Winterizing a camper and RV is a lot of work, but it's worth it. The cold weather can wreak havoc on your vehicle, especially if you don't take the time to prepare for it. That said, winterizing doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming but you have to make sure you're doing everything necessary to prepare for the winter months ahead.

In this article, we'll discuss the best practices for how to winterize your RV and camper - from what you need to do before winter hits all the way through what you should do after the first snowfalls!

What Is Winterization?

Before winter hits, you need to make sure your camper or RV is ready for the cold months ahead. There are a few steps that will help you during this process, so you should consider these before it gets too chilly!

First of all, what is winterizing? Winterizing a camper or RV involves preparing for colder weather by adding RV antifreeze or other fluids that help keep pipes from freezing in cold temperatures. Freezing temperatures can have damaging effects on your RV's water lines, water heater's heating element, as well as other components. The primary goal of winterizing your RV is to prevent water lines from freezing by flushing them and then refilling them with RV antifreeze wherever necessary.

In order to get your vehicle ready and to winterize an RV, you have to do a few things. We will discuss all of them in detail later on.

Can You Winterize Your Own Camper?

Yes, you can easily winterize your RV for the winter, but you have to be very careful. Although it's a time-consuming project you will enjoy it. Firstly you need an owner's manual. In the owner's manual, you will find all electrical and technical drawings (if you have a motorized RV) and water system drawings.

You can use them to winterize your RV. Below you can find some of the best methods and a step-by-step guide on how to winterize your RV or camper.

What Is The Best Way To Winterize A Camper?

Winterizing a camper and RV is a lot of work, but it's worth it. In this article, we'll discuss the best practices for how to winterize your RV and camper.

There are a few different ways to winterize your RV. Paying special attention to places that are prone to freezing includes the hoses, water pump, water pump inlet, air conditioners, shower drain, and water heater tank.

Method 1

One way to winterize your RV is by flushing the water lines with antifreeze. This can be done using a garden hose. Connect the garden hose to the faucet at the campsite and turn on the water. Turn on the faucet at the campground until you see pink antifreeze coming out of the other end of the hose. Once you've flushed the lines with antifreeze, turn off the water and disconnect the hose.

Method 2

Another way to winterize your RV is by filling the water tank with antifreeze. This can be done by opening up the cap on the water tank and pouring antifreeze into the tank. Fill it up and then close the cap. Let the water sit and absorb enough antifreeze to properly protect your camper during winter for at least a full day.

Method 3

Another method of winterizing an RV is by draining all the water out of the tank, including from your hot water heater. Open up the drain valve at the bottom of your water tank. A small amount of water will come out, but then you should be left with mostly air inside. You'll need to wait a few minutes for any residual water to work its way out of the hot water heater before draining it completely.

Step By Step To Winterize Your RV

Here are a few of the most important steps to winterize your RV;

  • To begin with your can best park and stabilize your RV
  • Drain the water system and remove any items that may freeze if temperatures drop below freezing.
  • Turn off your propane tank(s) or disconnect them from their lines (whichever is more comfortable for you).
  • Remove all exterior accessories such as antennas, outdoor kitchens, etc., leaving only TVs and appliances inside.
  • Add RV antifreeze to the fresh water holding tanks and plug in your black and gray drain valves with stoppers or rags so they don't get clogged by snow or ice. Make sure the caps are tightly closed! This will prevent leaks caused by expanding ice when it melts during warmer weather conditions outside.
  • Add RV antifreeze to the plumbing system if it has an anti-freezing agent built into its formula.
  • Remove all window curtains and store them away inside your home where they'll stay safe!
  • You can also cover windows with thick plastic sheeting in order to keep cold air outside of your RV during the winter months. This step is especially important for skylights and fiberglass doors/windows because snow and ice accumulation could cause damage over time (a common problem among older RVs).

At What Temperature Should You Winterize Your RV?

Water won't freeze at a set temperature. It depends on a number of factors including your location, the weather outside, and the size of the water tank. Most experts recommend that you winterize your RV when it's going to be unused for more than 30 days.

The ideal conditions for beginning the process of winterizing are at approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Always make sure not to head out into minus temperatures and start winterizing your camper and RV as this can damage vital components. It's best to be safe rather than sorry.

Things You Should Consider Before Winterizing Your RV

Every camper or RV is different from others so you can restrict yourself to a step-by-step guide. But yes there are certain things that you must include in your checklist while winterizing your Rv. The most important of which is your RV water system, compressed air section, and all kinds of filters. There are multiple items in the RV water system like fresh water holding tank, inline water filters, low point drains, gray water tanks, black tank, sewer hose, and lastly air compressor hose

Water Pumps

Many RVs have water pumps that sit outside of the RV and can be damaged by freezing weather. If you're winterizing your RV in a cold climate, you'll need to take steps to protect your water pump. One way to save your water system is by wrapping the pump in insulation or placing it in a box with a water heater.

Another way to protect your water system is by putting a lubricator on the output hose of pump, which will keep it from freezing. You can buy a lubricator at most RV stores.

Hot Water Heater

If you're going to be storing your RV in a cold climate, you'll want to drain the hot water heater as well as your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You can do this by opening up a hot water faucet and allowing the water to run until it's gone.


RVs are frequently found to be frozen in hose connections. You can prevent this by using a heating cable, which you can buy at most RV stores. Wrap the cable around the hose and plug it into an outlet. The cable will keep the hose from freezing. You can also use a blow-dryer to keep the hoses from freezing. Blow hot air on the hose for a few minutes until it's warm.

Fresh Water Tank

One way to keep your freshwater tanks from freezing is by using an insulating jacket. This will ensure that your tanks stay warm, even if the temperature drops below zero degrees Fahrenheit outside.

Most RVs can handle temperatures ranging between minus 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit without any issue. However, you'll want to take extra precautions when storing it for more than 30 days during the winter.

Hot and Cold Faucets

Always make sure that hot and cold faucets are working properly and can be turned on and off. If your water tanks are not insulated, you'll want to leave the hot faucets open all winter long.

Water Pump Converter Kits

If you're going to be using your RV during the winter, it's a good idea to keep a water pump converter kit on hand and connected to the water pump. This will help in the event that the water pump stops working.


If you're not going to be using your RV during the winter, it's a good idea to disconnect the battery. This will help to keep the battery from draining.

Air Compressor

One way to keep your air compressor working throughout the winter is by using a battery-operated air compressor. You can also purchase an insulated storage case for your air compressor. This will help to keep it from freezing.

Insect Screens

Insect screens can become brittle in cold weather and may break. If you're going to be using your RV during the winter, it's important to check the screens for any damage and repair timely.

Forced air furnace: One way to keep your forced air furnace working all winter long is by plugging it directly into an electrical outlet. This will help ensure that it continues to run properly.

Drain Plug

Make sure that the drain plug on your RV is properly sealed and closed. This will help to prevent any water from entering the RV while it's in storage.

RV's Plumbing System

Just like your home, your RV's plumbing system can also freeze if the temperature drops too low. No matter how perfectly you have done your RV winterization, frozen pipes can ruin it in minutes. You can prevent this by using low-temperature plumbing tape. It is one of the best antifreeze methods for your RV's black and freshwater tank.


Make sure that all valves on your RV are clear and free of any debris. Cold valves may freeze and break. The pressure relief valve also needs to be free of any blockages, as this will help prevent it from bursting if the pressure becomes too high.

Thawing Your RV

Remember that you'll need to thaw out your RV before using it after a long period of storage, especially if you had it stored in an area where the temperature dipped below freezing. This will ensure that all the water lines are clear and working properly.

The best way to thaw out your RV is by using a blow-dryer. Turn it on high and blow hot air all around the exterior of the RV. You can also use a water heater to help speed up the process. Once the RV is thawed out, turn on all the faucets and allow the water to run through the system until it's ice-free. Then, disconnect any hoses that were connected during the winterization process.

Once your RV is thawed out, you're ready to take it on some fun road trips this summer. Just plug in your air conditioner, fill up the tank with gas and get ready for the water to run for a few minutes. This will help flush.


The goal of this blog post was to provide you with some cold weather RV tips that will help keep your rig running efficiently and safely. While we're not suggesting that it is a good idea for all RVs to be used in the winter, these steps should help those who want their rigs ready at any time. The key is preparation! You'll need to do as much work as possible before winter arrives so you can avoid costly repairs when the temperature dips below freezing outside. These simple tips may seem like common sense, but they are crucial if you want your RV to stay operational year-round. So take a few minutes now and get yourself organized.

About the Author


Ely Fornoville is a no-nonsense traveler and writer. He loves to write about all the things he's seen and done, while also sharing his opinion on anything that catches his eye. Ely has been lucky enough to travel through Australia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Sweden, France, Germany Belgium, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain and many more.

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