How To Winterize A Travel Trailer/RV [Complete Guide]

To winterize a travel trailer, all you need do is Flush and Drain the Black and Gray Water Tanks, Flush and Drain the Water Heater, Avoid Using the Water Heater, Drain the Fresh Tank and Drains at Low Points, Identify the location of the water pump, Turn on External Faucets and Valves on the RV’s Exterior, Open the Internal Faucets, Showers, and Toilets, Fill P-Traps with antifreeze.

Winter is difficult for everyone, but it may be especially difficult for Trailers or RVs. With extensive plumbing and hiding places for water and moisture, winterizing your RV is a key step in avoiding costly repairs once the ground begins to thaw in the spring.

Shortly, we will lead you through the winterization procedure step by step. Do not be alarmed if it feels overwhelming! Your local Camping World’s certified service specialists can winterize your RV for you. However, if you wish to tackle the process on your own, simply follow our step-by-step instructions. We’ve broken down the details into eight simple steps below.

How To Winterize A Travel Trailer

Please keep in mind that each Trailer (RV) is unique, and some may have additional items that make winterizing more difficult, such as icemakers, refrigerators, or dishwashers, but our advice covers the essentials. Let us begin!

Tools To Winterize A Travel Trailer

To winterize your trailer properly, you’ll need the following tools and supplies:

  • 3-4 gallons of antifreeze (a little extra never hurts)
  • water heater bypass kit (if not already equipped)
  • Flashlight
  • Cordless power drill with #2 square tip driver bit
  • 2 crescent wrenches or a set of open-end wrenches
  • needle nose pliers or a screwdriver
  • socket wrench and 1-1/16″ socket
  • new anode rod or plastic plug
  • siphoning kit (if the pump is not already equipped)

Steps By Step Guide To Winterize Your (Trailer) RV

If you follow all of the measures mentioned, your RV will be as prepared for winter storage as possible. A properly winterized RV results in less headache and stress come spring.

1. Flush And Drain The Black And Gray Water Tanks

It is critical not to let wastewater to sit in your RV during the winter. Not only may those tanks harbor a variety of bacteria, but the water can also freeze and cause problems. Both tanks should be drained, beginning with the black water tank and ending with the gray water tank. After draining both tanks, clean the black tank using a black tank cleaner or a cleaning wand.

Read Also: How To Winterize A Travel Trailer Using Air

2. Flush And Drain The Water Heater

Additionally, you’ll need to drain the water from your water heater. This implies you should switch it off and allow it to cool down without putting it under pressure. Connect your RV to city water while the water is turned off. From there, you can remove the drain stopper or anode rod with your socket wrench and then open the pressure relief valve.

This will allow the water to drain. Avoid draining the water heater if it is hot or has built-up pressure. Wait for the temperature and pressure to return to normal. Once the sediment has been cleared, turn on the water pressure and clean it out for 2-3 minutes. Remove any worn anode rods and store them outside for the winter; make a note to replace them in the spring.

3. Avoid Using The Water Heater

Before putting antifreeze into your RV, you must ensure that the water heater is disconnected. You do not want antifreeze to enter the water heater. Certain RVs come equipped with a bypass. To locate the water heater, identify the water heater service door on the exterior of the RV and align it with the location of the water heater feed line inside.

Almost always, there will be an access panel inside that you must remove. Remove the panel with your drill and square tip driver bit to gain access to the valves and adjust them properly to bypass the water heater.

Read Also: How To Winterize A Travel Trailer With Antifreeze [Full Guide]

4. Drain The Fresh Tank And Drains At Low Points

Before removing the stopper and draining the fresh water tank, ensure that the water pressure is turned off. It’s a good idea to open the faucets to aid in the flow of water. Once completed, shut off all faucets and plug the low-point drains.

5. Identify The Location Of The Water Pump

Connect the siphoning kit, or if your RV is equipped, locate and insert the siphoning hose into the gallon of antifreeze. Activate the valve. Turn on the water pump to initiate the flow of antifreeze via the water system.

6. Turn On External Faucets And Valves On The Rv’s Exterior

Open low-point drain valves or remove low-point drain plugs starting with the lowest valve and working your way up to allow water to drain. Continue until the water becomes pink (this indicates that the antifreeze has penetrated the pipes completely), then close the valves or retighten the plugs. Turn on any outside showers or faucets and run one side (hot or cold) till pink, then close and run the other.

7. Open The Internal Faucets, Showers, And Toilets

Repeat step six by running the faucets inside (kitchen, bathroom, and showers), starting with one side until it runs pink and then closing it and running the other side. Then repeat the procedure for each toilet until you notice the antifreeze.

8. Fill P-Traps With Antifreeze

Following that, add some additional antifreeze to the drains of each sink, shower, and toilet in the RV to prevent the outdoor termination pipes from freezing throughout the winter. After completing these steps, you should verify that the water heater’s heating element is switched off and that all taps are closed.

How To Winterize A Travel Trailer For Living In

Here is some expert guides to winterize your RV for living in and to ensure that your full-time winter camping experience is as stress-free as possible:

Utilize the sun’s energy to your advantage.

When it’s time to stop, park your camper in an open place to maximize your exposure to sunshine. Sunrays will give a natural source of heat, which will allow you to save money on electricity or propane during the day.

When temps fall below freezing, heat your interior with space heaters rather than your HVAC system.

Using your HVAC system in temps below freezing may cause the system to fail. We recommend the following heaters for heating tents, but they will also keep you warm in an RV.

Read Also: How To Winterize An Rv Without Antifreeze [Complete Guide]

Drain waste water tanks only when they are completely filled.

Otherwise, your holding tank’s contents may freeze throughout the emptying process.

When not in use, disconnect your hoses from the holding tank valves.

Insulate the water pipe leading to your refrigerator.

This component is frequently disregarded since it is prone to freezing and cracking. Understanding how your RV refrigerator works is critical if you plan to live in your camper.

Keep additional water on hand to pour down the toilet and drains to assist in preventing freezing during the coldest parts of the year.

When sleeping, use sleeping bags or electric blankets.

Have tire chains on hand in case you are forced to drive on snowy or icy roads.

Consult your RV park’s guidelines before attempting any do-it-yourself winterization. While some parks permit campers to build their own winter rigs, others strictly prohibit it.

Never be reluctant to seek assistance from a fellow camper-dweller. It is how we learn, and we want all campers to take part in the adventures that come with camper life.

By combining these techniques with the preparations outlined above, you and your camper will be prepared for anything the icy weather has in store for you!

Read Also: How To Winterize A Travel Trailer For Storage [Complete Guide]

How To Winterize A Travel Trailer With Antifreeze

Turn on your faucets until you see pink antifreeze. Both the cold and hot water faucets should be opened. Additionally, keep an eye out for flowing. Antifreeze. Carry out the same procedure with a bathroom sink and a tub shower.

How To Winterize A Travel Trailer Without Antifreeze

To begin, empty and clean your black and gray tanks as usual. Ensure they are particularly empty and clean to minimize odors building up in the RV throughout the winter. Then, Switch off the water heater, Drain the fresh water tank and its associated pipelines, Override the water heater, ensure All faucets should be opened, Switch on the pump, Empty the tank of the water heater, Connect the compressor to the water supply line, Eliminate the lines and many other steps we will be listing shortly.

How To Winterize A Travel Trailer For Storage

drain the water storage, remove your batteries to save its life span, ensure all the peelings on the exterior is taken care of to avoid fast decay from there, ensure you cover up your RV in a safe location and keep an eye on it time to time.

How To Winterize A Travel Trailer Hot Water Heater

If you have access to your RV’s Owner’s Manual, follow the directions within.

  • Removing and bypassing any inline water filtration devices
  • Flush the Freshwater Tank with Drainage and Flush
  • Dispose of the Waste Water Holding Tanks (Gray and Black) (Flush King is an excellent product for cleaning these tanks)
  • Apply WD-40 to the valves.
  • Remove the drain plug and open the pressure relief valve to empty the Heated Water Heater completely after verifying that it is no longer under pressure or hot.
  • Once you’re certain that all the water in the plumbing system has been flushed, turn on all the hot and cold faucets and any exterior showers.
  • Once the low point drain lines have been cleared of any standing water, turn off the water pump.
  • Close all the faucets and drains in the house.
  • If you don’t already have a Hot Water Bypass installed, turn off the hot water heater (This will prevent wasting RV Antifreeze)
  • Water pump water input and RV Antifreeze antifreeze outlet are connected via clear tubing.
  • Turn on the Water Pump to increase pressure in the system.
  • As needed, replace the Antifreeze container and open the hot and cold valves until RV Antifreeze appears.
  • Once you’ve completed the farthest faucet, go back and repeat the process with the next-closest ones.
  • Until antifreeze comes out of all the toilets, flush them
  • Open a faucet to relieve the pressure on the Water Pump.
  • Anti-freeze each drain, flush the toilets/tanks and then flush your holding tank with a cup of RV Antifreeze.
  • Be sure to turn off any electric elements in your RV’s hot water heater.

How Much Does It Cost To Winterize A Travel Trailer

Basic winterizing packages from RV dealers range from $130 to $170, depending on the size and class of your RV.

How Many Gallons Of Antifreeze To Winterize A Travel Trailer

Depending on the size of your RV, you’ll need anywhere from 2 to 3 gallons of antifreeze. c) Use the water pump in your RV. It is necessary to install a pump bypass kit if the RV’s freshwater tank is not already equipped if you intend to use the water pump.

How Much Antifreeze Do You Need To Winterize A Travel Trailer

Depending on the size of your RV, you’ll need anywhere from 2 to 3 gallons of antifreeze. c) Use the water pump in your RV. It is necessary to install a pump bypass kit if the RV’s freshwater tank is not already equipped if you intend to use the water pump.

How Long Does It Take To Winterize A Travel Trailer

The full procedure of winterizing can be completed in about 20 to 30 minutes provided you have all the necessary tools and supplies. The process can take hours if you don’t have the right ingredients and equipment. It will also save you time if you are familiar with your RV’s water system.

Winterizing Camper For Dummies/videos

Winterize Travel Trailer Checklist

To winterize your trailer properly, you’ll need the following tools and supplies:

  • 3-4 gallons of antifreeze (a little extra never hurts)
  • water heater bypass kit (if not already equipped)
  • Flashlight
  • Cordless power drill with #2 square tip driver bit
  • 2 crescent wrenches or a set of open-end wrenches
  • needle nose pliers or a screwdriver
  • socket wrench and 1-1/16″ socket
  • new anode rod or plastic plug
  • siphoning kit (if the pump is not already equipped)

Winterize Rv Through Fresh Water Tank

This section focuses on the fresh water system. When it comes to winterizing Roadtreks, there are as many options as there are Roadtrek models. Most of these recommendations can be applied to any 1995 Dodge Roadtrek 190 Popular, even if you don’t own one of these vehicles. Check your RV’s owner’s manual if you are unsure.

Pour 1 gallon of anti-freeze into the engine compartment. 2

Add 1 gallon of fresh water to the container.

Antifreeze can now be applied. For winter camping, we normally stock up on two gallons, but if you’re short, you may winterize with just one gallon. For those who forgot, an additional 6 gallons of antifreeze are required if your water heater is not bypassed. RV antifreeze is non-toxic and safe to use in drinking water systems, therefore you need to buy it. Because they fit between the toilet and the bathroom wall, rectangular bottles are our preferred packaging choice. When we go winter camping, we use antifreeze as a flushing agent (we use only the black tank in the winter).

For the gravity-fill port, you’ll need an antifreeze funnel to get antifreeze into your tank. Roadtreks typically have them in the front or back doors on the passage side. Fill the tank to the brim with a gallon of water. You may need more, depending on the number of faucets. If you have too much, great; if you have too little, not so much. The antifreeze can now be pumped into the plumbing lines.

run cold water until it becomes pink

To achieve a pinkish hue, run it under cold water.

Set your water pump to “on.” The faucets should be shut off before winterizing if you have already emptied your black and gray tanks. This prevents the tanks from being filled with antifreeze that has been substantially diluted. Allow it to enter your gray tank once it has turned a vibrant shade of pink.

To achieve a pink color, run it under hot water.

When it’s pink, it’s done.

With the kitchen sink, you may begin. One faucet at a time is the way to go. Turn on the cold water and let it run until the color changes to pink, then turn it off. Once the water has reached a pink hue, turn it off.

Bathroom sinks are not the same as kitchen sinks.

Take a shower and alternate between hot and cold water until both are a vibrant shade of pink.

Run both hot and cold water through the showerhead until both are pink.

Then it’s time to take a shower. Turn on the cold and then the hot until the water turns pink. Use your outside shower if you have one. Using a pail or basin instead of the toilet is an option if you’ve already used it.

Toilet – Continue flushing until the water turns pink

Afterward, flush the toilet until the water runs red.

Almost all of your water lines now include the “pink gunk.”

What are we lacking, do you think? They are among the most frequently overlooked aspects of winterizing (besides the macerator on newer Roadtreks).

Use tap water till it turns pink

In the first place, there is the city water supply. This one features a check valve. Push the check valve with your finger after disconnecting any quick-release connectors you may have installed. There will be a small amount of water. Keep squeezing on it until the water flowing out is a bright pink color. You’ll need to repair the valve and possibly other plumbing components if you forget to do this.

Drain for Fresh Water – Running Freshwater drain line PinkSecond. The freshwater tank’s drain line can be briefly opened till pink material drains out of it. Then re-close the lid. In order to preserve your freshwater tank from freezing, you should still have enough antifreeze in your tank.

It’s also a good idea to turn off the water pump.

Only for older Roadtreks are we allowed to use this service.

Valve for Low Point Drainage Activated

Drain valves at low points open.

It’s possible that you won’t have an outside shower, but you may have low-point drain valves (one hot, one cold) in place of it. Draining the system with them is a breeze, but they must be winterized to keep their usefulness. They are close to the city’s water supply, which is convenient (valve shown open in the photo).

Drains should be drained until they turn pink.

Low point drains should be flushed until they turn pink.

The low point drain valves’ output can be found in the wheel well. In the absence of a water heater, you’ll only need one of these valves and drain lines to provide water to the toilet.

Each valve (hot and cold) should be opened to the point where the output becomes pink.

Antifreeze has now been pumped into your entire freshwater system. It’s not over yet, though. You still have to deal with your dark and light systems.

Cost To Winterize Camper

Basic winterizing packages from RV dealers range from $130 to $170, depending on the size and class of your RV.