As the temperature drops, it becomes more and more important to winterize your motorhome. Although your motorhome is insulated, as soon as the temperature chills below freezing, the water system of your motorhome can freeze.
So how do you prevent costly damage to your motorhome’s water system? By winterizing your motorhome. Some people have this done at a motorhome service center, but winterizing a motorhome is actually fairly easy to do yourself. The specifics vary based on your motorhome model and specifications, and there are likely details in your motorhome owner’s manual that will be more specific than this basic guide. If you’re not sure what to do exactly, it’s always better to have it serviced by professional technicians.
There are two ways to ensure that the water in your motorhome won’t freeze: by draining all water, and by using RV antifreeze.
Drain all water and use an air compressor
If there’s no water in your motorhome, then you won’t have to worry about it freezing. The problem? It’s fairly difficult to remove all the water from your coach, and you really do have to remove ALL the water: even a small amount remaining in the pipes can cause damage to the motorhome.
Turn off the water pump, then open every low-point drain. If you’re not sure where or how to do this, check your owner’s manual. Or, better yet, ask a service center for guidance.
Next, drain your water heater by opening the pressure relief valve (to make sure the water doesn’t spray into your face) and remove the drain plug. Many have an anode rod, which reduces corrosion in the water tank. It’s like a magnet for calcium and other substances that enter normal water.
Turn on the water pump and open all faucets, toilets, and turn on the shower. It’s best practice to start with the furthest water source from the valve you were initially working from.
Even when the water has been forced out, you’re not done: there’s still residual water in the system. Replace the water heater plug and turn off the water pump. Close all drains and faucets and begin to apply air to the system. Make sure the pressure is at 30 psi or lower, as higher pressure can damage your motorhome.
Once some air has been forced into the motorhome, have another person flush out the rest of the water by turning on faucets, flushing toilets, and turning on the shower, starting again with the furthest away. The pressurized air will force the rest of the water out of the system, ensuring that there’s none left to freeze when the temperature drops.
The motorhome antifreeze solution
Motorhome antifreeze is a special non-toxic solution that can be drawn directly into your motorhome’s water system. If you don’t have access to an air compressor, this is probably the route you’ll want to take. The path diverges again from here, though, as there are two ways to use antifreeze to protect your water system.
The first is to use an intake draw tube, which can be installed between the tank and water pump. This comes standard in many new motor coaches, but if you have an older model, you can get one installed. If that sounds like too much effort, there’s another way to do it, so skip down.
If you’re still with us, we’re going to start by adding several gallons of antifreeze to the water tank. Insert the intake hose directly into a container full of 3 or more gallons of antifreeze. Once the water pump is switched on, put the end of the hose into the antifreeze solution.
Starting with the faucets furthest from the intake, turn on the cold water to run the solution through the water system.
The other method: adding water directly to the water tank
Add several gallons to the water tank and then add water to fill your tanks.
This is only a basic guide to winterizing your motorhome. The specific details may vary based on the exact model of motorhome you have and how old it is. If you’re not sure what to do, and your motorhome owner’s manual isn’t helpful enough to make you feel confident, it’s probably best to take it to the dealer for service. Hopefully, though, you’ve found this guide to be helpful.