Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Power of Freezing Water

When I went to dewinterize this year I discovered something unexpected. Fortunately, this was not a permanent part of my Roadtrek.  Some of our readers may have seen this article from way back in May 2015.  When we had trouble filling our rear interior fresh water tank we made a fill tube that was able to get to the bottom of the tank and fill the tank from the bottom up - necessary when an air or gas bubble in the tank prevents the water from backing up the door fill hole in the rear of the van. When we were dewinterizing this year we had the same problem. We keep this little self-made gadget in the back of the van under the bed in one of our storage baskets right behind the cargo doors. It had been very cold this winter - the Roadtrek was winterized with RV anti-freeze, but apparently when I put this water fill gadget away the last time it was used some water was still inside the nozzle. When I pulled this out this year to use it, I noticed a small puddle of water inside the ziplock plastic bag I keep it in. When I took out out of the bag and connected it to the fresh hose and turned on the hose water sprayed everywhere. My first thought was the connections had loosen. I tightened those and turned on the water and got sprayed again. 

I looked closely and this is what I found:

1. Connection from  to the tube fitting - supposedly brass

Note the crack where between the sections.

2. Valve connection to turn the water on and off at the tube - metal - supposedly brass

Note the hole in the middle burst out and split in three places.

Water inside these pieces froze during the winter and burst through the metal. These were inexpensive to replace. Imagine the same thing happening if you are not winterized and there is a freeze that reaches the piped and valves inside your Roadtrek. As it is there are drafts inside the van. It did not get below 7 degrees F this winter here on any one night.  Some places can get a lot colder.

I am sharing this to show the importance of winterizing your Roadtrek or any RV if you live where it can go below 28 degrees at night over two days without the days going up into the low 40s.  Water when it freezes expands and it becomes very powerful - even a small amount of water will do damage.

All this did was set us back a day to get our tank sanitizing completed and flush out the bleach/water mix out of the fresh tanks. We made a trip to both Lowes and Home Depot that late afternoon and had trouble finding the parts we needed to put it back the way it was. We did wind up changing the design and now the fill the tank from the bottom gizmo looks like this:

The hose valve has now been replaced with a faucet hose bibb - from Lowes - MC76QT #867974 -- 3/4" FIP threaded inlet. This eliminated what is shown in photo #1 and also in photo #2.  The part that turns a male screw connection to a female to connect the end of a fresh water hose on the other end  is the piece we first bought at this time for the "new" gizmo and that came from the plumbing section in Lowes. When this was connected with the water running the water leaked from the swivel connection. This part was returned to the store and a trip to Home Depot's garden department led us to another of these - much better made. The name and   part number of that is "Metal Fittings Metal Double Female Adapter 1001565704" It is from Melnor and the SKU# is 42206 14351.  This does not leak at all!  The rest is left from the original.