Winterizing your Travel Trailer or Fifth Wheel!

If you’re storing your RV for the winter, you’re going to have to winterize. Athens RV has put together this handy guide to walk you through the winterization process so your RV stays in good shape while it’s tucked away for the season. If you have any questions along the way, or find you’re missing some of the parts you need to get the job done, come in and see us a Athens RV and we’ll be happy to help! Athens RV is proud to serve the areas of Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston, Texas.




Drain Holding Tanks

The first step to winterizing your RV’s plumbing for storage is to drain out your holding tanks. Empty your fresh water tank first. If you have a black tank flush, use that to clean the inside of the tank before draining. If you don’t have a black tank flush then you’ll need to invest in a black tank wand hose attachment and use that to rinse the sides and top of your black tank before you empty the tank. With your black tank properly flushed, empty your black then grey water tanks.

You’ll also need to empty out your water heater. Never do this when your heater is turned on, or under pressure. Open the pressure relief valve at the top of the tank, then pull the drain plug. Allow your tank to drain then replace the plug and close the valve. If you’re going to leave your RV plugged in while it’s resting over the winter, make sure you switch the breaker off for the water heater. Without water in the tank the heating element can burn out during storage, so cut the power to the water heater to prevent a repair in the spring.

Empty Pipes

Find the low point drain(s) beneath your RV. When you pull the plug, water that is in your pipes will begin to drain out. If you want to help the process you can turn on your water pump and force the water out quicker. This is also a good opportunity to find where the water pump is located in your RV if you don’t know already. When your low point drains have stopped trickling, replace the plugs and move on to the next step.

Water Heater Bypass

If you’ve purchased your RV in the past few years, it’s likely that the water heater bypass is a standard feature. A water heater bypass system allows antifreeze to reach your hot water plumbing without going through the hot water tank (which requires filling the tank with about six gallons of antifreeze). Bypassing the water heater saves time, money, and antifreeze, so if one of these systems isn’t installed in your RV you can come see us at Athens RV and pick up a bypass kit, or schedule a service appointment to have our expert staff install this component for you. With a bypass installed, you just have to turn one or two valves and you’ll be ready to start pumping antifreeze.

Pumping Antifreeze

Now we’re on to the main event so to speak. You’ll need to get to your water pump, and install a water pump conversion kit (a tube that hooks into the inlet side of the pump, this takes just a second). RV antifreeze is pink. Don’t use antifreeze that’s not expressly approved for use in potable water systems. Insert the inlet hose into a jug of antifreeze, turn on your pump, and find the closest faucet. Open the hot water valve and allow the faucet to flow until you see pink antifreeze, then switch to the cold water valve, again waiting for the faucet to flow pink. Close the valves then move to the next closest faucet. Move through your RV repeating this process, don’t forget to winterize your shower, and outside shower as well. Flush your toilets until you see antifreeze there as well. When you’ve got antifreeze through all of your faucets you can shut off the water pump.

Final Touches

Since your plumbing is still probably holding pressure, open a faucet and allow it to run until the pressure equalizes. Pour a cup of antifreeze down each of your drains, and flush a cup down each toilet. Go to the city water connection outside of your RV, remove the screen, and push in the check valve, then replace the screen and cap it off.

Other Appliances

If you’re travelling in a luxury fifth wheel or a well appointed travel trailer, you may have to winterize other water using appliances, such as the ice maker in your fridge or a washing machine. You can either bring these appliances into our service department, or follow the instructions in your owner’s manual.

Athens RV is here to help with all of your RV service and maintenance needs, and we’ll be happy to help you find the RV parts and accessories to get your winterization taken care of in no time. Athens RV is proud to serve the cities of Fort Worth, Dallas, and Austin, Texas.

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