How To Winterize Your RV

The process of winterizing your RV is always bittersweet. While it marks the end of another camping season, it’s also a very welcome start to the holidays, cooler weather, and beautiful fall colors. RV winterization is an extraordinarily important component of taking care of your RV. Proper winterization saves you the headache of finding unwelcome issues that often appear after the winter. Busted water hoses and broken water heaters are just a few of the costly issues that you could encounter if you don’t properly winterize your rig.


So, how can you winterize your RV easily? You could bring it into our shop, where we’re having a special on winterization. Or, you could try winterizing your RV yourself. The latter takes some time, but can be quite satisfying if you’re the type of person who enjoys hands on activities.


Before you start the winterization process you’ll need to make sure you have a few staple items on hand.


  • Non-toxic RV antifreeze – how much depends on the amount of tubing in your RV. Typically 3 gallons will suffice.
  • A water heater by-pass kit, if not already installed.
  • A wand to clean out holding tanks.
  • A water pump converter kit, or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the water pump.
  • Hand tools to remove drain plugs.
  • User manual – Ensure you read this to determine any unit specific winterization guidelines from your manufacturer.

Your first step to protecting your rig from the upcoming winter weather is to disconnect your outside water source and bypass your water heater and any under-sink filtration systems using your water heater bypass kit. By bypassing your water heater you save money by not having to fill the water heater with several gallons of non-toxic antifreeze.


Drain all water from your pipes by opening the petcock, water taps, and flushing the toilets. Make sure you drain your black and gray water holding tanks and clean them using a product designed for these tanks.


If you have an air compressor use a blow out plug attached to the water intake fitting to blow out any remaining water. If you do not have an air compressor, don’t worry! This is just an extra precautionary step. The antifreeze will prevent the remaining water from freezing. Close all faucets and petcock once you have completed the draining process.


The last step to winterizing your RV is to simply add the antifreeze. There are two ways you can move the antifreeze through your water lines: inside using a water pump conversion kit or through the outside using a hand pump. Whichever way you choose to move the antifreeze through the system you want to ensure you routinely check your progress by starting from the highest point in the fresh water system to lowest. As you pump the antifreeze ensure the water flowing is very pink from the hot side of the sink. Repeat on the cold side.


Once your faucets are completed pour 2 pints of antifreeze into all sink and shower drains. As mentioned earlier you need to read your user manual and appliance manuals and follow any manufacturer directions to winterize these appliances.


As a last measure open your water heater’s drain valve and leave your antifreeze in the lines until spring, when you can enjoy your RV again.


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