How to Winterize an RV

How to winterize an RV? That was the question I asked last year at the beginning of the winter season. I have only had my RV one winter season, but it was a good season to test my RV winterization method. There were many nightly freezes and one period of over a week when the temperature did not get above freezing. In fact, it was in the teens most of the time.

Getting Started

After talking to several people at my RV dealer about how to winterize an RV, I concluded that I only needed to purchase two items:

  1. First, a small device called a blow-out plug. It screws into the external fresh water connection, and has a valve stem on the other end so that you can force compressed air into your water lines to force the water out.
Blow Out Plug
Blow Out Plug

  1. The second item was a gallon of antifreeze made for RV winterization.

Here's my complete rv winterization procedure:

  1. Empty the gray water and black water tanks.
  2. Open all of the water drain lines on the underside of the RV to drain the water from the fresh water tank and hot water heater.
  3. Open the valves (hot and cold) on all of the faucets (sinks, showers, and toilets) so that the water trapped in those lines also drains out. (If you have an exterior shower, don't forget to open the valves on it too.)
  4. Screw the blow-out plug into the fresh water input.
Blow Out Plug Installed
Blow-out Plug Installed

  1. Using a small amount of pressure (around 40 psi) apply a compressed air source to the valve stem of the blow-out plug. This will force the remaining water from your lines.
  2. Once you are satisfied that the water has been removed from your system, pour antifreeze into each sink (to displace the water in the sink trap), and down the toilet to dilute any liquid that might be left in the black water tank.
  3. This is the end of my winterize RV procedure.

I didn't have any problems in the Spring after performing the above RV winterization procedure.

If you want to be certain that all of your water lines will not freeze, you can also add antifreeze made for winterizing an RV. If you want to add this additional step to your RV winterization plan, please follow the recommendations of your RV manufacturer.

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