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With the fall season comes the beautiful colors, the cooler weather, and sadly, the end of the camping season. If you live in a colder climate and you’re not planning on using your trailer, it’s imperative that you winterize your RV. If not properly winterized, your water lines and water heater will freeze, damaging your RV.
Once the temperatures start to fall at or below 32°F (0°C) on a regular basis, it’s time to winterize. Before you start, make sure to read through the instructions and also refer to your owner’s manual. If you’re not sure how to winterize your RV, please come visit our Service Department at Bish’s RV. We can show you how to properly and safely winterize your trailer.
Here are 14 Steps to Winterizing an RV
Step 1: Drain all of the water tanks – take your RV to your local waste station and drain your black, gray, and fresh water tanks completely.
Step 2: Next, remove the water from the hot water heater. DO NOT DRAIN THE HOT WATER HEATER WHEN IT IS HOT OR UNDER PRESSURE. The drain is located on the bottom of the hot water heater on most units. Once you open up the tank (make sure to stand to the side so you don’t get water sprayed on you), water will start to drain out and little chunks of lime deposits will come out too. The lime chunks are normal. Once the tank has been drained make sure to close the drain again.
Step 3: Drain all the pipes by turning on all hot and cold water faucets, flushing the toilet, and turning on the outside shower. You can use an air compressor to help blow out the water in the lines. If using an air compressor, set it to 30 psi, with a maximum air pressure of 50 psi. Also, walk around your trailer and open up the water valves one at a time when using an air compressor.
Step 4: Locate and open all low point drain lines. There will be a hot and cold water line. You can use the water pump to help drain but make sure to turn it off as soon as the system is drained.
Step 5: Once all lines and systems are drained, recap and close all drains and faucets.
Step 6: By-pass the water heater. If you do not by-pass the water heater, it will fill up with antifreeze before it goes through the water lines, wasting 6 to 10 gallons of antifreeze. If you do not have a by-pass kit, you can get one installed. Not a must, but really recommended.
Step 7: Pump antifreeze through your water lines – Easily pump antifreeze through your water system by installing a valve with a tube onto your water pump (check and see if this tube is already installed – most newer RVs come with this feature). This allows your water pump to draw antifreeze directly from the bottle. You can also use the existing hose from the water pump and attach a short piece of hose so it can reach into the antifreeze bottle.
Once you have the hose on the water pump ready, turn on your water pump which will suck the antifreeze out of the bottle and into the water system. Starting with the closest faucet, slowly open the hot and the cold water valves, one at a time, and let it flow until you see the pink antifreeze. Close the valves after you see pink. Watch the antifreeze level in the bottle and do not let it run dry. Replace the antifreeze bottle with a new bottle as needed.
Step 8: Keep opening each faucet (from closest to farthest away) until each one has antifreeze coming out of them. Also, flush your toilet until antifreeze appears. Remember, if you have an outside shower to open the valves and run antifreeze to it.
Step 9: Turn off water pump. Open a faucet to release the pressure, then close the faucet again.
Step 10: (If applicable) Next, go outside to your city water inlet. Remove the small screen over the inlet and push in on the valve with a small screwdriver until you see antifreeze. Then put the small screen back into place.
Step 11: Pour a few cups of antifreeze down each drain. Also, pour some antifreeze into the toilet and flush into the holding tank.
Step 12: If you have an electric heating element on your water heater, make sure it is turned off.
Step 13: Double check and make sure all faucets and valves are closed
Step 14: If you have an ice maker, dishwasher, or washing machine, consult your owner’s manual to winterize those features.
Your unit is now winterized. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call your local Bish’s RV Service Department for assistants.