Friday, June 9, 2023


Poorly designed RV makes winterizing it very difficult


Dear Gary,
Winterizing my motorhome is a joke. There are no bypasses and to reach the pump you have to crawl over the bed to access it. There’s hardly room to add a winterizing kit and there are no valves to bypass the hot water tank. Accessing the back of the water heater, you have to get on your knees and go under a closet just to see anything!

I sent an email to the manufacturer to redesign this and to give them a general slap on the hand for having a terrible product mechanical-wise. Us older adults should not have to crawl on our knees to get at things. I also don’t want to buy ten gallons of RV antifreeze.

Do you have suggestions on a quick fix? I asked the manufacturer to go out on the plant floor and look over a model and tell me what one of them would do. They sent me a schematic, which is great, but what to do? —Joe Z.

Dear Joe,
Regarding the difficulty in accessing certain components in your motorhome, you appear to be not a bit reticent. I have a seminar about “technically choosing” an RV and one of the precepts is how easy is it to gain access to certain components. We look at floor plans, color schemes, amenities, etc., but some manufacturers rarely consider the owner’s access concerns. Not all, mind you, but some. 

Most water heaters will indeed be installed on the floor of the coach, so chances are it will still take getting on your knees to switch the bypass valves. Aftermarket bypass kits are readily available for water heaters and I recommend the type that utilizes brass valves rather than plastic. To me, they hold up better in the long run.

A certified RV tech should also be able to modify the fresh water line between the tank and the pump and make it easier to pump in the antifreeze. But keep in mind, you can simply pour a couple gallons of RV antifreeze directly into the fresh water tank and accomplish the same thing.

An astute RV tech can also retrofit the plumbing bypass equipment using electrically operated solenoid valves. This might prove a bit costly, but it is an option. I do encourage you to keep suggesting to manufacturers how to improve their products. Though they often may not have the answers you’re looking for at that given moment, they will, hopefully, listen to what you have to say. 

Read more from Gary Bunzer at the See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.




0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.