RV Tips

Winterizing 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 RV's 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.

If using the compressed air method, a special adapter 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. If 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.
  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.


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