Owning an RV is tons of fun, most of the time. Unfortunately, there are times when RV ownership requires a little effort, and one of the most important times you can put some elbow grease into your RV is before storing it for the winter. Here at KITSAP RV we want to help make the chore of winterizing a little less stressful so we put together this quick guide to run you through the basic process. If you have questions about winterizing, or need to pick up the right parts and equipment for the job, stop in and see us in Bremerton, Washington. KITSAP RV is proud to serve the areas of Bremerton, Poulsbo, Silverdale, Port Orchard, Port Angeles, Olympia, Tacoma, and the surrounding areas.


Holding Tanks

The first thing you'll need to do to start off your winterizing process is empty out your holding tanks. Your fresh water tank should be emptied out first. At an approved dump site, empty out your black tank, and then your grey tank. If you have an RV with a black tank flush, take advantage of that feature to rinse out your black tank, otherwise you'll need to give it a bit of a wash with a black tank wand hose attachment. Regardless, you'll want to make sure your tank is thoroughly cleaned and drained before you leave your RV in storage for a winter. The final tank you need to empty is your water heater tank. As long as your water heater is cool and not under pressure, you can open the pressure relief valve at the top of the tank, and then pull the drain plug. When the tank is empty remember to close the valve and replace the plug.


Now you'll need to get water out of your pipes. Open all of the faucets in your RV, and then pull the low point drain plug. Turn on your water pump for a short time and let it push the water out of your plumbing. Close all of the faucet valves and cap off the drain again when you're done.

Water Heater Bypass

A Water Heater Bypass is one of the really nice things to have on an RV. Without a bypass, you'll have to fill the water heater tank (about six gallons) with antifreeze before any of that antifreeze can reach the hot water lines. To avoid this you'll want to make sure that you've got a bypass installed in your RV using a water heater bypass kit. The good news is that lately many RV manufacturers have anticipated this as a point of frustration for RV owners, and so new RVs commonly come with a water heater bypass pre-installed. With your water heater successfully bypassed, move on to the next step.


Find your water pump and hook up your gallon jug of RV antifreeze. As a quick side note, your antifreeze for this process should always be the reddish pinkish color, and be labeled as 'safe for potable water systems'. With your antifreeze hooked up, turn on the water pump and find the faucet closest to the water pump. Open the cold water valve, and wait until the faucet flows solid pink, then switch over to the hot water valve, again, waiting for the flow to turn completely pink. When the first faucet is winterized, close the valve and repeat the process on the next closest faucet, and so on. Don't forget your shower, and outside shower if you have one. Flush the toilet until you see pink there. Turn off your water pump. Pour one cup of antifreeze down each drain, and flush a cup down each toilet. Open one valve on a faucet to relieve the pressure, when the flow stops close the valve again.

Finishing up

You may be all done, but depending on the size and type of RV you have, there may be a water using appliance like a dishwasher or ice machine that will also need to be winterized. Consult the owner's manual for these appliances and winterize each accordingly.

We hope this guide has been helpful, and makes the task of winterizing seem a little less daunting. Remember if you need parts, equipment, or just some advice, you can stop by and see us at KITSAP RV in Bremerton, Washington, proudly serving the areas of Bremerton, Poulsbo, Silverdale, Port Orchard, Port Angeles, Olympia, Tacoma, and the surrounding areas.