Camperland of Oklahoma Blog

  • Published on Dec 14, 2016
    How to Winterize Your RV

    It's winter already?!?! Sadly for RVers who aren't able to follow the seasons, the traditional camping season is over. Some of you may be hard-core campers who use your RV year-round, but most of you will be storing your RV until spring and that means it is time to winterize. Winterization is one of the most important RV maintenance procedures since it prevents costly water line leaks. So, even though it symbolizes the end of the camping season for you (dang it!), you need to roll up your sleeves and get out there get it done. Oh, or you could call us and we'll do it for you... now ain't that easy?!?

    Before you Begin

    Gather Your Supplies

    • Antifreeze: 2 to 4 gallons of propylene glycol (pink).
    • Hand tools to help with tight fittings or valves.
    • If desired, you can install a permanent water heater bypass kit if you don't already have one. It will make future winterizing easier.
    • Owners manual to help find low point drains and water heater valves.

    If needed, empty the gray and black tanks and use a wand to clean the black tank (unless you have a black-tank sprayer, you lucky devil!).

    Winterization

    Drain Entire Water System

    • Locate and open low point drains for hot and cold water lines. Open all faucets including exterior faucets to allow air to force water out of lines.
    • Drain water heater by removing drain plug located on front of water heater.
    • Drain freshwater tank. To prevent damage, be sure to turn off the water pump as soon as it has drained the system!

    Prepare System for Antifreeze

    • Close all faucets and low point drains.
    • Bypass water heater by one of the following methods:
      • Some RVs are equipped with one or a series of bypass valves on the back side of the heater (inside the trailer). Locate and turn these valves to the appropriate positions so as to not allow antifreeze into the water heater, but rather divert it directly from the cold line into the hot. Note: You never want to put antifreeze into the water heater!
      • If your RV does not have built-in bypass valves, you must disconnect the cold and hot line from the back of the water heater and couple them together. Be careful you do not cross-thread the fittings.
    • Locate the on-board water pump.
      • Some RV manufacturers pre-plumb a siphon hose for winterization. If your RV is pre-plumbed, you must shut off the valve on the water line from the fresh tank and open the valve for the siphon hose.
      • If a siphon hose is not pre-plumbed, you must make your own. Remove the line on the suction side of the pump and install your own siphon hose.
    • Remove all water filters and install couplers where needed. If antifreeze is run through filters, they are ruined and must be replaced.

    Pump Antifreeze Through System

    • Place syphon hose into gallon jug of antifreeze and try pump on.
    • Move throughout the RV, opening both the cold and hot sides of the faucets one at a time until nothing but antifreeze comes out of them. Note: Interior and exterior shower hoses must have antifreeze run through them as well.
    • Flush antifreeze through the toilet and any other appliance that is connected to the water system (washer/dryer, ice maker, etc).
    • Winterize city water inlet.
      • Turn off water pump
      • Open and close, very quickly, the cold side of any faucet to relieve some, but not all, of the pressure on the cold lines. Note: If you attempt step 3 below without letting some of the pressure off the lines, you could damage the city water check valve.
      • Go out to the city water inlet and depress the check valve to allow antifreeze to force any residual water out of inlet. When antifreeze comes out of the inlet the winterization process is complete!
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