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Old 07-09-2015, 11:16 AM   #1
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Frozen toilet valve

Two winters in a row now, our toilet valve has frozen and broken. This is despite draining the system for winter and following the directions in the Escape manual to the letter. We would prefer not to use RV anti-freeze in the system. Has anyone come up with a good method for blowing down the system with air? Do you have any other good ideas?
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:33 AM   #2
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I've used air for the last 3 years - winters going down to -10F. My trailer is old enough that it has a low point drain, so that is the first step. After draining, I replace the low point drain cap.

I made an adapter that connects an air hose to the city water inlet. After draining (and cleaning) the water heater by pulling the anode plug, I replace the anode, set the air compressor for 30 - 40 PSI, and go through the trailer opening each faucet until all I get out of each is air. Same with the toilet. (Don't forget the outside shower if you have one). After that I let it sit a day, and repeat the process just to be sure I got all of the water out.

I still add antifreeze to the drains.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:38 AM   #3
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With my 19 I never blew the lines. Now the 21 is different because of no low drain point and I do blow the 21's lines. An adapter that plugs into the city water inlet allowing you to connect a pressure hose. The end of the adapter looks like a tire valve. Mine came from Menard's.

There are several winterizing procedures on this site, I follow one of them. Perhaps you are using the same?

Like you I avoid the anti-freeze except as Jon explains into the drain traps.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:46 AM   #4
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Here is the procedure I use and posted to the files section: Escape Trailer Owners Community - Downloads - Trailer Winterization Using Compressed Air
It's worked well for me for six winters.

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Old 07-09-2015, 11:51 AM   #5
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Not sure what you mean by the toilet valve breaking, but you can pour some olive or coconut oil down the toilet to lube the clean out valve as well as coat the toilet seal in the bowl itself. Our seal used to be stuck closed come spring till we started doing something similar to this. I used Vaseline but read somewhere it can distort the seal, not that it did. Tetford makes a product for this. Which I'm told, again 2nd hand info, is mostly coconut oil. I've also found lubing the rod that connects the clean out handle to it's valve helps keep it working smoothly.

While I blow out my water piping like Jon does, I do pour enough antifreeze down the toilet, sinks and shower drain, enough to keep any water still in the holding after the last dump from freezing as well as filling the traps if there is such on the Escape.
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Old 07-09-2015, 06:21 PM   #6
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I winterize using the compressed air method to clear the water pipes. The toilet flush valve must be cycled several times to remove all of the water.
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Old 07-09-2015, 06:37 PM   #7
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The valve cannot be reached by pouring anything down the toilet. We pump anti-freeze in through the city inlet and that will cover the toilet valve, when you see the anti-freeze come into the toilet from using the flush lever. Anti-freeze is also going into lines to the sinks. Then more anti-freeze in the drains. This seems much easier to us than blowing out lines. We do not blow out lines. The anti-freeze takes 10 minutes or less. The time spent winterizing is mostly draining the tanks.

There are a few other little items to cover when winterizing but as far as the toilet valve, there is no way to know it is covered that I know of unless you use anti-freeze. You have no way to know that the water is out of the toilet valve without taking it apart, unless you use anti-freeze.

We may have to do something different with the 21' with no low-point drain, but as far as yours, you have the low-point drain and can do it the way we did our 19' (after having a broken valve the first year.)
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Old 07-09-2015, 06:51 PM   #8
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Cathy,
Get the E-Z-Winterizing set up, put the tube in your antifreeze bottle and turn on your pump and then open each faucet and flush until antifreeze comes out, then you know the lines and vlaves and everything else has been treated, even the trap due to the waste going down.
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Old 07-09-2015, 06:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Cathy,
Get the E-Z-Winterizing set up, put the tube in your antifreeze bottle and turn on your pump and then open each faucet and flush until antifreeze comes out, then you know the lines and vlaves and everything else has been treated, even the trap due to the waste going down.
Yes, we did order it and will do that! Sounds even easier than using the city water inlet.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:41 PM   #10
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... as far as the toilet valve, there is no way to know it is covered that I know of unless you use anti-freeze. You have no way to know that the water is out of the toilet valve without taking it apart, unless you use anti-freeze.
If you blow out the lines, when only air is coming out while you hold the flush valve open, the valve has been blown out. Yes, there could be a bit of water in a corner of the valve somewhere, but I don't think that's going to break it.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:46 PM   #11
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I took it that the OP blew out the lines and still had a cracked valve twice. ETI had only gIven two sets of directions and one had anti-freeze which will get that valve --- but unfortunately the directions were wrong --- and the other was blowing out the lines which apparently did not.

The anti-freeze directions did not say to pump through from city water to get that valve. Maybe that is what the OP missed and they did use anti-freeze.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:53 PM   #12
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I know you don't want to use the antifreeze, but would flushing with antifreeze then blowing it out right after be acceptable.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:44 PM   #13
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As I recall, the toilet manufacturer changed the valve design a few years ago, and ETI had to change their winterizing procedure to require anti-freeze. Before this change, the ETI winterizing instructions allowed either, but with this change, ETI mailed out a revised procedure that only allowed for the use of anti-freeze.

The issue is that the new toilet valve doesn't get properly cleared, no matter what you do, with blowing out the lines alone.

I'm not sure when this change happened, so I don't know if rvomaha's 2012 might be affected. For my 2013, I received an email with the updated procedure.

For what it's worth, my procedure is to blow out the lines first, then use anti-freeze with the winterizing kit (that is, an extra line goes from between the fresh tank and the pump to a bottle -- I never pour antifreeze into my fresh tank). It hadn't occurred to me to blow out the lines again afterwards -- I'll do that next winter. Two winters now, and there's no discernable taste to our water (but then we're using well water, which has a pretty strong taste to begin with).
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:09 PM   #14
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We also have never put anti-freeze into the fresh water tank.

We saw the directions for the newer situation with no low-point drain and, if we use anti-freeze, we see no reason why one would also blow out the lines. Anti-freeze is easy and fast and it looks as if that covers it, from what we can tell.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:21 PM   #15
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Some folks mention taste left in the pipes. While I can't taste it after flushing with fresh a few times it did turn my old whitish pipes pink. That's when I started blowing it out after running in the pink. Also had the in wall shower control (pre Escape) crack over the winter while filled with antifreeze. The stuff turns to slush as opposed to freezing solid. Not supposed to expand but I have no other way of explaining the crack in the control. Blowing it out afterwards does no damage so I'm good with that route.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:25 PM   #16
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Ditto. No anti-freeze in the fresh water tank.
I use a manual pump fill the lines with anti-freeze through the city water inlet.
And, I leave it there until spring.
I bought a 6 gal. compressor to blow out the lines, but was never confident that it was totally done. Using anti-freeze, I know the lines are full when the pink stuff comes out of each tap.
Maybe it's me, but I don't taste any residue after flushing the lines.
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Old 07-10-2015, 05:15 PM   #17
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I disconnect the toilet, unscrew it from the floor, take the toilet outside and shake it upside down which gets rid of the water that was left. It has not broken since starting doing this.
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Old 07-10-2015, 05:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Ditto. No anti-freeze in the fresh water tank.
I use a manual pump fill the lines with anti-freeze through the city water inlet.
And, I leave it there until spring.
I bought a 6 gal. compressor to blow out the lines, but was never confident that it was totally done. Using anti-freeze, I know the lines are full when the pink stuff comes out of each tap.
Maybe it's me, but I don't taste any residue after flushing the lines.
Ditto...after having to replace the toilet valve once.....
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Old 07-10-2015, 07:49 PM   #19
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One issue some may be having with "blowing out the water lines" is the compressor or air supply. To properly blow out the water lines a large volume of air is needed at a lower pressure, a small compressor and tank may produce 120 psi or more but at a minimal or even fractional cfm. The result is this low volume will not force the water out, all that will happen is the water will be displaced in the lines enough to allow the low volume of air to pass, then when the air stops the water will settle back into the low areas. Large compressors are expensive so without one the antifreeze method is probably the best. I personally use a 7HP compressor with a 60 gal tank and the adapter I use is a full 1/2" line into the street water inlet with the pressure set at 40 psi.
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Old 07-10-2015, 08:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian G View Post
One issue some may be having with "blowing out the water lines" is the compressor or air supply. To properly blow out the water lines a large volume of air is needed at a lower pressure, a small compressor and tank may produce 120 psi or more but at a minimal or even fractional cfm. The result is this low volume will not force the water out, all that will happen is the water will be displaces in the lines enough to allow the low volume of air to pass, then when the air stops the water will settle back into the low areas. Large compressors are expensive so without one the antifreeze method is probably the best. I personally use a 7HP compressor with a 60 gal tank and the adapter I use is a full 1/2" line into the street water inlet with the pressure set at 40 psi.
Same here, but just a 30 tank. Worked fine for 30+ years
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