Plumbing anti-freeze : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Anybody know how much plumbing anti-freeze one uses? And does it just get poured into the toilet? The damn stuff hasn't got any instructions on it!

-- just another (, November 09, 1999


Plumbing antifreeze is supposed to be used in the water SUPPLY pipes. And unless you know EXACTLY what you're doing, *AND* expect your pipes to freeze, DON'T USE IT.

-- Dennis (, November 09, 1999.

Anti-freeze is extremely toxic- death results from ingestion of only small amounts - causing irreversible renal (kidney) failure.

I would recommend some other method to keep your pipes from freezing (insulation?)

-- mmmm (, November 10, 1999.

Unless it is cheaper than salt, use salt. The salt solution can be added to any tank, trap, toilet, drain, fixture, that is in danger of freezing. If this doesn't keep the water from freezing, seek shelter. You are probably in imminent danger. You can also use bleach, but I believe salt is easier, and less ultilitarian than bleach.

-- Michael (, November 10, 1999.

Dennis - Exactly how does one go about adding this stuff to the water supply lines? And then, how does one rinse it all out again?

-- MIchael (, November 10, 1999.

You should use "RV antifreeze". Unlike the stuff for cars (ethylene glycol*) it is relatively non-toxic (it's also a *lot* cheaper). It is safe enough to be used in the RV system where it actually flows through the potable water faucet.

Turn off the water supply to your toilet. Flush twice. Pour a gallon down. This results in enough of the stuff in the trap to prevent freezing. (I'ld use a full gallon, on sale it's only about $2 per gallon.) DO NOT DILUTE - USE FULL STRENGTH.

Do the same with all drains in your house.

Turn off the water main and drain all faucets.

Drain hoses and external water spigots.

Head for the hills.

There is no danger of ingesting the stuff, if you think about it. It's all sitting in the various 'traps' around the house and will wash away with the next use, if any next use there ever shall be.

Ethylene glycol is a molecule with 2 alcohol sidegroups (a glycol) and so has extensive (and strong) H-bonding which both raises it's boiling point and depresses its freezing point. RV antifreeze is propylene glycol and works as well for cold weather protection. It will not protect from boiling, because it breaks down at high temps - but we don't care about that.

Ethylene glycol (car anti-freeze) can cause blindness and kidney damage if even minute quantities are ingested. It is a frequent cause of animal poisoning, as it is said to have a sweet taste and dogs, etc. will ingest willingly any that is left accessible.

Hope this helps.

-- Me (, November 10, 1999.

Up here in Maine, people have to winterize their camps and cottages every year. We always drain all the water lines, of course, but it's the water in the drain traps (you know, that U-shaped section under the sinks) that freezes and causes the real trouble. So we just pour a jar of molasses (no I am not making this up) down the drain. It forces the water out of the trap and just sits there all winter. In spring, we rinse it out with hot water. Works like a charm, and it's cheaper than antifreeze. Also, for toilets I've used a gallon of the windshield washer fluid you buy at Sams for 99 cents.

On another note, if you have hot-water baseboard heating in your house and you plan on leaving it cold during the winter, you should, of course, drain the heating system as well.

-- Cash (, November 10, 1999.

I have done this many times with a home in the Pocono's in Pennsylvania. Shut off your water supply. Open all the faucets and flush all the toilets. Lift off toilet tank lids and pour in an inch or two of the pink stuff (propolene glycol). Lift lid and seat and quickly pour in enough pink stuff to have about what you would normally have of water. Need to pour quickly because the empty toilet usually smells really bad. Then go to each sink and pour about a cup of pink stuff down the drain--enough to displace the water in the trap. Then, we always did the bathtubs also--again using about a cup of propolene glycol. We did this for at least 15 years. For the last 5 we had only one of the 3 bathrooms operational--we just left the pink goop in the others. The heat often went off and we had to fix the baseboard hotwater lines but the toilets and sinks were just fine. In fact we removed 2 tollets and 3 sinks last year and are installing them in our new house this week. Pam.

-- pamela (, November 10, 1999.

All -- Thanks for the responses. There may have been a misconception. The stuff I am using is actually the 'RV anti-freeze' not 'plumbing anti-freeze' which appears to be a different beast.

Got the answers for 'winterizing' which is what I was actually after. Thanks to all though.

-- just another (, November 10, 1999.

RV antifreeze has been going for about $1.49 to $1.69 around here on various sales. And it is designated as GRAS - generally regarded as safe.

If one wanted to use salt instead, does anyone know how much needs to be added? I guess more specifically a listing of concentration compared to freezing poing might be helpful...


winter wondering

-- winter wondering (, November 11, 1999.

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