Keeping Washing Machine from Freezing


My Virginia tree farm near the Blue Ridge Parkway is remote and has no grid power. I currently only work it on weekends. My agricultural well is generator operated. I use large pressure storage tanks for the well water, and the shed that encloses my well and tanks is 8' x 12' in size. I want to put an older working washing machine in the well pump shed, and use it to do cold water washes.
I am insulating the pump shed (at about 1500 ft elevation near Stuart, VA) to ~R19. When freezing weather comes I pump the water out of the well pressure tanks and above ground pipes to protect them from freezing damages. My question is about the washing machine that I want to keep in the same shed.
Can I use compressed air at the water intake hose to blow water out of the washing machine for freezing weather storage? I heard that would still leave water in the washer's drain trap, which could freeze and rupture plumbing.
How might one 'winterize' a washing machine for possible freezing temperatures? Could I use RV water tank antifreeze by pouring some in the water intake while the machine is set to fill the wash drum, and then by setting the machine to 'drain' so that the antifreeze would occupy both fill and drain lines?
I realize already that this is an atypical location and usage for a washing machine. Relocating the machine to an alternate location is not an option for me. Thanks for any help folks may have on this unusual query.
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You can just pour a gallon of rv antifreeze in it.
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*Many years ago when I worked for my father a lot of his work was in dry cleaning plants and Laundromats. I remember seeing some washing machines being changed over to gravity discharge instead of using the pump to extract the dirty water because the drains were in the floor. These were commercial washing machines and a factory conversion kit was used for the changeover. Perhaps something like that is available for residential machines. I never inquired. Of course you would still need to drain the inlet hoses, but it would not be too difficult to just disconnect them.
I'm thinking that antifreeze might leave a residue film that may affect the clothes.
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On Fri, 18 Sep 2009 14:45:13 -0400, John Grabowski wrote:

Interesting. I had a washing machine freeze on me a couple of years ago - the water in the pump / outlet froze, pushed the drain hose off, but had thawed just enough for the pump to be unblocked when we next used it. Cue water everywhere...

I think the pump body's normally the lowest part of the plumbing in a machine - maybe a tap can be put in there (or right at the base of the drain hose) and a solenoid valve added to completely drain the system when power's applied to it (a solenoid valve from the inlet on a junk washer would work, I suspect).

I think in most basic systems the external hot/cold inlet hoses merge into a single hose 'downstream' of the solenoid valves within the machine, and water in the tub and the 'internal' inlet hose then sits at the same level as in the drain hose - so in theory if there's nothing in the drain hose the inlet hose within the machine should drain, too.
Yes, still need to drain the external inlet hose(s) of water (if that's what you meant) - but that's a separate issue to emptying the machine itself.
cheers
Jules
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also search for winterize washing machine at my favorite appliance repair site: http://fixitnow.com /
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VaTreeFarmer wrote:

Most washing machines will gravity drain the water in the tub and in the pump if you simply lower the drain hose down to floor level. Hopefully you have a floor drain to make things simple. It *could* leave some water in the pump, so attach a good wet/dry shop vac to the drain hose to see if any more water comes out. You can not use the machine without raising the drain hose again, all the water that goes in will just flow right out again.
I would think so but not be certain if disconnecting the water inlet hoses, then attempting to fill the machine with warm water should open the valves and let most of the water out of that part of the machine. Your idea of using compressed air to blow the water out at the same time should do the trick. Be sure both the hot and cold water valve solenoids are energized and open when you use the compressed air.
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