There are multiple types of RV non-toxic antifreeze being marketed today. Automotive antifreeze is not designed, or recommended, for seasonal cold storage protection. It is also toxic and will contaminate your water system.
ETHANOL (alcohol) BASED – most readily available at most hardware and discount stores and some RV shops. This type is the lowest cost. This product can taint rv plumbing systems resulting in bad taste and smell the following year and should be used only with quest or pex water lines. The alcohol will dry out rubber seals in faucets and toilets, so even though you may not need to replace any lines, there may still be leaks in the water system. It is also highly flammable and should not be used around pilot lights. It will have a warning on the label. Common water soluble alcohols such as methanol, ethanol and isoprpoanl are defined as Class 3 flammability hazards. We do not recommend use of this product in RVs.
PROPYLENE/ETHANOL BLEND – Non-toxic and available in some RV shops. This is an alcohol blend and again the alcohol can taint the water system resulting in a bad taste and smell. This antifreeze can still dry out plumbing seals resulting in leaks. It is also flammable and should not be used around pilot lights. It will have a warning on the label. Common water soluble alcohols such as methanol, ethanol and isoprpoanl are defined as Class 3 flammability hazards. We do not recommend use of this product in RVs.
PROPYLENE GLYCOL – This type of antifreeze is only available in RV shops. It is non-toxic and the safest for all types of RV plumbing. This antifreeze is non-flammable and does not taint water systems. Propylene glycol is a lubricant and will actually work to extend the life of the seals in your toilets and faucets. It is available in -50 and -100 freeze burst protection. This is the only antifreeze product Bob Scott RV’s uses in personal and customer RV’s and is the only product you will find in our stores.
Be sure your RV is properly winterized. Many RV components can be damaged from the effects of freezing. Protection of the plumbing system and related components is crucial. Damages due to weather are not covered under any type of warranty. If you are unsure of procedures check with a qualified rv service center.
Do not pour antifreeze into your fresh water tank to run it through the pump into your water system. This will take a lot of antifreeze and is not very efficient. Even when the tank is drained there remains some water in the bottom of the tank which mixes with the antifreeze and lessens its protection level. Also the antifreeze will be very difficult to flush out in the spring and large amounts may taint the taste of your drinking water.
Do not forget to dewinterize and flush out your unit before using it in the spring.
All RV’s are a little different on where the water intake is located, where the water pump is located, washer/dryer hookups, water filters, and the location of the water heater. This is just a guide to winterization and may need to be slightly modified for your RV. If your RV does not come equipped with a water heater bypass, it is recommended that you install one so you do not have to fill the water heater with antifreeze.
Here is a list of recommended items you will need to winterize your RV
Depending on the size of your RV and how it is equipped, most people will need 1 – 3 gallons of RV non-toxic anti-freeze.
Blow out plug if using an air compressor
Anti-freeze hand pump, water pump converter kit, or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the water pump
Temporary water heater bypass kit if you do not have a permanent one installed
Hand tools to remove drain plugs
Here are the basic steps to winterize your RV. Ask a qualified service center for help if you are not sure where equipment is located.
Disconnect the RV from the outside water source if hooked up.
Drain the fresh water tank and empty and clean the waste water holding tanks.
Remove and bypass all water filters. Remove the water pump filter if you have one. All filters will be ruined by the anti-freeze and need to be replaced.
Open a hot water faucet and allow water heater to drain to remove pressure. Close faucet. Turn the water heater bypass valve to the bypass position. Remove the water heater drain plug and open the pressure relief valve. NEVER DRAIN THE WATER HEATER WHEN IT IS HOT OR UNDER PRESSURE.
Open all hot and cold faucets, shower head sprayer, toilet flushing device, outside shower, outside kitchen faucets, and any other water lines that are closed. Locate and open the hot and cold low point drain lines if your RV has them.
Turn on water pump for at least 30 seconds to clear any water from the lines.
If you have an air compressor set the pressure to no greater that 30 lbs. Connect an air hose with a blowout plug to the city water fill connection. Blow out the water lines until no water can be seen coming out of the fixtures and lines. Blowing out the lines is not necessary, but is recommended. Water remaining in the lines will dilute your antifreeze and require more antifreeze to protect your RV.
Recap all drains, close all faucets and toilet flush. Disconnect water from ice maker if your RV is so equipped. It is recommended to take your RV to a qualified service center if you have and ice maker or washer/dryer.
Install a water pump converter kit. Or disconnect the inlet side of the water pump (line coming from fresh water tank) and install a bypass hose to pull directly from the antifreeze bottle. You can also add antifreeze from the outside water intake using a hand pump.
If using the water pump, turn pump on and open the cold water side of all faucet fixtures (including outside fixtures). Leave faucets open until the antifreeze flows out. Repeat for hot water side. If using a hand pump, check your progress by opening one faucet at a time. Start from the highest point and working to the lowest point in the water system.
Flush toilet until antifreeze begins to flow into the bowl.
Turn off the water pump, or disconnect the hand pump. Finally, pour about a quart of RV antifreeze into each of the drains (including the toilet) to fill the traps.