Winterizing the plumbing

You may have another month or so, then again maybe not. Sometimes a good hard freeze doesn’t happen in the Great Basin until December or later but from October on out you are playing the odds. Its when the average of the daily minimum and maximum temperatures goes below 30F or you have most of the night at hard freezing temperatures that you really have risk of freeze damage in your RV.

You’ve got three kinds of plumbing risks. The small things like faucets and valves and the big things like tanks and then the special stuff like filters and accumulators and pumps.

Blowing out the lines with compressed air is a popular technique. Its problem is that it can leave small amounts of water in valves or dips. Most of the time this isn’t a problem, especially if all the valves are left open and given a week or two to dry out. An antifreeze fill is always a good idea as it will replace the water without having to depend upon what might happen. Seals and gaskets drying out might be another reason to keep the system wet with antifreeze.

The large things should be drained and isolated (e.g. water heater bypass). Usually a bit of water in them isn’t a problem and antifreeze really isn’t needed.

Traps should be well enough protected by the pink stuff coming out of the valves when you make sure you have antifreeze throughout the pressure side of the plumbing. They too will dry out in a week or two usually.

The taste thing in the spring goes along with the sanitatizing exercise. Residual taste says you need to improve your flush technique. By the time you’ve flushed the antifreeze then hyperchlorinated then flushed you shouldn’t be tasting the antifreeze.

Do be careful when attaching pressurized air to the system as it is easy to overpressurize. Also keep in mind that many air compressors tend to produce ‘dirty’ air that may flavorize or contaminate a system.

Sometimes a couple of gallons of antifreeze in the water tank over winter can be useful to allow using the toilet. Other than that, your fresh water supply is best from bottles.

Also see the owners guide on Winterizing, Warmth, Catalytic Heaters and don’t forget the Mice.

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