How To Winterize A Travel Trailer?

How To Winterize A Travel Trailer

Do you put RV antifreeze in the freshwater tank?

There are multiple types of RV non-toxic antifreeze being marketed today. Automotive antifreeze is not designed, or recommended, for seasonal cold storage protection. It is also toxic and will contaminate your water system. ETHANOL (alcohol) BASED – most readily available at most hardware and discount stores and some RV shops.

  • This type is the lowest cost
  • This product can taint rv plumbing systems resulting in bad taste and smell the following year and should be used only with quest or pex water lines
  • The alcohol will dry out rubber seals in faucets and toilets, so even though you may not need to replace any lines, there may still be leaks in the water system

It is also highly flammable and should not be used around pilot lights. It will have a warning on the label. Common water soluble alcohols such as methanol, ethanol and isoprpoanl are defined as Class 3 flammability hazards. We do not recommend use of this product in RVs.

  • PROPYLENE/ETHANOL BLEND – Non-toxic and available in some RV shops
  • This is an alcohol blend and again the alcohol can taint the water system resulting in a bad taste and smell
  • This antifreeze can still dry out plumbing seals resulting in leaks

It is also flammable and should not be used around pilot lights. It will have a warning on the label. Common water soluble alcohols such as methanol, ethanol and isoprpoanl are defined as Class 3 flammability hazards. We do not recommend use of this product in RVs.

PROPYLENE GLYCOL – This type of antifreeze is only available in RV shops. It is non-toxic and the safest for all types of RV plumbing. This antifreeze is non-flammable and does not taint water systems. Propylene glycol is a lubricant and will actually work to extend the life of the seals in your toilets and faucets.

It is available in -50 and -100 freeze burst protection. This is the only antifreeze product Bob Scott RV’s uses in personal and customer RV’s and is the only product you will find in our stores. Be sure your RV is properly winterized. Many RV components can be damaged from the effects of freezing.

  1. Protection of the plumbing system and related components is crucial
  2. Damages due to weather are not covered under any type of warranty
  3. If you are unsure of procedures check with a qualified rv service center

Do not pour antifreeze into your fresh water tank to run it through the pump into your water system. This will take a lot of antifreeze and is not very efficient. Even when the tank is drained there remains some water in the bottom of the tank which mixes with the antifreeze and lessens its protection level.

  • Also the antifreeze will be very difficult to flush out in the spring and large amounts may taint the taste of your drinking water
  • Do not forget to dewinterize and flush out your unit before using it in the spring

All RV’s are a little different on where the water intake is located, where the water pump is located, washer/dryer hookups, water filters, and the location of the water heater. This is just a guide to winterization and may need to be slightly modified for your RV.

  • If your RV does not come equipped with a water heater bypass, it is recommended that you install one so you do not have to fill the water heater with antifreeze
  • Here is a list of recommended items you will need to winterize your RVDepending on the size of your RV and how it is equipped, most people will need 1 – 3 gallons of RV non-toxic anti-freeze
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Blow out plug if using an air compressorAnti-freeze hand pump, water pump converter kit, or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the water pumpTemporary water heater bypass kit if you do not have a permanent one installedHand tools to remove drain plugsHere are the basic steps to winterize your RV.

Ask a qualified service center for help if you are not sure where equipment is located. Disconnect the RV from the outside water source if hooked up. Drain the fresh water tank and empty and clean the waste water holding tanks.

Remove and bypass all water filters. Remove the water pump filter if you have one. All filters will be ruined by the anti-freeze and need to be replaced. Open a hot water faucet and allow water heater to drain to remove pressure. Close faucet. Turn the water heater bypass valve to the bypass position.

Remove the water heater drain plug and open the pressure relief valve. NEVER DRAIN THE WATER HEATER WHEN IT IS HOT OR UNDER PRESSURE. Open all hot and cold faucets, shower head sprayer, toilet flushing device, outside shower, outside kitchen faucets, and any other water lines that are closed.

Locate and open the hot and cold low point drain lines if your RV has them. Turn on water pump for at least 30 seconds to clear any water from the lines. If you have an air compressor set the pressure to no greater that 30 lbs. Connect an air hose with a blowout plug to the city water fill connection.

Blow out the water lines until no water can be seen coming out of the fixtures and lines. Blowing out the lines is not necessary, but is recommended. Water remaining in the lines will dilute your antifreeze and require more antifreeze to protect your RV.

Recap all drains, close all faucets and toilet flush. Disconnect water from ice maker if your RV is so equipped. It is recommended to take your RV to a qualified service center if you have and ice maker or washer/dryer. Install a water pump converter kit. Or disconnect the inlet side of the water pump (line coming from fresh water tank) and install a bypass hose to pull directly from the antifreeze bottle.

  1. You can also add antifreeze from the outside water intake using a hand pump
  2. If using the water pump, turn pump on and open the cold water side of all faucet fixtures (including outside fixtures)
  3. Leave faucets open until the antifreeze flows out

Repeat for hot water side. If using a hand pump, check your progress by opening one faucet at a time. Start from the highest point and working to the lowest point in the water system. Flush toilet until antifreeze begins to flow into the bowl. Turn off the water pump, or disconnect the hand pump.

How many gallons of antifreeze do I need to winterize my RV?

You’ll need at least 2 to 3 gallons of RV antifreeze depending on the size of your rig. b) Use your RV’s internal water pump. If you use the water pump, you’ll need to install a pump bypass kit if it’s not already equipped since it draws from the RV’s fresh water tank and you don’t want antifreeze in there.

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What is the best way to winterize my RV?

Simple Steps to Winterize your RV

  1. Gather materials.
  2. Remove water filters.
  3. Drain and flush black and gray tanks.
  4. Drain the water heater tank.
  5. Open all faucets and remove all drain plugs.
  6. Close all faucets and replace drain plugs once water has drained entirely.
  7. Bypass the hot water heater.


Should I put antifreeze in my RV water heater?

Should I put antifreeze in my RV water heater? — If your RV does not come equipped with a water heater bypass, it is recommended that you install one so you do not have to fill the water heater with antifreeze. Depending on the size of your RV and how it is equipped, most people will need 1 – 3 gallons of RV non-toxic anti-freeze.

Will black water tank freeze?

Keep Your Gray Tank Closed Until It’s Time to Dump — If you’re camping with full hookups, you know the convenience of simply leaving your sewer hose connected. While there are many reasons to keep your tanks closed, doing so also helps you avoid a frozen sewer hose.

  1. Keeping both your gray and black tanks closed means you won’t have wastewater freezing inside your hose
  2. If your sewer hose freezes, you’ll be unable to properly dump any of your tanks until you’ve managed to thaw it out

You can avoid this by simply keeping your valves closed and dumping your tanks as needed. How To Winterize A Travel Trailer.

Is blowing out RV water lines vs antifreeze?

No Lingering Taste or Odor of Antifreeze — How To Winterize A Travel TrailerWhen you blow out your RV water lines with compressed air, there’s no lingering taste or odor of antifreeze after de-winterizing. When blowing out RV water lines vs using antifreeze, because there’s no antifreeze in the fresh water lines, there’s no risk of a lingering taste or odor in your water after de-winterizing. The little bit of antifreeze you use in the p-traps, drains, and toilet doesn’t linger in your pipes all winter and doesn’t affect your fresh water use.

How hard is it to winterize a travel trailer?

Winter’s hard on all of us, but it can be particularly hard on RVs, including new and used motorhomes. With lots of plumbing and areas for water and moisture to hide, winterizing your RV is a critical step in saving yourself a lot of expensive fixes once things start to thaw in the spring.

Can I use regular antifreeze to winterize my camper?

Ethylene Glycol Antifreeze — Ethylene glycol is a very toxic component that is not safe for RVs. Typically, this chemical is seen in automotive antifreeze, and it should only be used in automobiles, not the holding tanks of recreational vehicles. It is highly toxic to ingest, inhale, and can cause damage if spilled on the skin, so any time you need to use this product, use extreme caution.

Automotive antifreeze (ethylene glycol) and RV antifreeze (ethanol and propylene glycol) are very different and should not be used interchangeably. Automotive antifreeze is toxic and is designed for hearty engines, not plastic holding tanks.

RV antifreeze is specifically designed to pose little risk of damage to RV holding tanks. However, remember that ethanol-based RV antifreeze has the potential to dry out rubber seals, whereas propylene glycol actually lubricates seals.

How cold does it have to be for camper pipes to freeze?

At What Temperature Will Pipes Freeze Without Heat? — Because temperatures can vary greatly from location to location—even within the same state—it can be difficult to tell when you’re approaching the danger zone. However, it’s important to remember that when the RV pipes are exposed to the elements without any heat or insulation, they’ll begin to freeze at temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

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What happens if you don’t winterize camper?

What Happens if You Don’t Winterize Your RV or Camper? — If you choose not to winterize your RV and temperatures fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you run the risk of severe damage to your RV. When temperatures fall below the freezing point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, water freezes.

  • When water freezes, it expands, and this expansion can cause significant damage to your pipes, tanks, and fittings
  • Pipes and fittings can break, tanks can crack, and your entire plumbing system could be damaged

Many people think that they can simply drain all of the water out of their lines instead of doing a full winterizing process on their RVs. However, there are many places inside your RV where water can pool and sit, even if you drain the lines. If this water freezes, you will have a problem.

The best way to avoid these issues is to winterize your RV. If you live in an area where the temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit at any point during the winter, you seriously need to consider winterizing your rig.

If you do not want to do it yourself, you can always have an RV service center take care of this process for you. The cost of winterizing, even when done by professionals, is much less than the cost of repairing damaged pipes and tanks.

What can I use in place of RV antifreeze?

To answer your question directly windshield washer fluid is good to -20 degrees and is less than 1/2 the price of RV antifreeze. The lines will freeze be for the tanks. As asked above, you can’t afford to add $3. 00 to the cost of your trip. Run your furnace when you can and when you can’t leave your basement lights on.

How do you put RV antifreeze in a camper?

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.

Do I need to winterize my travel trailer?

Why do I Need to Winterize my Trailer?  — You should always choose to winterize your trailer if you’re storing it over the winter for a few reasons. First, if you don’t choose to winterize your trailer, you could face potentially expensive repair costs.

  • A single exposure to extended freezing temps can result in a cracked or busted water pump, tank or lines
  • Repairs can easily cost $100+ for smaller campers or $1,000+ for a larger trailer
  • Beyond just costs, winterizing your trailer will increase its lifespan, while providing you with a more comfortable, trouble-free and safe camping experience

Problems due to improper cold weather preparation can be subtle and difficult to find. For example, small cracks and minor leaks, especially in hidden areas can lead to interior rot, mold, and mildew and even take a toll on electrical components.

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