Help....I Can't Figure Out This Winterizing Thing.
Winterizing.....seems to be a really hard thing to grasp. It's ok. I think we've all been there. So let's really break it down as simple as we can make it.
When you are looking at your machine, let's consider it in sections. You have your engine components, pump component and plumbing components.
Your engine really doesn't need much attention when it comes to freezing. Fill your tank to keep out water condensation. IF you are going to be storing your unit for the season, then we would recommend using something like Stabile in the gas. This is to keep the gas from becoming gummy or sticky. Engines and carburetors doesn't like goo running through them. They have tiny, tiny openings throughout the system and if any of these openings gets clogged, the system starts to fail. Take the time to prevent that with a little prevention.
Next component, is the pump. The pump is the heart of your system and really needs some extra love during the cold. We usually see 2 scenarios.....you are winterizing your system for a month or more OR you are in an area where there is a cold snap and you might be down a few days or a week. The process is really the same for both. The folks who have heated areas to keep their equipment, don't really have to worry about this process.
Let's talk to the folks who don't have any enclosed area to put their equipment.
Maybe your equipment is in the driveway or backyard. Your goal is to remove any water from your system. And that is also going to include your plumbing and hoses. But for now, let's stay on the pump. Your pump has a garden hose opening. Take some pink RV antifreeze and let that flow through your system. How? You can use a funnel and a piece of garden hose. You will need to pull your engine's pull cord slowly a few times to get the fluid to run through the pump. You are NOT trying to start your machine just merely trying to work the fluid through the system. CAT pump has a cool screw top that you can use on their pump antifreeze bottle...it's neat, clean and quick. I will find a link for that and insert it.
Now your hoses.....again your goal is to remove any water. Disconnect your hoses, lay them out FIRST and run some air through them to make sure they are fully drained. What if you can't blow air through them? Maybe you don't have an air compressor readily available. You could always run something like RV antifreeze through the entire pump and plumbing system. It's more expensive to do it this way because you are running the antifreeze through more of your system. Keep in mind, that when you are protecting your equipment, these fluids are SUPER important in avoiding downtime so don't think about the cost of protecting your equipment but rather the cost of fixing your equipment IF you don't protect it.
Now your tanks and plumbing need some care too. If your tank has water in it, drain as much as you can and then add RV antifreeze to it as well. You can also drain it dry and blow air through it's plumbing too. Remember the main goal is to remove UNTREATED water from the system.
Why is the same water that makes you so much money during the non-freezing days (good thing right?) such a detriment to your system on the freezing days? Because water expands when it freezes and when that expansion has nowhere to go....it will make a place for it to go. Burst hoses, cracked pumps and a lot more can occur when water freezes in small spaces. Want to see what water can do when it freezes? Hang on...think I have a cool video on that one too. Here it is...
Your systems are built tough. But they aren't indestructible.
Hope that helps a little bit and feel free to ask questions or comment below. Have a great evening!
- Kimberlee Handl