It’s time to put your RV away for the season.

To properly winterize your RV and get it ready for either long- or short-term storage, refer to this advice.

Use RV/marine antifreeze while winterizing your RV, please.

Plumbing with fresh water is safe to use.

You may also get in touch with our Service Department to get your camper winterized.

Let’s start by discussing the operation of your RV’s water system.

The water system in your RV either takes water from your fresh water tank or the city water connection.

A water pump is used to pump water through the RV from the fresh water tank.

(For water flowing from the city connection, no pump is required.) The water tank and municipal water connection will always provide cold water.

Your water heater needs to receive water from your water pump in order to produce hot water.

After being heated, the water is sent to your hot water fixtures, including sinks and showers.

The water heater must be bypassed while winterizing your RV.

Instructions for Winterizing

For precise instructions on winterizing your RV, see your owner’s handbook.

  1. Cut off the water supply from the outside.
  2. Shut off the water supply. Three low-point drains are recommended at most. One each for the fresh water tank, the hot water lines, and the cold water lines. To drain as much water as you can from your pipes, open the petcocks. To remove any residual water from the system, open the water faucets at every faucet, run the showers, and flush the toilet.
  3. Remove the water heater. Either open the drain valve in the same spot on the exterior of your water heater or remove the drain plug in the bottom left corner. The hot water side faucet may be left open to let air equalize pressure and quickly empty the tank. If water is leaking out of the drain hole, you may try to insert a flexible straw to create a siphon that will force all of the water to the bottom of the spherical tank.
  4. Skip the water heater.
    • By avoiding the need to add antifreeze to the water heater tank, you might save up to 10 gallons of antifreeze by bypassing the water heater. Many RVs lack a pre-installed bypass mechanism, although others have.
    • Before beginning:
      • Be careful to cut off the water heater’s electricity completely (the electric water heaters usually have their own power on-off switch).
      • Verify that the gas pilot on the water heater is not lighted.

Three techniques exist for getting around the water heater:

A. Kit for Seasonal By-Pass. You may connect for winterization and detach in the spring to rejoin the system using this temporary by-pass. You will need to use a temporary kit with two male-to-male connectors and a short piece of hose to bypass the water heater if your water heater does not already have a by-pass kit installed.

B. Kit for Permanent By-Pass. By turning two valves at the cold water entrance and the hot water exit of the water heater, you may rapidly disconnect the water heater with this simple and permanent installation of an elbow by-pass kit.

C. Kit for Permanent Quick-Turn Bypass. The simplest solution to employ is a back-flow preventer with a single valve permanently installed. The valve directs water to a hose and past the water heater from where it is situated on the cold water entrance. To stop water from entering the water heater via the hot water outlet, a back-flow preventer is placed.

  1. Blow the lines out. The City Water Intake should have a blow out plug fitted once the maximum amount of water has been drained. To drain the remaining water, use air pressure from an air compressor (not to exceed 45 PSI). Although it is not necessary to blow away the leftover water, it will dilute your anti-freeze. When finished, turn off all faucets and petcocks.
  2. Include antifreeze. A hand pump or a water pump conversion kit may be used to apply antifreeze from the interior of the vehicle. Open one faucet at a time, beginning at the highest point in the fresh water system and working your way down to the lowest, to make sure you are making progress. Start with the sink in the kitchen. Open the kitchen faucet ONLY on the HOT side. Pump antifreeze until the faucet’s flow becomes bright pink. This will show that your system has been completely purged of water. Snap the faucet shut. On the COLD side, repeat. Move on to the next lower fixture. Typically, the bathroom sink comes first, followed by the shower, and then the toilet. If you have an outdoor shower, don’t forget to use it. To ensure that antifreeze reaches the valves and that no water is blocked, open the two low point lines for the HOT and COLD water lines as well. Last but not least, shut off all faucets and low point valves.

Caution: If you use the outside hand pump, be sure you manually apply antifreeze to your water pump. OR, if you choose to use the water pump conversion kit method, keep in mind to manually add antifreeze to the water line and the city water intake check valve (you can do this by turning off the pump, releasing the system’s pressure by opening a faucet, and then, from the outside, removing the screen at the city water intake and gently pushing in on the check valve to remove any water from the line until pink antifreeze comes out).

  1. Pour antifreeze into all shower and sink drains—at least 2 quarts. Additionally, the ice maker, washing machine, and outdoor shower need to be winterized. Check the manuals for your appliances for this information.
  2. Empty the gray- and black-water tanks. Battery should be removed, charged, and kept in a secure place.
  3. Your winterization is complete. Right now, there are two possibilities.

Option 1: Wait until spring to summerize the antifreeze in the system. Reinstalling the water heater drain stopper will prevent dirt, debris, and insects from getting into the water heater.

Option 2: Allow gravity to remove the anti-freeze from the system by opening the low places in the lines. Closing the low points, reinstalling the water heater drain plug, and taking out the water heater by-pass are all things you can do to get your camper ready for summer usage after the anti-freeze has been removed. Your water system will either contain just air or some anti-freeze where it cannot drain. In any case, your camper will be prepared for use in the summer and your water system will be safeguarded for the winter. In the spring, all you will need to do is run water through the system to remove any residual antifreeze from your water lines. UNTIL SPRING WHEN THERE IS NO CHANCE OF FREEZING, DO NOT ADD WATER.

Consider the following as well:

  • Clear your RV of any food that can go bad or attract rodents.
  • Keep the dinette area, the oven, stove, and refrigerator clean.
  • Inspect the weatherstripping on external doors and windows. If required, caulk.
  • Inspect the roof for any damage or minor leaks. Whenever required, make repairs.
  • Inspect the air conditioner shroud, roof vents, and plumbing vents.
  • Cut your 120 volt line cable, then put it away.
  • Wash and put away your sewage hose.
  • Change the bumper caps.
  • Use wheel chocks when parking and the emergency brake.
  • Secure your RV. Make sure it doesn’t sway as you enter.
  • Whenever possible, keep the RV out of direct sunlight.
  • The best time to wash and wax is right now.
  • Awning cleaning Dish detergent should not be used. They have degreasers in them, which might dry up and break your awning. Use an awning cleanser to clean, moisturize, and get rid of mildew.

Winterize RV Water Heater Videos Suggestions From Youtube

Water Heater Winterization – Howie Roll T@DA & T@B Tips
Winterizing an RV’s Plumbing Water System – How to winterize RV & Trailer Air & Antifreeze – RV Habit
draining and winterizing camper rv hot water heater and replacing corrosion anode – Matthew Hendershot
How to Winterize RV Travel Trailer Water System – Jim Thomas

Updated on

Written by Bob Matsuoka
Bob Matsuoka is a blogger and founder of RVing Beginner blog. He has been blogging for over five years, writing about his own family’s RV adventures, tips for people who are interested in buying an RV or taking their family on an adventure by RV.