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When Winterizing, Why Can't I Just Add Anti-freeze?

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Hi everyone,

This is my first winter with an RV. I live in Cleveland Ohio and right now it's 12 degrees. My rig is in an indoor heated storage facility and I didn't winterize. I'm going to Florida in February with stops in Cincinnati, Chattanooga, Tallahassee, and then on to Naples. I'll be returning to Cleveland and cold temperatures again at the end of February.

I haven't drained my water system. Why can't I just add anti-freeze, and then just flush that out when I get to warmer weather? Then on the way back, just add anti-freeze again? Why does the system have to be drained first?

Thanks for any help that you can provide.


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Ken, if you will be running your heating system to keep it comfortable in the living quarters, you should not have to winterize the water system. Most modern basement unit motorhomes provide enough heat to the lower part of the rig to prevent it from freezing. I sometimes leave the courtesy light on in the compartment with the water pump just for some extra heat.
If you will be turning off the heat for any amount of time in freezing temps, this is when you would want to winterize it.

Chris g
Westminster, CO

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Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

Two separate issues: When to winterize and how to winterize.

The "when to winterize" depends on several issues. Since you are storing the coach in a heated facility, it will depend on the temperatures when you leave. It will also depend on whether your tankage, water lines, pump, etc are in a well insulated basement, uninsulated basement or exposed to outside temperatures. Many who leave sub-freezing temperatures have their coach winterized and just carry some gallon jugs of water inside until they hit appropriate temperatures.

The "how to winterize" might be more appropriately called "how to winterize using the least quantity of antifreeze". Most potable antifreeze is pre-diluted. Adding it to water reduces its effectiveness. Not draining would also massively increase the quantity of antifreeze needed.

Your coach should have instructions on how to winterize in its owners manual.

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Ok, so I plan to leave Cincy for southeastern Texas right after Xmas.

Leading up to the time that we leave, chances are that the temps here in southern Ohio will get below 32. I would think that I would need to winterize my Fleetwood Excursion when watching the weather for freeze warnings.

Everything that I'm reading here is draining the plumbing and pumping the pink stuff through. What about the holding tanks? And if when we get to warming areas on the drive can we just un-winterize then.

We will definitely be stopping along the way. Should we just wait until our first overnight campground and flush the antifreeze out?

What's the correct way to do this trip?

All help will be appreciated!

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