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Old 10-24-2010, 07:32 PM   #1
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Water heater bypass during winterizing

Winterized the MH today but came across an issue that I couldn't figure out. I flipped the w/h bypass valve when getting everything setup then when the water pump was drawing in the antifreeze, the pump kept cycling. Figured out the pump was filling the water heater (which I had already drained). I was able to get everything done but had to go buy another 3 gallons of anti-freeze to complete the job. The owners manual wasn't all that great describing the procedure (showed a water fill valve that my rig doesn't have for instance). I checked everything over twice and couldn't figure out what was going on....
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:41 PM   #2
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The first time I winterized my 2004 Meridian the best I can remember I lost lots of antifreeze through the water heater even after flipping the by-pass lever. All the next 5 year's winterizing I drained the water heater before draining the fresh water tank, flipped the by-pass lever, and turned on the water pump to see if it would run water through the water heater (didn't want to waste antifreeze again) but never had anymore problems with the by-pass. No explanation as to what happened that first year. On a 1997 Fleetwood MH I previously owned the by-pass valve didn't work and I had to replace it. The dealer never could explain what was causing it not to work.

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Old 10-24-2010, 08:46 PM   #3
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Did you pull the plug to see if the hot water tank is getting any of the antifreeze? Could it be possible that the antifreeze in going into your fresh water tank? You should have a valve that directs the water into the motor home from either the city water or fresh water tank. If so, you want the valve to be directed for city. My valve is marked,"Fill or Normal". Fill, directs the water to the tank and normal, directs the water into the home.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:37 AM   #4
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Had the same thing happen to last year, so just blew out lines.. Have used by pass system for the last 5 years and no problem...I plan to replace both valves as they should be the problem....I think-haha
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:49 PM   #5
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When I winterize I
  1. Turn the the Water Heater Bypass to BYPASS
  2. Pump the pink stuff through the pipes and all the faucets
  3. Drain the hot water heater (remove plug & lift pressure relief valve)
  4. Replace the plug
If there is a small amount of water (a pint or quart) in bottom of the tank it will not damage the tank if it freezes ... it is the pressure from the expansion from freezing of a partially filled tank that ruins the tank
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:28 PM   #6
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txdutt, why didn't you just drain the hot water heater into the original bottles?
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WOODYDEL View Post
txdutt, why didn't you just drain the hot water heater into the original bottles?
basically one heckuva mess, I'm going to drain the w/h this weekend in the storage lot...I had the bypass valve for the water pickup set so it was just picking up from the bucket that I had the antifreeze in, the fresh tank was completely empty plus I don't think the pump can push anything into the fresh tank only pull it but I'll check it out...
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skigramp View Post
When I winterize I
  1. Turn the the Water Heater Bypass to BYPASS
  2. Pump the pink stuff through the pipes and all the faucets
  3. Drain the hot water heater (remove plug & lift pressure relief valve)
  4. Replace the plug
If there is a small amount of water (a pint or quart) in bottom of the tank it will not damage the tank if it freezes ... it is the pressure from the expansion from freezing of a partially filled tank that ruins the tank
I had a leak develop in an elbow between the bypass valve and the tank. I suspect that resulted from water being left in that line freezing up. If you follow the steps in the manual and outlined here by skigramp, you WILL NOT protect the line between the bypass valve and the tank. I belive this is an oversight in the manual!

I'm going to use compressed air this year to blow out my lines, but opening the bypass valve and allowing some pink stuff to flow into the hot water tank would protect the short run of line after the bypass valve.
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
you WILL NOT protect the line between the bypass valve and the tank. I belive this is an oversight in the manual!

Good point ... when I am done I should modify my process by flipping the bypass valve and pumping a smidgeon of pink stuff into the hot water heater

I had a plastic elbow on the back of the hot water heater crack last summer about 8 months after I dewinterized ... I think it had more to do with vibration and age (of the elbow ... not mine) than it had to do with my winterization technique ... but I have been wrong before (at least that is what my co-pilot tells me)
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:37 PM   #10
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I'll take a good look at the water line after the bypass valve to see if I can see the pink stuff in there-only logical thing I can think of is the valve was letting the a/f get by it from the pump into the w/h...
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:35 PM   #11
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I don't have those problems. I use compressed air and NO pink stuff. Now wife does not complain all summer about the smell of pink stuff. For me, pink stuff is for the "P" traps and toilet valve.
My 2 cents.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by agiledog View Post
I don't have those problems. I use compressed air and NO pink stuff. Now wife does not complain all summer about the smell of pink stuff. For me, pink stuff is for the "P" traps and toilet valve.
My 2 cents.
Have you ever had to replace the water pump?
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:47 PM   #13
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The water pump I do a little different. Make sure the tank is drained and the pump is out of water. I gain access to it and put just enough pink stuff in it to keep it from freezing. The suction hose for the pink stuff and a drain on the outlet side of the pump are very close together so I pull the electrical connector off the pump so I can control it there. Then I put the suction hose in the pink stuff and turn the pump on just enough so the pink comes out the other side and then STOP. In the spring I draw in fresh water through the suction hose and open the drain so it flushes out the pump completely. I leave the pump disconnected during the winter so it doesn't get turned on by mistake. Hope this helps.
I have a water heater bypass but I don't use it when I use air the purge. I drain the water heater with the drain plug and then siphon the water out of the bottom with a small hose. You can do this with air pressure on by slipping a small hose in the drain while the air is coming out of the tank.
If you use air, be sure to regulate it down to about 40 psi.
Hope this helps.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agiledog View Post
I don't have those problems. I use compressed air and NO pink stuff. Now wife does not complain all summer about the smell of pink stuff. For me, pink stuff is for the "P" traps and toilet valve.
My 2 cents.
Ditto times 2...............This is the same procedure I use, if you take your time to get the water out, there's nothing to freeze. JMHO
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:33 PM   #15
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Washer/Dryer/Dishwasher winterizing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by agiledog View Post
I don't have those problems. I use compressed air and NO pink stuff. Now wife does not complain all summer about the smell of pink stuff. For me, pink stuff is for the "P" traps and toilet valve.
My 2 cents.

I would like to just use compressed air but our '07 Vectra has a dishwasher and a washer/dryer so don't I have to use the "pink stuff" to protect them?
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:12 PM   #16
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There are 3 kinds of water heater bypsss

1 valve
2 valves (rare)
3 Valves

1 and 3 are common

In the single valve system a valve, usually in the Cold Water line, either sends water into the heater or into a "Bypass" line. a check valve (#1 suspect) in the hot water outlet prevents water or antifreeze from flowing back into the water heater.

This valve often gets "limed" that is crusted with minerals and when this happens it can either refuse to open. giving you no hot water, or refuse to close, giving you exactly the symptoms you have.

An alternative failure is the valve itself.. If not FULLY in the bypass it can send water both directions (or anti freeze) also if it fails.

The 2 valve system uses quarter turn valves instead of the 3-way but has one in the bypass line and one in the cold line, Same issues

The 3-valve system adds a valve in the HOT line. the bypss line is before the Cold and Hot valves (Inlet and outlet) and it too has a valve, This is the BEST system as it rellies NOT upon that check valve.

However the check valve may still be there

Recommendation.. Remove bypass sytem, gut check valve, replace with 3-valve system and... Use the DRY method to winterize

(Blow out the lines several times with air at 40-50 PSI use pink stuff only in drain traps and toilets Reduce chemical consumption, and lower cost are major additional advantages by the way.
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