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RV Winterizing (Step by Step)

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9 replies to this topic

#1 The Architect

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Posted October 07 2013 - 03:24 PM

Feel free to discuss, it's almost that time folks!






Mark J. Polk

That all to familiar time of the year is here again. Leaves are falling from the trees, and the grass is dormant. The summer flowers are gone. The days are shorter and the nights are colder. Fall is upon us. Fall is my favorite time of the year. After a hot North Carolina summer I look forward to this time of year. It has its good and bad points. It’s good that I don’t have to cut the grass for several months. It’s bad that I have to close our pool for several months. It’s good that I don’t have to run the air conditioning, but bad that we will soon have to turn the furnace on.
Fall is also the time of year you need to decide if your camping season is over. Parking your RV for the winter requires some preventive measures so it will be ready to use next spring. You’ll also be glad you did it when you don’t have costly repair bills due to the damaging results of winter. Now the question is how do you prepare it for winter, and who will be doing it? If you’re like me and you enjoy performing the routine maintenance on your RV, not to mention saving a few dollars, the “who” part is answered. As for the “how” part, this checklist is the same one I used to make our Winterizing & Storing video. I feel it is the easiest and most effective way to winterize your RV.
Before you get started there are a few items you will need to have. These items can be found in most RV parts stores:
  • Non-toxic RV antifreeze (The amount depends on the layout and length of your plumbing lines. Two to three gallons will normally do).
  • A water heater by-pass kit, if not already installed.
  • A wand to clean out holding tanks.
  • A water pump converter kit, or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the water pump.
  • Basic hand tools to remove drain plugs.
Now we can winterize the RV water system to protect it from freezing. Be sure to read your owners manuals for unit specific winterizing guidelines. Follow the steps below that apply to your RV.
  • If you have any inline water filters remove and bypass before starting.
  • Drain the fresh water holding tank.
  • Drain and flush the gray and black holding tanks. If your RV doesn’t have a built in tank flushing system clean the black tank out with a wand, or use a product like Flush King that allows you to clean both the black and gray tanks. Lubricate the termination valves with WD 40.
  • Drain the water heater. Remove the drain plug and open the pressure relief valve. CAUTION (never drain the water heater when it is hot or under pressure)
  • Open all hot and cold faucets; don’t forget the toilet valve and outside shower.
  • Locate and open the low point drain lines. There will be one for the hot and cold water lines. Using the water pump will help force water out, but turn it off as soon as the system is drained.
  • Recap all drains and close all faucets.
  • By-pass the water heater. If you do not have a by-pass kit installed the water heater will fill up with antifreeze before it goes through the water lines, wasting six gallons of antifreeze.
  • Install a water pump converter kit, or disconnect the inlet side of the water pump (the line coming from the fresh water holding tank). Connect a piece of clear tubing to the inlet side of the pump and put the other end into a one gallon container of non-toxic RV antifreeze.
  • Turn the water pump on and pressurize the system. Starting with the closest faucet, slowly open the hot and then cold valves until antifreeze appears. Replace the antifreeze container as required.
  • Repeat this process on all faucets from the closest to the farthest away. Don’t forget the outside shower, if equipped.
  • Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears.
  • Turn the water pump off and open a faucet to release the pressure. Go outside to the city water inlet. Remove the small screen over the inlet and push in on the valve with a small screwdriver until you see antifreeze. Replace the screen.
  • Pour a cupful of antifreeze down each drain. Pour a couple of cups in the toilet and flush into the holding tank.
  • If your water heater has an electric heating element make sure it is turned off. This will protect the element if the unit is plugged in while being stored.
  • Make sure all the faucets are closed.
  • Consult your owner manuals for winterizing icemakers and washing machines.
  • The unit is winterized.
This checklist is a basic guide that was intended to assist you in winterizing your RV. As with many other checklists it would be impossible to cover every RV. It is extremely important that you read your owner’s manuals for unit specific winterizing guidelines.
If you would like to see how this process is actually done it is available on our “Winterizing & Storing Your RV” video or DVD. The video also has an entire section on the steps required to properly prepare your RV for winter storage.
Happy Camping!


Camco PDF attached

Attached Files



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#2 VietVet

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Posted October 07 2013 - 04:03 PM

Just a reminder make sure to remove anything you may have stored in your RV that can freeze.
Cleaning fluids, water bottles, whatever.

I also remove all items that have batteries. Including the battery for the RV if so equipped.
Flashlights, lanterns, radios and store them inside until the spring.

I Disconnect the propane tanks and store them away from my RV.

I also place a few of those Damp Rid containers inside my RV to absorb any moisture that MAY seep in.

#3 bigtoyz

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Posted October 07 2013 - 04:34 PM

I found using a blow out valve connected to the city water inlet works great. Same valve that I use to blow out my sprinkler lines. No messy pink antifreeze to worry about in spring. Just fill and go. I also remove anode rod and leave out for winter. Takes 15 minutes total. I do pour the rv antifreeze down the traps though.

#4 li02liberty

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Posted October 07 2013 - 05:07 PM

I have question (I don't own an rv) why can't you just blow out the lines like you do a sprinkler system?

#5 VietVet

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Posted October 07 2013 - 05:13 PM

Some do just that. Caution must be taken though not to put too much pressure into the water lines of an RV. Most if not all are plastic tubing.
  • NorthForkSportsman likes this

#6 bigtoyz

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Posted October 07 2013 - 05:22 PM

Some do just that. Caution must be taken though not to put too much pressure into the water lines of an RV. Most if not all are plastic tubing.

Just that. I make sure a faucet or 2 are open at a time and then slowly open the air valve. Only need a little bit of air pressure. Repeat till all faucets including outdoor shower are free of water.

#7 NorthForkSportsman

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Posted December 05 2013 - 07:16 AM

RV Antifreeze in the traps and run thru the toilet so the supply line are filled with RV antifreeze. Never have used a air compressor

Edited by NorthForkSportsman, December 05 2013 - 07:16 AM.


#8 The Architect

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Posted August 26 2014 - 08:58 AM




Cold Water Only

Posted Image Top of Page
  • Drain the cold water tank (turn the tank drain valve 180° to drain).
  • Locate the water pump and remove the hose fitting that joins the cold water tank supply line to the pump (an arrow is embossed on the pump's plastic that shows the direction of water flow--and make sure the water pump is turned off); have a towel handy because a small amount of water is going to drip out of the pump even with the pump turned off.
Anti-Freeze
  • Attach a separate hose (about 24" long) to the pump inlet and place the other end of hose into a jug of anti-freeze.
  • Turn on the pump and open the faucet.
  • When the water coming out of the faucet turns pink turn the pump off
  • Remove the sink drain plug/strainer so anti-freeze will go through the drain line and protect the p-trap.
  • Remove the short hose from the pump (have a towel handy for the anti-freeze that will leak out) and re-attach the line from the cold water tank to the pump.
Air
  • Place an air nozzle/air blower into the pump's inlet and create a temporary seal between the nozzle and pump fitting with a towel, paper towel, or glove (no threaded connection is necessary but it doesn't hurt, either).
  • Open the faucet.
  • Blow air through the line until the water coming out of the faucet is reduced to only a small trace of water vapor.
  • Re-attach the line from the cold water tank to the pump.
  • Open the sink drain plug and repeat the blow out procedure for the drain line to remove water from the p-trap.



Top of Page
  • Drain the cold water tank (turn the tank drain valve 180° to drain).
  • On the back-side of the water heater (inside the camper) turn the bypass fittings to their "bypass" position (bypass details).
  • anode details).
  • Once the water has drained from the water heater tank close the pressure-relief valve and put the drain plug back in.
  • If you camper is equipped with a water filter remove the filter from the canister and put the canister back in place (empty).
  • Locate the water pump and remove the hose fitting that joins the cold water tank supply line to the pump (an arrow is embossed on the pump's plastic that shows the direction of water flow); have a towel handy because a small amount of water is going to drip out of the pump.
Anti-Freeze
  • Attach a separate hose (about 24" long) to the pump inlet and place the other end of hose into a jug of anti-freeze.
  • Turn on the pump and open the cold-water side of the sink faucet.
  • When the water coming out of the faucet turns pink turn off the cold-water side and turn on the hot-water side until it turns pink as well.
  • Repeat this process for the exterior shower.
  • Turn the pump off and open either side of the faucet again to relief any pressure built up by the water pump.
  • Remove the sink drain plug so anti-freeze will go through the drain line and protect the p-trap.
  • Remove the short hose from the pump (have a towel handy for the anti-freeze that will leak out) and re-attach the line from the cold water tank to the pump.
  • Remove the water filter canister (again) and pour the anti-freeze into the sink. Put the canister (empty) back in place.
Air
  • Place an air nozzle/air blower into the pump's inlet and create a temporary seal between the nozzle and pump fitting with a towel, paper towel, or glove (no threaded connection is necessary but it doesn't hurt, either).
  • Open the cold-water side of the faucet.
  • Blow air through the line until the water coming out of the faucet is reduced to only a small trace of water vapor.
  • Close the cold-water side and turn on the hot-water side.
  • Repeat the blow-out process for the hot-water side, then each side of the exterior shower.
  • Re-attach the line from the cold water tank to the pump.
  • Open the sink drain plug and repeat the blow out procedure for the drain line to remove water from the p-trap.
  • Remove the water filter canister (again) and pour out any remaining water. Put the canister (empty) back in place.


#9 Hannco

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Posted August 26 2014 - 09:25 AM

Why bring up the saddest day of the year so early in the season? :)
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#10 gcloss

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Posted August 26 2014 - 11:51 AM

Why bring up the saddest day of the year so early in the season? :)


Sad ... we have reservations for 4 of the next 6 weekends. By the time I winterize on October 6th, we will have camped for 44 nights this year. While it is sad, the weather has made for an outstanding camping season this year !!!





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