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Old 09-18-2015, 10:50 AM   #1
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Winterizing only with compressed air

I've always used the pink RV antifreeze for winterizing, because it seemed like a more "complete" method than compressed air, and in my old motorhome the water pump & bypass (to suck the pink stuff right out of the container into the water lines) was easy to access in a basement compartment.

The water pump on my Wildwood, however, is no picnic to access I have discovered... it's not visible anywhere, so from what I've read it is apparently down through some kitchen drawers or cabinets and behind an access panel someplace.

For simplicity's sake, I'm thinking about switching to the compressed air method for winterizing. Anyone ever had problems NOT using the pink stuff? My concern is that compressed air might not quite get all the water out of the lines/valves/fixtures and something could freeze/expand/burst over the winter. I'm not sure if that concern is based in fact or not though. Just looking for some reassurance here.
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Old 09-18-2015, 11:01 AM   #2
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Depends on where you live. I live in Richmond VA and only use compressed air to blow out all my lines, drains, etc. Then add some pink stuff to the traps of the sinks,toilet and shower. Oh and 1/2 gallon to both Black/Grey tanks. Never had an issue (knock on wood).
Just my .02 worth.
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Old 09-18-2015, 11:01 AM   #3
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It's your choice, I did it once and didn't have a good feeling all winter long - it was fine though.
A side benefit of the pink AF is it lubricates the taps and the water pump and keeps seals and gaskets from drying out over winter.
Whatever you do, pour AF into all P traps and the toilet bowl.
I'm not familiar with your camper, but it might be worth modifying the pump access to make winterizing easier in the future - you know, it only hurts once.
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Old 09-18-2015, 11:16 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TomStacey616 View Post
Depends on where you live. I live in Richmond VA and only use compressed air to blow out all my lines, drains, etc. Then add some pink stuff to the traps of the sinks,toilet and shower. Oh and 1/2 gallon to both Black/Grey tanks. Never had an issue (knock on wood).
Just my .02 worth.
True enough. In Southern Ontario, I wouldn't consider not using pink.
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Old 09-18-2015, 11:27 AM   #5
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The compressed air method will never get all the water out. It may help to remove the bulk of the water and then when you put in the RV antifreeze it won't be diluted with the water and you may not have to use as much antifreeze to get a clear pink flow but unless you have a lot of rapid airflow some of the water will still remain. As far as adding antifreeze to the traps, you will automatically do that as you winterize the system so no need to add more (unless you want to make sure). Same goes for the tanks, they will have antifreeze added as you open the faucets to winterize.
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Old 09-18-2015, 11:40 AM   #6
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You are good with air. I would leave the faucet valves open as well. Experiment by taking a glass of water and freeze it. The glass will not break. As long as there is air for the water to expand into as it freezes no harm is done. Nothing wrong with the ice, it is the lack of airspace to expand into that does the damage.
When I was growing up my parents had a house built in the 1800's. When they bought it we noticed that the pipes were not insulated. We were told to just let the water drip, or when it got into the "teens" shut the water off and leave all the valves open. There was no way to keep the pipes from freezing. The first winter we ended up replumbing the entire house because we forgot the advice we were given. Worked like a charm when we did it. Lived in that house 20 years and although the pipes would freeze there would be no damage.

Or use the Pink!
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Old 09-18-2015, 11:57 AM   #7
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We got a bad batch of RV antifreeze one year that made our water lines unusable for anything but washing and toilet. Since then I have used air only without an issue. I leave my taps open and low point drains open as well. Add antifreeze to the tanks and traps and leave the drain out of the hot water tank I also take the filter housing off the pump and leave the main filter off as well.
We use compressed air only for lawn irrigation systems and if done properly we never have a problem.
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:04 PM   #8
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I live in No. VA and I winterized with the pink stuff 2 winters ago and without it last winter. Last year I only blew out the lines (with a leaf blower) and poured the pink stuff into the traps and we had a very cold winter. No problems either year. In spring last year I got that nasty rotten egg smell and this year I didn't. Despite what the dealers tell you, I still think that the pink stuff causes that disgusting smell. I had another motorhome many years ago and I never used antifreeze, I don't think it existed then, and I only had a problem one year, when I forgot to drain the water heater (duh!). And I never got that nasty smell either.
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:05 PM   #9
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Pink Stuff

I live where it can easily hit -30 in the winter so I wouldn't even think of chancing it. Plus, when you see pink, you know the system is good to go.
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:06 PM   #10
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After winterizing thousand of units, and seeing what can and can't happen by adding antifreeze, I would strongly recommend that you do. For the cost of less than 3 gallon of Antifreeze, and little labor, the worry of having something wrong in the spring is pretty cheap. By blowing water out, it is just like driving down the road with water on a well waxed hood. The water beads and splits, now add a low spot to the hood, and all the water collects and pools in that area. Think of a low water line that may have a dip in the line, water could collect there, and possible freeze and cause damage. The other spots that we see damage is to, the stool valves. Water sets in a small spot of the valve and BOOM, cracks or separates the valve, and water issue come spring. The last spot is the City Water hook up... Several folks forget to get the water away from the hook up, and come spring water is shooting out the side of the camper(the city water inlet). One last thing to do, after you do winterize is to find the low point water line drains if they have them, remove them, and open your faucets. Antifreeze will expand, and this way the system is empty, plus make sure to empty your Water filter canister, if you have one...

So for great results, I recommend buying purchasing Good RV Antifreeze, not the 99 cent stuff, and using it to winterize your coach. For less than $20.00 you can have piece of mind. Good Luck.
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:17 PM   #11
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For me (in central Michigan) I've always used compressed air for over 30 years. Blow out the lines, antifreeze in P traps and tanks.

The ONLY time I had a problem was last year, when I forgot to depress the foot pedal on the toilet...left water in the valve and it froze/cracked. (Of course that would have been a problem whether using air or antifreeze either one!)
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:19 PM   #12
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That's why I'll continue to use antifreeze.
It's about a 2 beer process.

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Old 09-18-2015, 12:23 PM   #13
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I live in Colorado and it gets well below zero at times. I've used compressed air for years. I drain the water heater then blow it out leaving the plug out for the winter. Then I turn on the by pass valves for the WH and blow out the cold and hot water faucets. Next I turn on the water pump to make sure water is out of it. Then the water filter is removed and left off until the spring. After blowing out the lines remove the inlet screen to the city water supply and depress the backflow valve to let the water out, reinstall the screen. Open the low water point drain. If you want you can leave the fresh water tank drain open (I put a piece of screen over it to keep bugs out). Pour about 2 cups of antifreeze down each drain. Drain the black and gray tanks and leave the valves open, I also leave the faucets open. You don't have to drain every drop of water out if a little freezes it will not expand enough to damage things. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:24 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by 2-B-REIL View Post
...One last thing to do, after you do winterize is to find the low point water line drains if they have them, remove them, and open your faucets. Antifreeze will expand, and this way the system is empty, plus make sure to empty your Water filter canister, if you have one...

So for great results, I recommend buying purchasing Good RV Antifreeze, not the 99 cent stuff, and using it to winterize your coach. For less than $20.00 you can have piece of mind. Good Luck.
Forgive my ignorance, but I don't understand this part. If you open the low point drains and faucets you will lose all the antifreeze in the lines, correct?
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:38 PM   #15
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I live in Walkerton Ont, since my wife getting me into camping 12 years ago with her M.H and taking 2 summers to get the pink out the water heater back then, I have never used the RV A/F in the water lines. Always air, never a problem. Traps only. Also winterize 2 other units that way for others, no issues there either.
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:47 PM   #16
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That's why I'll continue to use antifreeze.
It's about a 2 beer process.

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Old 09-18-2015, 12:48 PM   #17
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"We don't need stinking clocks "
Beer time!

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Old 09-18-2015, 12:56 PM   #18
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For me (in central Michigan) I've always used compressed air for over 30 years. Blow out the lines, antifreeze in P traps and tanks.

The ONLY time I had a problem was last year, when I forgot to depress the foot pedal on the toilet...left water in the valve and it froze/cracked. (Of course that would have been a problem whether using air or antifreeze either one!)
I did the same thing. I always blow them out then let the system set for a while then blow air through the system the second time. Just make sure to depress the pedal on the toilet. Even better will be to put something on the pedal to keep it depressed. Where I'm at I can pertty much camp year round, so I use the air just on real cold spells.
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:56 PM   #19
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We live in Northern Ontario where it gets COLD. DH always blows the lines out with air and uses two cups or so in each drain and takes the water filter cartridge out. Taps are all left open including the outside shower. Never had a problem in any of our trailers or motorhomes.
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Old 09-18-2015, 01:03 PM   #20
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Compressed air

I have been doing it that way since 2003 but I open all spigots when I finish and leave open until I think cold weather is over and if I'm wrong I put small heater in Rv with cabinet doors open and all spigots open again
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