How to winterize an rv by blowing out the lines
We were backing out of the driveway, taking off into town yesterday when my son piped up, “Mom, it’s 1 degree out! It’s nearly ready to snow, right?!”
Yes, son, it’s nearly ready to snow. And good golly, I could have busted my travel trailer! I had forgotten to drain the the water lines and no one needs pipes to freeze and burst.
So I’m going to show you how to winterize an rv by blowing out the lines with compressed air, alleviating the need for antifreeze!
Why air lines must be winterized
Every winter before it freezes, it’s important to winterize any trailer that has running water capabilities.
Winterizing a travel trailer basically means removing all standing water inside any interior pipes.
For if you don’t, the pipes or the hot water tank could expand and burst from the ice.
Which can lead to endless leaks and some very expensive repair work.
When is the best time to winterize?
It’s best to winterize right after the last time you use your trailer for the year so you don’t forget!
But if you tend to use your trailer while it sits at home, just remember to winterize before the temperatures drop to freezing outdoors.
There are various ways to ensure you have no water in your lines.
1. One way is via a small pump that pushes RV antifreeze through everything. This includes the drinking water lines.
The con with that is you have to flush out your system really well come spring so you don’t end up ingesting antifreeze in your drinking water.
2. My preferred way to winterize a travel trailer is by blowing out the lines with compressed air.
Air pushed through pipes using an air compressor has the ability to push every drop of water out of the pipes, leaving them perfectly try before they have a chance to freeze.
It’s clean and quick! And no messing around with antifreeze come spring.
I learned how to do this by a kind gent at our regular campsite. I helped him do his so I could do mine when I got home.
So this is what he taught me and I’ve been doing it this way ever since.
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How to winterize an rv by blowing out the lines
You will need an air compressor.
And a blow out plug.
1. Crank your compressor pressure down to 30-40 PSI.
2. Drain your water tank first. And any other water holding tanks you may have. Then close them again.
Tip. DO close them again unless you wish to wear all the water. It’s no fun getting soaked when it’s near zero degrees out and you’re on your way to town right after. (oops)
2. Attach the blow out plug to your water intake valve.
3. Have someone go inside the trailer and turn off every tap except the one closest to where you are. This would likely be the kitchen sink.
Have them turn on just the hot OR cold (not both) and to yell and let you know when the water has stopped running.
4. Using the air compressor, blow air through the blow out valve with a tire pump tip, until you hear the yell.
5. Have them turn off the one side and turn on the other side. Repeat.
6. Once water has stopped running, turn off that sink, and move to the next closest, and repeat.
Do this with every tap, including the toilet lever.
Take some breaks rather than push the air through all at once. It’s easier on the lines.
And your freezing hands…
Leave your socket where the hot water tank drain resides. Just leave it there. Year around. It sure beats tripping over crap in your garage, and going through 5082 sockets trying to find one that fits!
7. Pour some antifreeze down each drain, and into the toilet tank. Then leave some in the toilet bowl for good measure.
8. You are done! And are free to change your wet shoes and head into town.
And here’s why it was a VERY good idea to delay our trip to town. An icicle transpired the very next AM!
Why I don’t do this when it’s warm and lovely out in September, I’ll never know.
Now, for pure entertainment value, I’d like to draw one thing to your attention because this is slick. See how parallel the trailer is lined up along the edge of that concrete pad?
I have this ‘thing’ for straight. It has to be straight or I get itchy. I backed that guy into that tight little area on my own and got it that straight. It may have taken me a few (30ish) minutes, but it’s straight!
But there’s a trick to that too, of course. Want to know the secret to backing up a trailer straight?
Other helpful RV posts you may enjoy:
THIS POST on Camping Tips with A Trailer shares all my best setup tips. From backing up, to chocking the wheels, to sewer adapters you’ll want to know about.
and THIS POST shows you how I fixed an RV door for $1.67. And saved a TON of money.
Kinda makes you want to go camping again, doesn’t it?