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What good are low point drains?

lenr
Explorer II
Explorer II
What good are low point drains on a trailer that is supposed to be good for 0 degrees? My drains are solid, slightly flexible, plastic pipe. It seems like they’re going to freeze and bust at anything close to zero degrees. I do have tank heaters, but 10” of ½” pipe hanging down in cold air seems like a problem waiting to happen. All other pipes run in heated areas. I see the purpose of low point drains for folks that winterize just by blowing out with no antifreeze. However, since I use antifreeze, I see no value in the drains along with an increased risk of freeze/bust.
1) What am I going to regret if I remove the low point drains?
2) How can I keep them from freezing until I get them removed?
Thanks
32 REPLIES 32

DSteiner51
Explorer
Explorer
My last 5th wheel the low point drains had a valve up inside the trailer. I never used them but they channeled cold air up to the lines so if the line froze while winter camping I knew exactly where the problem was. Solved the problem by opening up the area so interior heat could get to them.

My ‘15 5th wheel has two lines hanging down with caps on them. I don’t use them and so far... down to 14 degrees F have not been a problem. I’ve forgotten they are there until reading your post.
D. Steiner
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lenr
Explorer II
Explorer II
Also, using pool noodles to insulate is a good idea, and I plan on it.

lenr
Explorer II
Explorer II
Wow, thanks for the replies, thoughts, and experiences. I posted this to get thoughts on aspects I hadn't thought of. It might have helped if I had specified that my 3 drains have caps at the bottom and no valves in the heated section. It is interesting to me that the manufacturer went to the effort to install inside valves for black and gray tanks, but got lazy with the drains. I have thought about installing my own valves in the heated space, and appreciate that idea. My one chunk of PEX is the fresh tank drain with a cap at the bottom (full of water when I am camping). There is little hot air around it although I do have a tank heater on the tank. I was wondering from other's experience if this one drain will probably handle 20 degree weather without busting (no plans to camp at 0 degree weather.) The low point drains are my bigger concern, because if they bust while camping at 20 degrees, I'm out of water, and have to do an unplanned repair in 20 degree weather. They are not PEX, are capped at the end, and lay full of water when camping.

I understand, and had thought of, the fact that low point drains help those who do not use antifreeze get a better clean out. When winterizing, I use my air compressor to blow out, minimizing dilution of the antifreeze, then run antifreeze though every opening and drain trap. In the spring I flush out with a strong flow of water and then Clorox/water mix. We have not experienced residual taste. The point about freezing valves was a good one. Somethings else to think about are black tank flush, washer connections, and outside showers that may lay full of water to freeze.

allen8106
Explorer
Explorer
Low point drains are intended to allow you to drain all the water out of the fresh water system. Regardless if your rig is supposed to be good down to 0 degrees I doubt if the system is left for months in freezing temps the water system would survive. The fact it is good down to 0 degrees likely means with you living in it and running some heat. Shut that heat off and as soon as the rig cools below 32 degrees things are going to start freezing including your water system, something you don't want to deal with.
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ScottG
Nomad
Nomad
schlep1967 wrote:
The answer was touched on above. If your low point drains are like mine they have a screw on cap on hard white plastic. No valve. You unscrew the cap and the water comes out.
The answer would be, IF you can get to the area above the floor where the drains come down, do a little plumbing work and put valves above the floor and run pex down for the drains.


That's exactly how our Northwood is plumbed; There are valves inside the heated area that redirect water out the open lines on the bottom of the trailer. We have no caps.

Terryallan
Explorer II
Explorer II
MitchF150 wrote:
I use my low point drain lines to empty the hot water tank so I don't have to remove the plug every time I want to drain the tank when not in use.

You just have to open the pressure relief valve and open the low point drains and you get pretty much all the 6 gallons of water out of the HWT.

I blow out my lines and don't use the RV AF. I made an adapter that screws into the city water inlet with a ball valve on it and hook it to my air compressor and set the compressor to around 40 psi and just go round and round on the faucets, toilet, pump, shower, outside shower, etc and open hot cold let it build pressure back up, repeat until I'm satisfied that I've got the water out of the lines. I also close and open the low point drains too, so it just all works for me..

I can see your point on the low point drains if you are in 0 degree weather and have water in the system.. Mine are exposed under the trailer too, so in theory, they would freeze up at the end.. Would they freeze up enough to split the pipes? Dunno.. For me, that's a non issue, as I don't camp in that kind of weather... But I know there are a lot of folks that do camp/live in freezing weather, so I guess that would be a concern..

Not real answer for ya, other than to say "good luck".. 🙂

Mitch



I do that as well. all you got to do is open a faucet, and the entire hot water tank drains. Pretty cool.

Now I do have 4 low point drains. Why I don't know. When I winterize I open the low points, and drain the water heater tank. Then I close them. I then use air to blow out the water. I go to each faucet, and open them one at a time, and wait until all water spray / mist finishes coming out. including toilet flush valve, and shower head.

Why? because ONE (1) time I didn't. The pipes did not freeze. But the inside of the valve did. I had to replace the faucet. So now I make sure there is no water droplets left in the faucet.

Then I open the low points again and blow out any thing left in them. It's easy, takes about 20 min. So yeah. I want to keep my low point drains.

And do remember. IF you use the pink stuff. to press in the little check valve in the city water inlet. If you don't. It could freeze. However. Stand back, or let the pressure off inside first. It's gonna shoot out of there.
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ksg5000
Explorer
Explorer
maillemaker wrote:

I don't even bother with compressed air as I tried it once and it blew nothing out - the low point drains are low so everything runs out the drains.


I am glad that works for you. My experience has indicated that most of the freeze issues tend to be with toilet valves and similar small stuff which often take air to clear. The amt of water in those valves in nominal but freeze can destroy the valve.
Kevin

pasusan
Explorer
Explorer
maillemaker wrote:
The answer would be, IF you can get to the area above the floor where the drains come down, do a little plumbing work and put valves above the floor and run pex down for the drains.


In my RV, the valves are inside the house (2 under the bed, two under the bathroom sink), and they have drain extensions that go through the floor to exit the RV.
Same with our 1990 trailer. - the valves are inside and only lengths of open pipe go to the outside. And the low point drains are how I winterize. Let the water out - also clears out the water heater and then blow the lines out with air.

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maillemaker
Explorer
Explorer
The answer would be, IF you can get to the area above the floor where the drains come down, do a little plumbing work and put valves above the floor and run pex down for the drains.


In my RV, the valves are inside the house (2 under the bed, two under the bathroom sink), and they have drain extensions that go through the floor to exit the RV.
1990 Winnebago Warrior. "She may not look like much but she's got it where it counts!"

maillemaker
Explorer
Explorer
Low point drains (2) do not drain the tank. They only drain the piping system. The FW tank has it's own drain. Low point drains are not necessary if you use antifreeze, My 2011 32' Keystone sprinter has no low point drains.


My low point drains drain the entire system. Well, I guess that's not technically correct. My RV has 3 drains, and one valve just isolates the water tank.

Every time I'm done with the RV for a trip I pull all 4 valves and drain the entire system.

I don't even bother with compressed air as I tried it once and it blew nothing out - the low point drains are low so everything runs out the drains.
1990 Winnebago Warrior. "She may not look like much but she's got it where it counts!"

schlep1967
Nomad
Nomad
The answer was touched on above. If your low point drains are like mine they have a screw on cap on hard white plastic. No valve. You unscrew the cap and the water comes out.
The answer would be, IF you can get to the area above the floor where the drains come down, do a little plumbing work and put valves above the floor and run pex down for the drains.
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MFL
Nomad II
Nomad II
Yosemite Sam1 wrote:
You all too mean! LOL

Just put a sleeve of foam, like the ones you put on your pipes sticking out the ground for those leaving in harsh winter countries.



This is what I did, put foam pipe insulation on the low point drains, and the fresh tank drain hose. I used a few wraps of electrical tape above and below the exposed valves. to secure the foam.

My FW is supposed to be 4 season, but obviously not below 0 capable. I've used it down to 20 degrees with no issue. It heats easily, is well insulated, but these drains hanging down do need attention, and the outdoor shower disabled on my rig, as it is out of the heated basement area.

Jerry

lane_hog
Explorer II
Explorer II
Removing the drains might be more trouble than it's worth if the piping is PEX. Fairly certain empty PEX won't be damaged from being exposed to freezing temps.

I've got some leftover PEX from a project... Maybe I'll cap a section and leave it in the deep freeze for a few days to see what happens.
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