How to Winterize an RV

Any RV owner knows that taking care of such a vehicle should be a priority, as preventing damage is always better than fixing. When it comes to RVs, fixing them can be quite costly. Winterizing an RV is a necessary, and relatively cheap, seasonal process that all owners must do if they don’t want to risk their vehicle suffering tremendous damage during the winter.

If you don’t winterize your RV, you are risking a very probable chance of damaging and destroying the water lines and many other parts that have to deal with water. Once temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, these parts will freeze, after which they expand and eventually burst.

So, winterizing an RV is significantly cheaper than repairing it afterward. Having said this, below are the following steps that are crucial for a successful RV winterization. Before that, make sure you have a couple of buckets, a siphon hose, a compressor, and around 2-3 gallons of special RV food-safe antifreeze by your side.

Winterizing RVs – Step-by-Step

winterizing an rv

Here are the necessary steps to winterizing RVs. Make sure you follow them in the proper order as they’re listed here, as doing otherwise may prove more harmful than beneficial. You can’t do this randomly, so follow this order and you’ll be done in no time. This is how to winterize an RV.

1. Drain Wastewater and Freshwater Tanks

The first step to winterize an RV is quite simple and easy. All you have to do is empty your black and grey wastewater tanks before beginning with everything else.

After completely emptying the wastewaters tanks, the next thing you’re going to need to do is to go outside, look under your RV, and drain the freshwater tank completely. There should be a small valve underneath the trailer. Open it and wait until there is no more water. This can take quite a while if your tank is full. Don’t close this valve afterward.

2. Drain the Water Heater

Draining the water heater is often an overlooked step. This is also crucial for winterizing the entire RV. To train the water heater, make sure you turn it off first. After that, simply empty all of the water it holds.

Bypass the Water Heater

This is where you’re also going to want to bypass the water heater. What this means is that you need to find the water heater bypass valve and turn it so that you don’t unnecessarily fill the heater with antifreeze later on.

3. Pump Out Water Lines

Next, you will want to turn on the pump and individually drain the water from each faucet. Remember to use a bucket before you open the faucet so that the water will not go into the grey waste tank again. Turn on the water in your kitchen faucet, wait until there is no more water running, and wait an additional 2-3 minutes until the faucet is done spitting air. Do this entire process again for every other faucet in your RV. After this is done, make sure to close all of the faucets.

4. Open the Low-Point Drains

You’ll notice that there is going to be a lot of draining in the beginning. This is a necessary part of the entire process, making sure there is no water in the RV before we begin flooding it with antifreeze. The next step is draining everything from the low-point drains, which are also located underneath the RV. Also, don’t close them until the entire process is finished.

5. Blow Out the Water Lines

This is where the compressor we mentioned is going to come in handy. In case some water is left in the water lines, you can use a compressor generating around 20 PSI to blow out the remaining water. You’re probably going to need to use a blow-out plug in this situation, so keep that in mind before beginning. After you turn the compressor on, you might start seeing water drip from the low-point drains once again.

6. Start Pouring the Antifreeze

This where the real fun begins. Now that you’ve drained the proper water systems from your RV, it’s time to locate the water pump and start letting the antifreeze do its magic.

Pour Antifreeze Into the Water Pump

First, you need to determine which one is the freshwater intake line hose and remove it. Grab the siphon hose we mentioned and attach it to the freshwater intake line. After you’ve secured it, start pouring the antifreeze. After that, turn on the RV’s water pump and get ready to do a round of checking and verifying if everything is as it should be.

Check Drains and Faucets

If you want to save some antifreeze in the process, make sure there is someone to help you when the antifreeze starts coming out of the low-point drains. The next few steps are crucial to the entire process. First, check the low-drain points. This type of antifreeze is usually pink, so check if the liquid coming out of them is pink. Once you’re sure, close the low-point drains.

After that, you’re going to want to check every faucet in your RV, including the shower faucet and the outside shower if your RV has one, and the toilet as well. Once you’ve seen the same pink liquid coming out of all of them, that means that you’ve done your job successfully. Just make sure to instantly close the faucets as you go one by one to avoid wasting any antifreeze.

Crucial: Before even starting this entire process, you need to remember to buy a special type of antifreeze for this process. Because this liquid is going through your freshwater pipes, it needs to be a special antifreeze that is safe and intended for this particular situation. If you’re not sure which one it is, make sure you ask the store staff for help.


Protecting your RV is important. This is why you should always take certain measures to protect it rather than to fix the damage afterward. This doesn’t just go for winterizing it, as you should always buy RV surge protectors to protect it from surges and other electrical issues, you should protect its roof from sun damage, perform regular inspections, and more.

About The Author

Stole Trishanski

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