Alde and RV Antifreeze - (hopefully) the last word!

The question of whether we should keep RV antifreeze out of the Alde when we use it for winterizing comes up repeatedly so I thought I'd ask Alde directly.

Here Is the response I got from Spencer Tangeman, a service technician at Alde. But first, I asked Spencer's permission to post his answer and he replied, "I appreciate you asking before doing so, I have heard plenty of times emails just being posted on forums without consent. So thank you!"  

"Yes, but… There are some things that you have to be aware of when you add RV antifreeze into the boiler. One is you will need to flush the system before you use the sanitary water side next summer, personally if I could prevent that extra step every year I would do that. Secondly you’re adding a chemical that may be heated up to 170 degrees F., is that in that fluids specifications? If it can be heated up to that temp fine then you have nothing to be concerned about, you can just use the system like normal and enjoy a nice comfortable trailer in the great outdoors.

I kind of answered both questions in the above statement, if it was confusing let me know.

Personally the way I would winterize the system would be blowing out the lines with air, it will take about the same amount of time when you’re having to flush the system. But it will save you some money on not having to buy any antifreeze, and you wouldn’t even have to change any of the water lines(shutoff valves). You don’t run the risk of damaging anything if there is nothing in the fresh water side of the system, you can just heat up your trailer like normal."

Hopefully that is helpful. My feeling is that any concern comes how RV antifreeze might react to the heat generated by the Alde. There are many brands of RV antifreeze and Alde and NuCamp can't know the specifications of all of them so it's easier to recommend keeping it out. But that's my supposition. We use the blow out method and the more this question comes up the more I'm glad we decided to do it this way.
John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York

Comments

  • JimEngelJimEngel Member Posts: 45
    I have never been able to understand why people mess around with the antifreeze system, and it is good to hear this from the source. This comes up so often I just collected my notes together:
    http://www.angelplace.net/tab/Winterization.pdf
  • ChanWChanW Member Posts: 2,816
    Thanks for finding that info @Photomom. Good reasoning!
    Chan  -  Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 S Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl
     
     [email protected]'ll_Do_Ya
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Member Posts: 375
    From a pure winterizing standpoint RV antifreeze is fine.  You don't normally run the boiler when winterized and if you do, the blowout option is what you should be using.  I don't understand where the heating issue came from.  I would definitely not heat the boiler if you winterize with RV antifreeze.
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,857
    Interesting point about the fluid potentially being heated to 170F. This suggests that the Alde's innards may get considerably hotter than the hottest tap water that comes out of it (~150F according to the specs and my measurements).

    170F is getting pretty close to the boiling point of ethanol.
  • PhotomomPhotomom Member Posts: 2,207
    ScottG said:
    Interesting point about the fluid potentially being heated to 170F. This suggests that the Alde's innards may get considerably hotter than the hottest tap water that comes out of it (~150F according to the specs and my measurements).

    170F is getting pretty close to the boiling point of ethanol.
    RV antifreeze isn't pure ethanol. The boiling point of the stuff I got from Home Depot (for traps only!) is 216F. People who winterize with vodka might be in for a rude surprise though.
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • PhotomomPhotomom Member Posts: 2,207
    From a pure winterizing standpoint RV antifreeze is fine.  You don't normally run the boiler when winterized and if you do, the blowout option is what you should be using.  I don't understand where the heating issue came from.  I would definitely not heat the boiler if you winterize with RV antifreeze.
    It's just that this comes up every single year I've been following this forum and, can we let RV antifreeze into our Alde and OMG I let RV antifreeze into my Alde, was it damaged? and there don't seem to be directives from either Alde or Nucamp about it.
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • jkjennjkjenn Member Posts: 6,141
    From a pure winterizing standpoint RV antifreeze is fine.  You don't normally run the boiler when winterized and if you do, the blowout option is what you should be using.  I don't understand where the heating issue came from.  I would definitely not heat the boiler if you winterize with RV antifreeze.
    I winter camp, so I do run the boiler when winterized. I now skip antifreeze, altogether, though.

    2021 [email protected] 320 Boondock "Mattie Ross" | 2021 [email protected] Nights: 64 | Total nights in a [email protected] 274 | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk | [email protected] owner since 2014

  • VernaVerna Administrator Posts: 6,281
    Seriously, I only put the pink antifreeze in the p-traps and a bit in the gray and black tanks. I really never wanted a chemical in my fresh water tank. The blowout method is the easiest for me to do. 
    Verna, Columbus, IN
    2021 [email protected] 320S  Boondock
    Towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost
    [email protected] Administrator
  • GibWGibW Member Posts: 93
    The plastic elbow that connects to the fresh water tank drain was damaged by freezing water in our new 2017 factory winterized [email protected] 320-S. We took delivery in November of ‘16 and never had filled the tanks. The trailer had supposedly been winterized at the plant but there must have been some residual water in the tank although the drain stopcock was in the open position. Our dealer replaced the elbow but I don’t want to risk damage by freezing again. So I poured a couple of quarts of RV antifreeze into the freshwater tank when I winterized. I intend to flush the fresh water tank thoroughly before running any water through the plumbing. Other than that I winterized using the blowout method and poured a bit of antifreeze into the drain traps, the gray and black tanks/valves and into the toilet bowl. 
    2017 [email protected] Max-S, silver & silver, towed by a Titanium Silver 2018 Kia Sorento AWD V-6, Twin Cities MN
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Member Posts: 375
    I agree, the blowout method is much easier!  It's what I do.  @jkjenn - camping while winterized is one thing, but simply winterizing (storing over the winter months), there is no harm in the pink stuff :)
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,857
    Photomom said:
    ScottG said:
    Interesting point about the fluid potentially being heated to 170F. This suggests that the Alde's innards may get considerably hotter than the hottest tap water that comes out of it (~150F according to the specs and my measurements).

    170F is getting pretty close to the boiling point of ethanol.
    RV antifreeze isn't pure ethanol. The boiling point of the stuff I got from Home Depot (for traps only!) is 216F. People who winterize with vodka might be in for a rude surprise though.
    I knew it wasn't pure ethanol, but thought the ethanol component might still volatilize at higher temps--kinda' like what happens in a whiskey still. Now I'm curious how they achieve a boiling point of 216F for the RV antifreeze!

    Admittedly, I know a lot more about whiskey than about fluid physics...  ;-)
  • jkjennjkjenn Member Posts: 6,141
    Yeah, I should clarify. I put pink stuff in the traps and waste tanks but not in the freshwater system. 

    2021 [email protected] 320 Boondock "Mattie Ross" | 2021 [email protected] Nights: 64 | Total nights in a [email protected] 274 | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk | [email protected] owner since 2014

  • sdenhofsdenhof Member Posts: 43
    What is the best compressor to use to blowout the water and how do you do the blowout process step by step....thanks!
    2018 Tab 400 towed by 2013 F150
    Evanston Wyoming home
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 6,516
    sdenhof, to the left of the screen (on a PC) is a list of categories.  Near the bottom, find "User Manuals/PDFs, etc".  There is a thread re Winterization with several renditions of how to blow out your lines including the one I attached.  I would add, if you take this approach, come spring, make sure that you bypass the Alde when you go to sanitize your fresh water tank and plumbing lines with bleach water.  Otherwise, you will end up running bleach through the Alde which it does not like.
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • LisamorrisetteLisamorrisette Member Posts: 7
    Wow, thank you all good information. Lots of experience here.
    I will be using the blow out method now that I better understand it. It took me forever to get an answer to what the 3 valve were in my 2014 which does not look anything like the pictures in the PDFs with instructions on winterizing. Even when I reached someone at NuCamp that had to get back to me finding someone who had been there longer to identify my valves. I didn’t think 2014 was that old. That new Natulis system is looking pretty slick with a pretty price tag. Oh well I’ll get this figured out.
    Furbug 2015 [email protected] S TV Toyota RAV
  • JeffroNCJeffroNC Member Posts: 173
    Maybe one more word...
    I have previously used my Alde with my TAB 400 in it's winterized state using antifreeze. That was how I picked it up from the dealer. I just winterized by draining everything and bypassing the Alde before I pulled the antifreeze in.
    Are you folks saying that I should not use the Alde now?  :open_mouth:
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL 2017 F150 3.5L Ecoboost
    Jeff & Amy
    Asheville, NC

  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 6,516
    @JeffroNC - if you bypassed the Alde when you added AF to your plumbing, there is no AF in the Alde water tank and you are ok to heat your cabin using the Alde.  

    I assume your TaB was brand new and the dealer did not do their own rendition of “Winterizing”.  If that is the case, the factory ships new TaBs to the dealer using the blow out technique and AF is only added to the P traps and toilet.  You would have been fine heating the cabin after this version of Winterizing as well.  Basically, if you use AF, as long as the Alde is bypassed you can still use the Alde to heat the cabin.
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • druthazerdruthazer Member Posts: 19
    Smaller less expensive compressor option.
     I got a pretty serious 20a  dc automotive tire inflater compressor free from Renogy when I purchased solar panels.    It has a digital pressure setting so the adapter i bought from lowes for about $4.00  with a screw on fitting like a tire valve connected easily rather than a standard compressor fitting..  AFTER DRAINING ALDE as instructed, Pressurized to 42 lb and opened one valve at a time to blow out.   Had to open and close each valve again multiple times to let pressure build back up to 40+:( because very small pressure tank,) and finally to get all water out of each faucet. I started from the highest (shower) sink , toilet flush, and finally the lowest outside shower.   Again opened Alde drains to be sure I had not pushed water into the hot water tank.   Lots of water came out of each faucet and outside shower took longest....  I did disconnect each hose to the water pump and momentarily turned it on but noted zero water came out. 
    Added RV antifreeze to sink and shower drains and to toilet to keep flush valve wet.   
    Fast enough and effective without owning a big compresser.
  • JeffroNCJeffroNC Member Posts: 173
    @Sharon_is_SAM Whew! Good to hear. The dealer pressurized the trailer to test it and then winterized it before delivery. When he showed me how to do it at the walk through, he included draining and bypassing the Alde so I think I was OK at the start.
    I do the blow out for quick changes from above freezing to below. We are in hard freeze mode now (lower 20s) so I feel better with juice in the pipes.
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL 2017 F150 3.5L Ecoboost
    Jeff & Amy
    Asheville, NC

  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 6,516
    Yep - you’re good to go!  Surprised that you are having colder weather than Cleveland😂
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • JeffroNCJeffroNC Member Posts: 173
    @Sharon_is_SAM we get cold nights at 2600ft elevation.
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL 2017 F150 3.5L Ecoboost
    Jeff & Amy
    Asheville, NC

  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 6,516
    That explains it!
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
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