Winterizing Your RV
Here are some tips and guidelines to assist you in winterizing your RV. As it would be impossible to cover every RV, it is important that you read your owner's manuals for unit specific winterizing guidelines.
Water Heater By-pass Kit
A water heater by-pass kit allows the plumbing system to bypass the hot water heater, reducing the amount of anti-freeze required by 6-12 gallons. Some RV's come equipped with this by-pass system, but if your RV doesn't have one, we recommend you install one. It's a one-time installation.
Other winterizing aids.
Other items that are handy time and effort savers in winterizing your RV include:
- If you have any inline water filters (don't forget the icemaker) remove them and by-pass or drain the lines before starting.
- Drain the fresh water holding tank.
- Drain and flush the gray and black holding tanks. Clean the black tank with a wand.
- Drain the water heater. CAUTION: Never drain when hot or under pressure. (Make sure electric element (if equipped) is turned off.)
- Open all hot and cold faucets; don't forget the toilet valve and outside shower.
- Locate and open low point drain lines. Using the water pump will help force water out, but turn it off as soon as the system is drained.
- Close all drains and close all faucets.
- By-pass the water heater.
If you have an air compressor available, do the following:
- Install a Blow-out Plug to the city water inlet.
- Apply compressed air, keeping the pressure less than 30 lbs/sq inch.
- Open each faucet, one valve at a time, allowing the compressed air to force the water out of the line. Don't forget the shower, outdoor shower and toilet.
- Remove the drain plug from the hot water tank and allow the compressed air to blow out the remaining water. Reinstall drain plug.
Antifreeze may be added to the system a couple of ways (adding several gallons to the fresh water tank and pumping through the system is a third way, but requires several additional gallons of antifreeze).
1. Use an Antifreeze Hand Pump attached to the city water inlet.
2. Install a Pump Converter Kit. This is a one-time installation.
- The Hand Pump kit has a plastic pick-up tube to be inserted into the antifreeze jug and a tube to be attached to the city water inlet.
- When attached, begin pumping to pressurize the system. An assistant is needed to open and drain faucets inside the RV.
- A Pump Converter kit consists of a diverter valve installed in the water line going to the fresh water pump and a pick-up tube to be inserted into a gallon of RV antifreeze. Turning on the water pump will then siphon antifreeze into the system. (Some RV's may come equipped with this feature)
- Turn the water pump on and pressurize the system.
- Starting with the closest faucet slowly open each hot and cold valve until antifreeze appears.
- Repeat on all faucets from the closest to farthest away. Don't forget the outside shower.
- Replace antifreeze jug as required.
- Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears.
- Turn the water pump off and open a faucet to release the pressure.
- Pour a cupful of antifreeze down each drain.
- Pour a few cups in the toilet and flush into the holding tank.
- Make sure all faucets are closed.
- Consult your owner manuals for winterizing ice makers and washing machines.