Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses removing the antifreeze when dewinterizing the RV.
In October 2021, we winterized our 35′ travel trailer by putting antifreeze in the fresh water tank and pumping it thru the lines. We did this because we didn’t have any way to blow out our lines and we were working on a quick timeframe because the park was going to put it in storage. Please give me your recommendations for dewinterizing our TT. Thank you. —Bob
Dewinterizing might be a little “wishful thinking” at this point. However, thanks for the question – it’s a popular topic.
The first thing I would do is dump any RV antifreeze that may still be in your fresh water tank. Hopefully you used a non-ethylene RV antifreeze that is made of either ethanol or propylene glycol, as they are nontoxic and biodegradable.
Dispose of antifreeze property
However, even though it’s biodegradable, you should not dump it on the ground. Rather, it should be dumped in a dump station or put in a container and dump it down a drain such as a toilet that routes to a sanitary district for treatment. I checked with our local Sanitary District supervisor. He said that was the proper way to dispose of RV antifreeze – not on the ground or storm drain. Then fill the fresh water tank to about ½ or more with fresh water and add either a cup of bleach or fresh water tank sanitizer and drive around the block a few times to mix it up and dissolve with the RV antifreeze that is left over.
Dump this, as well, and fill your tank back up to ½ full, replace the drain plug on the water heater, and turn the bypass valve if you have one. This might seem a little overkill to some. However, I find it works well to start with fresh water in the tank so I don’t have the “slippery” residue of the RV antifreeze.
Turn on your water pump and go open the farthest faucet from the pump until clear water comes out. Do this for both the hot and cold. Then work your way back doing the same to all faucets, shower head, toilet/sprayer, and outside shower.
Don’t forget the ice maker if you have one. In October you should have removed the filter and replaced it with a cap, shut off the supply, and run a few cycles to get all the water out. Most people don’t run RV antifreeze up into the ice maker. If you did, you will need to cycle it several times to get clear ice.
For those of you reading this that have a winterizing valve that allows you to put a hose into the RV antifreeze jug and not fill the fresh water tank, you can just fill the tank once. You still want to go through the tank and water pump rather than the city water fill as you would have RV antifreeze in the lines to and from the pump as well as the pump itself.
There is a lot more to dewinterizing, such as checking out the propane system, looking for rodents and leaks inside, and much more. I’ll write an article and post after the show season in more detail. This is just for the water system.
Read more from Dave here.
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