If you do not have an all-weather package on your RV, it will be necessary for you to get the RV ready for winter storage. While this is something an RV service center can do for you, it is possible to winterize RV by yourself.
When it comes to getting your RV ready for the winter months, there are two schools of thought. Some believe it is better to blow out the RV water pipes using compressed air, and there are those that prefer using antifreeze.
Prior to winterizing your RV, it is important to have a look at your owner’s manual to see if the manufacturer has included steps on how to safely store your RV for the winter.
Blowing Out RV Water Lines Vs Antifreeze
Using an air compressor to blow out your RV water pipes
It is always important to winterize any RV that is capable of running water every winter before the first frost front. If you choose not to do this, the hot water tank or the pipes in your RV could expand and then burst due to ice.
The result is not a pretty sight and repairs could end up costing you a whole lot.
There are numerous ways to ensure that there is absolutely no water in your pipes. A way to do is this by pumping antifreeze through the pipes, but that is fraught with its disadvantages (more on this later). The second way would be to pump air through the pipes. It is quick and it is clean.
To do this you will require a blow out plug and an air compressor.
Steps to blowing out your RV water lines
The compressor should be turned on and with the pressure lowered to anything around 30 to 40 psi
Before plugging in the air compressor, you will first have to drain the water tank, as well as any other tanks that hold water in the RV.
As soon as this is done, the valves to the tanks should be closed. Closing the valves ensures that when you connect the air compressor you do not get splashed with water.
The next step would be to connect your blow out plug to the water intake valve. At this point, you should have a second person enter the RV to turn every tap off.
The closest tap to your location should be left on, however, and for most RV designs, the kitchen sink is the closest tap. The reason for this is to have the turn the cold or hot water on while you connect the air compressor till the water stops running.
Once the water stops running on one side, the same process should be done on using the other tap. This process should be done to every tap or shower outlet, making sure there is no water left in the pipes.
The toilet is not left out as well. When doing this, you should take breaks pushing air through the pipes as doing so can continuously put a strain on the pipes.
The process of blowing out your RV water pipes is complete when the last tap or water outlet runs dry.
Filling the Water Pipes With RV Antifreeze
Unless you live in a particularly warm climate, it is recommended that you use antifreeze all through the year.
That being said, antifreeze use is particularly important during the winter, with temperatures constantly dropping close to freezing point.
Using antifreeze to winterize your RV, ensures that you will have water running all through the year.
RV antifreeze types
When it comes to RV antifreeze, there are two types: ethanol glycol and propylene antifreeze.
When antifreeze for your RV water pipes is mentioned, Propylene is the antifreeze type ni question.
It is non-toxic making it the perfect choice for winterizing an RV’s water system. Ethanol glycol is extremely toxic and shouldn’t be used to winterize your pipes.
Is there a difference between regular antifreeze and RV antifreeze
The most significant difference between regular antifreeze and RV antifreeze is their function. Regular antifreeze is to be used on a car’s engine, while RV antifreeze as earlier stated is to be used solely on an RV’s water pipe system.
Given that RV antifreeze’s sole use is to be put in an RV’s water pipe system, you must ensure the RV antifreeze you use does not have any noxious chemicals.
You should never use regular antifreeze on your RV’s water pipes as it was designed to be used in a vehicle’s cooling system. Its job is to stop engine corrosion and the coolant from freezing.
It goes without saying, you shouldn’t ever use regular antifreeze on your RV’s water pipes system.
Steps to filling your pipes with antifreeze
Before you fill your RV’s water pipes up with antifreeze, you should first turn all the taps, including the shower on to drain as much water as you can. You will require at the very least 2 gallons of RV antifreeze to fill your water pipes.
There are a few ways you could pump RV antifreeze into your RV water pipes. You can choose to do this using a hand crank pump. You could also choose to use the onboard water pump on your RV.
A note of warning, if you decide to use your RV’s onboard water pump, you have to connect a pump bypass kit. A pump bypass kit is necessary because water is first drawn from the freshwater tank and it is best not to get antifreeze into the tank.
Pumping RV Antifreeze using a hand crank pump
The first thing you will need to do is to connect the pump’s outlet connection to the RV’s water inlet. The intake hose of the pump is then connected to the antifreeze container.
Once this is done, all the taps need to be open before you can begin pumping antifreeze. The most effective way to pump antifreeze into the water pipes is to do this one tap at a time.
Keep pumping till the antifreeze comes out of the tap, then stop and move on to the next tap. Continue this until all the outlets have antifreeze coming out of them.
Using a water pump to pump RV antifreeze
The water pump works just as a hand crank pump, however, you don’t have to pump by hand. All you need to do is simply turn the water pump on to push antifreeze into the RV’s water pipes. Using this method is ultimately faster and much easier.
Flushing RV Antifreeze out
Once this is done, you then open your RV’s grey water tank, whilst ensuring all the taps are turned on. Keep the water running through the plumbing system till it not only smells but looks clean.
If the water still has an antifreeze taste, you can continue flushing using water until you are satisfied. Alternatively, you can use baking soda to get rid of the antifreeze smell and taste. Simply dissolve the baking soda and flush it through the pipes.