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RV Life

How To Winterize Your RV

RV season is behind us and hopefully you haven’t put off winterizing your RV. We’ve had an exceptionally nice fall in terms of weather, but winter weather in Alberta can hit suddenly – you don’t want to be caught not having winterized your RV.

The most important part of RV winterization is to protect your RV’s plumbing system from damage caused by freezing. It’s not an uncommon problem for RV owners, and one that is avoidable.

Protecting your RV plumbing system is a fairly simple process, and you’ll need some supplies – we have everything you need in our RV Parts Store. If you’re not sure about how to go about completing this job, our RV Service Department is happy to help.

The RV winterization supplies you’ll need include:

  • Non-Toxic RV Antifreeze – Two or three gallons should be fine, but it doesn’t hurt to have extra on hand.
  • Cleaning Wand – This is useful to clean out your blackwater tank. Your RV may have a cleaning system built in.
  • Basic Hand Tools – These will be helpful for removing and replacing drain plugs.
  • Water Heater Bypass – Normally these are installed on newer RVs, but older ones may require it.
  • Water Pump Conversion Kit – This will need to be installed on your water pump’s inlet side (if it’s not already there).


Here are some general tips on how to winterize your RV. Make sure to reference your RV’s owner manual and to follow the guidelines for your specific RV.

Before you start, check that 1) your water heater is not hot (if it’s hot, let it cool), 2) the system is depressurized (open your hot water faucets to depressurize), and 3) there is no external water source connected to your RV. 

RV Winterizing Tips & To Do’s:

  • Drain your greywater and blackwater tanks at an RV dump station.
  • Clean out your RV’s blackwater tank with a wash wand if it does not have an automatic cleaning system.
  • Disconnect any external water sources from your RV.
  • Make sure your hot water tank is off, and the system is cool before proceeding.
  • Ensure your hot water system is depressurized by turning on your hot water faucets.
  • Turn on your cold water faucets as well.
  • Turn on/open other water valves, such as the toilet and any outside kitchen or shower.
  • You’ll have to find your low point water drains and open them up to drain as well.
  • Your water pump will help to evacuate the water lines completely, and it should be turned off once this is done.
  • Once the water is drained, close the valves, drains and faucets.
  • At this point, you’ll want to bypass your RV water heater so you don’t fill it with gallons and gallons of RV antifreeze.
  • You can bypass your water heater with a converter kit, but it may already have a bypass installed.
  • Presuming your water pump also has a bypass on it (if not, you’ll need to install one), connect a tube on the inlet side (you’ll have to disconnect the water inlet) and insert the tube into your RV antifreeze container.
  • The system should now be pressurized by turning on your water pump.
  • Starting with faucets close to the pump, going one by one, you’ll need to turn them on until the RV antifreeze begins to pour out. Shut each faucet off.
  • Keep going until they’re all done, including any external faucets and valves (for example, an outdoor shower).
  • Each drain should also have a cup or two of antifreeze poured in.
  • The toilet should be flushed until you see antifreeze.
  • If there are any other appliances in your RV, consult your manual on winterizing them as well.

Once that is done, move your RV to its storage location for the winter. Make sure that external vents and other entry points are covered and closed to prevent mice and other creatures from finding a home in your RV for the winter.

Have a look at the seams on your roof and walls to check for leaks. If there are any leaks, fix them. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a cover over your RV so that ice and snow don’t find an area to leak into and/or create a leak over the winter. 

Another option is to jack up your RV and put it on blocks to take the pressure off the wheels. It’s not absolutely necessary, but some RVers will do this.

That should keep you protected for another winter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Call Grove RV Now!