Winterizing your RV

(basic guidelines)

Why winterize? Because water left in the lines and tanks will cause damage. Just draining the lines isn’t good enough, because small amounts of water will be trapped in the most unlikely places, inside the pump, filters, faucet’s, water heater, drains, and holding tanks. You have to flush it out so that it can’t freeze.

You will need:

  • Non-toxic RV antifreeze Three gallons usually will be plenty.  Large motorhomes can take 6 gallons or more
  • A water heater by-pass kit, if not already installed.   Otherwise you will need an additional 6 gallons of antifreeze
  • A water pump conversion kit, or a hose to connect to the suction side of the water pump.
  • Basic hand tools to remove the water heater drain plug and fresh water tank drain cap (if equipped with a cap).

RV anti-freeze is colored pink and is non toxic.

  • Bypass the water heater.  You may have one, two or three valves to turn.  You may have to disconnect the water heater and install a bypass hose if you don’t have a bypass kit installed.
  • Connect a hose to the suction side of the water pump, or turn the bypass valve and place existing suction hose in antifreeze  container.  Turn pump on.
  • Starting farthest from pump: open the hot and cold valve on each of the following until pink antifreeze flows:
  • Outside shower / outside faucet
  • Toilet & toilet spray wand
  • Shower
  • Sinks
  • Turn off pump, reconnect pump supply line, leave water heater bypassed
  • Pour a cup of anti freeze down all sink and shower drains to protect the p-trap
  • Leave all faucets open
  • Open hot & cold low point drains
  • Drain the freshwater tank
  • Drain water heater
  • Drain gray and black tanks
  • Drain your drinking water hose
  • Prop your refrigerator doors open (Norcold doors have deadbolts to lock open. Dometic doors come with plastic clips to hold them open)
  • Remove any liquids or food that may be damaged if frozen

Another method of winterizing your RV is by dumping anti freeze into the fresh water tank and then   pumping it through the system. This method is expensive, uses 10-15 gallons of antifreeze and flushing the tank in the spring can be difficult. 

RV anti freeze will freeze to a slushy consistency and can stain if left for long periods.  Especially on white surfaces.

Consult your owners manual for winterizing an icemaker, washing machine, water filter, dishwasher, tankless water heater, water softener or anything else unique to your RV.


Whatever your RV needs, give us a call, we can help you get it fixed.