am. What is minimum size air compressor for winter blowout please?
Would one gallon so it? Thanks a bunch!
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:07 AM   #7
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If you don't bypass your water heater you essentially have a compressor tank of whatever volume your heater is plus the compressor. It will take a bit for the 1 gallon compressor to fill the water heater to 40 PSI, but it will work. Just let it run until the compressor kicks off and you should be able to purge your system. It may take a couple of shots to get all the air out, but I see no reason why it will not get the job done. I have three compressors, a 5 gallon being the smallest and it cycles several times to get the job done to my satisfaction.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomcamper View Post
Newbie I am. What is minimum size air compressor for winter blowout please?
Would one gallon so it? Thanks a bunch!
I have a cheap-o $60 3/gal model (sort of like this one). As long as you can set the output pressure (30-40 psi) anything is fine, but it might take a few minutes longer while you wait for the pressure to build up between each faucet.

FWIW, I added a female quick disconnect to the end of my compressor's hose. I added a male quick disconnect to my tire output piece. And I used a hose clamp and another male quick disconnect to a short piece of old garden hose. That allowed me to leave the compressor connected to the camper's city water input while I walked around and blew out the lines.

I think you can get a female quick disconnect with 3-4 male ends in a single pack from Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. Just make sure you get the larger style of you plan to shove one end of the male connect into a garden hose. The smaller disconnects would probably need some sort of step-up adapter if you wanted to shove it into the end of a hose.


LCD TV's, thanks for the info. I would have never thought to remove it from the camper.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BaronBigDog View Post
9. Be certain to remove the shower hose from the connector on the bottom side of your faucet. They can and will freeze up. I know first hand. My older campers would drain the shower head. My current one has a check valve in the faucet and it holds water. Learned the hard way.
This has me a bit confused...

Wouldn't there still be water behind the check valve? I would think as long as you leave the shower head open, or off, the water outside of the check valve would have room to expand when it freezes.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:05 AM   #10
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aren't you supposed to run antifreeze through the shower head too?
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:28 AM   #11
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aren't you supposed to run antifreeze through the shower head too?
I didn't run AF through anything but the water pump (and poured some in each drain). I did, however, remove the shower head, shook them out, and left them on the counter.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:38 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by CliffP View Post
aren't you supposed to run antifreeze through the shower head too?
Yes, and don't forget the outside shower if you have one.
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BackInAction View Post
I didn't run AF through anything but the water pump (and poured some in each drain). I did, however, remove the shower head, shook them out, and left them on the counter.
Disconnected my brand new Oxygenics shower head and brought it in the house after blowing out the lines. Can never be too careful, in my opinion, and it is easily removed and re-installed in spring.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:51 PM   #14
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Our winters are fairly user-friendly (overnight lows in the mid 20's, daytime highs above freezing). Last year (first year with current rig) I blew out all the lines with compressed air. I couldn't find the drain for the potable tank, so I used the Shurflo pump and emptied it through the kitchen sink.

I found the drain this year, so the potable tank contents went into the street gutter and have repeated the air blow. All lines to sinks, shower, outside shower and toilet are blowing dry air. Have poured pink stuff into the P-traps and I'm done.

I wasn't quite that thorough last year and didn't have any grief. I don't expect any this year either. BTW, my compressor was $69 at WalMart.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:06 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by F and E Damp View Post
I found the drain this year, so the potable tank contents went into the street gutter and have repeated the air blow. All lines to sinks, shower, outside shower and toilet are blowing dry air. Have poured pink stuff into the P-traps and I'm done.
I assume you drained, and bypassed, the hot water tank?

Did you pump any AF into the water pump housing? I read somewhere that if you just remove the inlet side the "pump will drain", but I didn't get much water when I tried that.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:21 AM   #16
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blow out or pump in?

Thanks to all who replied, this forum is really helpful. By next year, hopefully I shall be an old hand, able to help others. It is sort of fun playing hide and seek
trying to find where the builders cleverly hid all the things that we have to use. We bought a cover for our rpod, put it on, cracked a few opposing windows a bit, and opened the rood vent a bit. I don't know if those are good ideas or not? tomcamper
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:32 AM   #17
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We bought a cover for our rpod, put it on, cracked a few opposing windows a bit, and opened the rood vent a bit. I don't know if those are good ideas or not? tomcamper
I would not leave the weight of a cover on an open roof vent. Closed would be OK, but not open where all of the weight is supported by the hinge.
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:49 AM   #18
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I would not leave the weight of a cover on an open roof vent. Closed would be OK, but not open where all of the weight is supported by the hinge.
Agree. But if you have a vent cover over your vents, that seems like a good idea to me.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:49 AM   #19
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Great info!
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:56 AM   #20
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We're in Jersey and I blow my lines out. I actually let a lot of air run through them to dry as much as possible, one fixture at a time. Then just enough AF to fIll the traps. No issues so far.

This is the first year we're using a cover so we'll see how that goes.
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