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How to Winterize RV Without Antifreeze – Only 3 Steps

Written by Philip Lopez / Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

how to winterize rv without antifreeze

It’s nearly that time of the year again! When the weather gets cold, it either means storing your RV until next spring or swapping your winter outfits and winter sports equipment. But the real work comes down to winterizing your RV. In the next section, you will be learning how to winterize RV without antifreeze.

People often ask: “Do I need to winterize my RV even when plugged in?” Whether your RV will be dormant or plugged in, you need to begin winterizing your RV when the temperature drops. The reason why you winterize your RV is to protect your pipes, tanks, and water heaters from freezing or, worse, bursting!

Now, the next question is: “How do I know it’s starting to get too cold?” When the temperature hits below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius, it’s time to start winterizing. For information, read on!

Table of Contents

What Tools Will You Need for Winterizing RV without Antifreeze


Since we plan to winterize a camper without antifreeze, we should prepare all these tools instead.

  • Standard tool kit: A common or household tool kit will do. You need to include a wrench set and socket wrenches as there may be some bolts that you will need to let loose. You will also need a screwdriver because it will help you get into the water valves.
  • Air compressor: An air compressor is an essential tool you will need; make sure it is at least 50 PSI. This tool will help you completely empty your pipes of water.
  • Blow out adapter: It is also known as a blowout plug, and it is plugged into the air compressor. This will be plugged into the RV’s water lines’ adapter to clear out any liquid.
  • Water hose: A water hose is essential for you to flush out your tanks and other plumbing lines. Do NOT connect or use the hose that you will be using for your freshwater tanks. This water hose is ONLY dedicated to cleaning your waste tanks.

Now We are Ready to Begin Winterizing!


Step 1: Drain the Systems

  • You will need to drain your water tanks by locating the main water drain, otherwise known as a petcock. This part is normally found under the vehicle and will be connected to the water tanks. It would be best that your vehicle is at an angle where the petcock is to quickly drain the water.
  • Remove the petcock by utilizing a wrench and let the water drain.
  • Inside the trailer, turn on all your plumbing, faucets, hose, and flush the toilet for all the water to empty the lines. Allow the faucets to run until finished.
  • You will need to begin by emptying your black holding tank. Connect these tanks to the dump station connectors; these will be marked. You will need to begin with the black tank first because it is connected to the waste from your toilet.
  • Next, you will need to do the same thing for the gray water tank. It is suggested to do this after emptying the black tank since the grey tank has soapy water to wash the lines and remaining wastes.
  • Lastly, you will need to empty and clean the freshwater tank.

Step 2: Attach the Air Compressor to your Water Lines

  • Begin by setting up your air compressor and attaching the blow-out plug to its air hose. You will then plug into the trailer’s water inlet. To avoid damaging your water lines, you should adjust the air compressor to less than 30 PSI or a maximum of 50 PSI. If you go beyond, it might cause damage to your plumbings seals and cause other issues down the line.
  • You will need to keep the air compressor on with the 30 seconds intervals and stopping for a few seconds until there is no more water. This will prevent overwhelming the pipes and is also great in extracting any obstruction in the water system.

Step 3: Closing up shop

  • Once you’ve finished, close all the valves. Before you replace the petcock, it would be best that you would envelop the threading with Teflon tape to create a seal. Be mindful not to tighten it too much as it would later create issues with the threading causing it to strip and possibly leak.
  • Do not also forget to turn off all the indoor plumbing. There may still be water residue within the lines. Nevertheless, there shouldn’t be sufficient liquid that would cause the pipes to fracture when the temperatures drop in the middle of winter.

Why Should We Winterize a Travel Trailer without Antifreeze

It is known among RV owners that using antifreeze is not very healthy. As we need to mix the agent with our drinking water, its trace might affect our health, especially our kids when we bring them along for traveling. The solution might also harm animals and nature. So, we can conclude that winterizing your RV without using antifreeze is a sensible decision.


In conclusion, everyone can follow the steps shown above on how to winterize RV without antifreeze to avoid the possibility of bursting their pipes. Please do not forget to clean the inside of your RV and check your RV manual to turn off all electrical systems safely. Now, you’ve not only saved yourself from having professionals do the job and using antifreeze. You also saved yourself the worry of possibly bursting your pipes in the middle of winter!

Now, it’s time to start planning for the warmer months up ahead!

However, using antifreeze is still a reasonable choice if you do not want to spend too much time on this. We have an article on all you should know about RV antifreeze. Check it out here!

Furthermore, to prepare thoroughly for the coming winter, you should also check for holes in the roof of your RV to prevent cold air from entering your cabin. Here is a list of the top preferred RV roof coating and RV roof sealant for you, I hope it helps.

If you find the article helpful, feel free to share it with your friends who plan to be on the road this winter.

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