Master Guide to Winterizing RVs

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DAY 1

Proper RV Battery Storage: Tips And Troubleshooting

DAY 2

Using An RV Winterizing Kit

DAY 3

How To Winterize An RV Using Pressurized Air

DAY 4

How To Keep Mice Out Of An RV

DAY 5

Tips For Winterizing An RV Water Heater

DAY 6

How To Winterize An RV Generator
Comments
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78 Responses to “Master Guide to Winterizing RVs”

  1. William Creech

    On Battery Maintenance. I live in a cold climate. If I buy a solar powered trickle charger like you show in Video 1 rather than remove the batteries, I’ll still risk the possible battery damage from freezing right? Is the best plan to just remove the batteries and bring them inside the house for the winter and put them on a trickle charger there?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Batteries will only be damaged from freezing if they have a low charge. As long as the battery has a full charge, it can withstand any climate people live in. If you live in an area with extreme colds, it is best to bring the battery inside. A trickle charger still slowly boils the water inside of the battery. Over a few months, the water could boil out and then the battery can get damaged. You will still need to check the water levels once a month to make sure it is still at a good level. If you fully charge your battery and then take it off and put it inside, it will be fine for a few months. Even just using the trickle charge for a day, once a month, is all the battery really needs when indoors.
      Sincerely, Dan RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  2. William Creech

    On Battery Maintenance. I live in a cold climate. If I buy a solar powered trickle charger like you show in Video 1 rather than remove the batteries, I’ll still risk the possible battery damage from freezing right? Is the best plan to just remove the batteries and bring them inside the house for the winter and put them on a trickle charger there?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Batteries will only be damaged from freezing if they have a low charge. As long as the battery has a full charge, it can withstand any climate people live in. If you live in an area with extreme colds, it is best to bring the battery inside. A trickle charger still slowly boils the water inside of the battery. Over a few months, the water could boil out and then the battery can get damaged. You will still need to check the water levels once a month to make sure it is still at a good level. If you fully charge your battery and then take it off and put it inside, it will be fine for a few months. Even just using the trickle charge for a day, once a month, is all the battery really needs when indoors.

      Sincerely, Dan RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  3. ROBIN

    I have found it very hard finding videos for older Diesel class As. I m always searching for videos on maintaining my vintage RV

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Camille,

      Thank you for contacting us.

      What is the year, make, and model of your RV?

      Thanks!

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Doug,

      I don’t have the specs of everything that your RV has but I do have a good template with instructions on how to winterize all RVs. The same principle applies to all RVs, getting the water out of the system. This includes the lines, hot water tanks, and all holding tanks. The lines can be cleared using pressurized air or siphon anti-freeze into the system to push out all of the water. Here are the steps for winterizing:
      Start by draining all of the holding tanks, this includes the fresh potable water tank and all gray and black waste tanks. You then want to drain the hot water tank. Atwood/Dometic models have a 7/8″ or 15/16″ plastic drain plug and Suburban models use a 1 1/16″ steel drain plug that has an anode rod attached to it. Both of these drain plugs are located on the outside of the hot water tank near the bottom. Pull the plug and leave it out during storage. Once the tank is drained you want to bypass the tank. You don’t want to add anti-freeze to the hot water tanks so you want to bypass it. Most RV’s are equipped with a way to do this either by valves on the back of the hot water tank or a valve in the wet bay to put the water lines in bypass. I don’t know what your RV has equipped but checking the owner’s manual should tell you how to bypass the tank. Most travel trailers and some 5th wheels use the valves on the back of the tank, and most 5th wheels motorhomes use a manifold system that has a valve in the wet bay. I will provide a diagram showing how to set the valves on the back of the tank. There are many different setups that can vary from year to year but the basic idea is to divert the cold line to the hot line without anything going into the tank. Some RVs don’t even come with these valves and they would need to be installed if aren’t present.
      Once the tank is in bypass you want to drain as much water as possible from the water lines. There should be some low point drains under the RV, these can be in many locations and are different on every model but there are typically two side by side. They can have turn valves, caps, or even a valve inside the RV to release the water outside. Open both of these lines and then open all faucets inside. This will drain most of the water out of the lines. You then close everything back up. If you skip this step it is not a big deal but you will end up using more anti-freeze than if you didn’t. This is because the anti-freeze will mix with the water in the lines and you have to run more to clear out the mixture. Most RVs use 2-3 gallons based on the size and extra features. Larger 5th wheels and motorhomes that include things like washers, dishwashers, macerator pumps, etc will use a lot more.You can now add anti-freeze to the system. Most RVs are set up to do this at the water pump. You want to locate the pump and see if there is a valve attached to it with another hose. If there is, this is the siphon hose. You turn the valves to open up the additional hose and put the hose in your jug of anti-freeze. Turn on the pump and let the pressure build up until the pump turns off. You can then go to each fixture one at a time and open the valves until solid color anti-freeze is coming out. On faucets, do both hot and cold lines and select the different spray settings for the nozzle if there are multiple ones. Make sure to get the toilet and outside fixtures as well like an outside shower or sink. You also want to make sure to open the lower point drains as well. Once anti-freeze is coming out of every fixture that water can come out, you are done siphoning. If you do not have this siphon feature at the pump, you can install your own using a kit or you can use a manual pump at the city water connection. Once the lines are finished you can then take the remainder of the anti-freeze and pour it down all of the drains to fill the P-traps and prevent them from freezing.
      Here are some videos on winterizing as well:https://www.rvrepairclub.com/article/winterizing-m/

      Sincerely,
      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Maurice,

      I don’t have the specs of everything that your RV has but I do have a good template with instructions on how to winterize all RVs. The same principle applies to all RVs, getting the water out of the system. This includes the lines, hot water tanks, and all holding tanks. The lines can be cleared using pressurized air or siphon anti-freeze into the system to push out all of the water. Here are the steps for winterizing:
      Start by draining all of the holding tanks, this includes the fresh potable water tank and all gray and black waste tanks. You then want to drain the hot water tank. Atwood/Dometic models have a 7/8″ or 15/16″ plastic drain plug and Suburban models use a 1 1/16″ steel drain plug that has an anode rod attached to it. Both of these drain plugs are located on the outside of the hot water tank near the bottom. Pull the plug and leave it out during storage. Once the tank is drained you want to bypass the tank. You don’t want to add anti-freeze to the hot water tanks so you want to bypass it. Most RV’s are equipped with a way to do this either by valves on the back of the hot water tank or a valve in the wet bay to put the water lines in bypass. I don’t know what your RV has equipped but checking the owner’s manual should tell you how to bypass the tank. Most travel trailers and some 5th wheels use the valves on the back of the tank, and most 5th wheels motorhomes use a manifold system that has a valve in the wet bay. I will provide a diagram showing how to set the valves on the back of the tank. There are many different setups that can vary from year to year but the basic idea is to divert the cold line to the hot line without anything going into the tank. Some RVs don’t even come with these valves and they would need to be installed if aren’t present.
      Once the tank is in bypass you want to drain as much water as possible from the water lines. There should be some low point drains under the RV, these can be in many locations and are different on every model but there are typically two side by side. They can have turn valves, caps, or even a valve inside the RV to release the water outside. Open both of these lines and then open all faucets inside. This will drain most of the water out of the lines. You then close everything back up. If you skip this step it is not a big deal but you will end up using more anti-freeze than if you didn’t. This is because the anti-freeze will mix with the water in the lines and you have to run more to clear out the mixture. Most RVs use 2-3 gallons based on the size and extra features. Larger 5th wheels and motorhomes that include things like washers, dishwashers, macerator pumps, etc will use a lot more.You can now add anti-freeze to the system. Most RVs are set up to do this at the water pump. You want to locate the pump and see if there is a valve attached to it with another hose. If there is, this is the siphon hose. You turn the valves to open up the additional hose and put the hose in your jug of anti-freeze. Turn on the pump and let the pressure build up until the pump turns off. You can then go to each fixture one at a time and open the valves until solid color anti-freeze is coming out. On faucets, do both hot and cold lines and select the different spray settings for the nozzle if there are multiple ones. Make sure to get the toilet and outside fixtures as well like an outside shower or sink. You also want to make sure to open the lower point drains as well. Once anti-freeze is coming out of every fixture that water can come out, you are done siphoning. If you do not have this siphon feature at the pump, you can install your own using a kit or you can use a manual pump at the city water connection. Once the lines are finished you can then take the remainder of the anti-freeze and pour it down all of the drains to fill the P-traps and prevent them from freezing.
      Here are some videos on winterizing as well:https://www.rvrepairclub.com/article/winterizing-m/

      Sincerely,
      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  4. Roger Sudler Sr

    I am a newbee and this is my first year of winterizing. The information that you have on winterizing is great I will be using it this winter my one question is if you use air to blow out will you need to run antifreeze through the system? it will be no problem doing both.
    Thank you
    Hello Roger,
    Hello Robert,
    Great question! The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. By becoming a member, you will have access to our expert knowledge. With your membership you will also receive discounts on products and hundreds of hours of Premium content.

    If you are interested in becoming a member, please click on the offer below:
    https://go.rvrepairclub.com/C43758 Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Thomas M. Seifert

    As a 1st time RV owner and seeing as how the owners packet of manuals are unfortunately no longer with it and I just got it running in time for fall and i know NADA about how to operate it properly as far as taking care of and maintenance on it ! I need someone to walk me thru it as far as how the electric breaker box settings to fire up the generator which Is what I am looking into next , I need to know the process and am resorting to looking online fo ANY help I can get !

    Reply
  6. Susan Crawford

    My rig is new to me and any advice on winteruzing it will be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  7. David E. Blair

    Do not have a compressor. Have to use RV antifreeze, and pump it into the lines using the RV pump running on RV battery power.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Rick,

      Thank you for contacting us.
      This is best done directly from the water pump. Most RV manufactures have a way to do this, most common is a siphon hose attached to the pump and you then have to open a valve to the hose. This allows you to turn on the water pump and suck the antifreeze into the system. Every RV is different and some have this done with a hose connected to the city water inlet instead of the pump. There are also other RV’s that don’t have this option and a manual pump is required or you could install a winterize kit. It is best to check your owners manual to see what the best way to do it for your RV is.

      Sincerely,

      Sarah
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Tom. There are many things that could be causing the fan to operate and no heat. The big thing is if it tries to ignite or not. Once the fan kicks on try to listen for the igniter clicking. If you do hear it clicking and nothing ignites, there could be a blockage in the burner chamber, failed igniter, igniter not positioned properly, bad gas valve, bad regulator or the control board is not opening the valve. If there is not clicking then the issue could be with low voltage, broken or debris covered fan wheel, bad sail switch, bad igniter, bad connections or bad control board. Some control boards flash error codes when something fails so I would look for that too. The best thing to do is inspect the fan wheel and make sure nothing is broken and it isn’t covered with dust or hair. There are no filters used in RV furnaces so it is very common for dirt and debris to cause issues like this. I would then check to make sure there isn’t a blockage near the igniter or the exhaust. Also make sure all vents are open, restricting the air flow can prevent it from lighting as well. Here are some videos that could help as well.
      https://www.rvrepairclub.com/?s=furnace
      Dan
      RV Repair Club

      Reply
  8. Richard Jones

    How do you hook up the hoses to the convenience center to draw antifreeze from containers into the RV water system?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Richard,

      Here’s what the experts had to say about your question:

      It depends on how the system is set up on your specific RV. The most common is to use a siphon hose connected to the water pump. There are manifold systems where you connect a hose to an inlet and turn valves to allow the water pump to suck from the inlet to the fixtures. If this needs to be done at the water manifold there should be labels indicating where the valves need to be in order to do this. If there is no label you will have to check the owners manual to see how your system is set up. Most of the time the city inlet is what is used if there isn’t a hose connected directly to the water pump.

      Sincerely,
      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  9. Lendon Balch

    Winterizing this cottage is harder than our standard RV. This has a hot water tank( not just the heater), a washing machine, dishwasher, icemaker in the fridge.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Tim,

      Thank you for contacting us.

      What is the year, make, and model of your RV?

      Thanks!

      Reply
  10. Donna Jo Daniel

    I will be living in my RV all winter AND I am new to the RV world. What kind of things will I need to do to keep warm and keep everything from freezing up in cold weather. We live in Nashville Tennessee.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Donna Jo. If you plan on using the water system there are precautions you have to take. You need to make sure your underbelly is covered and insulated, not all RV’s come with this option. Your holding tanks are located here and need to be enclosed from the outside and insulated when using the water system. Many RV’s that come with an all seasons package will put a furnace duct into the underbelly to help. You can sometimes add this option depending on if there is extra space in the furnace for more ducts. They also make tank warmers that can be installed as well. If you have a water source connected to the city inlet, you will need a heated line. If you have any exterior water fixtures like an outside shower or kitchen it is best to put antifreeze into these fixtures to prevent damage as these areas won’t be heated. The same goes for low point drains. To do this you will need to winterize the unit and then flush out the fixtures you will be using. This will leave the antifreeze in your outside fixtures. To better insulate the inside you can install vent covers and window covers to help keep in the heat and prevent moisture build up on the windows. Investing in a good electric heater is worth it as well since the furnace will use a lot of propane really fast. We do have a video and an article going over some more tips as well:
      https://www.rvrepairclub.com/video/cold-weather-rv-camping-009103/

      https://www.rvrepairclub.com/article/6-tips-and-tricks-for-cold-weather-rving/
      Dan
      RV Repair Club

      Reply
  11. Laurie Astles

    Hi. The winterizing video is great, thanks! Can I winterize my rv 80 – 90%, specifically everything but emptying the holding tanks, and finish a few days later? I won’t be able to get it to a station to dump the tanks until after I have some help and a place to work on it. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Laurie. Yes, there is no issue with doing that. You just want to make sure to empty the tanks before winter. As long as you eventually get everything winterized and emptied, it doesn’t matter if you do it in steps or not.
      Dan
      RV Repair Club

      Reply
  12. jeff kudsk

    II am wondering if there is a way to bypass the water reservoir tank and draw anti-freeze directly into the water lines. My water intake valve either is on or off and, if on fluid goes to the reservoir tank. If off it does not accept fluid at all.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Jeff. This can be done by using a winterizing kit on the water pump. It is a water line used to siphon antifreeze directly to the water lines. I will share a link to this video. This is the easiest way to winterize a unit and these kits can be purchased online, at service centers and often the parts can be found at hardware stores.
      https://www.rvrepairclub.com/video/using-an-rv-winterizing-kit/
      Dan
      RV Repair Club

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Marlys,

      Thank you for your feedback. I have forwarded your comment to the proper department. We value your opinion, and it will help with the development of our online streaming community. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.

      Have a great day!

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Bill,

      Thank you for contacting us. I will need the make, model, and year of your RV to submit your question to our experts.

      Have a great day!

      Reply
  13. Darby Galbraith

    How can I download some videos to take with me. I am a 66 year young , very fit and could do most of the work on my own (I hope ) I just can’t afford to have anything done and it’s a home for me and my 2 dogs. Thank you

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Darby,

      Thank you for contacting us. I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble accessing your downloads. Please follow the instructions below:

      1. Please visit the website.
      2. Click on LOG IN towards the top-right hand side of the web page.
      3. Enter your email address:bdarbygirl1@gmail.com and your password, then click on Login to log in.
      4. From your Account Dashboard, click on the Downloads icon:

      5. To save the download to your device, click on the title underneath the DOWNLOAD column on the right-hand side of the page.

      To ensure each download is successful, please only download one file at a time; please be patient while waiting for the download to complete, as this is a large file.

      If you are still having trouble accessing your downloads, please chat, email, or call Customer Service.

      Sincerely,

      Sarah
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  14. Bill Mitchell

    I have an icemaker on this refrigerator, plus we have a washer/dryer unit. Need to know steps to winterize this unit.

    Reply
  15. Julio Velazquez

    Hello everyone. I winterize my unit and I’m about to hit the road this weekend. I used the air pressure method and put antifreeze in the kitchen and bathroom sinks. The toilet and shower drain to protect the lines. Also have the water heater on bypass mode. So now I need to dewinterize and I would like some guidance on how to do it. What I’m not certain of is the exact order I should perform the steps. For example. At what point do I put the water heater back to normal usage? When do I put my pump valve back to normal usage? Things like this have me a bit confused. So any guidance or outline would be greatly appreciated

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Julio,

      Here is what our expert had to say:
      Since you only blew out your lines and didn’t add antifreeze to them there isn’t much to do. You just need to connect to a water supply, turn it on and open the faucets to clear the air in the lines until water is coming out. After that you put the drain plug back into the water heater and open the valves so the water can flow into the tank. It is best to open a hot faucet while doing this as well to allow the air in the tank to flow out. Once solid water is coming out of the hot faucet the system should be ready to use. You only need to turn the pump valve when you want to use the fresh water tank as the main water supply. If you are connected to city water it doesn’t need to be turned in a certain direction as you won’t be using the pump when on city supply. All the antifreeze that was put down in the drains and toilet will just go into the holding tank so you don’t need to do anything with those either. You just need to add water to the system and fill the hot water tank by taking it out of bypass.

      Sincerely,
      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      If other questions come up please let us know!
      Sincerely,
      Codi
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Gwen. There will be a drain plug on the outside of the tank. There are a few different models but the most common are Suburban and Atwood/Dometic. Suburban will have a metal drain plug in the center near the bottom of the tank under the burner. Atwood/Dometic will have a plastic plug in the same area or sometimes on the left side of the center near the bottom. Remove this plug and the water will drain out. Suburban uses a 1 1/16″ socket to remove the plug and Atwood/Dometic use 15/16″ socket. This is of course as long as no one installed something after market like a petcock valve. I will share two pictures of the two common tanks and where the drain plugs are located. I hope this helps!
      Dan
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello James,

      Thank you for contacting us. Have you tried entering the RV detail into a google search? If you want to ask the experts if they can help they will need the make, model and the year of the RV.

      If you have any other concerns, please contact us at 1-855-706-3536, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Joan
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  16. Eddie Knotek

    In the process of repairing some significant but not overwhelming water damage in my cab overhang area. I’m a new RVer. I have strong mechanical experience, but RV construction techniques are new to me. I need all the help I can get. Also, I need a source for replacement top cover for the Coleman 7330-730roof A/C unit as well as for the roof vent cap for my Dometic #RM2807 Refrigerator
    Thanks in advance.
    Eddie

    Reply
  17. William Watkins

    Thank you. This video on winterizing was perfect. This will be my first winter not spent in Florida so I needed a good guide to winterizing my RV.

    Reply
  18. Paul Meinke

    Still living in the RV. Getting a Single Wide Trailer ready to live in this winter (already in the mid 20’s here) and be home base. I will be tackling the RV winterizing in about a week if all go well in getting the trailer done.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Bobby. I don’t have the specs of everything that your RV has but I do have a good template with the instructions on how to winterize all RV’s. The same principal applies to all RVs, getting the water out of the system. This includes the lines, hot water tanks and all holding tanks. The lines can be cleared using pressurized air or siphon anti freeze into the system to push out all of the water. Here is the steps for winterizing:
      Start by draining all of the holding tanks, this includes the fresh potable water tank and all gray and black waste tanks. You then want to drain the hot water tank. Atwood/Dometic models have a 7/8″ or 15/16″ plastic drain plug and Suburban models use a 1 1/16″ steel drain plug that has an anode rod attached to it. Both of these drain plugs are located on the outside of the hot water tank near the bottom. Pull the plug and leave it out during storage. Once the tank is drained you want to bypass the tank.You don’t want to add anti-freeze to the hot water tanks so you want to bypass it. Most RV’s are equipped with a way to do this either by valves on the back of the hot water tank or a valve in the wet-bay to put the water lines in bypass. Most travel trailers and some 5th wheels use the valves on the back of the tank, most 5th wheels motorhomes use a manifold system that has a valve in the wet-bay. I will provide a diagram showing how to set the valves on the back of the tank. There are many different set ups and can vary from year to year but the basic idea is to divert the cold line to the hot line without anything going into the tank. Some RV’s don’t even come with these valves and they would need to be installed if aren’t present.
      Once the tank is in bypass you want to drain as much water as possible from the water lines. There should be some low point drains under the RV, these can be in many locations and are different on every model but there are typically two side by side. They can have turn valves, caps or even a valve inside the RV to release the water outside. Open both of these lines and then open all faucets inside. This will drain most of the water out of the lines. You then close everything back up. If you skip this step it is not a big deal but you will end up using more anti-freeze than if you didn’t. This is because the anti-freeze will mix with the water in the lines and you have to run more to clear out the mixture. Most RV’s use 2-3 gallons based on the size and extra features. Larger 5th wheels and motorhomes that include things like washers, dishwasher, macerator pumps etc will use a lot more. You can now add anti-freeze to the system. Most RV’s are set up to do this at the water pump. You want to locate the pump and see if there is a valve attached to it with another hose. If there is, this is the siphon hose. You turn the valves to open up the additional hose and put the hose in your jug of anti-freeze. Turn on the pump and let the pressure build up until the pump turns off. You can then go to each fixture one at a time and open the valves until solid color anti-freeze is coming out. On faucets make sure to do both hot and cold lines and also select the different spray settings for the nozzle if there are multiple ones. Make sure to get the toilet and outside fixtures as well like an outside shower or sink. You also want to make sure to open the lower point drains as well. Once anti-freeze is coming out of every fixture that water can come out, you are done siphoning. If you do not have this siphon feature at the pump, you can install your own using a kit or you can use a manual pump at the city water connection. Once the lines are finished you can then take the remainder of the anti-freeze and poor it down all of the drains to fill the P-traps and prevent them from freezing.
      Here are some videos on winterizing as well:https://www.rvrepairclub.com/article/winterizing-m/
      Thanks
      Dan-RV Repair Club

      Reply
  19. Richard Kern

    I visit my Grandson at school up north and want to avoid Hotels/Covid, so I want to stay in the RV. What is the best way to avoid freezing problems? Thanks

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Richard. Really the most important thing about using an RV in cold weather is the water system. If you plan on using water while in the RV you have to take precautions when the temperatures go below freezing. This includes the holding tanks as well. They make tank heaters that attach to the bottom of the tanks to prevent them from freezing. They also make plumbing wrap to keep the lines and drains warm as well. If you will be hooked up to a hose you will also want a heated line from the city connection to the RV. Other than the water system everything else should be fine. You can better insulate with window and vent covers to help hold in heat. If you use the furnace you will be going through a lot of propane to keep it warm so it’s not a bad idea to have an extra tank on hand as a standby in case you need more gas until you can get them filled. The only issues for freezing would be the water system so just make sure to take care of that and you should be fine.
      Thanks
      Dan-RV Repair Club

      Reply
  20. STEVEN

    I don’t see the winterizing the water heater video but the tip offered in the “Tips” section should have included those of us without a cold water bypass on the water heater. I do blow air through the water heater but after I first pull the anode to drain it. I then put the anode back in, hand tight only, and finish blowing out the hot water lines. After I’m done with that I pull the anode out again, scrub the lime scale off, and store it inside the trailer for the winter. Pulling it out the second time also allows any water that may have blown into it from the cold water line to drain out.

    Reply