The Ultimate Guide to Winterizing Your RV


Winter’s hard on all of us, but it can be particularly hard on RVs. With lots of plumbing and areas for water and moisture to hide, winterizing your RV is a critical step in saving yourself a lot of expensive fixes once things start to thaw.

In this article, we list a step-by-step walk-through of the winterization process. If it feels overwhelming, don’t fret: our Service Department can winterize your RV for you. If you want to do it yourself, here is a step-by-step process. 


1. Remove and Bypass the Water Filters

Before you do anything, consider removing and bypassing any in-line water filters from the unit. Winterization chemicals you’ll add to your unit will damage any water filters. Also, when fall and winter rolls around, it’s usually a good idea to see if those filters need to be replaced.


2. Drain Your Black and Gray Water Tanks

It’s extremely important to not let waste water sit in your RV all winter long. Not only can those tanks be a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria, the water can freeze and cause issues. Drain both, starting with the black water tank and then the gray water tank. Once both are drained, clean the black tank with a black tank cleaner or a cleaning wand.


3. Drain Your Water Heater and Water Lines

You’ll also need to get the water out of your water heater. This means you need to turn it off and let it cool down and not be under pressure. From there, you can remove the drain plug and then open the pressure relief valve. This will let the water drain out. Don’t drain the water heater if it’s hot or as pressure built up. Wait until the temperature and pressure come down.

Once the steps above are taken care of, make sure to open all of the faucets (both hot and cold) and the hot and cold drain lines. This helps drain all of the rest of the water out of the system.


4. Bypass Your Water Heater

Before adding anything to your RV, you need to make sure you bypass the water heater. You don’t want any antifreeze making its way into the water heater. Some RVs will have a bypass already installed. If your RV doesn’t have this feature, then come into Tacoma RV and we’ll be happy to install one.


5. Add Antifreeze to Your RV

Before you can add antifreeze, you’ll either need to install a water pump converter kit, or you can disconnect the inlet side of the water pump and place it inside your jug or source of antifreeze. From there, you’ll need to close all faucets and drain lines. Then you can turn on the water pump. This will take antifreeze into the water system.

With the system properly pressurized, go around to each faucet and turn on the hot water until you see antifreeze. Then do the same for the cold water. Repeat that for both hot and cold. Then turn off the water pump and open all the faucets.

From there, go to the city water inlet and remove the small screen in there. Then use a small screwdriver to push in on the valve until you see coolant working its way out. Replace the screen and close the inlet.

After that, you should pour some additional antifreeze down the drain of each sink in the RV. With all that done, you should double-check that the water heater’s heating element is turned off and all faucets are closed.


If the steps above sound too complicated or just aren’t something you want to do, contact the Service Department at Tacoma RV and have our highly-qualified service technicians do it for you. While doing it yourself can be rewarding, paying professionals to handle your home on wheels is never a bad idea.

For other winterization tips and trucks, you should really look in your RV’s owner’s manual. Different classes of RVs and different products will have other needs that will need to be done to store your RV for the winter.