Freezing Weather - Drain Your Systems Today

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Jim, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Hi Funsters, there is a cold snap coming. If you are not using your motorhome this weekend then don't forget to carry out a few essentials to prevent damage to your motorhome.


    • Drop all the water from your tanks
    • Don't forget to drain the water heater
    • Lag any in-line filters
    • Leave all taps in the open, on position
    • Make sure your loo and flushing system is empty
    • Check your battery is fully charged
    There is a full detailed winterising checklist available in my signature:BigGrin:
     
  2. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Hi Jim

    Ive already drained everything down apart from the hot water heater.
    I can see it from the outside of the van and the only way that I can see to drain it is via a huge plug in the side of the tank.

    This plug should have been removed every year for maintenance however it is rusty and doesnt look as though its ever been out (Four Years). I reckon it will take a torque wrench to remove it and I'm frightened of stripping the threads. I intend to get it removed when it goes in for a service early next year.

    Because I have drained the sytem down incuding the hot water taps in the kitchen, bathroom shower etc will this not empty the hot water heater, I'm not sure what to do for the best

    Cheers

    Jim :Smile:
     
  3. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    I'm guessing that because most heaters have drain plugs, just draining down the hot tap is not sufficient and still leaves water inside. If the likelihood that you will break it is higher than the risk of a severe freeze up then I would leave it till you can safely remove the plug.

    Winters have been so mild of late that many motorhomers don't bother with any winterising and get away with it, though I know from bitter experience that burst pipe joints and a knackered water heater are no fun
     
  4. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Thanks for that Jim. There is no other access to the water heater that I can see. Everything is hidden behind various appliances. I think that I will leave it and try to cover/insulate the heater from the inside of the outside locker if that makes sense.

    Cheers
    Jim :Smile:
     
  5. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Purely for pedantic reasons and also to prevent the uninitiated from going out and buying one for the wrong reasons
    Torque wrench's are a calibrated piece of equipment used for tightening only,(except in very very rare applications) using one to undo a tight fastener/bolt will ruin it :Doh: the correct tool is a socket and power bar:thumb:
    Geo
     
  6. Road Runner

    Road Runner Read Only Funster

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    Linda @ Stateside Tuning does a plug with tap on it to open and drain and well worth it as so easy and just replaces the bung/plug,


    Even I can do it:RollEyes:
     
  7. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Geo :Eek!: you, pedantic:Eeek: Nooooooooooooo:Laughing::Laughing:

    Jim :thumb:
     
  8. American Dream

    American Dream Read Only Funster

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    Cheers Jim,

    Jim (Madbluemad) I would do as you say and wrap the unit as best as I could with old blanket or similar to stop the cold air/wind getting to the tank and icing it up just to be on the safe side.

    Good luck getting it out.It may be worth applying some Plus-Gas or WD 40 on it to let it well and truly work it's way down the thread.

    I sympathise with your concerns about stripping the thread.I had a water pump that did a similar thing.Should have been a simple job but there's ALWAYS one bolt that wont come out.....Needed helicoiling.

    SOD'S LAW #1:shout:
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  9. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Bleeding yanks, even a simple thing like opening a nylon bung they want to make easier. :RollEyes::RollEyes:


    Linda's got them you say, I might order one:BigGrin::BigGrin:
     
  10. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Hi John
    The problem with this plug is that it has an instrument fitted to the end of it inside the heater. I will have a look at it when I get it out. Sounds like a good idea having a drain tap incorporated in to it.

    The other thing about this plug is that I believe it to be at least half way up the heater and so even when the plug comes out there must still be water left in there below the level of the plug

    Cheers

    Jim :Smile:
     
  11. American Dream

    American Dream Read Only Funster

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    It sounds to me like this may be a "hot rod" style of Mains heater incorporated into the unit.

    Are you sure there's not a smaller drain plug towards the bottom of the tank?

    Do you have a Make and Model of the heater so others may be able to help you?
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  12. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Thats the problem, I cant find another drain point. I have the maunual and it points to the plug on the side as the drain point

    As I said the water heater is only visible from the outside of the van as its hidden on the inside by other appliances.

    The heater is mounted on top of another locker and so I cant see the underside of it. I cant remeber the make and model but I will have a look tonight. Maybe we can get this soughted before the real cold sets in.

    Cheers Jim :Smile:
     
  13. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Well folks its a journey of discovery.
    The water heater is manufactured by Suburban Manufacturing Company. The model number is: SW6D.

    After a fair few hours reading the manual and working on the water heater I have discovered that the drainage point is the plug that I was talking about in the side of the tank.

    It is near to the bottom of the tank and not further up as I had originally thought.

    There is a sacrificial anode attached to the plug on the inside of the tank. This allows any nasties that may corrode the tank to take their venom out on the anode and leave the tank alone. The plug should be removed every twelve months and the anode replaced.

    Above the plug at high level in the tank is a pressure and temperature relief valve. This valve opens when the pressure or temperature exceeds the maximum allowed. The water from the valve drops directly on to the drain plug which is why it looks rusty.

    The tank should be maintained with an air lock at the top however this air lock dissipates over time and the relief valve needs to be manually actuated to reduce the amount of water in the tank and restore the air lock.

    I manually actuated the valve and sure enough water came rushing out. This answers the question about would the tank automatically empty when the water system was fully drained. The answer is no it doesn't.

    I am more confident now about taking out the plug. I have lubricated the plug with some dry lubricant that I use on my bike. This will help to free it up if indeed it needs freeing up.

    Guess what I haven't got a big enough spanner. Note to Geo spanner. :RollEyes: . I will nip into work tomorrow and get one.

    Thanks to Everybody for the help.

    Cheers

    Jim :thumb:
     
  14. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    If you think that you will rip the side out of the tank, I think that I would try to find antifreeze for the drinking water system or ,if it's practical leave some heat on while it's likely to freeze. I would think that Linda would carry antifreeze.
    I have not been able to remove the drain plug in the 5th wheel and took a chance last winter!!! We live in it now ,so I am confident that we will keep it warm enough.
    I hope to drain the truck camper but will be out in it over the winter, (it is fitted with a hot rod so i'll have to have a close look at it) If I can't drain it, I will put the hot rod on when I feel there is a great risk of freezing.
    Nigel & Pamala
     
  15. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Hi Nigel and Pamela
    As I say. I think that the look of sever rust/corrosion is due to the relief valve opening and spilling water on the drain plug. I have lubricated it today and will try it with a spanner (very gentley). If I cant move it I will do my best to insulate it and wait until my service early next year.

    Cheers

    Jim :Smile:
     
  16. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Anti freeze for drinking water, is there such a thing, sounds poisonous to me, why not just fill the tanks with whiskey. or Banana yum yum, hee hee. Failing that why not just pump the water out using the tap
     
  17. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Failing that why not just pump the water out using the tap

    It isnt as easy as that. Your best solution was FILL IT WITH SCOTCH:Wink::Wink::Wink:

    Cheers

    Jim :thumb:
     
  18. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    Hi Jim
    I wondered how you got on with the drain plug on your boiler??
    BTW the Yanks do use anti-freeze in RV's, They also use compressed air to blow the system out.
    Nigel
     
  19. lugnutt

    lugnutt Funster Life Member

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    hi Jim..I have the same water heater and have just drained the system ,and gotten away with it for the past 3 years .I agree with you the big rusty lookig nut can look a daunting task.When I eventually get it undone I will replace it with a fire stick but this will replace the anode rod so will the tank be attacked instead ?

    dave

    COYB
     
  20. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    Just to prove that Geo isn't the only pedant on here, my torque wrench has a reversible ratchet on it and can therefore be used to undo nuts too:thumb::Wink:.

    D.
     
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