How to Winterize Your RV

When the season is over and you are ready to park your RV for the winter months you will need to prepare it for the months to come. This means that you will need to flush out the plumbing systems, prepare the inside to keep pests at bay, and cover the exterior in some cases to help protect it further. The plumbing and water systems are the most important when winterizing your RV. This means that you will have to pick up a few things to be prepared to do this.

Some items you should pick up before starting this process are:

  • RV and Marine antifreeze. This can be picked up in a general store usually or at a marina or RV store as well. Sometimes you can find it at the farming stores as well, especially during the fall when everyone is doing this for their RVs and boats.
  • Water heater bypass kit. Some water heaters are equipped with one. And, if your RV is older, than you most likely have this on your water heater already as someone had to winterize it in previous years.
  • Basic hand tools to remove various drain plugs.
  • A hose or wand to flush out the tanks as you drain them and clean the black water tank.

Read the manuals

Before you begin you should read the instructions that came with your RV. Every RV is slightly different and some are equipped with winterizing controls.

You will need to go to a dump station to clean out the black water tanks and fresh water tanks. Should you do this each and every time you leave and your RV is simply sitting in your driveway, you can skip this part.

When there are inline water filters, you will need to find the bypass hose and remove them. To drain the hot water heater, ensure the water heater is fully turned off long enough for the water to cool down before draining.

Flush the toilets to get any remaining water out of the lines and don’t forget the outside shower, should there be one. Turn that on as well. Turn on the water heater bypass, most come with this, however, if yours doesn’t have one, you will need to install one or have it installed. Otherwise, you will be wasting gallons of antifreeze.

Flush the lines

Connect the inlet waterside from the water pump that sucks the water from the clean tanks and stick it into a gallon of RV antifreeze. Turn on the faucets and flush the toilet to get the antifreeze everywhere you want it to go. You should see the antifreeze coming from the fixtures. This is a good sign that is it is working.

Once you have completed this, you will need to pour a cup of antifreeze down each drain. If your toilet has a holding tank, shut off the water too it and flush until empty. Then put some antifreeze in the tank to help flush the lines.

Preparing your RV for winter

To further winterize your RV you will need to make it pest resistant. There are several ways to do this from mothballs to using Irish Spring soap to keep them at bay. It really is a matter of preference for the smell.


I have been camping and going outdoors for over 15 years! My first experience was when I joined the scouts. There I learned a lot. From building a campfire to set up a really big tent. Then I know this is awesome. Around 2005 I also started Geocaching. This is a lot of fun. And every time we go camping we look at the map to see if there are some nice caches around.

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