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Antifreeze Leaking From Winterized System

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  • Antifreeze Leaking From Winterized System

    Hey everyone. We just checked on our Imagine 2400bh after a long cold snap of temperatures around -30 celsius and I noticed in a few spots throughout the trailer small amounts of antifreeze on the floor. There was also antifreeze in the shower pan floor that looks like it came from the showerhead. I'm assuming this means that the antifreeze froze and expanded enough to push these small quantities out correct? I didn't see any broken plumbing joints, so does that indicate that some joints have come loose and just need tightening come spring?

    This issue got me wondering how hard would it be to change out the plumbing joints from the plastic PEX fittings to proper brass Pex and barbed hose fittings. Any advice here? Does anyone know of there are any joints under the chloroplast that are hard to get to?

    Thanks in advance everyone!
    2019 Imagine 2400bh
    2019 f150 XLT Crew, 6.5' box, 3.55 ratio

  • #2
    Hi StephenO,

    At -30C the "pink" plumbing antifreeze would definitely have frozen. If you read the "fine print" on the typical "-50F" pink plumbing antifreeze (one example here http://www.starbrite.com/item/winter...ategory_id=523) they claim "burst" protection for copper and brass down to -46C but "freeze" protection is only down to -10C. Also, the freeze protection of this stuff reduces dramatically if there is any water in the system. You may want to consider the "-100F" antifreeze for the winter temperatures that you encounter. (This is what I use in my boat for winter storage)

    It is not uncommon to see antifreeze in the shower pan. This may have dripped there before freeze-up. I put some sheets of paper towel in the shower and in each sink to absorb any drips so that the antifreeze won't stain the plastic/fibreglass. (This is less important with modern antifreeze than it was years ago). Why you would have antifreeze on the floor is curious . . . maybe dripped there during winterizing?

    As to changing out the PEX fittings from plastic to brass . . . this gets complicated because you should cut off the end of the previously crimped PEX line before inserting a new fitting. So, replacing fittings gets into a fit problem with lines that may become too short. The plastic PEX fittings and the OE plastic PEX fittings with the crimp clamps are a durable system. The soft hose is a whole other story! (in my opinion). See the attachment to the first post of this thread for some idea of what you will be getting into in replacing plumbing system components. https://gdrvowners.com/forum/operati...lection-303rls

    Rob
    Cate & Rob
    (with Border Collies Molly & Angel and their kitty Gracie)
    2015 Reflection 303RLS
    2014 Ecoboost F150 with Heavy Duty Payload Package
    Whitby, Ontario, Canada

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Cate&Rob - you are always super helpful. I know you probably can't say for sure, but in your experience, in the locations where I see drips of antifreeze does that mean a fitting or pipe has broke, or is it that the joint just loosen? Like I said, I didn't see any obviously bursting joints but obviously the antifreeze was able to escape somehow, and I'm just trying to gauge what we'll be looking at come spring. Thanks again!
      Last edited by StephenO; 02-02-2020, 11:13 AM.
      2019 Imagine 2400bh
      2019 f150 XLT Crew, 6.5' box, 3.55 ratio

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Stephen,

        If it is just a drip, it is more likely that the antifreeze pushed past the rubber cone seal in a fitting rather than burst the pipe or Pex clamped joint. Usually the Pex is crimped to a fitting that is hand tightened to the fixture or valve with the rubber cone seal. Pex piping (and the soft hose) will survive freezing solid with water inside without bursting. The plastic fittings are suspect but that is usually when full of water . . . not the softer "slush" antifreeze. You are probably going to be OK.

        Rob
        Cate & Rob
        (with Border Collies Molly & Angel and their kitty Gracie)
        2015 Reflection 303RLS
        2014 Ecoboost F150 with Heavy Duty Payload Package
        Whitby, Ontario, Canada

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cate&Rob View Post
          Hi Stephen,

          If it is just a drip, it is more likely that the antifreeze pushed past the rubber cone seal in a fitting rather than burst the pipe or Pex clamped joint. Usually the Pex is crimped to a fitting that is hand tightened to the fixture or valve with the rubber cone seal. Pex piping (and the soft hose) will survive freezing solid with water inside without bursting. The plastic fittings are suspect but that is usually when full of water . . . not the softer "slush" antifreeze. You are probably going to be OK.

          Rob
          Thanks again Rob, you're always super helpful. Not sure if you remember, but I certainly do, you helped me get the right grey dump valve back late last year. I owe you!
          2019 Imagine 2400bh
          2019 f150 XLT Crew, 6.5' box, 3.55 ratio

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cate&Rob View Post
            Hi Stephen,

            If it is just a drip, it is more likely that the antifreeze pushed past the rubber cone seal in a fitting rather than burst the pipe or Pex clamped joint. Usually the Pex is crimped to a fitting that is hand tightened to the fixture or valve with the rubber cone seal. Pex piping (and the soft hose) will survive freezing solid with water inside without bursting. The plastic fittings are suspect but that is usually when full of water . . . not the softer "slush" antifreeze. You are probably going to be OK.

            Rob
            Just wanted to follow-up on this (relatively) old thread. I monitored our trailer for the remainder of winter and no new significant amounts of anti-freeze was seen, just a couple drops under the pump. I also de-winterized this weekend and did a pressure test, where I put some air in the water lines and it held pressure for over an hour. After that test seemed successful, I did some sanitizing and didn't see any leaks so that was a huge relief for me. So I think you were correct Rob, and that the anti-freeze pushed past the cone seals during our cold snap with no damage occurring.

            Next year I will look for better anti-freeze or perhaps try doing a winterizing process of doing an initial draining, pump anti-freeze through the system, and then drain it again. Essentially use the anti-freeze to only rinse the plumbing and ensure all the water is fully purged.
            2019 Imagine 2400bh
            2019 f150 XLT Crew, 6.5' box, 3.55 ratio

            Comment


            • #7
              StephenO

              That seems like a good idea. Run the antifreeze through the system and then drain. The only place that the antifreeze should gather would be some low points or bellies in the tubing. I can see no need for the pipes to be full of antifreeze , as long as there is no water all should be good. After the antifreeze you could even use air pressure to remove a lot of the antifreeze.

              Brian
              Brian & Michelle
              2018 Reflection 29RS Oct.17 build date, EMS-HW50C , Lippert Remote
              2015 Chevy 3500HD CC LB Duramax , Reese Elite 18K

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by StephenO View Post

                Just wanted to follow-up on this (relatively) old thread. I monitored our trailer for the remainder of winter and no new significant amounts of anti-freeze was seen, just a couple drops under the pump. I also de-winterized this weekend and did a pressure test, where I put some air in the water lines and it held pressure for over an hour. After that test seemed successful, I did some sanitizing and didn't see any leaks so that was a huge relief for me. So I think you were correct Rob, and that the anti-freeze pushed past the cone seals during our cold snap with no damage occurring. Next year I will look for better anti-freeze or perhaps try doing a winterizing process of doing an initial draining, pump anti-freeze through the system, and then drain it again. Essentially use the anti-freeze to only rinse the plumbing and ensure all the water is fully purged.
                Just wondering, did you winterize the trailer yourself? Did you clean up all antifreeze afterwards?

                Winterizing of course involves running fixtures until antifreeze comes out. When ours was winterized by our dealer they didn't bother to clean up, leading to the symptom you've described seeing in your trailer. Just a thought - sorry if it's nothing but a distraction.
                Mark - 2018 Solitude 310GK - Ford F-350 SRW diesel short box - Pullrite Superglide hitch

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by boyscout View Post

                  Just wondering, did you winterize the trailer yourself? Did you clean up all antifreeze afterwards?

                  Winterizing of course involves running fixtures until antifreeze comes out. When ours was winterized by our dealer they didn't bother to clean up, leading to the symptom you've described seeing in your trailer. Just a thought - sorry if it's nothing but a distraction.
                  I did the winterizing myself, including the post cleanup that you mentioned. I'll share the process I followed last year, just for anyone that is curious, and that way if I missed anything someone can point it out :

                  1) Drain the fresh tank

                  2) Leaving the fresh tank dump valve open, go to the city water inlet, select 'Tank Fill' and run compressed air regulated to 30psi until I can hear air running at the tank drain valve for some time. Close the fresh tank dump valve (of course only close the valve after turning off the air. Don't want to inflate the tank, although I guess now that I think about it the overflow should allow the air to escape, but why risk it?)

                  3) Release water heater pressure using the relief valve, then open the drain plug to allow the water heater to drain.

                  4) At the city water inlet, select 'City Water' and run regulated air all the way to the water heater

                  5) By-pass the water heater and open the low point drains

                  6) Leaving the low point drains open, go to each faucet to allow water to be sucked back in and drain out the low points

                  7) Switch on the water pump, leaving it selected on 'Normal' and allow it to suck air from the empty fresh tank

                  8) Again leaving the low points open, run compressed air through the system going around to each faucet and ensure air is coming out. I left the low point drains open such that I could ensure that the pipes never built up a high level of pressure when moving between two faucets. Perhaps this allowed the pressure to be too low within the pipes and didn't push all the water out?

                  9) Close the low point drains, switch pump to 'Winter' and then run each faucet till anti-freeze came out

                  There's my 'shortened' version of what I did and again I am always open to feedback.

                  I attached two pictures of what I saw, one was anti-freeze just below the pump, and another was a droplet below the valve on the water heater. There was also anti-freeze in the shower pan and the amount I put in the toilet was gone. My theory there was the shower was caused by anti-freeze seeping past the seal used between the shower head hose and the mixing valve and the anti-freeze that remained in the shower head hose drained down. The toilet I am guessing was caused by the anti-freeze pushing past the toilet seal? I put more anti-freeze in the toilet and it held for several months so I think the seal is still in good shape. I also cleaned up the anti-freeze below the pump during the winter and in the spring only a couple more drops were seen; with doing the pressure test and sanitizing not producing any puddles I am hoping I am in good shape.

                  Like I said above though, next year I may follow the same process but add a step at the end to open the low drains again, and use compress air to blow out the anti-freeze out the drains and at each faucet. Again, just using the anti-freeze as more of a rinse in the plumbing system to flush out any remaining water.
                  2019 Imagine 2400bh
                  2019 f150 XLT Crew, 6.5' box, 3.55 ratio

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by StephenO View Post
                    I attached two pictures of what I saw, one was anti-freeze just below the pump, and another was a droplet below the valve on the water heater. There was also anti-freeze in the shower pan and the amount I put in the toilet was gone. My theory there was the shower was caused by anti-freeze seeping past the seal used between the shower head hose and the mixing valve and the anti-freeze that remained in the shower head hose drained down. The toilet I am guessing was caused by the anti-freeze pushing past the toilet seal? I put more anti-freeze in the toilet and it held for several months so I think the seal is still in good shape. I also cleaned up the anti-freeze below the pump during the winter and in the spring only a couple more drops were seen; with doing the pressure test and sanitizing not producing any puddles I am hoping I am in good shape.
                    What is that badly-kinked hose at the right side of your picture #1?

                    Originally posted by StephenO View Post
                    Like I said above though, next year I may follow the same process but add a step at the end to open the low drains again, and use compress air to blow out the anti-freeze out the drains and at each faucet. Again, just using the anti-freeze as more of a rinse in the plumbing system to flush out any remaining water.
                    This seems like a good plan. There are people who don't use antifreeze at all (I'm not one of them). Filling the system with antifreeze and then blowing the lines might be the best of both approaches, especially with the deep cold you reported.

                    Of course the very best way to avoid freezing in your plumbing is to take the trailer somewhere where it doesn't freeze in winter.
                    Mark - 2018 Solitude 310GK - Ford F-350 SRW diesel short box - Pullrite Superglide hitch

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by boyscout View Post

                      What is that badly-kinked hose at the right side of your picture #1?
                      It's the hose for the water pump to pull in antifreeze. You can see it connects to the diverting valve, the kinked line is placing into the jug of antifreeze, the other soft hose goes into the fresh tank, and the pex line goes into the pump itself. When I first saw that I thought there was no way the hose will work, but the pump managed to pull antifreeze in without any issue.
                      2019 Imagine 2400bh
                      2019 f150 XLT Crew, 6.5' box, 3.55 ratio

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