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Old 11-29-2020, 02:31 PM   #1
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Winterizing questions

I'm parking in a garage, mild climate (Puget Sound) but we do occasionally get deep freezes for a week or more. I have an electric oil-filled heater in the garage which turns on at 32 F and if I know it will be cold I can turn it on earlier. So my main freezing concern would be extended cold coupled with a power outage. (Fairly unlikely but has happened.) I could turn on the interior heater if it did happen.)

I have a real mattress on the dinette base in my 17b so it is possible, but not easy, to turn off the hot water bypass valves. So basically I just would like to find a way to be safe but not have to move the mattress. I'm unlikely to camp during the months with freezing potential (December- February).

So what I'm wondering about is this: if I drain the fresh water tank and put antifreeze in the drains, and we get one of those power outage/freeze combos, can I just turn on the hot water tank? It runs on propane. Thus skipping bypass valves?

Or can I go ahead and blow out the lines including the hot water tank? I'm thinking blow out the hot water tank, then put the anode back in and finish with the other tanks (or vice versa- not sure if that will work.).

I'll probably end up wrestling the mattress so that I can do the bypass valves but exploring my options first!
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Old 11-29-2020, 03:49 PM   #2
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No magic wand solution

I'd advise to drain all your tanks and water heater, by-pass water heater, run the water pump to clear the lines, blow out your lines at 40psi and pour RV anti-freeze down your sink and shower drains.


Sometimes avoiding effort and work causes more effort, work and expense.


Blowing out your hot water tank likely is of marginal benefit, if any. Draining it is recommended.


I don't understand your mention of running the hot water heater. It will provide minimal heat to the cabin interior and should not be drained and run. To prevent freezing of the hot water heater, it is recommended to simply drain it. Leave the anode out so the water heater can dry-out.
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Old 11-29-2020, 05:07 PM   #3
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Turned out it wasn't that hard to reach the bypass valves- mattress is squishy and I held it up and was able to get to them.

But to explain- the reason would be turn hot water on so the water in the hot water tank doesn't freeze. Heater inside would keep inside pipes safe. Other tanks would be drained. I just wanted to avoid those bypass valves because they are hard to get to.

However at least this time I'm going to do the whole blow-out thing after bypassing and draining the hot water tank just to see how it works. Assuming I can find the socket that fits that anode.
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Old 11-29-2020, 05:17 PM   #4
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1-1/16th inch socket, as I recall.

A breaker bar helps if your anode is corroded in. Bigger the better on that tool, as the leverage can work wonders.
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Old 11-29-2020, 05:20 PM   #5
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Well, it's a new trailer, so I hope it isn't!
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:08 PM   #6
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Hot water propane only. Tank full. Can I turn it on while on bypass?
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:22 PM   #7
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I guess

As long as you don't use any hot water, I guess. But why?


I don't know for sure, but think that in by-pass mode your water pump wouldn't get any hot water. Or by-pass just diverts the cold water. I don't have an accurate answer.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:01 PM   #8
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As long as you don't use any hot water, I guess. But why?


I don't know for sure, but think that in by-pass mode your water pump wouldn't get any hot water. Or by-pass just diverts the cold water. I don't have an accurate answer.
Because everything else is winterized and the trailer is in the garage- so if it froze and the power went off, I'd either have to pull it out and drain the hot water tank or just turn the hot water tank on to keep it from freezing. Or maybe just open the bench and turn on the cabin heat. It would be nice if it were as simple as that.

I had to put it away due to wind coming tonight, and didn't have the right socket wrench, so I did everything else and then put it in the garage.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:04 PM   #9
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I'd just remove the anode and drain it. Using the bypass is so it won't fill up with anti-freeze if you are pumping that through the lines.
Put a piece of masking tape over the switch for the hot water so you remember it is empty.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:10 PM   #10
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As long as you don't use any hot water, I guess. But why?
I don't know for sure, but think that in by-pass mode your water pump wouldn't get any hot water. Or by-pass just diverts the cold water. I don't have an accurate answer.
The bypass just diverts cold water around the water heater into the hot water lines. You canít mistakenly use hot water from the water heater when it is bypassed. You could run the water heater while in bypass mode if it is full to prevent a short term freezing issue but this isnít usually done. With less room for expansion of the hot water my guess is that the P&T relief valve might weep.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:10 PM   #11
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You'll be OK

I don't think you'll break your new treasure. Where you're at, it ain't likely a Polar Vortex as we bask in here in the Upper Midwest, sunny and -25F (cold, cold in C).



My point is to get the water out of everywhere if possible. Even without draining the water heater, which is a large mass of water, well insulated, the weak spot is the toilet valve. If you can by-pass and blow out, you'll likely be OK, if it's not too cold for too long. I've learned the hard way about the toilet valve coming from the South back home. A $30 part, so no big deal, but I learned. Your PEX plumbing lines are nearly bullet proof, except in extreme conditions.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:14 PM   #12
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I'd just remove the anode and drain it. Using the bypass is so it won't fill up with anti-freeze if you are pumping that through the lines.
Put a piece of masking tape over the switch for the hot water so you remember it is empty.
I blew out the lines and only put antifreeze in the drains, and did not have the right socket to remove the anode. And I was not going to the store on a Sunday due to viral visitors from the mainland who come here on weekends. But the trailer had to go in due to an incoming windstorm, and it isn't something there is room to do in the garage. So in the unlikely event I can't just keep the garage above freezing, I'll have to do something else. Either pull it out and drain the tank, or turn the heater on.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:17 PM   #13
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I don't see anything to worry about in the long-term forecast.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:21 PM   #14
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I don't see anything to worry about in the long-term forecast.
Neither do I, but there are 3 months of winter coming when I don't plan on doing any camping.
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Old 11-29-2020, 08:03 PM   #15
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Neither do I, but there are 3 months of winter coming when I don't plan on doing any camping.

So you have time to pick up 1 1/16" socket and 5 or 6" extension.
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Old 11-29-2020, 08:11 PM   #16
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More importantly, I want to hear about your camping trip!
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Old 11-29-2020, 08:25 PM   #17
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So you have time to pick up 1 1/16" socket and 5 or 6" extension.
True- but then I have to pull out of the garage and back back in. Not a huge problem since I don't have to unhitch or get out of line, but I'm going to wait to do that until it looks like I have to.

My Ryobi cordless tire inflator and a schrader valve for the water hookup worked great for blowing out the lines. And after I put it away I remembered the outside shower- which I never used- but yes, it had a little water in it, probably from testing, and I blew that out, too.

Camping- I just got back from 3 nights on the Olympic peninsula, Dosewallips state park. First time with full hookups, only problem was still removing the sewer hose. I need to look more at how people made it easier to use. The wrench thing will not work with the space available.

Not my favorite state park- nothing to see from the trailer except trees and highway noise, elk pellets all over but we saw no elk this time. But the point was Thanksgiving with a few friends in my "pod" and that was nice.

Also first ferry trip for this trailer and got stuck behind a big truck on the way but had the front row center on the way home.

Coming back to Fort Casey I could see this huge crane they have in place for dredging the harbor, so I am tempted to do at least one more night camping to watch them work.
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Old 11-30-2020, 09:41 AM   #18
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I blew out the lines and only put antifreeze in the drains, and did not have the right socket to remove the anode. And I was not going to the store on a Sunday due to viral visitors from the mainland who come here on weekends. But the trailer had to go in due to an incoming windstorm, and it isn't something there is room to do in the garage. So in the unlikely event I can't just keep the garage above freezing, I'll have to do something else. Either pull it out and drain the tank, or turn the heater on.
I don't understand why you need to pull the camper outside Just put a rubbermaid or similar container under the door for the water heater to catch the draining water. If you cannot get a socket use an adjustable wrench(it can only stick straight out and thus only bite on two sides so make sure it is tight) on the anode and another on the handle of the first to get it open. Relieve pressure by opening the relief valve first or the anode will end up across the garage!
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Old 11-30-2020, 09:55 AM   #19
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I don't understand why you need to pull the camper outside Just put a rubbermaid or similar container under the door for the water heater to catch the draining water. If you cannot get a socket use an adjustable wrench(it can only stick straight out and thus only bite on two sides so make sure it is tight) on the anode and another on the handle of the first to get it open. Relieve pressure by opening the relief valve first or the anode will end up across the garage!
Clearance in the garage is about 8 where the water heater access is.

I'm glad I put it in, as the wind is roaring outside now.
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Old 11-30-2020, 10:41 AM   #20
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Clearance in the garage is about 8 where the water heater access is.

I'm glad I put it in, as the wind is roaring outside now.
that'll do it!
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