How To Winterize A Travel Trailer Using Air

Are you ready to learn how to winterize a camper with air? Learning how to winterize a travel trailer is key to protecting it during the colder months of the year. 

One of the wisest things to do to a travel trailer, otherwise known as an RV, is to protect it against winter. Mother Nature can be cruel during the colder months of the year, so winterizing your camping unit is a must. 

Follow the simple tips below to save your camper from the frigid temperatures. Easy steps to take as precautions will save major headaches later on. 

How To Winterize A Travel Trailer Using Air

If you’re unfamiliar with winterizing your RV with an air compressor, allow us to walk you through the process.

1. Empty The Tanks And Lines

Drain all water from your tanks and lines first. You’ll want to find and open your water system’s low-point drains. Additionally, you must connect your RV to a sewage connection in order to empty your tanks. Ensure that each tank is entirely empty. This may take much longer than you believe, but you want to ensure that all liquids are removed from your tanks and lines. Throughout the operation, keep your grey tank connected to the sewer.

Additionally, drain your water heater. It is advisable to turn it off the night before to avoid scalding hot water when you open it.

2. Ensure That All Faucets Are Opened And Drained

Following that, open and drain all faucets in your RV. At this point, we are not pumping air but letting gravity to drain as much water as feasible. You should remain connected to the sewer connection throughout this phase to ensure that all water exits your RV plumbing system. You’ll want to verify that any faucets in additional bathrooms, outdoor kitchens, or other water hookups are working properly.

Any residual water in your RV’s plumbing system can result in a leak or even a burst pipe. Take your time and allow the faucets to drain completely during this operation. You want to remove as much water as possible from your lines.

Not only bathroom sinks and showers need to be winterized. You must perform this procedure on your entire water system.

While emptying your faucets, you may notice that some appear to be a little worn.

3. Ensure That All Drains And Faucets Are Shut Off

Once the majority of the water has been removed from your system, you can close all drains and faucets. This will assist in directing airflow after the compressor begins pumping air into the system.

4. Establish The Appropriate PSI for Your Air Compressor

After that, you’ll want to adjust the PSI settings on your air compressor and pressure regulator. This step is critical because if you connect an unregulated or excessively high PSI air compressor to your plumbing system, you’re likely to inflict more harm than good. When you spring-de-winterize your RV, you may discover a far larger issue.

This can be accomplished with either an adjustable pressure regulator or the conventional RV water pressure regulator found at campgrounds. It should be connected after the air compressor hose trigger to prevent the air compressor from running continuously.

Before you begin winterizing, set your pressure regulator to the right PSI.

5. Expel Air From The Water Heater’s Lines

The first step is to drain the water from the lines leading to the water heater. Connect your air compressor and begin pushing air into the system with the heater drain open (and the pressure release valve closed). You should notice additional water draining from the water heater and the sound of air entering. Continue blowing air until the water trickles. This will remove all air from the heater’s supply connections.

Once the lines are clear, the water heater should be bypassed. Locate the access to the back of the water heater and turn the valves to prevent any additional water (or air) from entering the heater; the valves are frequently labeled bypass.

6. Turn One Faucet To The Warm Setting And The Other To The Blow Air Setting

It’s time to blast air out of the hot water lines now that the water heater has been bypassed. It may be good to have a second pair of hands on hand during this process; otherwise, you will be rushing back and forth a lot.

Begin by opening a faucet and blowing compressed air through the line. Continue blowing air into the drain until no more water comes out.

7. Continue With The Cold Water Faucet

Now close the warm water side and open the cold water side, blowing out water with your air compressor on this side. You should keep it open until no more water comes out of the faucet. Once finished, turn off the cold water.

Congratulations, you’ve winterized this faucet successfully! Ensure that both the hot and cold water lines are blown out.

8. Repeat With The Remaining Faucets, Showers, And Toilets

Repeat this procedure for each faucet, shower, and toilet in your RV. Remember to include any outdoor kitchen faucets or shower connections. You may use these less frequently, but they, too, require winterization.

9. Adhere To Appliance Instructions

Winterize any other appliances in your RV according to the manufacturer’s directions. Your water heater, washer, dishwasher, and possibly even your ice maker may require special precautions during cold weather.

Failure to take the necessary steps may void a warranty in the event of a problem. If you have any questions, please contact the manufacturer. A single severe freeze could necessitate the replacement of various costly items in your RV, and don’t forget to winterize your RV toilets as well.

10. Defrost Drains And Toilets Using Antifreeze

While you will not require antifreeze in your water lines, you will need to pour a small amount down your drains and toilets. Each drain has a “trap” that collects water to prevent odors from the tanks from rising. These traps must include antifreeze otherwise, they risk cracking your drain pipes.

This technique will assist in preventing these critical pipes and tanks from freezing during periods of cold weather. You do not want to begin the next camping season with a cracked or busted black tank.

camper van at campsite
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Avoid Hasty Winterization of Your RV Using an Air Compressor

Take your time with this process! When we are pressed for time, we make more errors. By overlooking a water line, faucet, or drain, you expose it to freezing temperatures and leave it unprotected.

It may be worthwhile to take a tour around your rig and inventory all of the items in your system. Outside showers, black tank flushes, washing machine connections, sink sprayers, water pumps, and your water heater would all be included on this list.

What Psi Do I Need To Winterize My Camper?

To get rid of the water in the pipes, you can use an air compressor. You can use an air compressor, but it should be adjusted to 30 psi, with a maximum of 50. When using an air compressor, walk around your trailer and open the water valves one at a time.

Is It Better To Use Antifreeze Or To Blow Out The Rv’s Water Lines?

After de-winterizing your RV, you won’t smell or taste antifreeze if you use compressed air to blow out the water lines. If you de-winterize your RV by blowing out the water lines instead of applying antifreeze, you won’t have to worry about the water tasting or smelling funny later on.

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need To Winterize My RV?

What you need is more volume than pressure. To simply winterize an RV, you’ll generally need a 20 gallon air compressor. It’ll work perfectly if you’ve got one that big, but most people have considerably smaller compressors.

Do You Need An Air Compressor To Winterize A Camper?

Winterizing an RV can be done in a variety of ways. One method entails adding RV antifreeze to the water supply of the RV. As a result, we believe that using an air compressor to winterize our RV is the best option. Although we could utilize any air compressor, we wouldn’t.

Winterize RV with Air Compressor

If you use your camper on a seasonal basis, winterizing it effectively ends the camping season. However, winter can be an excellent time to reflect on the previous season’s activities and begin planning for the next. With your water lines winterized, you’ll be prepared to travel wherever you go next year. Now you know how to winterize a camper with compressed air.