Winterizing at Camp - quickly but safely

Discussion in 'Camper Storage / Winterizing & De-Winterizing' started by mtndrew, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. mtndrew

    mtndrew Member

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    I have tried to find a specific answer to this question, but I have not had luck.

    A common challenge I am sure many of us have in the intermountain west is spring/fall camping when wanting to use our water systems. In other words, I will be camping in desert areas that will often be above freezing at night; however, the drive between a non-freezing garage back and forth to camp will expose the PUP to temps in the teens to 20s.

    In my case I care less about taste (I can bring extra water for drinking), but I want functional hot water for dishes and cleaning/bathing. Not that psyched for 'hot water baths' (e.g. 'just boil a pot of water') as I did that for years car camping, and I want the trailer to function when cleaning off both me and kiddos. Of course, I would have to 'fill up' with water near camp unless the temps on the drive down are moderate.

    Have any of you had luck with a quick method of winterizing at camp, which holds up for the drive home. As I see it, the de-winterizing needs to be EZ as well, as I cannot do a 'full' de-winterization at home, as the PUP might be exposed to freezing temps on the drive to camp.

    I hope that write up makes sense - Drew
     
  2. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    You could drain your fresh water tank at camp and the blow out your lines with a portable compressor/bicycle pump or use a hand pump to pump antifreeze in via the city water fill. If your water pump is easily accessible, you could put on a winterizing kit and use it to pump in antifreeze.
     
  3. Arruba

    Arruba Active Member

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    Read your, "Other" inquiry in "How I winterize". If the antifreeze and vac approach won't work consider this:

    For the lines, rather than a vacuum, blow out the lines using a 12 volt compressor through the city water connection with the appropriate fitting as mentioned above. You could do the same at a gas station using compressed air, though by using your own, you have a better idea of the air's sanitation. To do this requires a better than a little 12 volt tire tire pump IMO. That said, I've blown mine out with a cheap Harbor Freight 12 volt compressor with adequate results. I've never tried a bicycle pump.

    For the pump, install a drain valve at the discharge end of the pump. After draining everything, open the valve and run the pump a couple of times to burp the water out of it.

    Good luck.
     
  4. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    We do it all the time, camp and head out the next morning in below 30 degree weather. Many of winters the water was winterized for winter storage at our last camp site.

    Our system including HW tank and fresh water tank drains well, from the our 5 low point valves. We were able to do the same thing on past campers. We open the faucets drain the system, rise the shower head open the faucet. Lower the outside shower head and open the faucet, Disconnect the input to the water pump and connect a siphon hose and pump about 12 oz of rv antifreeze through the pump to protect the pump. We dump the toilet and gray water and take out of the camper anything that might freeze and break. On one camper I needed to bring a small air compressor and blow out the lines because the lines did not drain well. But my other camper they drain well.
     
  5. mtndrew

    mtndrew Member

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    Thank you everyone, @tenttrailer that is comforting advice. I do have a couple of questions:

    1. It seems as though for your camper you feel OK not pumping antifreeze through your faucets/shower heads, etc. Out of curiosity, how cold do you think your trailer has traveled through with this system?

    2. Also, and sorry for being unclear, what do you mean by 5 low point valves? I know there is a valve on the main tank, and the hot water heater, and on my PUP I also have grey water drains (but not valves - I don't think) for inside shower and sink. What might be the other valves? Are there valves I'm not aware of under the sink and inside shower plumbing?

    3. Everyone seems to agree that the pump has to have antifreeze, but it seems as though simply draining the hot water tank is enough, right?

    4. When using your system in the winter, are you drinking water too, or using secondary storage for your drinking water (per taste problems)?

    5. If I mess up, it seems better to blow out plumbing lines - as this might be time consuming but not expensive to fix. The key concerns would be to avoid damaging the water pump and hot water heater? I hope to not mess up anything!

    Thank you again!
     
  6. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    Draining the water heater is fine. That is what I do...My TT has a bypass to cut the supply off to the tank when I put in antifreeze.
     
  7. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    low point drains. Many campers have valves under the camper on the water lines that drain the water lines, fresh water tank, etc. You first open you faucets so it created a siphon than open the drains. You have to look at the drains and pipes and make sure its going to drain your system. In my case the first I winterize, I drained my system then blow it out and see how much water I get out. On my current camper less than 1 quart total for 4 cold facets and 4 hot facets, hw tank. With that little water I feel real good with just draining.

    You don't have to get all the water out of the lines/tanks just the majority. When the water freezes if there is room for the freezing water to expand it will flow in the pipe or tank. If there is not room it will expand and break whatever it is trapped by.
     
  8. mtndrew

    mtndrew Member

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    Thanks - Learn something new about this thing daily - just crawled under and found two low point drains under where the water pump is.

    As I am doing some of this backwards (e.g. bought the PUP in winter, learning stuff on the go via break-in trips), maybe I will err on the side of caution and flush antifreeze through the pipes with the pump when leaving camp to play it safe.

    When warmer at home, I can experiment with tenttrailer's point in seeing how much H2O remains after a blow out.

    Thanks again, A
     
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  9. mtndrew

    mtndrew Member

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    Just a quick update to everyone after our 2nd shakedown trip this past weekend. As noted, winterizing at camp was really no big deal at all. I used three gallons, which was excessive, but I was a bit paranoid especially as I do not have a compressor to blow out the lines.

    Very easy to drain the HW tank, drain the main tank, pop the low point drains, isolate the water supply, and run antifreeze to the faucets. I also added some to the toilet and ran the toilet pump for a moment til pink. The whole process will take literally five minutes now that I know where everything is. I will never hesitate to use water in the shoulder seasons moving forward! Thank you!

    I left the desert in the 60s and it was in the 20s when I got home, and I have zero concerns.
     
    MaeKay likes this.
  10. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    I am glad you were able to make easy work of it.
     
  11. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    I was JUST about to ask this question! Gotta love Utah Weather! It snowed on Memorial Day (the day I moved here) but we didn’t have fall leaves until late October. Every year after the leaves were done by September.
     
  12. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    On a side note it usually takes a prolonged deep freeze to burst pipes & rubber hoses take longer because they can expand a little without tearing out.
     
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  13. MaeKay

    MaeKay Active Member

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    That’s what my neighbor said. He said he wouldn’t normally de-winterize his TT this early but since they’re traveling for Spring break it’s not a huge deal since we won’t have a long cold snap anymore this year most likely.
     
  14. nhlakes

    nhlakes Active Member

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    I winterize and de-winterize several times a year. We usually head south for a week or two once or twice in the winter. It's winterized when we leave, we de-winterize when we're going to be above freezing for a week or so, and re-winterize on the way back. The Camco winterizing valve that allows you to pump in antifreeze allows the process to be done in minutes.
     

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