As an RV owner, it’s important to take care of your investment by properly maintaining and protecting it. One key area of maintenance that often gets overlooked is the plumbing system. During the winter months, freezing temperatures can cause serious damage to your RV’s plumbing system if it’s not properly protected. That’s where RV plumbing antifreeze comes in.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at what RV plumbing antifreeze is, why it’s important to use it, and how to use it properly. Whether you’re a seasoned RV owner or new to the game, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to protect your RV’s plumbing system and keep it in top shape for years to come.
What is RV Plumbing Antifreeze?
RV plumbing antifreeze is a special type of antifreeze designed specifically for use in RVs. Unlike regular automotive antifreeze, RV plumbing antifreeze is non-toxic and safe for use in potable water systems. It’s also designed to withstand the harsh winter temperatures that RVs are often subjected to.
RV plumbing antifreeze is typically made from propylene glycol, which is a safe and effective antifreeze agent. It’s important to note that not all RV plumbing antifreeze is created equal. Some brands may contain other additives or chemicals that could potentially harm your RV’s plumbing system, so it’s important to choose a high-quality, reputable brand.
Preparing Your RV for Winter Storage
Before you can use RV plumbing antifreeze to protect your plumbing system, you’ll need to properly prepare your RV for winter storage. This includes draining the water from your RV’s plumbing system to ensure that there’s no water left inside that could freeze and cause damage.
Why is it Important to Winterize Your RV’s Plumbing System?
Winterizing your RV’s plumbing system is crucial for preventing damage caused by freezing temperatures. When water freezes, it expands, which can cause pipes and fittings to crack or burst. This can lead to costly repairs and potentially even render your RV unusable.
By properly winterizing your RV’s plumbing system, you can avoid these costly and inconvenient issues. In addition to protecting your plumbing system, winterizing your RV can also help prevent other types of damage caused by cold temperatures, such as damage to your RV’s exterior or electrical system.
How to Drain Your RV’s Plumbing System to Prepare for Antifreeze
Before you can use RV plumbing antifreeze, you’ll need to drain the water from your RV’s plumbing system. Here’s how to do it:
- Turn off the water supply to your RV and open all faucets to release any pressure in the plumbing system.
- Locate your RV’s low-point drains, which are usually located underneath your RV. These drains are designed to allow water to drain out of your plumbing system.
- Open the low-point drains and allow all the water to drain out. You may need to use a pump or gravity to help the water drain out more quickly.
- Once all the water has been drained from your plumbing system, flush your RV’s toilet and pour RV antifreeze into the bowl. This will ensure that there’s antifreeze in the pipes leading to your toilet.
- Finally, pour RV antifreeze into each drain, including your shower, sink, and any other drains in your RV. This will ensure that there’s antifreeze in all the pipes in your plumbing system.
Selecting the Right Antifreeze for Your RV
When it comes to selecting the right RV plumbing antifreeze, there are a few important factors to consider. Not all antifreeze is created equal, and choosing the wrong type could potentially cause damage to your RV’s plumbing system. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting RV plumbing antifreeze:
1. Check the Label
The first thing to look for when selecting RV plumbing antifreeze is the label. Make sure the antifreeze is specifically designed for use in RVs and is safe for use in potable water systems. You’ll also want to look for antifreeze that’s rated for the lowest temperature you expect your RV to encounter.
2. Choose a Reputable Brand
It’s important to choose a high-quality, reputable brand of RV plumbing antifreeze. Cheap, generic antifreeze may contain other additives or chemicals that could potentially harm your RV’s plumbing system. Stick with a brand that’s well-known and trusted in the RV community.
3. Check the Ingredients
RV plumbing antifreeze is typically made from either ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. While both are effective at preventing freezing, propylene glycol is the safer and more environmentally friendly option. It’s non-toxic and safe for use in potable water systems, while ethylene glycol is toxic and should never be used in an RV’s plumbing system.
4. Consider Color
RV plumbing antifreeze comes in a variety of colors, including pink, blue, and green. While the color doesn’t affect the performance of the antifreeze, it can help you easily identify where the antifreeze has been added to your plumbing system.
By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be able to select the right RV plumbing antifreeze to protect your plumbing system from freezing temperatures.
Related: RV Winterization 101: Getting Antifreeze into Your Lines
How to Use RV Plumbing Antifreeze
Using RV plumbing antifreeze is an essential step in preparing your RV for winter storage.
To use RV plumbing antifreeze, begin by draining your RV’s freshwater tank. Then, connect a hand pump to the antifreeze container and insert the pump’s hose into the container. Turn on each faucet in your RV, starting from the one farthest from the water pump, until the antifreeze runs through them. Finally, add a cup of antifreeze to each drain and toilet bowl to protect the P-traps from freezing.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Drain the Water System
Before adding antifreeze to your RV’s plumbing system, it’s important to drain all the water out first. Start by draining the fresh water tank and then opening all the faucets and valves in your RV to let any remaining water drain out completely.
2. Locate the Water Pump
Next, locate the water pump in your RV. The water pump is usually located near the fresh water tank or in a nearby compartment. If you’re unsure where your water pump is located, consult your RV owner’s manual.
3. Connect the Antifreeze
Once you’ve located the water pump, connect a hose to the inlet side of the pump. Place the other end of the hose into a container of RV plumbing antifreeze.
4. Turn on the Water Pump
With the hose connected to the water pump and the other end in the antifreeze container, turn on the water pump. This will start pumping the antifreeze through your RV’s plumbing system.
5. Open Each Faucet and Valve
Starting with the faucet or valve closest to the water pump, open each faucet and valve one at a time until antifreeze comes out. This will help ensure that the antifreeze has properly filled each section of your RV’s plumbing system.
6. Repeat the Process
Once antifreeze comes out of each faucet and valve, turn them off and move on to the next one. Repeat this process until antifreeze comes out of all the faucets and valves in your RV.
7. Add Antifreeze to Other Systems
In addition to your plumbing system, you’ll also want to add antifreeze to other systems in your RV, such as your hot water heater and your toilet. Consult your RV owner’s manual for instructions on how to properly add antifreeze to these systems.
Flushing Your RV’s Plumbing System in the Spring
Now that winter is over and it’s time to use your RV again, it’s important to flush your RV’s plumbing system to remove any remaining antifreeze and other debris that may have accumulated during the winter months. Here’s how to do it:
1. Drain the Antifreeze:
Before flushing your RV’s plumbing system, you’ll need to drain any remaining antifreeze from your plumbing system. Start by opening all the faucets and valves in your RV and letting any remaining antifreeze drain out.
2. Fill the Fresh Water Tank:
Once all the antifreeze has drained out, fill your RV’s fresh water tank with clean water. Add a small amount of bleach to the water to help disinfect your plumbing system.
3. Run Water Through Each Faucet and Valve:
Starting with the faucet or valve closest to the fresh water tank, turn on the water and let it run for several minutes until the water runs clear. Repeat this process for each faucet and valve in your RV.
4. Flush the Hot Water Tank:
Next, flush your hot water tank by turning on the hot water faucet and letting the water run until it runs clear. This will help remove any debris that may have accumulated in the hot water tank during the winter months.
5. Drain the Water Tank and Water Heater:
Once you’ve flushed your RV’s plumbing system, drain the fresh water tank and hot water heater to remove any remaining water. This will help prevent any mold or mildew from forming in your plumbing system.
To use RV plumbing antifreeze, first, ensure your RV’s freshwater tank is empty. Then, connect a hand pump to the antifreeze container and insert the pump’s hose into the antifreeze container. Turn on each faucet in your RV, starting with the faucet furthest from the water pump, until antifreeze flows out. Finally, pour a cup of antifreeze into each drain and toilet bowl to protect the P-traps.
Straightforward, isn’t it?
When selecting an antifreeze for your RV, be sure to choose one that is designed for use in potable water systems and is safe for your RV’s plumbing materials. And when it comes time to flush your plumbing system in the spring, be sure to follow the proper steps to ensure that your system is thoroughly cleaned and ready for use.