It is time again to winterize your RV if you live in colder areas where it gets below freezing.
If you are lucky and you have a heated garage, you probably won’t winterize your RV. Or if you are lucky and live in a warm climate all year round, you can definitely skip this step also.
But if you don’t, start right here:
Don’t worry, it is not really a big deal if you know how to winterize your RV in 5 easy steps:
You have actually two options to winterize your RV:
- You blow the waterlines out with air
- You add antifreeze to your waterlines
Winterizing an RV is essential in colder areas and doesn’t take very long. You can either blow out the water lines with a small compressor or add RV antifreeze (pink) after draining all the water lines to protect them from cracking.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. When you click these links I may get a small commission. It won’t cost you anything, but it helps me to run this site. I only promote products and services that I think are great and helpful. Also read my disclosure policy.
Material you need to winterize your RV:
- Non-toxic RV antifreeze (Two to three gallons are normally enough).
- A water heater by-pass kit, if not already installed.
- A clear tube to connect to the inlet side of the water pump.
- Basic hand tools to remove drain plugs.
- Compressor and adapter (a small compressor, a vacuum cleaner or a pump for blowing out water with air can do the job).
Before you start winterizing your RV in 5 easy steps:
Have your grey and black tank cleaned out and emptied before you start winterizing your water lines.
Drain your fresh water tank, but do not put any antifreeze in the fresh water tank. If you do that, you have to flush the water tank several times and you will probably not be able to get the smell/taste of the antifreeze out.
- How to blow out waterlines
You want to start one day prior and turn off the water heater so the water is not hot. Get rid of all the hot water before you do anything else.
- Open up all of your faucets inside the RV and let all the water out. Turn on your water pump for 10-15 seconds, not longer.
- Hook the generator to the water inlet using an adapter.
- Remove any water filters before starting.
- Hook the air compressor up on low pressure in order not to damage the lines.
- Go inside and open one faucet after the other and let all of the water out.
- Don’t forget the toilet and the shower and of course also the outside shower or outside kitchen if you have one.
- Locate and open the low point drain lines. There will be one for the hot and one for the cold water line. Using the water pump will help force water out, but turn it off as soon as the system is drained. You don’t want to ruin your water pump by letting it run too long.
- Just in case there is some water leftover in the lines, pour a little antifreeze in every sink, don’t forget the toilet.
2. Add antifreeze to your waterlines
- Disconnect the inlet side of the water pump (the line coming from the freshwater holding tank).
- Bypass the water heater using a bypass kit. If you don’t do that the water heater will fill up with antifreeze.
- Connect a piece of clear tubing to the inlet side of the pump.
- Put the other end of the tube into one gallon of RV antifreeze. Have another 1-2 gallons available which you will probably need.
- Turn on the water pump inside.
- Open every faucet one after the other until the water turns pink.
Here is a great video that explains everything very well:
Watch this video before you start winterizing your RV, it covers everything you need to know:
More tips how to winterize your RV:
- Cover your tires with a plastic cover to protect your tires.
- Take your batteries off or put them on a triple charger
- Do NOT put a tarp over your RV it could cause mold because water can’t escape. If you want to cover your RV get a breathable cover.
- Take all the food items out of your pantry/fridge/freezer.
- Leave the fridge/freezer door open to prevent it from getting mold.
- Check for any leaks on the roof, check window seams for cracks.
- Make sure your RV is closed up well to prevent mice/rodents to get into your Camper destroying it. Check underneath for any holes or gaps and close them up tightly.
Frequently asked questions:
At what temperature should you winterize your RV:
At or below 32 degress Fahrenheit you should winterize your RV to prevent cracks in your water tank or/and water lines.
What can happen if you don’t winterize?
Water inside your tank and lines freezes, expands and cracks the RV plumbing, fittings and lines. This can be a costly repair.
Do you have to use antifreeze?
You can either use antifreeze or blow out the water lines with air.
How much antifreeze do I need?
You will need around 3 Gallons of antifreeze to protect your plumbing system in your RV.
Do I need to put antifreeze in the water tank also?
No, do not put antifreeze in the water tank. First you would need a lot of antifreeze and second you probably won’t get it all flushed out from your water tank.
When should I de-winterize my RV?
Before you go on a trip and the temperature is warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
How do I de-winterize my RV?
Turn the water on and open all the faucets until the water is clear. Then turn the bypass water tank into the normal mode.
How to winterize your RV in 5 easy steps
No matter if you decided to blow out the water lines or to add anti-freeze to them, make sure you do it before freezing temperatures arrive.
You don’t want to mess around with cracked water lines in spring, which can be pretty costly and time consuming.
Winterizing your RV takes around 30 minutes and is time well spent.
See you on the road,
And if you want to remember this post “How to winterize your RV” for later, just pin this picture to your favorite Pinterest board.