The easy way to winterize RV plumbing

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
When we first got our Airstream, I followed Airstream's directions and blew water out of the plumbing with compressed air. The steps looked like this:
  1. Load air compressor and spare air tank (for volume) into truck.
  2. Load generator into truck.
  3. Drive to storage where trailer is located.
  4. Unload air compressor and generator
  5. Start generator and air compressor
  6. Wait for both tanks to fill with air
  7. Open low point drains
  8. Open potable water tank drain
  9. Isolate water heater and drain
  10. Blow water out of trailer lines
  11. Wait for air tanks to fill again.
  12. Blow more water out of lines.
  13. Repeat 10 and 11 a couple more times.
  14. Pour a gallon of RV antifreeze in traps
  15. Load generator and compressor back into truck.
  16. Drive home and unload everything.
This got a bit old as we use our trailer fairly often in the spring and fall when there is risk of freezing temperatures, so winterizing the plumbing is done often.

I decided to install a 3-way valve inline on the suction side of the fresh water pump and winterize with RV-antifreeze. We alway carry three gallons of RV-antifreeze during the cool seasons.

The winterizing process is now done where ever we are at the time.

  1. Take three gallons of RV-antifreeze out of the back of the truck into the trailer.
  2. Isolate the water heater and drain
  3. Open drain on potable water tank.
  4. Stick suction hose into RV-antifreeze and turn pump on.
  5. Open each faucet and shower valves individually until pure RV-antifreeze comes out.
  6. Dump remaining RV-antifreeze into both sinks and shower traps.
Think that's a lot faster and requires less effort? You're right!

Pictures of the 3-way valve:

v1.jpg

v2.jpg

v3.jpg
 

spasm3

Member
That's the way i do it. I use just over a gallon and a 1/2. Dont forget the outside shower if you have one.

Wayne, do you have hot water heater bypass valves? If not , they save even more time and anti-freeze.
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, outside shower should be added to the list. Yes, we do have a water heater isolation valve it speeds things up and keeps the antifreeze out of the water heater, which is supposed to be a good thing.
 

dnewton3

Moderator
Staff member
I just dump 5 gal into my H2O freshwater tank, and run the pump until pink comes out of all the fixtures. (hot water heater isolated to save the volume; drained via plug).
 

spasm3

Member
What do you guys do about the water inlet line? How do you make sure there is no untreated water to freeze there?
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
I just dump 5 gal into my H2O freshwater tank, and run the pump until pink comes out of all the fixtures. (hot water heater isolated to save the volume; drained via plug).
Do you get any antifreeze taste or smell in your freshwater water? I've read not to put antifreeze in your freshwater tank, but I have no idea if it's myth.
 

dnewton3

Moderator
Staff member
Every fall after our last use, I run the pink as we discussed. Every spring I first flush all lines and the tank with fresh water until all pink is gone. Then I fill the freshwater tank full with water/bleach mix; run that out into all lines and I let that sit for 24 hours to kill any contamination. Then I flush again with fresh water the entire tank and water lines. Good to go for the season. Never had any antifreeze taste.
 
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