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Old 09-13-2012, 09:26 PM   #1
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Let's Talk Winterizing...

Winter is coming.

I thought this might be a good place to talk a little bit about winterizing our AFrames.
  1. I'm still trying to wrap my head around exactly what I need to do for the plumbing.
  2. I'm going to be storing in the driveway this winter with a cover. What, if anything, do I need to take into account.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:54 PM   #2
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Here is a link to give us a general idea how to...but if any one knows how to drain the hot water tank of Aframe please share:
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:27 AM   #3
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We spent a few good pennies on our Columbus. Will take it to a certified dealer and have it winterized! I call it a yearly check up!!! In my mind......... money well spent -- so that there are no issues the following spring.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:30 AM   #4
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My intent is to drain the water lines and fill with anti-freeze.

Then place the trailer on blocks for the winter to give a break to the torsion axle & radial tires. I think the blocking is more of a personal preference then a requirement.

Finally put winter cover on unit & tires.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777
Here is a link to give us a general idea how to...but if any one knows how to drain the hot water tank of Aframe please share:
Isn't there a plug at the bottom ?

I don't own an a frame nor know what the tank looks like.

But I'm guessing there's a plug to drain.
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Old 09-14-2012, 04:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1100turbo

Isn't there a plug at the bottom ?

I don't own an a frame nor know what the tank looks like.

But I'm guessing there's a plug to drain.
There is a plug to drain under the trailer for the fresh water tank but none for the hot water tank. I took these pictures which I think is where to drain the tank, can someone confirm:
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My guess if you loosen this part the water will drain out, maybe?
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I'm planning to use the air compressor process, blow out all the water from the line as shown in the YouTube link. Since our Aframe have simple water system, I hope we could do it ourselves to winterized it. Has anybody done this last winter successfully?

Hey winter is far far away, so happy camping!
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:26 PM   #7
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Two steps to drain it fast, pull up on the overpressure valve and then pull the lower plug. Once drained, close the overpressure valve then reinstall the plug (to keep bugs out!)
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike D
Two steps to drain it fast, pull up on the overpressure valve and then pull the lower plug. Once drained, close the overpressure valve.
Pull not unscrew the lower plug?
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777
Pull not unscrew the lower plug?
Unscrew
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:40 PM   #10
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That bolt head in the third photo is the sacrificial anode. You're right that removing it will drain the tank. But first, open the pressure relief valve to let off any pressure that might be in the system. The valve is the one in the second photo. My suggestion is to leave the anode out for a few days so that as much water as possible can evaporate, then reinstall it. I'd also suggest opening up the area under the port side dinette seat--you may need to remove a screw or two to get the lid under the seat off, and I just left the screws out once I'd taken them out. Once you can look into the area under that seat you'll see the piping that runs to and from the water heater. There should be a shutoff valve in both the red and blue pipes. Shut them both off. Then you'll see a short piece of pipe in the same area that bridges the red and blue pipes. That's the bypass line. Open the valve in it. Now you've bypassed the water heater, which you emptied earlier (make sure the water heater switch is kept shut off once the water heater is drained). When water runs through the blue line toward the water heater, it'll go instead through the bypass line and into the red pipe. That way you can still use the sink and shower faucets, you just won't have hot water. Later when you put antifreeze in the lines (if you intend to) you won't have to spend a fortune filling up the water heater with an antifreeze/water mix. And in the spring you won't have to figure out how to get all the antifreeze-tainted water out of the water heater.

A caution. When you take the lid off that dinette seat you'll expose the wires that supply both 110 and 12 volts, so take care. They should be partitioned off but you can still stick a hand in there. It's a good idea to make sure the camper is unplugged and the battery's negative wire is disconnected before inserting body parts in the area behind the electrical panel there. That's why the factory installed the screws in the cover I suppose.

In the floor under the sink are the two low-point drains. Pull up on these drain valves to open them--they snap open, they don't twist to open, then open the sink and shower faucets to let the water lines drain. Then you can do the air-pressure blowout to get almost all the water out. it's up to you whether you want to put antifreeze in the lines or not. I did, but I'm a belt-and-suspenders guy. Do put a cup or two of antifreeze in the sink drain. You don't want the residual water in there to freeze.

A few of us bought and installed water pump bypass kits last fall. That allowed us to put antifreeze in the water lines without having to fill the water tank with the water/antifreeze mix. We left the tank empty for the winter. That saves a bunch of money on antifreeze and saves the hassle of cleaning the stuff out of the tank in the spring. I winterized last year with just over a gallon of the stuff. You can search posts on this forum for a thread about the water pump bypass kits, I don't remember the thread title. Later--here 'tis: "A-frame hardside water pump question". it's from last October.
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehamguy1
Once you can look into the area under that seat you'll see the piping that runs to and from the water heater. There should be a shutoff valve in both the red and blue pipes. Shut them both off. Then you'll see a short piece of pipe in the same area that bridges the red and blue pipes. That's the bypass line. Open the valve in it. Now you've bypassed the water heater, which you emptied earlier (make sure the water heater switch is kept shut off once the water heater is drained).
Is there more than one bypass valve, see pic?
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ID:	19505I have a 2012 model.
Since I'm using the air compressor process and only put anti-freeze on the drain sink, I don't have to do this step, is that correct?
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:52 PM   #12
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Them there are low point drains my friend.
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:58 PM   #13
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Those are the red and blue water lines referred to by thehamguy1 quoted below.
"In the floor under the sink are the two low-point drains. Pull up on these drain valves to open them--they snap open, they don't twist to open, then open the sink and shower faucets to let the water lines drain. Then you can do the air-pressure blowout to get almost all the water out. it's up to you whether you want to put antifreeze in the lines or not. I did, but I'm a belt-and-suspenders guy. Do put a cup or two of antifreeze in the sink drain. You don't want the residual water in there to freeze."

We don't put antifreeze down the drain because there isn't a "P" trap under our kitchen sink.

Our Aframe has a cassette toilet and we ... erm, I mean Gary winterizes it.

Here's a direct link for the reference that thehamguy1 gave in the last of his post:
http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ion-16696.html

Deb
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777
Is there more than one bypass valve, see pic?
I have a 2012 model.
Since I'm using the air compressor process and only put anti-freeze on the drain sink, I don't have to do this step, is that correct?
As the others have said, those are the low point drains in the photo, and you do have to open them to let the pipes drain. Even blowing the water out of the rest of the pipes won't get it out of the pipes that run down TO the low point drains.

If you were asking whether you have to get under the portside dinette seat to bypass the water heater, I don't suppose you absolutely have to. But if you do--and if you were going to fill the system with antifreeze--you'd save a lot of antifreeze by not having to fill the water heater with it (I'm guessing that with a 50-50 mix you'd need 2 to 3 gallons of antifreeze just for the water heater portion of your system). You'd also save lots and lots of repeated system flushings next spring to get it all out. I always go the cheap and lazy route by taking 5 minutes to set the three valves in the water heater bypass. But it's up to you, I think. Bypassing it might make the blowout method work better, but I don't know for sure. Maybe more experienced long-term camper users can chime in on whether they think it's necessary to bypass the water heater if using the compressed air blowout method--? Hey Turbs, you've got the knowledge and experience to tackle this...

Not to add complications but no one's mentioned emptying the water filter, which is under the sink. I don't know whether the air blowout method empties the filter reservoir or not. If it does you're spared that task, but if not you need to get the filter element out and pour out the water in the filter reservoir. A water filter wrench should be included with your camper. Mine is white plastic and looks like a magnifying glass without the lens.

I guess Deb's right about not needing antifreeze in the sink drain. If there's no P-trap under there, there's no need. Just make sure the water is all out of the sink drain line. I just stuck a short piece of hose in the drain and blew the water out last fall.

All this sounds like tons of work but it really only takes about an hour and it doesn't all have to be done at one go. If you're just emptying the lines (and you get them all including those running to the outside shower) but not putting in antifreeze the job will go even faster. We get really cold winters here so I go the antifreeze route.

I hope this helps! As I reread it, it sounds confusing. Look for some YouTube videos on winterizing, if you haven't already done that. A video is worth several thousand words.
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:27 AM   #15
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Question Low point drains.

I have a Rockwood 8281WS,and I don't think the drains are inside.Could someone help with the location of these? Thanks for your help.
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:56 AM   #16
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@ bear11,
When I google "Rockwood 8281WS" it comes up as a 5th wheel, is that correct?

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Old 09-16-2012, 11:02 AM   #17
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Yes ..fiver.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:23 AM   #18
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Maybe these guys in the Rockwood 5th wheel forum area can answer your questions. Someone there probably has your model or one very similar.
Rockwood - Forest River Forums

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Old 09-16-2012, 12:54 PM   #19
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Dutchmen RV Owner's Group • View topic - Winterizing your RV - Long Version with Video

This is a pretty good winterizing discussion with a video too!
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:33 PM   #20
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Well thought out info by thehamguy1!
Detailed posts like his take quite a bit of time to compose. I think thehamguy1'll agree, it's worth it if we can share helpful hints and tips to newbies and "old hands" as well! I'm always learning stuff from the folks here.

At our house, we like to go even "cheaper" yet. Gary winterizes our aframe by blowing it out and leaving it dry. The only antifreeze in our unit is about 1 gallon dumped in the cassette toilet fresh water reserve and pumped through the toilet's water pump.

Below is similar to the way he has done it with every other camper we have owned. Although I may have things a little out of order, this is the general idea, along with some visuals. Tweak it to your liking and if I've left out anything, please add it:

1: Begin by gravity draining most of the water out of the camper.

a) Be sure the water pump is OFF.

b) Open both of the sink and shower water faucets.

note: Open faucets releases the vacuum and allows water to drain.


c) Open the pit cock valve on the fresh water tank under the camper:



d) Release the pressure valve (blue item in the upper middle in pic) to relieve pressure, by flipping the lever toward you. You probably should stand back a bit.



e) Remove the anode rod (lower middle "bolt head" looking) from the hot water heater.

note: Gary made a notation inside the compartment: "1 1/16". I think that is the size wrench needed to remove the anode rod.

note: After draining hwh, leave the rod out for 3 or 4 days, so the tank dries a bit. Reinstall rod for winter to keep out critters.


f) When the water heater is drained, turn off the shower faucet.

g) The black 3 levers, located on the lines running to and from the water heater, are the by passes.



g-1) Twist the black lever, on the (top) red line, so it crosses it.

g-2) Twist the black lever, on the (bottom) blue line, so it crosses it.

g-3) Twist the black lever, on the (side) red/blue line, so it runs with it.

note: When a lever is turned the same direction as a gas or water line, it is on. When a lever is turned so it crosses the line, it is off. In the pic, our hwh by pass is not on.


g) Turn the water pump on.

h) Water will run out of the sink and out through the exterior drain. The faucet will sputter, so be ready to close the faucet a little to control it. When mostly air is coming out, turn off the sink faucet.

i) Turn off the water pump. This should complete the fresh water holding tank drain.

note: Any remaining water in the fresh water tank will theoretically have expansion room when it freezes.


j) Turn on the sink faucet again and also open the shower faucets. Open the red and blue (low point) drain lines, located under sink cabinet, by pulling up on the T stems as mentioned in thehamguy's directions.

note: These lines drain out under the camper behind the axel. Note the little white outlets:



k) Gary has installed a by pass for the water filter, so he doesn't have to worry with it. If your water filter is intact, you must carefully remove the filter housing (many put a tub or something under to catch spills), drain the filter cup and discard the paper filter. Maybe the blow out method will drain it, but it seems like that would take a while...


2: Now it's time for blowing out the lines.

a) Open the water heater bypass.

b) Set the air compressor to about 35psi.

c) Attach blow out plug to city water inlet.

note: The blow out plug looks like this:
Blow-out Plug - Camco RV 36104 - Winterizing - Camping World


d) Connect the air compressor to the blow out plug. Blow air through the lines until air comes out of each opening. (water heater, sink, shower & low point drains)

note: To be sure the water is out of the lines, Gary closes the sink faucet to let pressure build up for a bit, then opens the faucet again. It will spurt out remains.


e) Towel dry up the exterior water heater compartment, sink etc.

hth,
Deb
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