Water System and Drain Maintenance

 I am a new owner of a one year old 2017 [email protected] 320S, and I want to take a successful 1st trip.  Before leaving home, I know to drain the fresh water tank to lighten the load, but unsure about manual's reference to drain the Alde's 2-3 gal hot water heater system as well.  Do I really maintain the Alde system by draining it every month (in Florida)?  Unless skipping this is a big mistake, I plan to drain only the fresh water tank to travel and camp in Fl.. 

Per the manual, pg 28, to drain the fresh water tank, "open faucets, shower, water heater drain and relief valves." Why include water heater drain ?  If necessary, where are the water heater drain valves (and their outlets)?  Where are the relief valves located?  More importantly, why do I need to include water heater draining and/or opening of relief valve unless winterizing?

Also, where is the water line low point drain?  Manual says "in or under shower"  I do not see it.  What water drains from it?  What is it?

So confused!

Comments

  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Posts: 254Member
    edited May 12
    You don't have to drain the hot water heater, but you might as well if you are draining everything.  If you just want to drain the fresh tank for travel then don't bother with anything else:

    First off, to drain the fresh water tank there is a drain valve just in front of the passenger side wheel, next to the step.  Open your faucets (cold side), then open the drain valve.  It will take a good half hour to drain the tank this way.

    If you download the winterizing guide it has a picture of all of the other drain valves, which are located under the rear driver's side bench seat, where the Alde unit resides.  There is a cold water drain valve, a hot water drain valve, and the Alde pressure relief/drain valve (yellow flip valve).

    The Alde manual suggests draining and refilling the hot water tank every month to maintain the air cushion.  If you don't use the hot water a lot you can stretch this out longer.
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • eltonelton Posts: 5Member
    Thanks!
    What about " low point water drain " questions.
  • SAMSAM Posts: 1,816Member
    @elton, the Alde manual says to drain/fill the hot water tank monthly as ColoradoJon noted and if winterizing or storing for a long time - time period undefined.  The Tab manual (pg 28) specifies to drain the water system if out of use for longer than a week to prevent algae and bacterial growth.  Keep in mind, if you do empty it, if you are not going to be at a site with a water hook up, consider filling the hot water tank and priming the pump at home before you travel.  Otherwise, you will use 2-3 gallons of your fresh water tank.  Since you are new, do you know if the Tab was winterized /  Dewinterized?  

    You will find that certain parts of the Tab manual seem to be a little inaccurate as the manual is a constant work in progress.  To my knowledge, there is no low point drain under the shower in the current Tabs.  There are 3 water system drains that drain through the floor located under your bench - hot, cold, and the Alde safety valve/drain valve.  
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • JimEngelJimEngel Posts: 41Member
    Although about winterization, many of the issues are covered here:
    http://angelplace.net/tab/Winterization.pdf
  • ChanWChanW Posts: 1,843Member
    No idea what the 'low point drain under the shower' would be! There is a trap under the shower, definitely the low point, accessible from the outside, enclosed in a metal box.

    But I'd never drain that,  just antifreeze it.

    Ditto what @SAM said, about old, evolving, owner's manuals. The manual really does need  updating (constantly!)
    Chan       --         Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 'S' Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl Access Cab
  • eltonelton Posts: 5Member
    Thanks Jon, Sam, Jim and ChanW
    I do not know if my camper was ever winterized or dewinterized. The Dealer ( Lazy Days, Tampa ) said it was " fully serviced ". 
  • SAMSAM Posts: 1,816Member
    You can easily determine if it was winterized.  Check for antifreeze by opening the fresh tank drain and running a faucet.  If they only added antifreeze to the traps, run a little water and flush the toilet and then check your gray and black tanks.  If they winterized the entire water system, flush it out, then sanitize.  Don’t get any bleach water in the Alde.
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • BrianZBrianZ Posts: 128Member
    Hey, @SAM, I'm curious about your comment, "Don’t get any bleach water in the Alde".  I thought the Alde bypass valves were for keeping antifreeze out of the Alde tank, if winterizing the entire plumbing system with antifreeze rather than blowing out the lines.  I don't recall reading in any manuals that you couldn't sanitize the entire plumbing system with diluted bleach.
  • PhotomomPhotomom Posts: 1,880Member
    BrianZ said:
    Hey, @SAM, I'm curious about your comment, "Don’t get any bleach water in the Alde".  I thought the Alde bypass valves were for keeping antifreeze out of the Alde tank, if winterizing the entire plumbing system with antifreeze rather than blowing out the lines.  I don't recall reading in any manuals that you couldn't sanitize the entire plumbing system with diluted bleach.
    Bleach is corrosive to stainless steel so you want to keep it out of the Alde.
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • maddmikemaddmike Posts: 50Member
    Do you have to drain the tanks for driving or is that just to make it lighter? I don't always know if there will be water where I'm going.
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Posts: 254Member
    Some folks drain the tanks for transit just for weight purposes.  I primarily boondock and carry a full tank of water when I travel.  It does add a lot of weight and I have to be careful how I load the interior, and make sure that I have some tongue weight.  I get a lot of trailer sway if I don't.
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • SAMSAM Posts: 1,816Member
    @BrianZ, agree with Photomom.  There was a discussion on this topic not too long ago.  I believe it was decided that you must bypass your Alde when you sanitize.  You can put antifreeze in the Alde, but I think it must be able to tolerate a certain temperature.  Anyway, no bleach.  
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • dragonsdoflydragonsdofly Posts: 559Member
    edited May 15
    @maddmike, I tow with a 2005 GMC envoy xl. Tow capacity rating 5,000+lbs. I pull it easily with a full freshwater tank, and on occasion, with full to nearly full black and gray tanks. How you tow will depend on your vehicles capacity and your needs.
    2017 [email protected]b sofitel([email protected])TV 2005 gmc envoy xl. Wyandotte, Michigan.
    Draco dormiens numquam titilandus.
  • BrianZBrianZ Posts: 128Member
    Is this "no bleach in the Alde" written somewhere?  If it's corrosive, then why isn't this in the [email protected] manual & Alde manual, or is it?  The only thing I've seen written is about bypassing the Alde for those who want to use antifreeze.  I'm not saying you're wrong, just questioning why something like this, if important, isn't explicitly stated.  On the other hand, if not using bleach increases risk to your health, as opposed to the Alde's health, an Alde unit is relaceable.  I'm also wondering how much damage would a brief exposure to diluted bleach really do, if the bleach solution is then flushed by two tankfulls of water?  The scientist in me wants to trust data, plus my training is in microbiology so I have a lot of respect for microbes too.
    Thanks for the warning, and I look forward to learning more about this issue.
  • SAMSAM Posts: 1,816Member
    @BrianZ, do a search for Alde bleach for the specifics.  I can’t recall where it was found.  I think Alde recommends to avoid drinking the water that has gone through the Alde anyway, and I think the heat from the Alde may keep the bacteria in check.  
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • BrianZBrianZ Posts: 128Member
    Good points, SAM.  I don't do that at home either.  Not sure about cross-contamination of plumbing lines though.  I'll see what I can find.
  • PhotomomPhotomom Posts: 1,880Member
    You don’t need to sanitize the Alde, you don’t want to drink water from it anyway. The water temperature isn’t high enough to kill norovirus. Coming down with Legionnaires disease while camping would be a bummer.
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,223Member
    The Alde reaches 153F (max). Legionella dies at 140F and norovirus dies at 150F - pretty close to the Alde's top temp. That said, norovirus is easy to eliminated with 10% bleach (for countertops, sinks, places you touch (not fabric!!). For those sensitive to bleach, there are other sanitizing chemicals used by hospitals and other facilities. I'm more scared of norovirus than Legionella. 
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Posts: 254Member
    I've had this bleach discussion with my father, who (was) a water treatment chemist for power plant cooling systems.  Diluted bleach will not harm your stainless steel Alde hot water tank in one, two, or even ten applications.  What it will do is over time weaken the metal, especially the fittings.  I've accidentally bleached my Alde hot water tank a couple of times, but in a diluted state the bleach won't hurt it as long as you don't do it all the time.

    He said that it most likely won't be a problem but it is better to err on the safe side.  Heat is a better method of sanitization, if you are concerned about sanitizing your hot water tank.
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 1,874Moderator
    edited May 15
    BrianZ said:
    ...
    Not sure about cross-contamination of plumbing lines though.  I'll see what I can find.
    ...
    While theoretically possible, this would be highly unlikely given that the hot water distribution is all downstream from the cold water distribution. Even with a loss of pressure, check valves in the system should prevent reverse flow from the hot side to the cold side.

    On a different note, I accidentally Clorox-bombed my Alde the first time I sanitized. Not only did I fail to bypass, I misinterpreted the ambiguous directions regarding how much bleach to use. Weren't no bugs within a mile of my Alde after that! And while I can't actually inspect the inside, the unit did not dissolve on the spot and has continued to work perfectly for three years.
  • ericnlizericnliz Posts: 3,966Member
    edited May 15
    @ScottG, I made the same mistake....lesson learned & mine has yet to dissolve either! =)
    2016 [email protected] MAX S-aka: [email protected]
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  


  • SAMSAM Posts: 1,816Member
    x 3
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • BrianZBrianZ Posts: 128Member
    Glad to see a lot of discussion on this issue, especially since it's not adequately addressed in manuals.  I never felt any particular need to disinfect the Alde as much as the fact that it requires extra steps to avoid it. 
    In any case, it seems easy enough to follow a simple rule of thumb that whenever you introduce anything other than water into the water tank/plumbing lines, then use the Alde bypass valves.  And in the mean time, remember to drain the Alde & other plumbing when not in use.
  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,223Member
    I believe the tank in the Alde is aluminum, not stainless steel.
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Posts: 405Member
    This is what the Alde manual says: 

    The boiler consists of three eccentrically-fitted cylinders (heat exchanger, water
    jacket for the heating system and, outer-most, water jacket for hot water).

    The two outer pipes, and their ends and
    connections, are made of stainless steel,
    while the heat exchanger is made of alu-
    minium.


  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Posts: 254Member
    edited May 19
    I would be surprised if it was aluminum.  I would speculate that aluminum just wouldn't have the longevity!  I could be wrong though.  I cannot find any definitive information on what it is made from.

    Edit:  Found this link from Alde regarding the 3020 boiler:
    https://www.alde.us/why-choose-alde/hydronic-radiant-heating/

    Says that it uses a stainless steel jacket with a DHW cylinder (domestic hot water cylinder).  Most of those are stainless steel, at least the ones that I was able to find specs on.
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
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