• RV Life and Living

How Do I Winterize your RV Or Travel Trailer for the Winter?

We all love our Rv's and Travel Travel Trails. Whether you're talking the state of the art Fifth-Wheel Travel Trailer or a modest pull behind hitch travel trailer or even your trusty pop-up camper for that quick weekend getaway, all of these options need to be winterized with RV Antifreeze to protect the waterlines and other crucial components of the rig.

How to Winterize an RV? This question is our focus today. To start with, When Winterizing RV campers, you need to consider all components from the waterlines, grey and black tanks, tires, battery, and air conditioner. In addition to other components that will need to be addressed as you leave your valuable trailer to the winter elements.

Suppose you will be Winterizing RV Camper on an annual basis. In that case, you will want to put together an RV Winterizing kit of items. Hence, you have the needed materials when you set out to winterize camper components. The following items are a Good Starting Point for your RV Winterizing Kit.

  • RV Antifreeze 2-4 gallons depending on the size of your rig.

  • By-Pass Pump to pump RV Antifreeze into your trailer.

  • Compressor and Tire Pressure Gauge to check and Inflate Tires as needed

  • Tire Covers to protect tires from winter elements.

  • Cover for your Air Conditioning Unit to keep free from debris over the winter months.

  • Cotton Balls and Mouse Traps to control rodents over the winter months of non-use.

  • Tools to include battery drill or screw gun, pliers, adjustable wrench, flashlight, hand screwdriver, and tire pressure gauge.

  • funnel

For most of us, the question "How To Winterize RV?" means waterlines. This system is the most crucial element in the process of the Winterize Camper process. This item is achieved by removing the water from the waterlines in your trailer and installing RV Antifreeze. So let's start with this item, step by step.

Draining and Winterizing RV Waterlines and Potable Water System

Step One: Shut the incoming water off to your RV Trailer and remove, drain and coil then store. Remove or by-pass any water filters on your RV Trailer.

Step Two: Find the low point water line drain points. Typically these will hang down below the trailer. There could be two or three, depending on your trailer. There will be one for the hot water line, one for the cold line, and sometimes one for the fresh water tank. You will need to find and remove the drain caps. When drained, you can replace the caps as you will need to pressurize your water system with the motorhome water pump.

Step Three: Find your water heater. Open the cover and remove the drain plug on the unit. The drain plug is in the middle on the bottom. You may need to use a socket and ratchet to remove the plug. Also, you will need to open the pressure/temperature relief valve by lifting the tab. This step helps the water flow effortlessly from the tank. You will also need to find the hot water tank by-pass lines so you can isolate the water heater. If not, you will pump 6 gallons of RV Antifreeze through the unit, wasting the RV Antifreeze.

Step Four: You are now ready to add the RV Antifreeze to your trailer. First, you can add the RV Antifreeze by pouring it into the fresh RV water inlet for the tank or pumping it into the RV water inlet with your by-pass Pump. Add 3 gallons to start. I usually hold a gallon back to add the RV Antifreeze directly to the waste line traps.

Another method to add the RV Antifreeze is to connect your by-pass Pump to the trailer. Some units offer a connection for this purpose. If you would like to add this connection, the by-pass at the hot water tank is a great location.

Over the years, I have always added the RV Antifreeze directly through the RV Water Inlet. This procedure has always been the most straightforward method. Just don't forget the funnel.

Step Five: Turn on your motorhome water pump and pressurize the system. Now, one by one, go to each faucet, showerhead, and toilet and run the water until the RV Antifreeze comes out pink. Make sure to do this procedure on both the hot and cold lines. Don't forget your outside kitchen and shower.

Once this is complete, open the valve for the hot water tank an run some RV Antifreeze through the tank to be sure. Once all lines bleed the pink color, shut off the Pump, open all faucets and leave them open. Also, remove the shower heads and remove the drain line caps. Store the caps where you will find them in the Spring.

Step Six: pour 1 to 2 cups of RV Antifreeze into each sink and shower.

At this point, the winterizing RV water lines are not complete. Now we will move to the next item.

Winterize Camp Grey and Black Tanks

Some people will do this step before you remove the running water from the trailer. I Choose to do this solely because it is the order I typically use. Winterizing RV black and grey tanks are not tricky, but necessary.

Step 1: Fill both of these tanks by running a hose from the campground water supply. I usually will use the tub for the grey tank and obviously the toilet for the black tank. While filling the toilet, I will usually use a spray head and clean the tank's base directly below the toilet.

Step 2: Once the tanks are full, open the drain valves and let the tanks drain.

The grey tank will only take one filling. However, you should do the procedure at least twice to get the tank as clean as possible.

Step 3: Remove the sewer hose and store it for the winter.

You have now answered the potable water side of the question: how to winterize an RV.

Other Areas to Winterize on your RV or Camper.

Step 1: Check the tire pressure on the trailer tires. Set them to the proper pressure rating for the tires. Install the Tire Covers for your trailer. Keeping them properly inflated and covered will help to keep the tires from drying out.

Step 2: Head onto the RV Trailer Roof. Make sure it is clear from debris. If not you can sweep or spray off with water. Next, add the Air Conditioner Cover. This cover will keep debris out of the unit.

Step 3: Put your slides in if your RV Trailer is equipped with them. These room extensions are not designed to be left out during harsh weather, like carrying a snow load.

Step 4: Empty the refrigerator and freezer. Leave the doors open, so mold doesn't grow while you are away.

Step 5: Drop some rodent traps under the cabinets to keep mice at bay. I put mothballs down, usually in a breathable bag, to also help keep our little buddies out.

Step 6: Remove your battery using the adjustable wrench or pliers from your RV Winterizing Kit. Take the battery home with you and store it in a location above freezing for the winter.

At this point, you have now addressed all of the items to answer the question, "How to Winterize an RV?

We have now put together an RV Winterizing Kit, Drained, and added RV Antifreeze to the trailer via the RV Water Inlet and the Motorcoach water pump. We have addressed tires, air conditioning, refrigerator, grey, and black tanks and moved the slides in. Your home away from home is now safe for the harsh or freezing winter.

With this being complete, I'd like to give you a list of components you can purchase for your RV Winterizing Kit. These items can be conveniently purchased through our affiliate Amazon Links or your local hardware store.

RV Antifreeze: SPLASH RV and Marine Antifreeze is designed to winterize your boat and RV Trailer. It is compatible with all-terrain-vehicles;utility-vehicles;street-sport-motorcycles;off-road-motorcycles;street-cruiser-motorcycles;street-touring-motorcycles;street-motor-scooters;snowmobiles;marine-personal-craft.

By Pass Pump for AntiFreeze:

SEAFLO 33-Series Industrial Water Pressure Pump w/Power Plug for Wall Outlet - 115VAC, 3.3 GPM, 45 PSI

Visit the SEAFLO Store

This by-pass water pump is an Amazon Choice and holds a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on the Amazon Platform.

  • Self-Priming Pump for up to 6 vertical feet of lift

  • 3.3 GPM Flow Capacity, 115V AC Current Draw .75 amps (1.2 Max Amps)

  • Built-in Adjustable Pressure Switch set to 45 PSI. You can also adjust this setting to your desired pressure.

  • Plugs into a standard wall outlet

RV Tire Covers: Explore Land Tire Covers 4 Pack - Tough Tire Wheel Protector For RV's and Campers- Universal Fits Tire Diameters 23-25.75 inches

Visit the Explore Land Store

These tire covers from exploring land tires hold a 4.8 out of 5 stars rating on the Amazon Platform.

Price: $29.99

  • Durable, water-resistant coating with UV stabilized treatment offers you a long-lasting tire cover bonded with a soft, non-scratch backing.

  • The Elastic cord design with auto-lock design simplifies making the snug fit on your trailer tires. The system has raised the wind resistance ability, and there is no need for ties or holes. 3 YEAR WARRANTY.

A/C Rooftop Cover: ADCO 3026 White Size 26 RV Air Conditioner Cover

Visit the ADCO Store

This Rooftop AC Cover holds a 4.6 out of 5 stars on the Amazon Platform.

Price: $22.09

  • ADCO RV Air Conditioner Rooftop Covers: Protect the rooftop air conditioner on your RV while it is not in use.

  • Heavy-duty designed jersey backed vinyl protects you're A/C against airborne contaminates and also UV rays.

  • The cover secures with 'parachute' style drawcord for a great snug fit.

  • Size 26 Cover : Dimensions 26 W x 13 D x 37 L inches.

Tire Air Compressor: TEROMAS Tire Inflator Air Compressor, Portable DC/AC Air Pump for Car Tires 12V DC and Other Inflatables at Home 110V AC, Digital Electric Tire Pump with Pressure Gauge


The lighter socket can power this tire inflator in your car or wall plug in your house. It holds an excellent 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Amazon Platform.

Price: $54.99

  • STRONG POWER & SPACE-SAVING: Inflate items Up to 150 PSI. So powerful, you can Inflate a P195/65R15 auto tire from 0 to 35psi in 4min. It makes inflating any tire in an emergency more straightforward and more convenient. The Portable size takes up little space and comes with a carrying bag so you can keep all the components together in your car or workshop.

  • AUTO-OFF FUNCTION: Preset the pressure you need. This tire pump will automatically shut off when you reach the preset pressure. No more over-inflating your tires, you'll get the correct pressure every time.

  • DIGITAL DISPLAY & LED Lighting: Bright backlight LCD display makes this unit easy to use at night. Additionally, the LCD display is bright enough to be seen in the daytime with bright sunlight easily.

With all this information, you now have the essential items for your RV Winterizing Kit. All of this information is available through Amazon. You can be taken directly to the sites by clicking on the links above.

Finally, we've outlined all of the necessary items and steps that need to be taken for winterizing RV components, including the potable water system, grey and black tank, Air Conditioner, Slides, Rood, and Battery. By following the listings above, you will be set to survive the long winter months, allowing you a flawless start to your spring camping season.

All you will need to do in the Spring is put the drain line caps on, hook the water hose and a sewer hose, and install the battery. From here, open the slides and remove the A/C cover. You are good to go and enjoy camping once again.

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