Read first: This is a basic guide to winterizing your RV, travel trailer or fifth wheel. Every RV is equipped differently, so make sure to read the owner’s manual before you winterize.

Disclaimer – I am not a licensed Professional.This is just for informational purposes. Always refer to your RV manual or hire a professional.

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Bill checking over our newly purchased Mobile Select Fifth Wheel


If you own a travel trailer or fifth wheel and prefer doing your own maintenance, this article will help you winterize your RV in 7 easy steps.

Some tools you might need before winterizing your camper include:

  • A Screw gun with screw tips: This will help you access the back of the hot water heater once you get to work on it.
  • Channel locks: This will be used to pull out the plastic plugs of the hot water heater
  • A non-toxic RV antifreeze: If it’s your first time winterizing your RV, then I recommend you use 3 gallons of any preferred non-toxic RV antifreeze.
  • Roller paper towel: This would be used to clean up any mess.
  • Appropriate Fitting: Depending on the type of water pump your camper has; either a Shurflo pump or a jet pump will determine the kind of fitting to use. Foa a Shurflopump you will require a half-inch mL pipe thread fittings, whiles a Jet pump will require a quick connect fitting.

Before you start, you might want to check out the kind of water heater or pumping you use in order to provide yourself with the right tools before you winterize.

snowy road

Now you have your tools ready, let’s start to winterize:

Step 1: Start by emptying out all the tanks in your camper. This includes the freshwater tanks, the black water tanks, grey water tanks, and essentially the hot water heater tank.

Step 2: Use the channel locks to loosen and unplug the plugs of the hot water heater tank. If you’ve got an electric hot water heater, make sure to turn it off before you drain out any water. This would prevent any form of burning.

Use the relief valve to prevent the hot water splashing out from the pipe under high pressure.

Step 3: After dumping out the hot water from the outside, what you will do next is to find the back of hot water heater inside the RV and turn them into the winterization mode. This is done by turning the faucets in the opposite direction to allow the antifreeze to flow through the pipe.

Also, locate the water pump inside the RV and use the screw gun access it. Make sure to find a single flex line and unplug it from its source and connect one end of the appropriate fitting to the water pump, depending on the type of water pump.

Place the antifreeze near the water pump and insert the other end of the appropriate fitting into the antifreeze jug to draw the antifreeze from it.

Turn the water pump on and start winterizing. Before you turn the water pump on, make sure the other faucets are closed.

Step 4: Go to the sink and turn the cold-water faucet on, allow the water to flow until you see pink or the color of the antifreeze liquid flowing from the tap.

When done, do the same for the hot water faucet of the sink and allow the water to flow until you see the color of the liquid of the antifreeze.

Make sure you get a good flow of the antifreeze before you turn either of the faucets off.

Repeat this process for the bathroom sink, the toilet, the shower. If your RV has an outside shower, make sure you go through the same process.

Step 5: After ensuring that the antifreeze has flown through every faucet, go back into the camper and turn off the water pump. The water pump pressurizes the system at about 40psi, so you would want to turn the pump off so you wouldn’t pump any more antifreeze into the system.

At the kitchen sink, turn the cold-water faucet on to alleviate any pressure from the system, and this has to be done to winterize the city water fill.

Step 6: After turning off the water pump inside and relieving the pressure off the system, you will have to go outside to the city water fill and press on it to allow the water to flow out till you see the antifreeze flowing out.

After this is done, the system has been winterized.

Step 7: Take the paper towels and lay them at the base of your sink and showers to clean up the antifreeze that may have been left in the base of the sink or shower.

If you have any antifreeze left in the jug, you can go ahead and pour them down the drain to serve as an extra bit of defense.

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