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Blow Out Method Winterization!?


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I have seen this touched on in other threads but am wishing to drill down on specifics here.  My question is to whether CAREFULLY blowing out the lines is a safe way of winterizing for below freezing temps.  By careful, I include (in no particular order) 1) using an oil free compressor set to around 45lbs psi, 2) blowing both hot and cold lines with nose up and down and repeating, allowing enough pressurized time so no water runs out of faucets 3) turning the hot water cut off switch to "off", 4) emptying the tanks, 5) cleaning and drying out the bulb containing the water pump filter.

I use the trailer frequently and intermittently all winter long and am mostly boondocking so winterizing with the pink stuff is problematical.  I know the Oliver does not suggest blow outs and have discussed with the shop but get the sense they don't like that technique as it is not idiot proof .  Do any of you have direct experience with doing this?

Gerrt

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Yes, I have experience with this method (not on the Ollie though) and usually it works.  Obviously, the entire issue here is getting ALL of the water out of the system.  Just as obvious is what happens if you don't get it all out.

In the case of the Oliver there are a couple of "problem" areas - the anti-siphon valves (back flow) and the outdoor shower.

Given the time it takes to do a "proper" blowing out of the system I have found that it is easier, and faster just to use the standard RV antifreeze.

Good luck!

Bill

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

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I blow out "Mouse" for indoor storage, but I do not winter camp in extreme cold. I would not trust the method to be 100% effective. If you do want to try it, I suggest that you do it twice, with an hour between blows to get out stuff that might drain to the low spots. Installing winterization (isolation) valves for the outside shower would help, a three way selector placed close to the furnace, with a drain out the belly for the "trapped" water, would allow you to forget about that circuit entirely, once it was either blown out or "anti-frozen"... I just made up that word.

overland rerouted all the rear water lines to just behind the tanks, so they are better heated, and that might be prudent, you could do it at the same time as installing the shower bypass stuff. Is your trailer stored outdoors when not in use? 

Be aware that even though you completely blow out the lines, you must always add a few ounces of antifreeze to the three waste traps afterwards, or they could freeze and crack. 

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

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Last winter I blew mine out with the one hour wait and then repeat tactic mentioned by John and it did experience some overnight lows in the teens as it sat idle outdoors. Perhaps just beginner's luck but the plumbing came through fine. I think it took about 30 minutes of active time plus the wait between blow periods. 

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

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As John rightly points out, I did forget to mention pouring some of the pink down the traps.  I do currently store my rig outdoors.  Am buying a portable, "hoop house" garage but that will do nothing really to protect the trailer from the cold.  Moving the lines as suggested for better heating sounds prudent. 

-  Installing cut offs for the outside shower leaves me wondering how to clear that line once water is introduced for a mid winter trip?  I understand that water would not make it to the hot/cold water controls or the shower head but it would fill those lines up to the cut off valves.  If using the "blow out method", would re-winterizing the outside shower simply be a matter of opening the shut offs, blowing out the water and resealing the cut off's?

-  Why John did you suggest placing the three way w/drain close to the furnace?  Doesen't the fresh and grey water tanks themselves (I have a composing toilet so nothing in black tank lines) offer the best low point drain opportunities?

I do not doubt that winterizing with the pink is more fool proof and easier but given our frequent mid winter usage, doesen't seem like it would really work for us.

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I have not done this, it is just rattling around inside my head. for the shower lines I would install a pair of L Port bypass valves, like the water heater one, close to the existing fresh drain (aka near the furnace) and also tee those isolated sections there into the water tank drain line, between that valve and the belly opening. You could add two regular valves there, open them the in the winter and close them when you need the shower to be working. 

Yes, you still need a way to blow out the dead end shower section, you could make a simple adapter hose to screw on the end of  flexi hose outside, and blow back into the trailer. By leaving the drain valves open, any seepage past the isolation valve would hopefully drip out the belly rather than go uphill to the shower. But I don’t think that would be 100% certain. I haven’t actually drawn this out, getting the valves oriented correctly is important. I think it would work. Three way valves are a little tricky to understand, this might be informative.

984E0F2E-C16A-499C-8F26-40E9EB5B79BF.thumb.jpeg.9734bb06b323907bc3f86fc17d5b1ea2.jpeg

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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I think Oliver got this winterization thing right.  2+ gallons of $3/gallon antifreeze (Super Walmart RV Section Before Fall) and we are done.  No worries.

Or, the cost of an air compressor that may or may not get the job done for sure.  = worries to me.                        I like no worries better.  

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On 11/8/2021 at 10:56 AM, John E Davies said:

I have not done this, it is just rattling around inside my head. for the shower lines I would install a pair of L Port bypass valves, like the water heater one, close to the existing fresh drain (aka near the furnace) and also tee those isolated sections there into the water tank drain line, between that valve and the belly opening. You could add two regular valves there, open them the in the winter and close them when you need the shower to be working. 

Yes, you still need a way to blow out the dead end shower section, you could make a simple adapter hose to screw on the end of  flexi hose outside, and blow back into the trailer. By leaving the drain valves open, any seepage past the isolation valve would hopefully drip out the belly rather than go uphill to the shower. But I don’t think that would be 100% certain. I haven’t actually drawn this out, getting the valves oriented correctly is important. I think it would work. Three way valves are a little tricky to understand, this might be informative.

984E0F2E-C16A-499C-8F26-40E9EB5B79BF.thumb.jpeg.9734bb06b323907bc3f86fc17d5b1ea2.jpeg

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

Informative for sure so thanks on that John.  The thought of performing these type of plumbing tweaks is a bit intimidating.

My situation is pretty unique, I guess, as most folks seem to stay clear of extended length below freezing tripping.  For short stretches, bottled/jugged water and a composting toilet works well but anything more then a few days, a shower moves from the "kinda nice" box to "kinda got to do it".  I have been told by quite a few winter trailer users that they have no problem with the blow out system in their rigs but those aren't Olivers and I'm a little gun shy about experimenting with mine. Obviously, waking up and re-winterizing with pink, multiple times during the winter, without access to a heated garage, is a dubious situation.

I saw that Oliver used to have guidelines for blowing out posted, as a video, on their site.  Have reached out to the shop to further explore and am absolutely going to experiment.  Will report back with updates as things unfold.

Gerry

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54 minutes ago, GAP said:

For short stretches, bottled/jugged water and a composting toilet works well but anything more then a few days, a shower moves from the "kinda nice" box to "kinda got to do it". 

This might be in a TMI category (and if so, I apologize), but our solution for a shower when the trailer is winterized is to use a solar shower bag.  We heat water from the jug on the stove, pour it into the bag, perhaps add a bit of cool water to get the temperature just right, and hang the bag in the shower.  The only thing that might need attention in severely cold temperatures is to drain the gray-water tank more frequently, and add antifreeze to the drain trap.  

The shower bag and sprayer hangs lower than the normal shower head, so we sit on a stool for a shower.  This also keeps incidental spray to a minimum (no shower curtain needed!).

Actually, we use this shower-bag method whenever we're boondocking and trying to conserve water, regardless of season.  We fill the bag at the galley sink with water heated from the tank, or heat water from an outside supply on the stove (or heat water from an outside supply in the bag by placing it in the sun for the day).  The spray from the shower bag is finer than that of the installed shower head, so less water is needed.  Using the shower bag saves the volume of water needed to fill the hot water line between the galley sink, and the amount of water normally needed to adjust the temperature at the shower.  Between the composting shower and the shower bag, we can conserve tank water for a very long time, and extend the time to when we need to empty the gray water tank. 

** Moderators: I'm responding to a post in this thread, but putting this response into its own thread might make it more searchable later... **

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22 hours ago, Geronimo John said:

I think Oliver got this winterization thing right.  2+ gallons of $3/gallon antifreeze (Super Walmart RV Section Before Fall) and we are done.  No worries.

Or, the cost of an air compressor that may or may not get the job done for sure.  = worries to me.                        I like no worries better.  

I agree it is very simple and easy, especially with the boondocking port. I use a hybrid method blowing out the lines and then filling them back up with antifreeze. I like to just make sure the lines are all antifreeze with no water diluting it. But, I live in Massachusetts and it can stay below freezing for weeks. I would be leery of just trying to blow out the lines and not using anti-freeze, I am not sure this would get the water out of the pump.

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For those of us with composting toilets:  is it necessary to make sure antifreeze gets into the water line behind the composting toilet by opening  the valve behind the toilet when drawing in antifreeze, until it runs pink, as you would do with the vanity sink and the kitchen sink? Thanks.

David

Kim and David Thompson Nomads' Nest 2018 LE2 #366 2018 Toyota Tundra, 4x4, 5.7L


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I don't have the composter, but, if I did, I'd do what you are suggesting the first time I winterized and then forget about it.  My reasoning is that even though this line should be empty, you don't know if someone along the line has put water in there for some reason.  

Bill

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

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I don't yet own an Ollie, but I would also do as you suggested, i.e., open the valve behind the toilet until it "runs pink".

If I understand the plumbing design of the Oliver trailers correctly, there is no separate "upstream" valve with which the water line to the toilet can be isolated.  Since the entire water supply system is pressurized with water whenever either city water or the fresh water tank is used to supply water to other fixtures, there will be water in that toilet supply line that must be replaced with RV antifreeze to avoid freeze breakage.

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Central Idaho

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Invert a paper cup or bowl over the top of the 1/4” ball valve outboard from the Natures Head toilet. Otherwise you will poke yer eye out! Seriously, it comes out with a lot of force and will end up in your face. Don’t think “Hmmm, no worries, I will just crack it open a little” - that makes it WAY worse.

Go ahead, ask me how I know😳

John Davies

Spokane WA

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Thanks. However, is Topgun correct, “…do it once and forgot it”, or does it have to be done every time when winterizing? If there is no separate shutoff valve, seems it would have to be done every time. What are others doing? Thanks. 
David

Kim and David Thompson Nomads' Nest 2018 LE2 #366 2018 Toyota Tundra, 4x4, 5.7L


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8 hours ago, thompsonkd said:

For those of us with composting toilets:  is it necessary to make sure antifreeze gets into the water line behind the composting toilet by opening  the valve behind the toilet when drawing in antifreeze, until it runs pink, as you would do with the vanity sink and the kitchen sink? Thanks.

David

This is how I did it.  Cheap faucet line from Ace and the cut-off bottom from a antifreeze jug.  No squirt, splash or mess to clean up.

Olliver Toilet Valve Winterization.JPG

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1 hour ago, thompsonkd said:

However, is Topgun correct, “…do it once and forgot it”,

Do it once for the winter and forget it.  I believe that This supply line for what would have been the regular toilet gets its water from the main supply just like all other lines in the Ollie as Rivernerd pointed out.

Bill

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

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Don't forget to add antifreeze to the sinks and shower drains. Hard to blow them out. We do the blow out first, twice. Then we use the antifreeze. When taking off in the real cold weather, we do not de-winterize until south of the Mason Dixon line. We carry a case of water in the tow vehicle, and transfer it to the Oliver when the furnace is turned on. We use RV antifreeze to flush with. We usually have 3 extra gallons  in the closet as it seems harder to find once out of Maine...

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