Winterizing Your RV Home



Winter is slowly arriving and it’s time to be prepared. Before the cold weather fully sets in you want to make sure that you’ve adapted to the coming season. RV owners especially have to make the choice about whether they want to trek on through the camping season or park for the winter. If your choice is to park, KOA recommends several preventative measures to preserve your RV home and prepare it for the coming spring.

Through winterization you can ensure that your RV home can withstand the drop in temperature, which will result in a longer lifespan for your RV as well as reduced costs on future repairs. In order to begin winterizing, KOA recommends the following items:

  •  Non-toxic RV antifreeze
  • Water heater bypass kit (sometimes already installed)
  • Wand, to clean holding tanks
  • Water pump converter kit
  • Basic hand tools

At Filters Fast we offer a variety of RV/Marine Filters that will suit your RV home, including the 3M US-A1 Recreational Vehicle/Marine Filter System that will provide you with great tasting water on camping trips and excursions.

KOA offers these steps for winterizing your RV, but be sure to consult your owner’s manual for tips specific to your own unit:

  • If you have any inline water filters remove and bypass before starting.
  • Drain the fresh water holding tank.
  • Drain and flush the gray and black holding tanks. If your RV doesn’t have a built in tank flushing system clean the black tank out with a wand, or use a product like Flush King that allows you to clean both the black and gray tanks. Lubricate the termination valves with WD 40.
  • Drain the water heater. Remove the drain plug and open the pressure relief valve. CAUTION (never drain the water heater when it is hot or under pressure)
  • Open all hot and cold faucets; don’t forget the toilet valve and outside shower.
  • Locate and open the low point drain lines. There will be one for the hot and cold water lines. Using the water pump will help force water out, but turn it off as soon as the system is drained.
  • Recap all drains and close all faucets.
  • By-pass the water heater. If you do not have a by-pass kit installed the water heater will fill up with antifreeze before it goes through the water lines, wasting six gallons of antifreeze.
  • Install a water pump converter kit, or disconnect the inlet side of the water pump (the line coming from the fresh water holding tank). Connect a piece of clear tubing to the inlet side of the pump and put the other end into a one gallon container of non-toxic RV antifreeze.
  • Turn the water pump on and pressurize the system. Starting with the closest faucet, slowly open the hot and then cold valves until antifreeze appears. Replace the antifreeze container as required.
  • Repeat this process on all faucets from the closest to the farthest away. Don’t forget the outside shower, if equipped.
  • Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears.
  • Turn the water pump off and open a faucet to release the pressure. Go outside to the city water inlet. Remove the small screen over the inlet and push in on the valve with a small screwdriver until you see antifreeze. Replace the screen.
  • Pour a cupful of antifreeze down each drain. Pour a couple of cups in the toilet and flush into the holding tank.
  • If your water heater has an electric heating element make sure it is turned off. This will protect the element if the unit is plugged in while being stored.
  • Make sure all the faucets are closed.
  • Consult your owner manuals for winterizing icemakers and washing machines.