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How to dry-run while it's still winter?

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How to dry-run while it's still winter?

Unread postby Mikey on Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:38 pm

Ok, so in two Wednesdays I'm going to be picking up our new trailer. I'm going to go through the PDI, but it won't be able to check things like water running, toilet etc. Or maybe it will. Either way, that weekend I want to camp out where it's going to be stored to test it (ya, that's the excuse). How do I re-winterize in the winter?
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Re: How to dry-run while it's still winter?

Unread postby skipnchar on Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:06 pm

I don't blame you for looking for ANY excuse to get in the new toy. If you're planning on using all of the systems, like the water system you've got some work to do before using it. It more than likely will have antifreeze in the water lines that'll need to be flushed out with plenty of fresh water. After that you'll need to "un-bypass" the water heater (usually turning either one or two valves). Next you'll need to sanitize the water system if you plan on using water from the water system for drinking, cooking or brushing teeth. Here's a link to a thread on this forum detailing how to do this http://rv-forums.org/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=49. If you just want to TEST the water system and carry on water for personal use in a 5 gallon jug (that's how I'd do it) then you could use the water system for showers, toilet flushing, hand washing etc. with no problem. Make CERTAIN that you don't turn on the electric element in your water heater until the tank is un-bypassed AND filled with water (by hooking up to pressure water source or by filling the fresh water tank and turning on the pump until it shuts off, which will probably be several minutes). Turning on the electric OR the LP Gas burner on the tank when it's empty will do damage to the tank or the heating element.

Direct answer to your question about "how to re-winterize": IF your new trailer has a fresh water tank by-pass installed which allows you to pump antifreeze directly from the bottle (this is the best way) then putting it back in the lines is fairly easy. Just make sure y ou drain all water tanks first. Disconnect the pressure water hose and or turn off the water pump (which ever water source you're using) then open up a faucet on the hot side to relieve the pressure. Failure to do this could result in injury when you remove the drain plug from the hot water tank. If your trailer has an Atwood heater with the nylon plug it'll just scare you if it was still pressurized and blew out of the tank but if it's a Suburban with the metal drain plug with anode attached, it could actually cause injury. In either case, you reverse the by-pass valve(s) behind your water heater, then drain the hot water tank (with water cooled off). Next open the low point drains to get water out of the water lines themselves. It's a good idea to run the water pump for a minute or so with the low point drains opened. It'll spit and sputter a bit but won't hurt anything. Next, if you HAVE a water filter you'll need to remove the cartridge from it so the antifreeze doesn't ruin it. Then you put the cannister back on.

Now with hot water tank by-passed, fresh water tank drained, holding tanks emptied and the black tank set up for use with a gallon of water and tank chemical added to it, it's time to winterize. With a fresh water tank kit installed you put the hose end in the antifreeze bottle and turn on the water pump until it turns off again. Have someone open each water faucet, one at a time until the antifreeze is running out. Let a little of it go down the drain to fill the P traps under sinks and shower. Watch the antifreeze bottle so you don't suck air and be prepared to have them shut off the pump while you change jugs when necessary. After you have antifreeze in ALL of the lines (don't forget the outside shower and the toilet) close the valve on the by-pass kit and you're almost done. Pour a half gallon of antifreeze down the toilet so the water you added doesn't freeze hard, close the flapper valve and add another cup to the toilet bowl itslef (to keep the rubber gasket wet). Make sure there is some antifreeze in all P traps under sinks and shower. The pink antifreeze will have splattered in the sinks, toilet and shower but don't worry it comes off easily when it's time to take it out again.

I know it sounds like a lot to do but with a little practice you can finish all of this in less than an hour. Just make sure you don't leave ANYTHING in the trailer that can freeze. Hand lotion, liquid soaps, cleaning spray bottles, furniture wax, tooth paste, all can freeze and make a mess. Anything edible (to a mouse) should also be removed unless you like the little critters. Remember they'll eat bars or soap, shoe polish, just about anything.

I probably left something out so maybe someone else can make more suggestions but it's really just common sense stuff and you'll probably think of a few things yourself that I wouldn't even think of.

Good luck and enjoy the new trailer / Skip
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Re: How to dry-run while it's still winter?

Unread postby Mikey on Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:02 pm

Holy cow Skip, thanks!

Don't know if I want to go through all this for one weekend. Maybe a followup question. When can it be unwinterized? Does it have to be above freezing consistantly? Or can it drop below for a night or two?
2008 Amerilite 23bw
Towed by a Silverado 2500 HD.
Other toys:CBR1100XX,EX500 ImageImage

Speed doesn't kill. Your wife finding out you got a ticket, does.
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Re: How to dry-run while it's still winter?

Unread postby skipnchar on Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:11 pm

If you store the trailer where 120 volt electric if available you could put an electric space heater inside, open the cabinets under sinks etc. to allow heat to get to most pipe areas and probably get by unless it's gets pretty cold. After all, they're made to CAMP in this kind of weather. If you DO that it might still be a good idea to drain and by -pass the water heater because that could be a weak point. Otherwise you'd have to leave it running on electric also to keep it from freezing. About the only OTHER problem point might be the dog shower. If the hose is removable, just take it off and IT should be ok too.
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Re: How to dry-run while it's still winter?

Unread postby Rough2000 on Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:36 pm

If the area has restrooms /showers, you may want to camp without using the plumbing. Carry water for drinking/cooking. Use paper plates. This will give you a chance to test out things such as the heater, micro, refridge, oven, etc. It will also get you prepared for increasing the weight of the trailer (you know...those little trips to Wally World). Start your lists now and beat the rush. It will be warm soon. :D
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Re: How to dry-run while it's still winter?

Unread postby Mikey on Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:06 pm

skipnchar wrote:If you store the trailer where 120 volt electric if available you could put an electric space heater inside, open the cabinets under sinks etc. to allow heat to get to most pipe areas and probably get by unless it's gets pretty cold. After all, they're made to CAMP in this kind of weather. If you DO that it might still be a good idea to drain and by -pass the water heater because that could be a weak point. Otherwise you'd have to leave it running on electric also to keep it from freezing. About the only OTHER problem point might be the dog shower. If the hose is removable, just take it off and IT should be ok too.


I do have plumbing available (the shop has a shower). I don't have the doggy shower installed yet (f you are refering to the outside one), and there is a direct dump into the city sewer system so I can dump the blackwater after testing. I have an electric heater that would work great since it has a thermostat, so I'll probably use it as normal, drain the water and put the heater in to be sure that the missed water doesn't freeze. YAH, I think this'll work!

What did you mean "they're made to CAMP in this kind of weather"?

And we've already got a spare room full of RV toys already!
2008 Amerilite 23bw
Towed by a Silverado 2500 HD.
Other toys:CBR1100XX,EX500 ImageImage

Speed doesn't kill. Your wife finding out you got a ticket, does.
Mikey
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Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:19 am
Location: Hamilton, Ontaro


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