Now that the RV season is coming to close for those of us not fortunate to enjoy the warmer weather it is time to prepare your RV for the cold winter months. Whether taking on this job yourself or hiring an RV service technician it is always good to double check to make sure that you are all set for spring.
There are several ways of winterizing your RV, whether using antifreeze, or blowing out your water lines the goal is the same, get the water out of the lines.
Here is a step by step guide to get this done efficiently.
1. By-pass your hot water tank
This is the first step. The reason to do this is to avoid the antifreeze that you are putting into your system from contaminating your hot water tank. What you will do is shut off the water going into the tank and shut off the water coming out of the tank. Next is to open the valve connecting those two water lines, often called a bypass valve. This will ensure that the hot water tank is now disconnected from the rest of the water system. Many larger RVs simply have a bypass valve that makes it much easier.
2. Drain your hot water tank
This step is very important and can be over looked. It is likely that your hot water tank is completely full. To avoid a costly repair you will need to drain the water. To do this you will open the hot water tank cover on the outside of the RV and unscrew the drain plug that is located on the bottom. Once the water is drained I recommend lightly screwing the plug back in to avoid misplacing it over the winter months.
Avoid this costly repair!
3. Drain your water reservoir
Prior to running the antifreeze through your system it is important to drain your fresh water reservoir in the RV. You will need access to the pump on the tank side of the line so without it emptied you will make a big mess!
4. Anti-Freeze Time!
Once you have emptied the fresh water and bypassed your hot water tank you are ready to run the anti-freeze through your line. This is the lovely pink stuff that you can pick up at your local Canadian Tire, Walmart or RV parts store. To do this you will need to have access to the pump on the fresh tank side of it. I have installed a permanent winterizing line which makes life a little easier. If not, no worries, simply unscrew the fresh water line that connects to the water pump.
Once you have your antifreeze and pump all ready to go, it is time to turn on your pump and fill those lines with antifreeze. I like to start with the furthest faucet in the RV which is usually the kitchen. Open your faucet and let it run until you see a healthy flow of antifreeze coming out. Continue this process for everything that uses water, the shower, sinks, toilets etc. It is very important to make sure you do the hot and cold taps so that everything is properly winterized. I personally find sink faucets that have a single hot/cold lever more difficult. This is where I recommend that you double check your work and take a look at the water lines to be sure they are full of pink. Below is a picture where pink was running out of the faucet but when I looked in behind only one line had antifreeze in it. Double check your work.
5. You're done!
Once you are comfortable that the entire water system has been winterized you are done! Be sure to reattach the fresh water reservoir to your pump if needed. I generally will use two full bottles of antifreeze per RV. This gives me some left over that I will dump into the black and grey water tanks and leave a healthy amount in the toilet.
Once you get good at this you will find it quite easy and for most RVs can be accomplished in under 15 minutes.
Be sure to check out next weeks blog about how to keep critters out of your RV over winter.
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