Winterizing an RV

Winterizing an RV is a crucial process to protect it from the harsh winter weather and prevent damage that can result from freezing temperatures. Here’s a general guide on how to winterize your RV:

Materials You’ll Need:

  • RV antifreeze (non-toxic, safe for potable water systems)
  • Basic hand tools
  • Water heater bypass kit (if not already installed)
  • Air compressor (optional)
  • RV cover (optional)
  • Tire covers (optional)

Steps to Winterize Your RV:

  1. Empty Tanks:
    • Drain and empty the fresh water holding tank.
    • Drain the wastewater tanks (gray and black tanks) at an approved dumping station.
  2. Bypass the Water Heater:
    • If your RV doesn’t have a water heater bypass kit installed, you’ll need to do this manually. Locate the water heater and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to bypass it. This prevents antifreeze from entering the water heater.
  3. Drain Water Lines:
    • Open all the faucets, including hot and cold taps, in the RV to drain water from the lines. Don’t forget any outdoor faucets or showers if applicable.
    • Flush the toilet until it’s empty.
    • Remove any water filters in the system and replace them with bypass caps or empty filter canisters.
  4. Use RV Antifreeze:
    • Pour RV antifreeze into the freshwater tank (follow manufacturer recommendations for the amount needed).
    • Turn on the RV water pump.
    • Open each faucet one at a time (starting with the closest to the pump) until you see pink antifreeze coming out. Do this for both hot and cold taps.
    • Flush the toilet until you see pink antifreeze in the bowl.
  5. Antifreeze in Drain Traps:
    • Pour some antifreeze down each drain to fill the P-traps and prevent them from freezing.
  6. Exterior Protection:
    • Disconnect the city water connection and make sure the outside shower is drained.
    • If you have an ice maker or a washing machine in your RV, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for winterization.
  7. Stabilize the Fuel System:
    • Add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank to prevent fuel deterioration during storage. Run the engine for a few minutes to ensure the stabilized fuel circulates through the system.
  8. Check and Inflate Tires:
    • Inspect the tires for proper inflation and consider using tire covers to protect them from the elements.
  9. Interior Cleaning and Maintenance:
    • Clean and thoroughly dry the interior of the RV to prevent mold and mildew growth during storage.
    • Remove all perishable items and store any non-perishable goods in sealed containers to deter pests.
  10. Cover or Store Indoors (Optional):
    • Consider covering your RV with a quality RV cover or storing it indoors if possible. This provides extra protection from the elements.
  11. Regular Check-Ups:
    • Periodically check on your RV throughout the winter to ensure it’s in good condition and make any necessary adjustments.

Properly winterizing your RV is essential to prevent costly damage from freezing temperatures and ensure your RV is ready for use when spring arrives. Always refer to your RV’s owner’s manual for manufacturer-specific winterization instructions and guidelines.


I'm Jay, the founder of RV Pro Source. I'm a Certified NRVIA Inspector and an RVTAA Registered RV Tech. I utilized these qualifications and first-hand experience to offer insight, advice, and services that cater to all RV owners.

Got an RV question? Don't hesitate to reach out to me via my social media platforms. I'm always here to help guide your RV journey!

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