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Winterizing using the blow out method: no longer recommended


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I see from the videos for winterizing Oliver no longer recommends using the blowout method with pressurized air. Something about damaging the plumbing system, whats up with that? In the past they recommended either or method with pressurized air or anti-freeze. I like the idea of air if for no other reason far less to do come spring when its time to de-winterize.

Went through the process of pressurized air yesterday @ 40 PSI approximately, but wanted to double check I got it completed correctly. All of the faucets inside and out were completely blown out but the two areas I was not sure about were the fresh water fill inlets, the one at the back of the trailer and there other next to the city water connection. 

Thanks, look forward to replies.

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The only area that might not be blown out sufficiently in the toilet inlet valve. After using the compressed air method throughly, consider disconnecting the flex hose from the valve and allow it to drain. Be aware that the water pump has a maximum inlet pressure rating of 30-35 lb (can't remember which) so if you blow out the boon docking inlet, be sure to set the pump inlet valves so air pressure will divert toward the water tank. Then remove pump inlet strainer and activate the pump to clear any water out of the pump and accumulator.

For the fresh fill inlet, blow it out last with the boon docking valve for it closed.

Finally, remove the filter screen washers in all inlets until any trapped water drains.

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We do both methods. We NEVER put air on the pump inlet though. After blow out we put the water heater to bypass. After flushing in the Spring we do sanitize the tank and lines. And flush again. Whole process takes another 30 minutes? Toilet valve is in excess of $60.00, so is it worth the 15 minutes and extra risk?

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To my knowledge, they've always recommended using the antifreeze method.  As they should, since it's probably the most idiot proof least risky way of doing it.  I think you'd have to use pretty high pressure to damage any plumbing, but I suppose that it's possible.  The main problem though is that it's very difficult to get 100% of the water out, and that water could settle at a joint, in a faucet or valve, etc., and potentially cause damage if it freezes.  Having said that, I've used the compressed air method for the past two years and haven't seen any problems - tough I've also made a few modifications that should help in that regard.  

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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56 minutes ago, Mainiac said:

We do both methods. We NEVER put air on the pump inlet though. After blow out we put the water heater to bypass. After flushing in the Spring we do sanitize the tank and lines. And flush again. Whole process takes another 30 minutes? Toilet valve is in excess of $60.00, so is it worth the 15 minutes and extra risk?

And, rv antifreeze is $2.50 at Walmart, better stuff $4 at the auto parts store this week. Cheap insurance. 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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1 hour ago, SeaDawg said:

And, rv antifreeze is $2.50 at Walmart, better stuff $4 at the auto parts store this week. Cheap insurance. 

The "better" stuff is $2.99 at Tractor Supply. Same stuff is $4.99 to $6.99 at Home Depot and Lowes.

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3 hours ago, Mainiac said:

We do both methods. We NEVER put air on the pump inlet though. After blow out we put the water heater to bypass. After flushing in the Spring we do sanitize the tank and lines. And flush again. Whole process takes another 30 minutes? Toilet valve is in excess of $60.00, so is it worth the 15 minutes and extra risk?

What toilet valve is this? Are you referring to the valve mounted on the flush out line that cleans the black tank? If so my Oliver does not have that valve, perhaps this was a later day installation.

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Thanks for all the responses. In the past I have always used the RV anti-freeze method but was curious about trying the blow out method. Its not clear to me why 40 PSI air pressure would damage a water pump though. I will do the anti-freeze method in addition to what I've already done tomorrow.

FWIW at one time Oliver did produce and link this method on their website a few years ago. 

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19 hours ago, routlaw said:

What toilet valve is this? Are you referring to the valve mounted on the flush out line that cleans the black tank? If so my Oliver does not have that valve, perhaps this was a later day installation.

The toilet valve in question is the one going into the standard toilet itself. That is the one that allows the water to enter the toilet. It is mounted   just in behind the foot pedal on the right.

Edited by Mainiac
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2 minutes ago, routlaw said:

Thanks for all the responses. In the past I have always used the RV anti-freeze method but was curious about trying the blow out method. Its not clear to me why 40 PSI air pressure would damage a water pump though. I will do the anti-freeze method in addition to what I've already done tomorrow.

Think the water pump has a low pressure setup..30..35 psi maybe? Not sure?.  We have always blown out twice. First blow moves most of the water out. I wait for a while as I blow out hoses and filter containers. The second blow gets any droplets that slide back to low spots. The anti freeze gets any atomized droplets and makes me feel better. The antifreeze also runs into the traps which helps those and it also helps lubricate and seal toilet gasket. 

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And, rv antifreeze is $2.50 at Walmart, better stuff $4 at the auto parts store this week. Cheap insurance. 

The "better" stuff is $2.99 at Tractor Supply. Same stuff is $4.99 to $6.99 at Home Depot and Lowes.

I just looked at the antifreeze I bought at WalMart and it claims to protect down to 50 below zero.  What does the "better" stuff do better?

Bill

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Sooooo, this chain does bring up a few questions that I (newbie) have about winterizing.  Seems like some folks blow out, others do anit freeze and a few do both.

Caveats:  I am new to trailering, will be camping through the northern New England Winters and My E2 was ordered with a composting toilet.

As best as I can tell, I would likely do a full blown winterization (anti freeze with or without blowing lines) for cold weather storage periods and simply blow out exterior ports (plus exterior shower) for driving in anything below freezing temps (even if I choose to drive with propane heat running).  Does that seem right?  I am particularly intersted in what it takes to do a partial winterizing to enable safe driving in sub freezing conditions IF the propane heat is left on.

Sounds like there could be an issue running higher air pressure through the water pump and, from previous chains, could be other issues with purging lines with pressurized air.  That said, is there any real advantage in blowing things out plus usiing AF versus simply draining and adding AF to accomplish a full blown winterization?

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19 hours ago, Mainiac said:

Think the water pump has a low pressure setup..30..35 psi maybe?

55 psi is the spec, but I found that mine was closer to 40.  I raised it back up to 55 for a while, before reducing it back down to 40 after doing my water saving mods.  That was the lowest I could set it to before seeing a drop off in pressure at the shower.  Regardless, it was fine at 55.  Truma specs a limit of 65 psi for their water heater, so that would probably be your limit on water or air pressure.  No idea if the Suburban has a limit.

From what I've seen of amateur youtube PEX testing, press fittings are the Achilles heel of the system.  Crimped fittings of any sort seem to hold past the point of the PEX itself failing, which is somewhere in the 300+ psi range*.  Furthermore, the push fittings that I've seen tested were brass SharkBite brand, and my experience is that the big white plastic push fittings that Oliver uses are far easier to remove than SharkBite.  Of course that could be because their release mechanism is better designed, but I'd worry though that they just don't hold as well in general. But within the range we're talking, I'm sure that they're fine.

 

* With cold water, just increasing pressure until failure.  I'd guess that the point of failure with hot water and holding the pressure for a long time would be lower.  But if we're talking about blowing out the lines with air, that type of testing seems like a valid comparison.  edit - from this page, it looks like PEX is rated to 160 psi for cold water (74°) and 100 psi for hot (160° - fyi, Truma spec their water heater at 120°)

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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1 hour ago, GAP said:

...and simply blow out exterior ports (plus exterior shower) for driving in anything below freezing temps (even if I choose to drive with propane heat running).  Does that seem right?

Exactly - I think that's one of the main advantages of having a compressor and knowing how to blow out the lines.  

I don't know if you could really do a 'partial' winterization, due to the configuration of the plumbing; i.e., whatever water you leave in the system is likely to end up at the check valves.  Which are brass, and thoughtfully connected directly to the brass hose fittings so that they will freeze as quickly as possible.  But I think you'll find that blowing everything out is quick enough that it's not too much of a chore.  Maybe a 30 minute job?

If you really want to travel in freezing weather, I'd recommend moving those check valves, and...upcoming post teaser...perhaps a few other things.  

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Thanks on that.  Some of it was a tad beyond my horizon as a newbiw but I get the gist.  Really looking forward to seeing future post updates on mods.

Couple of things:

While I am not sure where the "check valves" are located, I am wondering if blowing things out carefully but leaving some heat on while driving will protect the most vunerable plumbing?

Has anyone had the experience of failures happening from freezing after a through compressor based winterizing sanz anti freeze?  It would be great, for driving puposes to simply blow out the system, leaving a tank full of water (I'm assuming that would take much longer to freeze) and save on the water it takes to clear the AF at the next stop(s).

I've discussed winterizing with Truma directly.  They claim that their newer generation Comfort water heater (the ones in recent Olivers) are set up to gravity drain entirely.  No need to even pull the filter.  According to them, turn the Truma off, allow to cool, open the drain for 5 minutes and that is all that is needed to be fully winterized.  Older models require pulling the filter which tended to hold onto some water.  They suggested not filling with AF.

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That's good news on the Truma.

There are some plumbing spots on the Ollie that don't get good ventilation.  One of those areas is right at the fill ports - the plumbing is in a tight channel along with a good bit of wiring and then covered with the basement floor.  Unfortunately, that's where the check valves are.  It's a sensible spot for them to be, if your goal is to minimize the amount of water that will spill out when you detach a hose, but it's a bad spot if your priority is to keep them from freezing.  

I've only had a line freeze twice, and neither were with the trailer winterized.  Once was the cold line to the bath, but it trickled enough that it cleared up in a few minutes with the water on.  The other was at the fill ports when we had to travel all day through freezing temps.  We had some water in the tank, so we could use the plumbing; but if we hadn't, then we'd have been out of luck since both water ports were frozen solid.  

I also had one check valve fail - not leaking, just stuck open - but I don't know if that was freeze related.  Could possibly have been related to the above, but I don't know for sure.

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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8 hours ago, GAP said:

Sooooo, this chain does bring up a few questions that I (newbie) have about winterizing.  Seems like some folks blow out, others do anit freeze and a few do both.

Caveats:  I am new to trailering, will be camping through the northern New England Winters and My E2 was ordered with a composting toilet.

As best as I can tell, I would likely do a full blown winterization (anti freeze with or without blowing lines) for cold weather storage periods and simply blow out exterior ports (plus exterior shower) for driving in anything below freezing temps (even if I choose to drive with propane heat running).  Does that seem right?  I am particularly intersted in what it takes to do a partial winterizing to enable safe driving in sub freezing conditions IF the propane heat is left on.

Sounds like there could be an issue running higher air pressure through the water pump and, from previous chains, could be other issues with purging lines with pressurized air.  That said, is there any real advantage in blowing things out plus usiing AF versus simply draining and adding AF to accomplish a full blown winterization?

Good question . . . . . one I have, too.  If you are going to winterize the entire trailer with Antifreeze, why would you also blow out the lines?  Seems like just an extra step that is negated by pumping antifreeze into the lines.

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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8 hours ago, Overland said:

Exactly - I think that's one of the main advantages of having a compressor and knowing how to blow out the lines.  

I don't know if you could really do a 'partial' winterization, due to the configuration of the plumbing; i.e., whatever water you leave in the system is likely to end up at the check valves.  Which are brass, and thoughtfully connected directly to the brass hose fittings so that they will freeze as quickly as possible.  But I think you'll find that blowing everything out is quick enough that it's not too much of a chore.  Maybe a 30 minute job?

If you really want to travel in freezing weather, I'd recommend moving those check valves, and...upcoming post teaser...perhaps a few other things.  

In regards to the check valves: does pumping antifreeze into the exterior hose fittings, using a hand pump, protect the check valves from freezing if you leave water in the system.  So, if you want to travel in freezing weather, but leave the interior plumbing active (water in fresh tank) with heat on, can you winterize the exterior plumbing as stated above and be protected?  Or would it be safer to travel fully winterized, using water in jugs for necessities (washing dishes, cooking and flushing the toilet).  And, should you add antifreeze to the toilet flush?

I ask because we hope to make our return from Hohenwald to Oregon in mid-December via I-40.  We will be traveling through high desert areas from Albuquerque to Gallup NM and Flagstaff to Kingman AZ, in elevations over 4,000' where temperatures will most likely be below freezing and below 20 at night. Ideally we will time our drive so we are passing through these higher elevations during the warmer part of the day.

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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7 hours ago, GAP said:

I've discussed winterizing with Truma directly.  They claim that their newer generation Comfort water heater (the ones in recent Olivers) are set up to gravity drain entirely.  No need to even pull the filter.  According to them, turn the Truma off, allow to cool, open the drain for 5 minutes and that is all that is needed to be fully winterized.  Older models require pulling the filter which tended to hold onto some water.  They suggested not filling with AF.

We had a Truma Comfort Plus in our Leisure Travel Van and we were told to never put antifreeze through the Truma.  There were valves to bypass the hot water heater before adding antifreeze to the system.  Ours did not have the electric antifreeze option so we had to drain the hot water tank and remove the filter.

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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2 hours ago, Susan Huff said:

Good question . . . . . one I have, too.  If you are going to winterize the entire trailer with Antifreeze, why would you also blow out the lines?  Seems like just an extra step that is negated by pumping antifreeze into the lines.

The only reason to blow the lines out only to refill them with liquid would be to keep from partially diluting the antifreeze.

Full disclosure: living in North Mississippi, in 13 years I've never used a drop of antifreeze. I usually do drain the the lines and water heater and blow them out but as we are usually back on the road in mid January, I sometimes don't get around to it.

As far as traveling in freezing weather, a full tank of water would take a long time to freeze, I've never worried about it. The pex lines won't burst even if frozen solid but all the fittings run the risk. I do carry pex rings and fittings plus cutting and crimping tools with me.

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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5 hours ago, Susan Huff said:

Good question . . . . . one I have, too.  If you are going to winterize the entire trailer with Antifreeze, why would you also blow out the lines?  Seems like just an extra step that is negated by pumping antifreeze into the lines.

I do it because I have a compressor, live in a part of Maine where some winters the ground freezes solid to 5 feet deep, blowing out seasonal houses plumbing systems is standard practice, and frozen pipes for some folks are as much a part of winter as having a snowball fight.. I know the antifreeze is good to minus 50.... and I know it’ll never get that cold.. but still.. I guess it’s a peace of mind thing...

 

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11 hours ago, Susan Huff said:

So, if you want to travel in freezing weather, but leave the interior plumbing active (water in fresh tank) with heat on, can you winterize the exterior plumbing as stated above and be protected?  

Only if you like drinking antifreeze.  Even if you only add it to the city water port, it may not be in the tank itself, but it's in all your other plumbing.

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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We travel the in freezing weather. Just to be safe we leave the unit in winterized state. We have a case of drinkable water that we keep in the  heated tow vehicle. When the Oliver is heated the water is moved in there. We use antifreeze to flush if needed. Once we are in a clime  where we are comfortable that freezing weather is over, we de-winterize and flush. With 30 lb bottles of propane we are pretty sure we won't run out during the night, but no  guarantee something else won't happen. And we do NOT run with the heater on, though we know some do...

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I'm a bit confused.  May just be a newbie thing.  I assumed that buying a four season trailer meant it could be used to full capacity (exterior shower aside) during four seasons.  Seems to me that any trailer, if fully winterized, is equally up to winter time use.   

We've ordered with composting toilet.  Will be traveling with a Buddy Heater and 120v heater as back ups, compressor and gallons of anti freeze.  Refectex cut outs for windows and some sort of insulated plug for Max Air.  30lb tanks, solar package with lithium batteries.  Planning on jumping in on some of the super smart, cold weather specific mods that have been suggested such as adding vents to basement, better insulation around pipes, temp monitors w/on line alarms, etc...

What I am trying to figure out is how to best protect the Oliver adequately for sub freezing traveling and than to use it with full access to on board water once at camp. Am planning on frequent and extended dry camping in deep cold situations.  By following different threads it's seems that some have done so with great success while others think it's not really possible.  Thanks much for input.

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7 minutes ago, GAP said:

What I am trying to figure out is how to best protect the Oliver adequately for sub freezing traveling and than to use it with full access to on board water once at camp. Am planning on frequent and extended dry camping in deep cold situations.

I do this quite a bit. While I've made some pretty extensive modification to make it easier, all you really need do is:  Bypass (and drain) the water heater, blow out the lines and leave spigots open, then add some antifreeze to the traps. 

For subfreezing use, the Truma water heater is a no-brainer. I added the antifreeze kit but it is only usable if the water system remains charged, like is possible in a motor home that is continuously heated. Where feasible, the kit does save having to re-purge the system every time the heater is drained but it consumes significant power for the heater element and internal circulation pump that runs continuously.  Otherwise, draining the Truma is almost a non-event making the added cost of the kit a waste.

 

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