Routine Maintenance & Service | Winterizing Required and suggested maintenance, storage and winterizing topics.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:44 AM   #1
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Default Arizona Winterization?

Wasn't real sure where to put this post so I thought I would put it in the Scheduled service threads.

The question has arose about the necessity to winterize in Arizona? I know last night we had our first freeze warning, but I don't think it actually got to freezing where I am located in Phoenix. I have friends with trailers that say they don't winterize their trailers. But this being my first experience with a trailer I was wanting to be a little cautious.
So, yesterday I drained the water holding tanks and drained water through the supplies to the sinks by opening the sinks hand valves and also pressed the toilet drain to let any water from the supply line to the toilet also drain.

My question is about the water in the hot water heater. I opened the hot water valve on the sink in the bathroom sink and let it drain and could hear the water gurgling in the hot water tank. I let it continue for awhile until I could hear the water pump just cycling with no water and no water coming out of the hot water line at the sink either. My question is does that method really drain all the water out of the tank?

And the last question is kind of a poll for the rest of you in Arizona about what is your method or necessity to winterize here in Arizona.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
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Unless you have a sustained freeze you should be alright with what you have planned. The water heater will not freeze for quite a while. When it gets down around the freezing mark here in PA, when I haven't done any weatherization, I put our little space heater, set at a low heat level, inside and open the lower cupboard doors and have never had a problem. Once the weather gets colder, that is time to drain everything and add antifreeze. Don't forget to drain the outside shower.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:29 AM   #3
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Pappa, I don't think you've drained all the water out of your hot water tank with what you've done, but there's probably enough space in there now that a freeze would not hurt it. You could see how much water is left if you just remove the drain plug on the tank.

Here in Tucson, we live near a wash and the cold air comes down it off the mountains in the winter. We usually see temps in the 15-19 degree range on a couple of mornings. I always open ALL drain valves and all faucets to empty all lines and tanks. And, I add antifreeze to the sink traps.

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Old 12-21-2012, 11:41 AM   #4
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Thanks Rich and Jack for your responses. Yeah I was not sure that I had drained all the water out of the hot water tank. It is a 6gal tank and I didn't think I had drained that amount when doing the draining. The tank is surrounded by stryofoam, so I think that would help a little as well. Here is a couple of pictures of my tank and I was thinking the drain is the plastic cap near the lower left corner in the first picture, is that correct?

The second and third picture are just to show the location of what I believe are the bypass valves? I did find out that when I tried to close the lower valve it started to leak out of the valve head, so I will need to replace that at some point.
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File Type: jpg Water heater 5.jpg (85.8 KB, 30 views)
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:23 PM   #5
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Pappa, the hexagonal, white plastic looking (nylon) thing in the lower left IS the drain plug for the tank. I just take it out and leave it out all winter. They also make replacements that have a screw type insert you can supposedly open by hand, but I've found they don't work all that well and they rust.

I think you are correctly locating the bypass valves too, but your setup is different than mine. In my trailer, in addition to the bypass valves, there are two drain valves along the horizontal run of the water lines about halfway between the tank and the kitchen faucets. There are drain pipes extending down from them. I open those too, and leave them open.

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Old 03-19-2018, 08:40 PM   #6
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Bypass valves are to keep the antifreeze out of the main water heater tank, or so I thought. You drain the hot water tank from the outside, as mentioned, by unscrewing the hex head (six-sided) bolt, its big and you probably dont have a wrench to fit other than a really big adjustable wrench, probably a 12 inch monkey wrench, or pliers if you must.

Use the drain valves as mentioned, they will be on or near the floor and pipes run to a hole in the floor.
That lets water drain out from anything above it.
Close the valve and use air to blow out the remaining water. To do this you need to purchase a schrader valve that goes over the water city inlet. Close the hot water bypass valves (so the tank is closed off from the system) since you just drained it already. Open the front most faucet and blow compressed air in from air compressor or gas station air hose. Close that and open the next one. Also open the drain valves (under oven area). Blow and open and blow and open until you are satisfied all water is out. You can have some residual water in the line and it will be fine. Leave the drain valves opend all winter. Leave faucets open.
Access pump and take off the inlet and outlet lines and run pump to purge it. Leave unhooked all winter.
Drain main water tank. Any puddle left will be fine and it freezing should not do damage.

That said, I have woken up to 11 degrees with ice sickles hanging from the faucets and frozen pipes and survived with no broken pipes. Plastic has some ability to freeze but do not risk it.
The weakest link is where my pipe runs behind the fridge, which is open to the outside world via the fridge vent door, and there is no way to insulate it. Hopefully the little flame provides a little heat in the compartment, but on cold night you turn off the fridge because otherwise you freeze everything. If you have a smart fridge it will turn off flame when that cold anyway.
Then inside the cabinets will be colder than the room, so leave all doors open.
Then under the shower pan is completely closed off from the inside so will certainly freeze, consider cutting a vent door so warm room air can circulate. It will still freeze on the coldest nights. (if your pipes run under the shower)
Then the pipes inside the bathroom sink cabinet, leave that door open.
You will have to run heat, and cold nights with these leaky HILO sections mean a lot of propane unless you have electric heat and plugged into power.
Keep main fresh tank full when camping and having water, they are insulated so will survive a night as long as days are warm.
Keep gray holding tank open.
Don't poop in winter, keep the black tank empty because you really can't keep that drain valve open if you are using it.
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