Winterizing an RV

By craig braddick on Jan 15 in Driving a RV, Recreational Vehicles, RV Accessories.

De Winterizing an RV

In winter time it is important to realize your RV is not only a vehicle but also a house. So there is a lot to consider when winterizing an RV – but special atteion needs to be paid to the plumbing system. Read on to learn more.

Getting To Grips

You will need the following:

Basic hand tools, a water pump converter kit or tubing, a wand for tank cleaning and to flush back the holding tank for black water when the RV does not have an in-built flushing system, a water hearer bypass kit and nontoxic RV/Marine antifreeze.

  1. Remove any inline water filters, if there is one at a sink, look for a bypass hose that can be installed once the filter has been removed. Drain the fresh water holding tank and the gray and black holding tanks at an authorized RV dump station. If there is no built-in tank flushing system, utilize a flushing wand when cleaning the black water holding tank. Then drain the water heater tank.
  2. Open cold and hot water faucets and flush the toilet. Don’t forget the outside shower. Locate, then open the low point water drain lines by removing the drain plugs. You can use the 12-volt water pump to help force  the remaining water from the system, but turn the pump off as soon as the system is drained. Recap all drains and close all faucets.
  3. Bypass the water heater. The majority of RVs are equipped with a water heater bypass kit. If your RV does not have a bypass kit installed, the water heater tank will fill with RV antifreeze before it goes through the water lines, wasting the RV antifreeze.
  4. Install a water pump converter kit to introduce the RV antifreeze into the water. You can choose to disconnect the inlet side of the water pump and connect a section of tubing from the water pump inlet into a single gallon jug of RV/Marine antifreeze.
  5. Turn the 12-volt water pump on. It will pressurize the system and start pumping the RV antifreeze. Start at the water faucet closest to the 12-volt water pump, and slowly open each valve until the pink-colored RV antifreeze appears. Replace the antifreeze container as required. Repeat this process on all faucets.
  6. Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears. Pour a cupful of antifreeze down each drain. Pour some RV antifreeze in the toilet, and flush it into the holding tank. If your water heater is equipped with an electric heating element, turn the switch off. This will protect the element if the RV is plugged in while in storage. Make sure all faucets are closed.


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