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Old 02-22-2021, 02:25 PM   #1
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Winter {RV!} Antifreeze needed in California?

I was just wondering. I live in california and we do not have snow, maybe some rain here and there in the winter. Do I need to drain out my water and put antifreeze in there? or is it not necessary?

Please advise..

thank you
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:29 PM   #2
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Only needed if you have freezing temperatures. If the temperature will be below freezing for more than a hour or so, then yes.
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:30 PM   #3
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I was just wondering. I live in california and we do not have snow, maybe some rain here and there in the winter. Do I need to drain out my water and put antifreeze in there? or is it not necessary?

Please advise..

thank you
What is more important than rain or snow, is what are the lowest temperatures expected in your area? Is the RV stored indoors or outdoors?
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:39 PM   #4
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What is more important than rain or snow, is what are the lowest temperatures expected in your area? Is the RV stored indoors or outdoors?
I store them outdoor.. Winter temperature are from The average temperatures are in the mild 45F (7.2C) to 65F (18.3C) with a slight decrease in the number of sunny days.
November

and in December
December lies in the cold of winter with the average high temperatures in the 55F (12.8C) to 60F (15.6C) range and the average low temperatures in the mildly cold 37F (2.8C) to 45F (7.2C)

Consider 32 degrees Fahrenheit is freezing temperature. I don't see I need antifreeze?

Looking at my city and the data.

Out of the last year. the freezing temperature hit below freezing is only 1 time in decemeber and 1 time in Jan.

So should I be worry about those two night? Please advise

thank you
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:45 PM   #5
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What happened last year doesn’t mean much if the temperature drops below freezing. Ask the residents of Texas including me. It’s not usually -4*F here but it was last week! Last year’s historical data didn’t matter.
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:55 PM   #6
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What happened last year doesnt mean much if the temperature drops below freezing. Ask the residents of Texas including me. Its not usually -4*F here but it was last week! Last years historical data didnt matter.
Got it.. So just drain out my water before winter and add a bit of antifreeze in . I should be good to go..

thank you
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:52 PM   #7
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Got it.. So just drain out my water before winter and add a bit of antifreeze in . I should be good to go..

thank you
You dont just add a bit of antifreeze. The goal is to displace all water with either air or antifreeze. All it takes is one valve, one faucet, one pipe fitting, or the water pump with water in it to freeze, and you will potentially have damage and a future plumbing leak.

What the average winter temperatures are doesnt really matter. What is important are the extreme historical lows, and then assume at some point that the low temperature could even be more extreme than in the past.
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:13 PM   #8
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Doing it right means anit-freeze in the sink traps as well as the fresh water lines. It's a big nuisance to clean it out in the spring.

US Climate data says Corona averages a low of 40F in the coldest month. This is the coldest hour of the month.

So, if you will be around to do the winterizing at the last minute should a rare cold snap hit, I would not winterize. You might want to have the potable anti-freeze on the shelf just in case if getting it at the last minute might be a problem.

Here in Northern California our average January low is 24F. I don't winterize even though the RV is out in the open. Even when we hit 24F it's only a few hours below 32F.

We did have a much colder spell about 20 years ago that burst many pipes and water meters (before I got my first RV) so I keep anti-freeze on hand.

If the RV is parked alongside of a house or garage or has shrubbery or a fence providing some wind protection, it's much less likely to freeze. Less yet if the underside has a coroplast cover. The warm ground underneath the RV helps prevent freezing.
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:54 AM   #9
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Doing it right means anit-freeze in the sink traps as well as the fresh water lines. It's a big nuisance to clean it out in the spring.

US Climate data says Corona averages a low of 40F in the coldest month. This is the coldest hour of the month.

So, if you will be around to do the winterizing at the last minute should a rare cold snap hit, I would not winterize. You might want to have the potable anti-freeze on the shelf just in case if getting it at the last minute might be a problem.

Here in Northern California our average January low is 24F. I don't winterize even though the RV is out in the open. Even when we hit 24F it's only a few hours below 32F.

We did have a much colder spell about 20 years ago that burst many pipes and water meters (before I got my first RV) so I keep anti-freeze on hand.

If the RV is parked alongside of a house or garage or has shrubbery or a fence providing some wind protection, it's much less likely to freeze. Less yet if the underside has a coroplast cover. The warm ground underneath the RV helps prevent freezing.
thank you .. good to know.. so by putting a cover on the trailer it keep it warmer.. that is good advise..
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:57 AM   #10
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They had this thing in Texas the other day...

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Old 02-23-2021, 12:46 PM   #11
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So, if you will be around to do the winterizing at the last minute should a rare cold snap hit, I would not winterize. You might want to have the potable anti-freeze on the shelf just in case if getting it at the last minute might be a problem.

Here in Northern California our average January low is 24F. I don't winterize even though the RV is out in the open. Even when we hit 24F it's only a few hours below 32F.
Excellent advice to have it in hand! Just like generators, diesel anti-gel and oil pan heaters in TX, the AF will be gone quickly. Though, you could use automotive propylene glycol antifreeze in a pinch. It is more than 2x the price of RV/M antifreeze.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:53 PM   #12
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Though, you could use automotive propylene glycol antifreeze in a pinch. It is more than 2x the price of RV/M antifreeze.

Terrible advice, DO NOT DO THIS. Automotive antifreeze is poisonous and you absolutely do not want this in your RV plumbing that you drink from.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:55 PM   #13
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The easiest thing to do would be to drain all the water out (water heater and low point drains with the faucets open). Then blow compressed air (less than 50psi) through the lines.
As suggested, purchase some rv antifreeze for the 'just in case' scenerio that the temp gets below 29 degrees and doesn't warm up during the day. That way you'll be prepared and it won't take long to winterize it before the freeze. Just don't put rv antifreeze into the fresh water tank.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:01 PM   #14
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Our temps are fairly close to yours in Corona. We may get a little colder. I drain my lines and blow out with compressor and add antifreeze to p traps. Never had a problem.
I believe the coldest weather is past us going into March but then again we have Texas
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:04 PM   #15
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Terrible advice, DO NOT DO THIS. Automotive antifreeze is poisonous and you absolutely do not want this in your RV plumbing that you drink from.
WRONG!
Do a little research first.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:21 PM   #16
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thank you .. good to know.. so by putting a cover on the trailer it keep it warmer.. that is good advise..
When I mentioned coroplast cover I was thinking of the corrugated plastic/fiberglass stuff that encloses the underside of the RV in the case of most trailers and fifth wheels. That entraps air and thereby adds some insulation to the tanks and pipes under the floor.

I think you have in mind a top cover to keep the sun off of the RV. Those are great if you have the means (age?) to manage them (put them on and take them off). Yes that too would provide a small layer of still air around the RV tanks and pipes and thus some protection from cold air circulating under the RV. However, some of that benefit is lost since the cover reduces the heat gain in the RV from the sun and warmer air during the day. It probably helps but not much.

Skirting also helps. This is a canvas or plastic panel system the runs the perimeter of the RV between the lower edge of the RV and ground. This keeps cold wind from circulating underneath and also traps heat from the ground under the RV where it can heat the RV from the underside. This only applies where the ground does not freeze, of course. In Corona the ground does not freeze and likely stays in the mid to high 40's in the winter so provides considerable heat to the RV if it is trapped under the RV and can flow upward into the RV.

But, in Corona, near sea level, you don't need to do much. And can do nothing if you are able to winterize quickly when that one in 25 year cold snap is predicted.
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Old 02-23-2021, 02:51 PM   #17
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WRONG!
Do a little research first.

I use propylene glycol rv antifreeze up in the great white North, yes its more expensive but I think its easier on the seals than ethanol glycol and takes less flushing to get it out of the system. Also nonflammable if that matters.
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Old 02-23-2021, 03:16 PM   #18
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Antifreeze is never necessary.

To winterize the plumbing only requires eliminating the water in the system. Easy to drain and blow out the residue. If there's no water there's nothing to freeze and make the whole water system taste pink all next season.

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Old 02-23-2021, 03:32 PM   #19
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Antifreeze is never necessary.

To winterize the plumbing only requires eliminating the water in the system. Easy to drain and blow out the residue. If there's no water there's nothing to freeze and make the whole water system taste pink all next season.

-- Chuck
You’re partially right, antifreeze is not always needed, but some people might forget to blow the water out of their sink and shower traps. Pouring some antifreeze in the traps is an easy way to ensure the drains don’t freeze.

Also, the way Forest River built my RV’s fresh water tank and lines, it is not possible for me to remove all the water from the FW tank, and also not posdible to ensure that the water would not later run into a line with an unsupported low dip in it that runs across the width of the truck and down to the water pump.

It is risky to make absolute statements. So, to say “antifreeze is never necessary” is an absolute statement that may apply to your camper but not necessarily to everyone else’s camper. “Antifreeze is not always necessary” is a safer way to word it.
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:58 PM   #20
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On marginal nights, what matters most is the "low hanging fruit."
  • Black and grey water drain valves if they are on the bitter end of the dump plumbing
  • Low point drains
  • Freshwater tank drain
  • Outside shower
  • and so on (e.g. outdoor kitchen?)

Anything that hangs out there in the open is vulnerable, and every one of those fittings are subject to cracking.

Again, on what are expected to be marginal nights, open and drain the freshwater drains/valves. Use RV antifreeze to protect the grey water drain traps, and pour enough down the drains to make sure it bumps up against the dump valves in a large enough quantity to prevent freezing. Do the same with the toilet. Turn on your furnace and open all cabinet doors (and bathroom door) that serve plumbing to allow the heat to get to the plumbing in the cabinets. Turn on or drain your hot water heater. These halfway measures will serve you well for short periods of sub-freezing temps above, say, 25 degrees F. If anything worse is possible, fully winterize.

Many have referred to air winterizing. That's what I do on my freshwater plumbing. I have a decent sized compressor and an air to water adapter: male air quick connect to male garden hose: https://www.amazon.com/Winterize-Mot...a-570131678618

First I drain and isolate the water heater using the winter setting on the valves. Then, I set the output of the compressor to about 40 PSI, which is what the RV plumbing tolerates easily, pressurize the plumbing, then go from "faucet" to faucet open and closing again and again until things are obviously dry. Don't forget the outside shower, low point drains, and toilet flush. Be careful with the toilet flush, because the water comes spurting out. It's clean water, but it will spray you. Also, be sure to blow out the fitting and line for the black tank flush. Also open the drain valve on the freshwater tank. Once all freshwater plumbing is obviously dry, move on to winterizing the drains. You'll need about 2 gallons of antifreeze to do it well. Pour generous quantities down the kitchen sink into the trap and beyond, the bathroom sink, and the shower drain, and then step on and open the toilet flush valve and pour about 1/2 gallon into the black tank. Save about 1/2 cup to pour on top of the toilet flush valve to preserve the gasket and prevent it from drying out.

RV antifreeze that passes through the traps will go into the grey tank and down the dump pipe to rest against the dump shutter valve. Same with what you pour into the black tank. So long as you did a thorough dump on the "last trip", any residual water in those pipes will be adequately treated to prevent freezing/cracking. This WON'T work if your grey and/or black tanks are partially full. They must be dumped to winterize.

If the freshwater tank does not drain perfectly, that's not a problem. Leave the drain valve open so any water that gets to the valve later won't freeze, but any little bit of water in the bottom of the tank won't have adequate "purchase" on the tank body to freeze and split it.

This process takes almost as long to describe as it does to perform. So, when in doubt, winterize.

About 2 weeks ago, there was a thread from a guy in TX asking about the necessity of winterizing. You know the answer.

Without starting a debate over climate change, one of the possible impacts of climate change is to add energy to polar air and enable it to dip farther south. As others suggest, last year's weather is no guarantee of this year's weather. 100 year records give you a better idea of what's possible, and then you must factor in greater extremes due to climate change.

The beauty of air winterizing on freshwater systems is that you don't need to purge antifreeze and you don't need to re-sanitize every time you do it.

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