US 3929154 A
An arrangement and method for winterizing, by the use of antifreeze, a structure having hot and cold water pipes and a hot water storage tank and in which the hot water storage tank is normally the only connection between the hot and cold water pipes, the arrangement involving introducing antifreeze into both the cold and hot water pipes so that the hot water tank can be drained and maintained in a drained condition during the period of winterization. The arrangement is particularly adapted for use in connection with recreational vehicles.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Goodwin 1 1 Dec. 30, 1975 154] FREEZE PROTECTION APPARATUS  Inventor: Frank E. Goodwin, 1015 N. 23rd St., Billings, Mont. 59101 22 Filed: July 29,1974
 Field of Search 137/59, 301, 60, 337, 344; 126/350 R; 296/23 R 3,384,123 5/1968 Saddison 137/301 X Primary ExaminerHenry T. Klinksiek Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Frederick E. Lange 57 ABSTRACT An arrangement and method for Winterizing, by the use of antifreeze, a structure having hot and cold water pipes and a hot water storage tank and in which the hot water storage tank is normally the only connection between the hot and cold water pipes, the arrangement involving introducing antifreeze into both the cold and hot water pipes so that the hot water tank can be drained and maintained in a drained condition during the period of winterization. The arrangement is particularly adapted for use in connection with recreational vehicles.
7 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 939,858 11/1909 Pullen 126/350 R X 1,108,550 8/1914 Chubb 137/337 2,117,907 5/1938 Ogden... 137/337 2,840,101 6/1958 Saylor 137/344 X US. Patent Dec.30, 1975 Sheet10f2 3,929,15
Sheet 2 of 2 US. Patent Dec. 30, 1975 FREEZE PROTECTION APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION There is always a substantial problem in Winterizing a structure which is not to be occupied for substantial periods of time. This may arise in connection with a residence in which it isdesired not to have any heating for a while clue to the occupants being away. It is particularly acute in connection with recreational vehicles which often must stand for susbstantial periods of time during the winter with no convenient means for heating them. Since it is customary in connection with such recreational vehicles to have a supply of water and a substantial amount of plumbing, some means must be found for insuring against freezing of the water pipes and the various plumbing equipment, such as toilet bowls, wash basins, and so forth. While it is possible to completely drain such a system, it is often very difficult to remove all the water from the plumbing system. For example, water can be retained in traps of various kinds, and this water may, when the temperature drops sufficiently, cause cracking or other damage to the pipes or fixtures in which the water is trapped. For this reason, it is quite customary to employ antifreeze and to inject antifreeze into the pipes by filling the hot water tank, for example, with antifreeze and pumping this through the system. This has the advantage that any residual water is forced out and any fluid remaining in the pipes or fixtures is in the form of an antifreeze solution which will not freeze. The drawback to this arrangement, however, is that such antifreeze solutions are relatively expensive and the process of filling the hot water tank and introducing the antifreeze into the pipes from there requires a very substantial amount of antifreeze. The reason for employing the hot water tank is that it is, of course, necessary to introduce the antifreeze into both the hot and cold water pipes. These pipes are normally interconnected only through the hot water heater, the inlet of the hot water tank being connected to the cold water pipes and the outlet to the hot water pipes. By filling the hot water tank in this way, it is possible to introduce the antifreeze solution into both the hot and cold water pipes. As pointedout, however, this is done only by utilization of a large amount of antifreeze solution.
SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION The present invention is concerned with a method of Winterizing a structure by the use of antifreeze in which there is a normally closed bypass between the hot and cold water pipes, which bypass is independent of the hot water heater with means for opening this bypass so that both the cold water supply and the hot water tank can be completely drained and yet still enable antifreeze to be supplied from a tank of antifreeze to both the hot and cold water pipes. In actual practice, sufficient antifreeze is introduced to insure that it passes out through the various faucets. v
With the arrangement just described, it is possible with a relatively small amount of antifreeze to force out any residual water in the pipes and to insure that the pipes and plumbing fixtures in the structure will not be damaged while the structure is unheated. It is obvious that this is particularly desirable in connection with'a recreational vehicle.
In utilizing the equipment, the supply of water, particularly if it be city water,.is first shut off so that no more water can enter the system. The hot water heater, of course, is shut off. The hot water tank is then drained by opening the various faucets. If there is a supply storage tank, this likewise is drained. After the hot and cold water pipes, the hot water storage tank, and the main storage tank, if employed, areall drained, the faucets are all closed and the inlet and outlet valves to the hot water tanks are closed. The valve between the supply tank and the lines is also closed. The antifreeze solution from its storage tank is then forced into the various cold water pipes, the various cold water faucets being successively opened until antifreeze flows through them. Each one is then closed. The bypass valve between the cold and hot water pipes is then opened and each of the outlet hot water faucets is then opened one by one until antifreeze solution flows through them. These are then closed. When this method is followed, the entire system is adequately protected with a minimum use of antifreeze. My invention thus not only involves apparatus but also involves a method of Winterizing a structure having hot and cold water pipes.
For a better understanding of the invention reference is made to the accompanying specification and claims and the drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is an elevational plan view showing the invention as applied to a fifth wheel house trailer;
FIG. 2 is a layout of plumbing employing my invention; and
FIG. 3 is a modified form of plumbing layout employing my invention.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIG. 1, I have shown in schematic outline a typical fifth wheel recreational trailer. It is, of course, understood that the invention is equally applicable to any type of recreational vehicle or for that matter to a stationery permanent structure of any kind employing hot and cold water pipes. The trailer 10 is generally shown as comprising a housing 11 supported at its rear on two pairs of wheels, wheels 12 and 13 of which are the only ones that are visible in the drawing. The front portion 14 of thetrailer has a floor which is substantially higher than the floor of the main portion so that the front portion can extend over the bed of a pickup truck. Secured to the under side of the front portion is a coupler 15 designed to mate with a fifth wheel coupler secured in the bed of a pickup truck. In
order to support the front end of the trailer when it is not coupled to a pickup truck, it is provided with one or two retractable legs 17 which can be adjustably lowered to engage the ground and support the floor of the trailer in a substantially horizontal position. These adjustable legs are of course retracted when the trailer is coupled to a pickup truck for normal use. The trailer is provided with an interior floor 18 which is shown schematically and which, it will be understood, extends the full length of the trailer. No attempt has been made to show the various partitions in the trailer since they have no bearing upon the present invention.
Referring now to the plumbing equipment of the trailer with which this invention is concerned, the numeral 22 indicates a storage tank for storing water. When the trailer is permanently parked at some location where city water is readily available, the inlet to this tank will be coupled to a suitable source of water.
From the tank there is a connection under the control of a manually operated valve 23 to a cold water pipe 24, a branch 25 of which leads to a cold water faucet 26 controlling the water to a mixing faucet 27 of a conventional kitchen sink. Another branch 29 of the cold water pipe, connected to pipe 24, leads to a pipe 32 which is connected through a mixing valve 33 to a shower head 34 of a shower. A still further branch 36 of the cold water pipe is connected to the cold water faucet of a mixing faucet 37.
A further branch 38 of the cold water line is connected to the flushing mechanism of a toilet 39 which may be provided with an alternative spray type of flushing mechanism 40 which may be used to flush the toilet and save water.
A still further branch 41 of the cold water line leads through a valve 42 to the inlet of a hot water heater tank 44. It will be understood that there is associated with this tank a suitable heater for heating the water in the tank to a predetermined temperature which normally can be set to any desired value. Since such hot water tanks are conventional, the details of the hot water tank 44 have not been shown. Leading from the tank 44 through a manual] operated valve 45 is a hot water pipe 46 which is connected to various hot water branch pipes leading to different pieces of equipment employing hot water. For example, one line 47 goes to the mixing valve 33 which in turn leads to the shower faucet 34. Another line 49 connects to a pipe 51 which connects to the hot water faucet of the mixing valve assembly 37 of the bath tub. Another line 52 goes up to a hot water faucet 53 in the kitchen sink.
Extending between the cold water pipe 25 leading to cold water faucet 26 of the kitchen sink and pipe 52 leading to the hot water faucet 53 of the sink is a normally closed bypass 55 controlled by manually operated valve 54 which is normally closed. The bypass 55 and valve 54 form a significant feature of my operation, and the operation of these will be described in more detail later.
The numeral 59 designates a tank for an antifreeze solution. This tank is filled with antifreeze prior to the time it is desired to winterize the structure. Leading from the tank is a pipe containing a pump 56, the pipe 57 extending through a manually operated valve 58 and joining with cold water pipe 24 on the downstream side of the manually operated valve 23. The operation of the pump is controlled by a switch 60 which controls the energization of pump 56, switch 60 being connected in series with pump 56 between two lines 61 and 62 leading to any suitable source of power. This source of power may be the battery in the trailer or it may be a source of 110 volts which is generated in any suitable manner.
In FIGS. 2 and 3, there are shown various plumbing layouts which incorporate the present invention and permit the method of Winterizing of my invention to be used. In FIGS. 2 and 3, the various elements of the plumbing system are generally the same as in FIG. 1 but are shown in somewhat more detail and without reference to the trailer structure or layout. Where possible, reference numerals identical to those employed in FIG. 1 have been applied to elements which are similar to the elements of FIG. 1.
FIG. 2 shows a plumbing layout in which the elements are generally disposed in approximately the same position as in the more schematic showing in FIG. 1. The cold water storage tank 22 is in the lower right 4 hand corner as in FIG. 1. It is preferably provided with a detachable connection 67 of any suitable type for filling the storage tank and maintaining the tank filled. The connection 67 may lead, for example, to a source of city water. It is shown as provided with a suitable drain valve 68 in a drain pipe 69 leading to any suitable area for receiving the drained water. Similarly, the tank 55 holding the antifreeze solution is shown in the upper right hand corner. The hot water heater tank 44, unlike the showing in FIG. 1 is in a central position. Again the hot water heater tank 44 is shown as provided with a suitable drain valve 70 in a drain pipe 71. In some cases, the cold and hot water pipes have been reversed in position. Thus, in connection with the faucet 27 the cold water pipe leading to cold water 26 is on the right instead of the left as in FIG. 1. The shower nozzle 34, instead of being controlled by a single mixing valve as in FIG. 1, is controlled by two valves 60 and 61, 61 being the cold water valve and 60 the hot water valve.
In addition to these slight changes, the equipment is shown in somewhat more detail in FIGS. 2 and 3. Thus for example, the toilet bowl 39 is shown as being provided with a flush pedal 64 which is effective when stepped on to cause flushing of the toilet. Furthermore, the water saving nozzle arrangement 40 is shown as comprising a flexible hose 62 and a nozzle 63 with a manually actuable valve for opening the nozzle 63 and causing a water spray to issue therefrom. It is, of course, understood that the nozzle 63 will normally be on a hook or similar device for keeping it out of way until it is used.
Basically, the arrangement of FIG. 3 is very similar to that of FIGS. 1 and 2. In this case, the cold water tank 22 is shown in the lower left hand side whereas the hot water tank 44 is shown in the extreme right hand side. There are other slight differences such as the fact that, unlike FIG. 2, there is a common mixing valve 33 which is used to control the flow through the nozzle 34. Due to the similarity of the reference characters, it is believed unnecessary to again describe FIG. 3 in any detail.
OPERATION OF EQUIPMENT As has been previously indicated, the apparatus of the present invention makes it possible to thoroughly protect the plumbing in a structure from possible freezing by the use ofa relatively small amount of antifreeze solution. This is accomplished by employing an arrangement which makes it possible to drain not only the cold water reservoir but also the hot water reservoir of the hot water heater. This is accomplished by following definite steps which form part of a novel method of Winterizing such a structure.
When it is desired to winterize the trailer or other structure, the hot water heater is turned off and if the equipment is connected to a city water supply, the equipment is disconnected from this source of city water by disconnecting connection 67. The storage tank is then drained by opening drain valve 68 and draining through drain pipe 69. The hot water heater 44 is likewise drained by opening drain valve 70 and draining through drain pipe 71. If there are any other drain lines in the system, these should also be opened. If the hot water heater has a pressure relief valve on it, this pressure relief valve should reamin open after the pressure is released. During this draining operation, all of the valves at the toilet, the individualfaucets, etc. should be open to facilitate draining of the system.
After all of the drains haveguit draining-,jthenall of the faucets and any drain valves inx the linesfi ncluding,
drain valves 68 and 79, should be closed: Thevalve 23 leading from the cold water storage tank 22" is now closed to prevent any; antifreeze solution' from entering this storage tank. Similarly, both the cold water inlet valve 42 and the hot water outlet valve 45 connected with the hot water storage tank44 are closed. The valve 58 is now opened and switch 60 is closed to cause pump 56 to pump antifreeze solution from the tank 55 through pipe 57, valve 58,- -and cold water pipes 24, 29 and the other cold water pipes connected thretofEach of the cold water valves 26, 61, the cold water valve: of faucet 36, and so forth, are successively opened until antifreeze starts to run out. Similarly, in connection with the water saver hose 40, the valve handle 63 is opened until antifreeze passes therethrough. The inlet valve of the toilet 39 is opened either by flushing the toilet or by actuating the float control valve to admit antifreeze. As antifreeze flows through each valve, the valve is then shut off.
The valve 54 in bypass line 55 is now opened. This permits the antifreeze solution to flow from the cold water pipes into the hot water pipes. Thus, referring to FIG. 2, for example, antifreeze flows through line 25 and valve 54 to the hot water faucet 53 and hot water lines 52, 47 and 51. Again, the hot water valves are successsively opened until antifreeze flows through the outlet nozzle. For example, in the case of the mixing nozzle 27, the valve 53 is opened until antifreeze starts again issuing through the nozzle 27. Valve 53 is then closed. Similarly, hot water valve 60 is opened until such time as antifreeze again starts flowing through nozzle 34. Then the valve 60 is closed. This operation is repeated each time that there is a hot water faucet of any kind.
When the various steps outlined above have been completed, it is assured that there will be antifreeze solution in every fixture which is not completely empty. In the case of the storage tank 22 and the hot water heater storage tank 44, no antifreeze is introduced simply because these tanks have been sufficiently drained that any minor amount of water remaining can do no damage. The operation just described can be performed very quickly, once the storage tank 22 and the hot water tank 44 are drained. Furthermore, the only antifreeze solution necessary is that which is introduced into the pipes. No antifreeze solution is introduced into either of the tanks 22 or 44. This has the further advantage that when the system is subsequently flushed out to again prepare it for normal use, the amount of antifreeze that must be flushed out is relatively small as compared with what the situation would be if the entire hot water tank 44 were filled with antifreeze. This will speed up the process of putting the system back into operation.
CONCLUSION It will be seen that I have provided a novel apparatus and method for Winterizing a structure having hot and cold water pipes, the apparatus and method utilizing a minimum amount of antifreeze solution and insuring that the structure can be rapidly winterized and rapidly placed back into normal use.
While I have shown certain specific embodiments of my invention, it is to be understood that this is for purposes of illustration and that the scope of my invention is limited solely by the appended claims.
I claim'as my invention: l.-ln combination with av structure having a plurality of water conduits leading to various regions of utilization, at eachv of which regions there a valved outlet from one of said water conduits, someof said conduits acting as hot water conduits and other'of said conduits acting as cold water conduits;
a water heater having'a'storage tank with a valved drain outlet? a valved inlet connection to one of said cold water conduits and a valved outlet connection between said tank andsaid hot water conduits, said storage tank and said valved inlet and outlet connections constituting the only interconnections between said hot and cold water conduits when said valved inlet and outlet connections are open,
a source of water connected to said cold water conduits by a further valved connection, a source of antifreeze also connected to said cold water conduits by a further valved connection,
and a normally closed further valved connection between said hot and cold water conduits so that upon opening the valve in said last named connection and the valve in the connection between the source of antifreeze and said cold water conduits, following closure of the valves in the connection to the source of water and in the inlet and outlet connections of said heater storage tank and draining of the latter, antifreeze can be admitted to both said cold and hot water conduits while leaving said heater storage tank substantially free of fluid of any kind.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the normally closed valve connection between said hot and cold water conduits is between hot and cold water conduits extending to a common region of utilization and is located adjacent the terminal points of said conduits so that the valve therein is readily accessible at said region of utilization.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 in which a pump is provided in the connection between the source of antifreeze and said cold water conduits.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the source of water includes a storage tank and in which said tank has provision for draining the same.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the structure is a recreational vehicle.
6. The method of Winterizing a structure having a plurality of water conduits leading to various regions of utilization, at each of which regions there is a valved outlet from one of said water conduits, some of said conduits acting as hot water conduits and other of said conduits acting as cold water conduits, a water heater having a storage tank with a valved drain outlet, a valved inlet connection to one of said cold water conduits and a valved outlet connection between said tank and said hot water conduits, said storage tank and said valved inlet and outlet connections constituting the only interconnections between said hot and cold water conduits when said valved inlet and outlet connections are open, and a source of water connected to said cold water conduits by a valved connection, said method comprising:
providing a normally closed connection between said hot and cold water conduits,
closing off the connections between said source of water and said cold water conduits,
opening the valved outlets at each of said points of utilization and opening said drain outlet of said heater storage tank to drain substantially all of the water from said storage tank and said conduits,
closing the inlet and outlet connections of said heater storage tank and the valved outlets at the regions of utilization,
supplying an antifreeze solution under pressure to said cold water conduits,
opening said valved outlets in the cold water conduits at the regions of utilization, one by one, and maintaining each such valved outlet open until said antifreeze solution starts to flow out of said outlet,
opening said normally closed connection between said hot and cold water conduits, and opening said valved outlets in the hot water conduits at the regions of utilization, one by one, and maintaining each such valved outlet open until said antifreeze solution starts to flow out of said outlet. 7. The method of claim 6 in which the structure has a cold water storage tank which has a valved drain and is connected to the cold water conduits by a valved connection, in which method said cold water storage tank is drained by opening said valved drain, and in which said valved connection to said cold water pipes is closed before the antifreeze solution is supplied to said cold water conduits.