How to Winterize Your RV

When water freezes, it expands. If this happens in your RV water lines, drains, water heater or toilet, it will cause damage. Protection of the RV plumbing system and related components against freezing is very important.

There are two generally accepted methods of winterizing an RVs fresh water system:

  1. Compressed Air (Dry) Method Uses compressed air to blow out any remaining water in the system after draining the system of all water. This method requires an air compressor and appropriate adapters.
  2. RV Antifreeze (Wet) Method Uses RV approved, nontoxic, potable, antifreeze in the system and generally does not require any special tools.

Air AdapterIf using the compressed air method, a special adapter (see image) should be purchased to allow compressed air to be delivered through the city water fill. These adapters are available at most RV supply stores and only cost a few dollars. For air pressure, we use a small 12v compressor that we got at Wal-Mart for about $15. This same air compressor can also be used to air up our tires if needed.

  1. Purchase 1 or 2 gallons of non-toxic RV antifreeze, the "pink stuff".
  2. Drain the fresh water tank and empty your holding tanks. Thoroughly rinse your waste tanks as best you can, we use a Tornado for this.
  3. Water Heater BypassIf your RV is so equipped, turn water heater by-pass valve to the by-pass position. The by-pass valve is located near the water heater incoming lines at the rear of the water heater. It is usually accessible behind a door or access panel depending upon the design of your RV. You may have 1, 2 or 3 valves.
  4. Drain water heater. The drain plug is located at the very bottom of the unit and is accessible from outside your RV (see image).Water Heater Drain Plug)
  5. If you have a water filtration system installed, remove the water filter from the assembly and discard. Install the diverter if you have one.
  6. Open all faucets, including shower head sprayer, toilet flushing device and any other water lines that are closed.
  7. Turn on the water pump for 30 seconds to clear out any water in the lines.
  8. Connect an air hose with an adapter to the city water fill connection.
  9. Set the pressure no greater than 25 pounds and blow out the water lines until no water can be seen coming out of the fixtures and lines. We open one faucet at a time and leave it open until nothing but air comes through. We go over each line twice to make sure all the water is out.
  10. Pour RV antifreeze into drains, traps, toilet and holding tanks.


Winterizing Your RV Plumbing System with RV Antifreeze (With By-Pass Kit Installed)

  1. Purchase 4-6 gallons of non-toxic RV antifreeze, the "pink stuff".
  2. Drain the fresh water tank and empty your holding tanks. Thoroughly rinse your waste tanks as best you can, we use a Tornado for this.
  3. Water Heater BypassTurn your water heater by-pass valve to by-pass position. The by-pass valve is located near the water heater incoming lines at the rear of the water heater. It is usually accessible behind a door or access panel depending upon the design of your RV. You may have 1, 2 or 3 valves.
  4. Drain water heater. The drain plug is located at the very bottom of the unit and is accessible from outside your RV.Water Heater Drain Plug)
  5. If you have a water filtration system installed, remove the water filter from the assembly and discard. Install the diverter if you have one.
  6. Pour an amount of RV non-toxic antifreeze into the fresh water tank to fill the tank above minimum water pump operating level. A funnel may be helpful. Add more, if necessary, during the procedure.
  7. Turn on the water pump switch and open the cold water side of all faucet fixtures. Leave open until the antifreeze comes out. Repeat for hot water side.
  8. Flush toilet until antifreeze begins to flow into the bowl and then pour about 1/2 gallon of antifreeze down the toilet to winterize the black tank.
  9. Pour antifreeze down each shower/tub, lavatory sink, and kitchen sink to fill the traps. Pour enough so that you get at least 1/2 gallon down into the gray water tank.

De-Winterization

If your RV has been winterized for winter storage, the plumbing system must be flushed prior to use. Do not turn on the water heater if the system is winterized!

  1. Attach a hose to fresh water fill and fill the tank.
  2. Turn on the water pump and open the cold water side of all faucets. Leave them open until water runs clear. Repeat for the hot water side.
  3. Flush the toilet until clear water runs into bowl.
  4. If a water filtration system is installed, drain the lines, remove the filter assembly, clean and install a new filter.
  5. When you are ready to use the water heater, turn by-pass valve to the open position to allow water to fill the hot water heater tank. Once the water heater is full of water, it is safe to turn it on.
  6. Drain and flush your holding tanks.



HAVE A COMMENT ABOUT THIS PAGE?   POST IT HERE.
This is for comments only, please.   If you have a question, email us.
Spammers are instantly banned.   A link of any type will trigger a spam violation.   All HTML is stripped out.
Sorry for this, but the spammers are relentless.

*Name:  
Email:  

Notify me about new comments on this page.
Hide my email.
*Text:  

Are you a human?   Please answer this question:
What does 15 + 7 =
 

Back to Top