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Winterize your RV

by Tom Jones

The following steps to winterizing an RV were compiled from inputs provided by RV Forum members and staff.

  • Drain the hot water tank using the drain valve located near the bottom of the tank.
  • If your hot water tank has a bypass valve, turn it to the bypass position and leave it there until Spring. Your hot water system may have more than one valve; Refer to this diagram to identify the bypass valve.
  • Run some RV antifreeze (the pink kind) through the fresh water system by adding it to your fresh water tank and opening each faucet in turn until you see the pink color come out. Also flush the toilet until you see the pink color.
  • Leave a little RV antifreeze in the toilet bowl to keep the seal moist.
  • Pour some RV antifreeze down the sinks and the shower so it can sit in the traps.
  • Don't forget the outside shower.
  • If you have a washing machine, run a spin cycle to remove any residual water and follow with a rinse cycle to draw in some antifreeze. Be sure to leave some antifreeze in the bottom of the machine.
  • If you have a dishwasher, check the onwers manual for winterizing instructions.
  • You should not need to add anything to your holding tanks. There is enough expansion room that any small amount of liquid that is left has plenty of room to expand.
  • If your rig has a refrigerator with an ice maker, the solenoid valve that allows the water to flow into the ice maker must be emptied. Determine the voltage required to activate the solenoid (12V or 110 VAC), disconnect the outlet side of the valve and apply voltage.
  • Empty the filter of the water pump.
  • One of the most vulnerable parts to freeze breakage is the valve of the toilet, which is also plastic. Make sure it gets emptied as well as the spray hose of your toilet if so equipped.
  • Empty the shower hose, if it's a telephone shower.