This is Part 4 of our series on winterizing an RV. Part 1 covered draining the fresh water system, Part 2 was bypassing the water heater, and Part 3 was running antifreeze through all the fresh water lines.
Now that the fresh water system has been winterized with antifreeze, only a couple things remain. If you did not dump your tanks prior to winterizing, now is the time to do it. This year we added some laundry soap (low suds), some beach, and some Calgon water softener to the tank along with a couple buckets of warm water to slosh around during the drive to the dump facility. We did several extra rinses to leave the tanks as clean as possible for the winter.
You want to make sure you have antifreeze in the plumbing traps. That includes your sink (or sinks) and your shower drain. The purpose of the trap is to trap some water in the line so no smells from the tank come out. You don't want this water freezing and cracking your pipes.
Start by pouring antifreeze into the sink. If you have a bathroom sink, pour some in it also. About a cup will be enough, but extra will go into your gray water tank and mix with what little water still remains in it.
Now pour antifreeze down your shower drain. A cup should be enough.
Next pour some down the toilet. There is no trap to fill, but you do want to add a little antifreeze to whatever liquid might remain in the black tank.
If – however – you have a macerator, you do want to get antifreeze into the macerator. Like the city water input, it is easy to forget. We have no personal experience with macerators, but we would guess you would want to put perhaps a 1/2 gallon of antifreeze down your toilet. You would then run the macerator just long enough to see pink stuff. If you have advice for those with macerators, please comment.
Now that you are completely winterized, you don't have to give up using your Roadtrek for the winter. They are great winter camping vehicles. Just make sure you have a full propane tank, you don't want to run out when its 12 degrees F outside (no we haven't done that, but we have been grateful to have a working furnace when it was 12 degrees).
In the winter we do not use our gray tank. But we do use the black tank. We just flush with antifreeze instead of water. A cup or so is all you need. The rectangular bottles of antifreeze fit nicely between the toilet and the wall and stay out of the way.
For winter camping we put one of those RV dishpans in our sink (a perfect fit) and use the same drinking water container we use all year as the source of “running” water.
This rectangular container holds 1.25 gallons and it is held to the wall by two eyelets and a bungee cord. We can disconnect the bungee (when parked) and rotate the container so the spout is over the sink. This makes washing hands and brushing teeth easy. If the weather isn't that cold we will dump the dish pan into the toilet. If it is cold enough that we don't want to further dilute the black tank we will dispose of the dish pan contents elsewhere.
You are now winterized. But don't let that stop you from winter travels. With some Reflectix covering the windows, the propane furnace and/or electric heater will keep you snug.