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Our Epic RV Winterizing Post [WITH VIDEO!]

| Updated Jun 21, 2023

As cool fall weather ushers in so does the need for RVers in northern climates to do some RV winterizing. We're going to show you how…

No one likes to do it. After all, it means that for many RVers, the camping season is over for a few months. For many, not necessarily most. Take us, for example. We do camp in the winter. In Michigan. In the snow. 

But our RV still has to be winterized.

Over the past nine years, we've dutifully winterized it every fall. Usually late October, but sometimes not until mid-November, depending on how cold it gets.

We have had five different RVs in that time and while all are a little different, the basics in RV winterizing are pretty much the same.

So first, take a look at the video below. Then scroll down beneath the video and we'll walk you through a little more.


When should I do RV Winterizing?

Use these two indicators to know that time has run out and you need to do RV winterizing RIGHT NOW:

  • When it gets down to 28 degrees for more than a couple of hours
  • If the water in puddles on the ground freezes over

The Most Important Thing About RV Winterizing

Before you try to DIY or even before you take it to a dealer or RV service shot to have it done for you, get out the instruction booklet from your RV manufacturer and go to the winterizing segment and read it through.

Take it inside the RV. Bend down, look at the plumbing valves that you will have to turn. Go outside, remove the water heater cover. See what switched and things need to be done. 

Plan on spending from $100 – $150 to have a service tech do the RV winterizing for you. If they charge much more than that, find another tech.

Oh yeah, also read through how to de-winterize your RV. Seeing how to reverse the steps you are about to do (or have done for you) helps cement in the entire RV winterizing process. 

RV winterizing tips for DIYers

rv winterizing kit
An RV Winterizing Kit costs around $17
  • Invest in a winterizing kit as you see me use in the video. The one we bought cost something like $17 and was from Camping World  –  CLICK HERE for a direct link 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.
  • I shouldn't have to say this but use ONLY antifreeze clearly marked for RV and Marine use.
  • They also make a blow out plug. This little plug screws into the city water hookup. I need to point out although while most RV service techs DO use compressed air, under 50 psi, to blow out the water lines, most manufacturers do NOT recommend forcing compressed air back through the lines. That's because they know there will be some who use shop pressure (over 10 psi) and totally destroy those flimsy little RV pipes.
  • But I do see the wisdom of pushing what water may be in the lines back to through the faucets so, as shown in the video,  I attached a bicycle pump. It did indeed push some water out the faucets and down the drain. Others have apparently had success with it too, as I see Camping World now offers a hand pump to clean out the lines after you drain them.
  • Don't forget to remove the freshwater filters in the RV. Take them out and empty the container. It's good to get a new one each season.
  • Clean up the antifreeze residue in your sinks, toilet bowl, and shower. Wipe them out with a towel. When tried, antifreeze is sticky and yucky.
  • Put a plastic bag over your shower head (secured by a rubber band) to keep it from dripping antifreeze all season.
  • Be sure to put about a cup of antifreeze down each of the drain/traps in your RV.

See the products and gear we use and recommend

We have a full page of the RV gear and products we use and recommend. CLICK HERE to see this page.  You can get 10% off all purchases over $99 with the promo code RVLIFESTYLE10

Mike Wendland

Published on 2020-09-26

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

8 Responses to “Our Epic RV Winterizing Post [WITH VIDEO!]”

October 20, 2020at11:03 am, Jeff said:

Hi Mike – Good to see you again. I remember when you were at Channel 4. Glad you found something fun for retirement. Really enjoy your articles and videos!

October 20, 2020at10:26 am, Bill said:

Living in Northern CA (San Francisco Bay Area), we rarely see temps dip below freezing. My question is this; our plan is to travel during winter months to area like Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes etc… were it is indeed very cool particularly at night. How to we prep for this and should we? Rv = Airstream Interstate 19 The (2021 model year).

Thanks in advance for any advise your might provide.

Bill & Connie

October 20, 2020at6:12 pm, Alana said:

Same here Bill and Connie! Following the string here for the answer. 🙂

September 30, 2020at8:14 pm, Frank Cizerle said:

Mike – can you email me an address where we can discuss how I can add seatbelts to the rear lounge seats in the back of our 2021 Unity FX? Also I asked about having a rear window added after market, but dealer and factory say no, too hard to do. Jamie and Larissa said they added a winterizing kit to their FX so they could travel in cold regions. How do we get that added?
Thanks for any help.
Swansboro, NC

September 28, 2020at8:49 pm, Sam G. said:

Good article Mike!
But here’s a misprint- ” most manufacturers do NOT recommend forcing compressed air back through the lines. That’s because they know there will be some who use shop pressure (over 10 psi).” The 10 psi should be 100? Since 50# is good maximum water pressure. Using a water line pressure regulator, mine is 45#.
Portable generator, portable air compressor, and blow out plug for the travel trailer or motor home. Blow out lines then add RV antifreeze.
Next, I want to try hooking my portable pressure washer to the RV water system. Pressure washer requires 2.2 GPH. Will it work? And I do know not to blast window seals with high pressure water!
Enjoy the Fall season and “Keep safe” Mike and Jennifer.

September 27, 2020at5:21 pm, bruce Barnes said:

Please, please, please use a human as your spell checker. Too many typos for a professional journalist.

October 21, 2020at12:50 pm, Gregg said:

Bruce. Get a life !

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