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Winterizing an RV is a critical part of protecting a rig over the cold season and avoiding issues such as frozen pipes and leaks. RV antifreeze is a common way many RVers choose to winterize their camper vans, but it can be difficult to know how much antifreeze is needed to winterize RVs.
So, how much antifreeze is needed to winterize an RV?
Winterizing an RV generally requires two or three gallons of antifreeze. This quantity may change depending on the winterization method chosen and whether or not the RV water heater is bypassed. More antifreeze will be needed to winterize larger RVs and those with multiple bathrooms on board.
Knowing the correct amount of antifreeze to use for winterizing your RV will help avoid any going to waste so you don’t have to buy more than you actually need. RV antifreeze is usually found in one-gallon containers, so once you’ve worked out how much you need for your specific RV, it’s easy to go to the store and buy the right quantity.
How Much Antifreeze To Winterize An RV?
Each and every RV is a little different, and it’s this uniqueness that helps bring so much excitement to the RV industry. This also means, however, each RV may need different maintenance and amounts of antifreeze during winterization. Standard RVs generally need two or three gallons of antifreeze, but this can change from vehicle to vehicle.
Big rigs like Class A RVs or mighty fifth-wheels with more than one bathroom will likely need more antifreeze as there are additional areas to protect. Small trailers will require a smaller amount of antifreeze since there are fewer areas and plumbing for the antifreeze to travel through.
Fortunately, if you purchase more antifreeze than you end up using, you can store it in a cool, dry, place with the lid on until next season. Sometimes buying a few gallons of antifreeze in one go can be cheaper than purchasing individual jugs each year, just be sure to keep the lid sealed tightly.
Using antifreeze to winterize an RV is a great way of preventing the plumbing lines throughout your rig from freezing when temperatures drop. It’s a quick and simple method, but it’s worth checking your manufacturer’s guide to make sure the antifreeze winterization method is suitable for your rig.
How To Winterize An RV With Antifreeze?
The two popular methods of RV winterization are blowing out the plumbing lines using compressed air, or plumbing RV antifreeze through the system. Both methods can be effective at protecting RVs over the cold months, but antifreeze is generally considered an easier method.
For the antifreeze winterization method, be sure to only use RV antifreeze which is very different from automotive antifreeze. You’ll also need a water heater bypass kit as antifreeze can damage the water filter and components within the heater, not to mention it will also waste a substantial amount of antifreeze.
Switch Off Power And Gas
Before going ahead and pouring antifreeze into your RV, switch off the electrical power and gas. This is just a safety precaution and is usually the first step I take when working on my RV or completing the winterization process.
Turn Off Water Supply
The water supply also needs to be turned off as the goal is to remove as much water as possible from the water lines. To do this, the water supply needs to be cut off, and any faucets need to be opened to allow the water to drain out. They can be turned back off again once the water has stopped trickling out.
If someone has recently used the shower, it’s wise to give it an hour or so before completing the antifreeze process. This allows the water to cool down so you won’t be dealing with hot water pouring out from your RV!
Disconnecting the inlet side of the water pump will allow for a tube to be connected to a container of antifreeze, so it can be pumped through the RV with ease. The water pump can be switched on and the faucets throughout the RV turned on until you can see pink antifreeze running out of the faucets.
Once antifreeze is running through each and every faucet in the RV, the pump can be turned off as the process is complete – the antifreeze is running throughout all of the water lines, so they won’t freeze over winter.
Use Antifreeze In Drains
There’s no harm in pouring a little antifreeze down each sink and toilet in your RV, as well as pumping it through the water lines. This will help protect the drains when freezing temperatures hit and will help reduce the chances of components in the rig freezing as discussed in the video below:
If you’re not sure RV antifreeze is suitable for your system, or you’ve checked the manufacturer’s guide and you can’t pump it through your RV, opting for the compressed air method is a safe bet. When completed correctly, compressed air can be a great chemical-free way of protecting your rig over winter.
How Long Does RV Antifreeze Last?
Like most chemicals and additives we use in our vehicles, RV antifreeze doesn’t last forever, even when stored in a cool, dry place. If stored in a cool garage with the lid securely sealed, RV antifreeze generally lasts anywhere from 1-4 years. Keeping the lid tightly fastened and storing the antifreeze in a cool environment away from direct sunlight will help it last.
There are various types of antifreeze on the market, but RV-specific antifreeze is what’s needed for protecting our rigs over winter. Regardless of the brand, all types of RV antifreeze generally last for a similar amount of time.
When choosing antifreeze at the store for your RV, keep your eyes peeled for jugs branded for RV use. It’s usually a bright pink liquid, so this will help narrow things down if you’re struggling.
The amount of antifreeze needed to winterize an RV will be specific to your RV, but a safe bet is to purchase between 2-3 gallons for a standard-sized rig. Huge motorcoaches may require more antifreeze, and you will likely be able to find more winterization tips and guidelines in your manufacturer’s handbook.
Knowing how much antifreeze to pump through your RV system is just the beginning! If you’re new to RVing and don’t have much experience with RV winterization, complete steps one at a time. It’s better to go slow and steady and do the job right, than rush and not complete the process effectively.