Winterizing Your RV (2)
October 20, 2012October 15, 2010 by Professor95 in Woodall’s Family Camping Blog
Pump RV Antifreeze Into Your Water Lines. I know some people do not like to use this stuff, but it is the only sure way to be sure there is no water left behind to freeze. The pink RV antifreeze is rated as non-toxic if used as directed. Do NOT dilute the pink antifreeze – use full strength. NEVER, NEVER use automotive cooling system antifreeze (green, yellow or red) in a RV water system. Automotive antifreeze is toxic and difficult if not impossible to flush out of a RV water system.First, close all of the camper’s faucets and low point drains. Hopefully, your water heater has a by-pass valve installed that should be operated according to your owner’s manual. If not, there are by-pass kits that can be purchased and installed.
There are several different methods for getting the antifreeze into your water lines.
The proper thing to do is consult your RV’s manual to learn which of these methods is best for your RV. Some RV’s have a factory installed hose connected by a two-way valve going to the water pump so that you can just put the hose end into the antifreeze container and turn the valve to pump antifreeze into your water lines. Others advise to disconnect the intake hose to the water pump, attach a new temporary hose section to the pump then put the open end of the new hose into a container of antifreeze – then turn on the RV’s water pump.
Antifreeze can be poured directly into the fresh water tank and then pumped through the RV water lines. This last method generally uses more antifreeze than the others. Depending on the size of your RV, you will need from 3 to 6 gallons of antifreeze. If you do not have a water heater bypass, it will take an additional 5 to 10 gallons. Thus, a water heater bypass valve system can save you a lot of money in antifreeze.
Start with all of your faucets closed, pump the pink antifreeze from a clean 3 to 5 gallon bucket or water jug into your water lines until your electric pump shuts off. Do not allow the antifreeze container to become empty during this entire process or your pump will pick up air and need to be re-primed.
Go to the faucet closest to the water pump and open the cold water side. Let it run until only pink liquid comes out. Close the cold water faucet and do the same for the hot side. Repeat this process for all of the remaining faucets, shower and the toilet until all you see is pink liquid. Do NOT forget to service an outside shower. Using an empty container, return to your outside low point drains and drain the pink liquid out of your water lines – there is no point leaving it in the lines since you have purged them of all freezable water.
Take some of the recovered antifreeze and pour it into your sink and shower drains so that the traps will not freeze if they should contain any water.
Wipe any pink antifreeze off of the shower walls, bathtub or sink bottoms as it will leave a stain.
Dump any pink liquid out of your toilet bowl; wipe the bowl dry and pour in one half of a cup of mineral or baby oil (do not use vegetable oil as it will spoil). This will keep your toilet bowl valve seal from drying out.
Lastly, remove any water line filters such as a drinking water filter in the kitchen or a whole house filter installed elsewhere. Discard these filters. Do not try to save them for next year.
The small amount of water left sitting in the bottom of your water heater tank should not cause any harm if it freezes.
Don’t forget to be sure your “white” fresh water supply hoses have been drained of all water and are stored with the ends screwed together.
OPEN your gray water holding tank dump valves and catch any water and antifreeze that comes out in a bucket for proper disposal in your home’s toilet. DO NOT open your black tank valve unless you are positive that the tank is clean and empty. If you did not clean and empty your black tank at your last camping or dump site, you have a big problem. You will need to add antifreeze to the tank via the toilet to prevent freezing and potential damage to the dump valve.
Read part 1 of this series
Next, the final part 3 – winterizing the RV exterior