How to Winterize a Travel Trailer?


Winterizing a travel trailer is an essential process that every owner must undertake before the cold winter months set in. The right time to winterize your travel trailer largely depends on where you live and when the temperature drops below freezing point. Ideally, you should start the winterization process at least two to three weeks before the first expected freeze. In areas where winters are mild, you may be able to delay the winterization process until late November or early December.

It is crucial to winterize your travel trailer before the temperature drops below freezing point to prevent costly damage to your plumbing system. When water freezes, it expands, and this can cause burst pipes, fittings, and even water heaters. Additionally, water left in the pipes can cause corrosion and rust, leading to permanent damage.

A wheel lock is a great choice for a trailer because it provides an extra layer of security. It prevents the trailer from being towed away or stolen, and it also helps to deter thieves from tampering with the trailer.

Required Tools

  1. Screwdrivers: You’ll need both Phillips and flathead screwdrivers in various sizes for loosening and tightening screws.
  2. Pliers: A good set of pliers, including needle-nose pliers, channel-lock pliers, and slip-joint pliers, will help you grip and manipulate objects with ease.
  3. Wrenches: Wrenches come in various sizes and are used for tightening and loosening nuts and bolts. It’s best to have both standard and metric sizes on hand.
  4. Socket set: A socket set is a collection of sockets that fit onto a ratchet wrench. This set is used to remove and tighten nuts and bolts in hard-to-reach areas.
  5. Measuring tape: A measuring tape is essential for accurately measuring lengths, widths, and heights.
  6. Level: A level is a tool used to ensure that a surface is perfectly horizontal or vertical. This tool is crucial for hanging shelves, pictures, and other objects.

Steps To Winterize Your Travel Trailer

Winterizing your travel trailer is an important step to protect it from the cold winter weather and prevent any damage, it is also important to protect the trailer by installing steering wheel locks from being theft. Here are the steps to winterize your travel trailer, along with an explanation of each sub-part:

Drain and Flush the Black and Gray Water Tanks

Draining and flushing the black and gray water tanks in your RV is an important step in the winterization process, as it helps to prevent any leftover waste from freezing and causing damage to the tanks. The black water tank holds waste material from the toilet, while the gray water tank holds water from sinks and showers. If these tanks are not properly drained and flushed, residual waste can cause unpleasant odors and potential damage.

Drain water tank valve

To start the process, locate the dump valve for the black and gray water tanks, which is usually located on the side or rear of the RV. Then, put on a pair of gloves and connect a sewer hose to the dump valve, making sure the other end of the hose is connected to a sewer inlet or dump station. It is important to wear gloves and take precautions to prevent contamination during this process.

Drain and Flush the Water Heater

To start the process, turn off the water heater and allow it to cool down for at least an hour before beginning. This will prevent any accidental burns or scalding. Then, locate the drain valve on the water heater tank. It is typically located on the outside of the RV, near the bottom of the tank.

Connect a garden hose to the drain valve and extend it to a suitable drainage area. Open the valve and let the water drain out completely. This may take several minutes, depending on the size of the tank. Once the water has drained, close the valve and remove the hose.

Bypass the Water Heater

To bypass the water heater, start by locating the water heater bypass valve. This valve is typically located near the water heater or in the water lines leading to it. Once you have located the valve, turn off the water supply to the RV.

Next, use the bypass valve to divert the water flow around the water heater. This can typically be done by turning a lever or valve. Once the water flow has been diverted, you can then drain the water heater as previously mentioned in the “Drain and Flush the Water Heater” step. This will ensure that there is no water left in the heater that could potentially freeze and cause damage.

Drain the Fresh Tank & Low Point Drains

Draining the fresh tank and low point drains is an essential step in the winterization process for your RV. If water is left in the tanks or plumbing lines, it can freeze and cause damage to the system. Here’s how to drain the fresh tank and low point drains:

To start, locate the fresh tank drain valve. This is typically located underneath the RV, near the fresh water tank. Attach a hose to the valve and run the other end of the hose to a suitable drainage area. Open the valve and let the water drain completely.

Locate the Water Pump

Locating the water pump in your RV is an important step in the winterization process. The water pump is responsible for supplying water to the plumbing system in your RV, so it’s important to know where it is located in order to properly winterize your RV.

In most cases, the water pump is located near the fresh water tank or in a compartment that is easily accessible. It may be necessary to consult your RV owner’s manual or manufacturer’s instructions to find the exact location of the water pump.

Add antifreeze to the water system

Purchase RV-specific antifreeze and add it to your travel trailer’s water system. You can use a hand pump to push the antifreeze through the system, starting from the closest faucet to the farthest one. This will ensure that all the water lines are protected from freezing. It is important to use RV-specific antifreeze, as regular antifreeze can be toxic and unsafe for use in an RV’s water system.

Fill the drain traps

Pour some antifreeze down each drain to ensure the drain traps are filled. This will prevent any leftover water from freezing and damaging the traps. Make sure to pour enough antifreeze to create a barrier between the drain and the cold weather outside.

Pour Antifreeze Down P-Traps

To pour antifreeze down P-traps, start by ensuring that all drains in your RV are empty and free of any debris. Then, locate the P-trap beneath each sink and shower and remove the cap or cover. Using a funnel, carefully pour antifreeze down the drain until it reaches the P-trap. Make sure to pour enough antifreeze to fill the trap and ensure that it is protected from freezing temperatures.

Repeat this process for all P-traps in your RV, including those in the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower, and any other drains that have a P-trap. Once all P-traps have been filled with antifreeze, replace the caps or covers and ensure that they are securely in place.


winterizing your RV is an essential step to protect your investment and ensure that it is ready to use when the warmer weather returns. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively protect your RV’s plumbing system from the damaging effects of freezing temperatures. It’s important to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular RV and to take all necessary precautions to prevent contamination or damage to the plumbing system.

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