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Winterizing your RV: Adding Antifreeze

With the cold months arriving in full force, it’s time for many to put away their RVs. But don’t just park your rig and walk away. There are a lot of important steps to preparing it for winter to prevent damage from accruing over the cold months. Consider the amount of water that’s in your RV. Even if you empty your tanks on a regular basis, it’s difficult to remove all the water and it can accumulate over time. If the water freezes and expands in your pipes, they can break. The best way to combat this is to add antifreeze. Here at RV Value Mart, we’ve provided a basic breakdown of how this process generally works, although you’ll want to consult your owner’s manual first. If you find your RV needs to be looked at before putting it in storage, schedule an appointment with our professional team at one of our locations.


You’ll want to start by removing as much of the water inside the RV as possible, including the water heater. There should be three low-point drains (one for the cold water lines, one for the hot water lines, and one for the freshwater tank) you’ll want to open to drain as much of the water as you can. You should also open the taps at every faucet and shower and flush the toilet a few times to get every drop out of your water system.

Draining your water heater will vary from model to model, so consult your owner’s manual for this one. Odds are you’ll simply need to remove a drain plug or open a drain valve. No matter what, give your water heater some time to cool before emptying it and leave a hot water valve in one of your faucets to relieve pressure.


We highly recommend blowing out the lines to ensure you’ve removed all the water (water will dilute the antifreeze solution). Attach a blowout plug to the City Water Intake and use an air compressor to remove any last drops of water. Once you’re sure all the water’s been drained, recap all drains and close all faucets.


If you want to save yourself time and gallons of antifreeze, you’ll want to bypass your water heater. This requires a bypass kit, which some newer models have pre-installed. However, if you don’t have one, you’ll want to talk to your trusted mechanic about getting one installed.


A water pump converter kit makes the next step much easier. Otherwise, you’ll need to use a hand pump. Disconnect the inlet side of the water pump and connect it to a jug of RV antifreeze.


Now for the main event. Turn on your pump and go to the nearest faucet. Turn on the hot valve first and then the cold until you see pink fluid. Move on to the next faucet and the next until you’ve hit all faucets throughout your RV. Also make sure you do this with your showers, both inside and out. Flush the toilet until you see antifreeze, and then pour a cup of antifreeze down each drain (including the toilet). Finally, open the two low-point lines for the hot and cold water lines to ensure the antifreeze makes it all the way through the system. When you’re finished, close all facets and low-point valves.

Don’t forget you have appliances that also use water. Things like washers and ice makers will require specialized steps that are specific to your RV model, so consult your owner’s manual to winterize these appliances.

There are a number of other steps you’ll want to be taking in order to ensure your RV is ready for winter.If you need help winterizing your RV, then stop by one of our locations.

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