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Old 01-06-2021, 10:38 AM   #1
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Antifreeze Leak at Toilet

Hi All:

We have a 2016 21C (older rounded body style) camper. I have successfully used RV antifreeze every winter since we picked up the trailer in June 2016. For the last three years I've noticed a weird leak at the toilet after the weather gets really cold. See attached pic.

I have the trailer parked in our driveway and it slopes slightly to the left as I've noted in the photo and the pink antifreeze is pooled up against the bath wall. I can't tell if the leak is from the toilet bowl itself or the shut-off valve.

Note that I do have some antifreeze sitting in the toilet itself. I have seen the toilet antifreeze turn to "slush" when it gets really cold (0 Deg F or less). My understanding however is that yes the antifreeze will eventually freeze if it gets really cold but it will not expand like water. Hence, valves and water lines are not harmed.

Funny thing is that every spring I flush out the antifreeze, sanitize the lines, all works fine. No leaks at all when camping.

Anyone else seen this weird behavior? I have not seen this phenomenon at either of the sinks or outside shower.
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InkedInkedAntifreeze At Toilet_LI.jpg  
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:27 AM   #2
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I had a small leak on my 19 in that area. It appeared after a year or so. It seems the pex ring was not sufficiently clamped over the fitting. I rented the ring compression tool, removed the toilet, and just compressed the existing ring. It seemed to do the trick.

I imagine the cold weather, when metal shrinks, provides enough of a gap to show leakage.
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Old 01-06-2021, 12:59 PM   #3
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Fantastic plastic

A rule of thumb is plastic shrinks 13 TIMES more than metal in the cold.
It is possible the PEX shrunk in the cold and allowed leakage, and this goes away with the warmer temps.
A recrimp could help.
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Old 05-24-2022, 07:50 PM   #4
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We had this exact same problem. First I replaced the cone washer in the fitting at the toilet. Still leaked. Checked the PEX rings with the "Go/No Go" gauge and they were not crimped tight to spec. I re-crimped both PEX rings on the supply line and no more leak.
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Old 05-25-2022, 07:39 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the input. I did not experience any antifreeze leak around the toilet this past winter. After a friends recommendation, I made it point to relieve all the residual pressure from the water supply line by holding down the flush valve until no more antifreeze came out. I also relieved pressure at the indoor faucets and outdoor shower as well (no more than a dribble of antifreeze came out).

De-winterized and headed out for a two week adventure to the Texas coast in April. No water leaks so all seems good.
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Old 05-25-2022, 08:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huskersteffy View Post
Note that I do have some antifreeze sitting in the toilet itself. I have seen the toilet antifreeze turn to "slush" when it gets really cold (0 Deg F or less). My understanding however is that yes the antifreeze will eventually freeze if it gets really cold but it will not expand like water. Hence, valves and water lines are not harmed.
In 1994 (?) the January temp in Minnesota went to 55 below. Despite the antifreeze (probably good to 20-30 below) many campers had their lines/toilets/faucets freeze and break. Ours didn't though.

I've seen the same issue. Don't know when I stated this, but when winterizing, I first run antifreeze through the system. But then I blow the antifreeze out immediately with my simple 12v air compressor, rather than wait till spring to purge the antifreeze. If you blow the lines clear of antifreeze there's nothing left to leak.

Food for thought,

Perry
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Old 05-25-2022, 11:32 AM   #7
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In 1994 (?) the January temp in Minnesota went to 55 below. Despite the antifreeze (probably good to 20-30 below) many campers had their lines/toilets/faucets freeze and break. Ours didn't though.

I've seen the same issue. Don't know when I stated this, but when winterizing, I first run antifreeze through the system. But then I blow the antifreeze out immediately with my simple 12v air compressor, rather than wait till spring to purge the antifreeze. If you blow the lines clear of antifreeze there's nothing left to leak.

Food for thought,

Perry
Is it common to use the -100 burst antifreeze in MN? I would expect so, and for NE as well.

I know you've been doing this far longer than me, but it doesn't make sense to me to put antifreeze in first and then blow the lines. I believe the lines should be cleared before putting in the antifreeze, otherwise it will mix with the existing water and reduce it's performance. Clearing the lines (a second time) after the antifreeze seems good though (belt and suspenders)...anyplace you can displace the liquid with air pressure, air is better.

We don't have severe freezes here in Beaverton but my method has been to drain everything, blow the lines (making sure to get air out of every water source), pour a little antifreeze in the drains (I don't see why but this is what I was advised to do), open the pump filter and pour a little in the pump (leaving the filter unscrewed). Those from the midwest can probably advise as to whether there are gaps in that plan that truly cold weather will expose.
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Old 05-25-2022, 11:36 AM   #8
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55 below... lol. Blowing out the antifreeze would be a great approach to those "conditions". The coldest I've experienced here in my part of Idaho was 25 below, but even at that the world was behaving differently. You don't play with 55 below.
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Old 05-25-2022, 11:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by daniel108 View Post
Is it common to use the -100 burst antifreeze in MN? I would expect so, and for NE as well.

I know you've been doing this far longer than me, but it doesn't make sense to me to put antifreeze in first and then blow the lines. I believe the lines should be cleared before putting in the antifreeze, otherwise it will mix with the existing water and reduce it's performance. Clearing the lines (a second time) after the antifreeze seems good though (belt and suspenders)...anyplace you can displace the liquid with air pressure, air is better.

We don't have severe freezes here in Beaverton but my method has been to drain everything, blow the lines (making sure to get air out of every water source), pour a little antifreeze in the drains (I don't see why but this is what I was advised to do), open the pump filter and pour a little in the pump (leaving the filter unscrewed). Those from the midwest can probably advise as to whether there are gaps in that plan that truly cold weather will expose.
I think that if you let the anti-freeze run until the fluid coming out of the taps is pink, you have probably eliminated most of the water/anti-freeze mingling.

I follow Perry's method, with the addition that after I am done blowing out the lines, I also change water heater by-pass so that water flows back into the water heater when spring comes. then I turn off the electric switch on the water heater, and flip the circuit breaker for the water heater and place a small piece of blue tape over the circuit breaker. All this falder-dall because one time I made the mistake of leaving the switches on, and when I plugged into an electrical pole in early March, I blew my electric element in the water heater. I plugged into the electric first because It was still pretty cool outside and we wanted to get the trailer heated up quickly.
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Old 05-25-2022, 07:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
In 1994 (?) the January temp in Minnesota went to 55 below. Despite the antifreeze (probably good to 20-30 below) many campers had their lines/toilets/faucets freeze and break. Ours didn't though.
Wow that is cold. I had to "Google" record low in Lincoln, NE out of curiosity: -34 Deg F on 1/15/1927.

Seems like the RV antifreeze sold locally around here at the big box stores is rated to -50 or -75 Deg F (at full strength).

I read somewhere that the risk of freeze-up is greatest in fittings and valves (including faucets and toilet flush valves).
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Old 05-26-2022, 08:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel108 View Post
Is it common to use the -100 burst antifreeze in MN? I would expect so, and for NE as well.

I know you've been doing this far longer than me, but it doesn't make sense to me to put antifreeze in first and then blow the lines. I believe the lines should be cleared before putting in the antifreeze, otherwise it will mix with the existing water and reduce it's performance. Clearing the lines (a second time) after the antifreeze seems good though (belt and suspenders)...anyplace you can displace the liquid with air pressure, air is better.

We don't have severe freezes here in Beaverton but my method has been to drain everything, blow the lines (making sure to get air out of every water source), pour a little antifreeze in the drains (I don't see why but this is what I was advised to do), open the pump filter and pour a little in the pump (leaving the filter unscrewed). Those from the midwest can probably advise as to whether there are gaps in that plan that truly cold weather will expose.
Remember, this was 1994 (?) and most antifreeze was only good to 20-30 below. I don’t remember ever seeing RV antifreeze good to -100 F, but it’s probably out thereThe antifreeze I buy today is good to 50 below. By using antifreeze in the lines and immediately blowing it out, I don’t worry about the low temperature rating.

Once every other year or so Minnesota will see 40 below, and I don’t remember 55 below since that day, but the governor closed all schools and public facilities and most businesses closed because very few dared to venture out when it’s 55 below. I was taking college classes that winter and left around 6:00 am. My car was in a attached garage, so only about 30 below when I started driving. About 10 minutes down the road the radio informed me my class would be cancelled, so I happily turned back home..

As has already been said, the antifreeze pushes the water ahead of it and you just wait until the pink antifreeze comes out a few seconds. It takes less than a gallon to winterize the lines, but I need a second gallon to winterize the two sinks and the shower drains. I don’t spare the antifreeze and by the time I’m satisfied I’ve used both gallons. RV antifreeze is cheap and non-toxic.

By using antifreeze in the lines and immediately blowing it out, I don’t worry about the low temperature rating.

Enjoy,

Perry
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