This winter season, I didn’t winterize our motorhome right away. We had tentative plans to do a few weekend trips if the winter turned out as mild as the weather service said it was going to be. Unfortunately, the weather service got that one wrong.
With very cold weather forcast early in January, I got the owner’s manual out and started trying to figure out how to winterize the water system of our new Navion iQ. With the fifth wheel camper, all I had to do was drain the water system, drain the hot water heater, and fill the traps with RV antifreeze. With the iQ, the options were to blow the water lines out with air or fill the lines with anti-freeze — and, of course, drain the tanks, drain the hot water heater and fill the traps with RV anti-feeze.
The first problem was draining the hot water heater. The owner’s manual shows a picture of the drain plug and says to use a socket to take it off. Unfortunately, there is a copper pipe running in front of the plug and there is no way to fit a socket on it. Fortunately, I had another wrench that fit. The funny thing is that the picture in the manual where it tells you to use a socket has exactly the same configuration as our iQ.
The next thing I had to do was figure out where all of the valves and connctions were located. It sure would have been nice if they were all located in one central location with easy instructions on how to do it. Naturally, that wasn’t the case.
I found all but one of the valves I needed. The description, “Behind louvered access grill on lower face of refrigerator cabinet” was clear and that’s where two of the valves were located. The water heater bypass valve, however, was “behind panel on rear side of galley cabinet.” I looked and looked, but that description just wasn’t making any since.
The cold weather wasn’t due for a couple of days, so I decided to stop where I was at and come back to it the next day. That evening it came to me. What if the valve was behind a panel on the inside rear of the cabinet?
Sure enough it was.
The heater bypass valve bypasses the hot water heater and the hot water heater is drained to eliminate the need to fill the hot water heater up with RV antifreeze.
One of the valves is winterization valve, which has a long section of poly tubing connected to it. The tubing is stuck down into a bottle of antifreeze, the valve is opened and the RVs pump is turned on. The pump will be taking a suction on the bottle of antifreeze. All of the valves in the camper are operated to to make sure that antifreeze comes out of each faucet, from both the hot position and the cold position, which now that I think about it, I’m not sure that I did. Oh well, too late now.
For our camper, this took a little more than a gallon of antifreeze.
When we get ready to go again after all of this cold weather, I don’t want to have to take the panel back off to change the valve back to its normal position, so, while I was still connected to the second bottle of antifreeze, I switched it to normal and allowed the pump to put the rest of the antifreeze into the hot water heater. This way, I’m sure that the short section of line between the valve and the hot water heater is filled and that any residual water in the hot water heater is mixed with the antifreeze.