After a great year of camping, we find ourselves closing nearer and nearer to winter, and with winter comes the need to winterize. The following guide will take you step by step through the entire winterization process.
When liquid water is cooled, it contracts like one would expect until a temperature of approximately 4 degrees Celsius (39.2 F) is reached. After that, it expands slightly until it reaches the freezing point, and then when it freezes it expands by approximately 9%.
Propylene glycol antifreezes are designed to provide burst protection to temperatures of -50˚F or below. Ice crystals will start to form in -50 RV Antifreeze at temperatures around +10˚F and will appear to be solid ice at around -10˚F to -15˚F. Propylene glycol based antifreezes continue to contract and will not expand until temperatures of -50˚F are reached, thus providing burst protection for pipes.
Most automotive antifreezes are made from ethylene glycol, which is highly toxic. RV antifreezes are made from propylene glycol which is considered GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) by the U.S. Government. Propylene glycol is used in many consumable products such as ice cream, candy and even cosmetics. Therefore, it is the product to use when winterizing potable water systems.
The freeze point is the temperature of the solution at which ice crystals will start to form in the solution and it will have difficulty flowing. This temperature is around +10˚F with -50 RV Antifreeze. This temperature is not indicative of the winterizing protection. The burst point is the temperature where the solution will begin to expand and cause the pipes to burst. A unit winterized properly with -50 RV Antifreeze should show a freeze point of around +10˚F which indicates a burst protection of -50˚F.
Before you start, you’ll want to make sure you have all the supplies needed for the job.
Using RV Antifreeze – The Byerly Preferred Method
Using Compressed Air
How RV Water Systems Work
Your RV’s water system is set up to flow water either from your fresh water tank or from the city water hookup. From the fresh water tank a water pump is used to push water through the RV. The water either from the water tank or from the city water hookup is always cold water. To get hot water the water flows from your water pump into your water heater. This water is then heated and flows to your hot water fixtures such as your sink and shower. Remember when winterizing your RV, you will need a by-pass kit.
How to By-Pass Your Water Heater
By-passing the water heater can save you money by not having to fill the water heater with antifreeze. Some RVs come with a by-pass system preinstalled, but many do not.
Before you start, make sure to turn off all power to water heater (the water heater usually has it’s own power on-off switch), disconnect water supply and make sure the water heater gas pilot is not lit. Make sure your water remains full of water.