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Winterizing an RV: The Easy Way



blog-0423459001384175083.jpgI know we’ve talked a lot about winterizing over the past few weeks. But here’s one more report, this one documenting my do-it-yourself winterizing of my Roadtrek eTrek.

For the past two years, I’ve paid over $100 to have it winterized by RV service dealers.

From the blog and our Facebook page, readers have told me that it’s no big deal and it it is something that even an unhandy handyman like me can do.

So this year, I decided to see take their advice and do my own winterizing.

I’ve read all the various suggestions and methods of winterizing an RV and, especially, winterizing a Roadtrek motorhome. I’ve talked to three big service centers at Roadtrek dealerships and I’ve studied the “official” suggestions of Roadtrek.

Based on those discussions and the suggestions I received, this is my DIY approach:

It started with a firm decision NOT to put antifreeze in the fresh water tank. Some people do. The dealerships I consulted urged me not to do that for the simple reason that getting rid of that sickly sweet antifreeze taste come time to unwinterize in the spring is very difficult to do.

Needless to say, I throughly drained my fresh water tank, even driving around with the drain valve opened on the trip home from my last outing. That, all three service shops insisted, was all I needed to do for the fresh water tank.

My winterizing approach involved two special tools:

1) The Camco 36153 RV Brass Blow Out Plug, available for just over $5 from Amazon or a bit more at my local RV dealer. This little plug screws into the city water hookup. I need to point out although all three Roadtrek dealers I consulted DO use compressed air, under 40 psi, to blow out the line, Roadtrek itself does NOT recommend forcing compressed air back through the lines. But I do see the wisdom of pushing what water may be in the lines back to through the faucets so I attached a bicycle pump. It did indeed push some water out the faucets and down the drain so I feel good about that, knowing I did not run air at high pressure and, as Roadtrek warns with compressed air, run the risk of damaging the plumbing.

2) The Camco 36543 RV Pump Converter Winterizing Kit. This is a little valve that attaches at the water pump and allows you to siphon water directly from a bottle of antifreeze into the RV pipes and out the faucets, thereby protecting pipes and connections. This is very clean and neat and makes winterizing so easy, especially if, as I plan, I will probably have to winterize several times this season as I drive to warm climates and then return to the cold north. Cost is $12.65 through Amazon.

I did the above video to show how it all works. Total time was bout 20 minutes, and that was with me doing the video as I went through each stage. I used just under three gallons of antifreeze, making sure it ran through all the faucets, flushed through the toilet and also flowed through the cold and hot water filters and my outdoor shower. I also removed the water filter, which will be replaced by a fresh one in the spring.

After that, I put about a cup down each trap. I once again dumped the black and grey water tanks, running the macerator and making sure pink stuff came out. Finished with that, I dumped a half gallon of antifreeze down the black and grey tanks.

These general steps will work with just about any RV.

My eTrek has a special Webosto water heater and I followed Roadtrek’s suggestion to drain the tank of water. That’s pretty much all it needs. Your heater is probably much different and you should consult your instruction manual for specifics.

Now I’m ready for cold weather. Jennifer and I will still use the eTrek during the cold months. We just won’t run water through the pipes in cold weather. We will use antifreeze to flush the toilet.

But as the temperature drops, the eTrek is now ready for Old Man Winter. Bring it on.


The blow out plug for the city water connection


The winterizing kit for the water pump


The winterizing kit siphons antifreeze directly into the RV plumbing system.


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