Note: Third of four parts. In Part 1 we drained the fresh water tank and the water heater. In Part 2 we bypassed the water heater. Also, some blow out the plumbing with compressed air. Roadtrek Corporation advises against doing this. In this part we look at the fresh water system. And when it comes to Roadtreks, it seems there are as many suggested ways to winterize as there are Roadtrek models. While these how-to guides refer specifically to our 1995 Dodge Roadtrek 190 Popular, most of these tips will also apply to other models. If in doubt, check your manual for your specific RV.
We are now ready for the antifreeze. We usually buy two gallons so we have extra for flushing during winter camping, but in a pinch you can winterize with one gallon. Remember if your water heater is not bypassed, you will need 6 extra gallons of antifreeze to fill it. You need to get RV antifreeze, it is non-toxic and can be used in drinking water systems. We prefer to get the stuff in the rectangular bottles – just because they fit between the toilet and the wall in the bathroom. We use antifreeze for flushing during winter camping (we use only the black tank in the winter).
You will need a funnel to get the antifreeze into your empty fresh water tank through the gravity fill port. In Roadtreks these are usually located in the passage side front door or the rear door. Pour one whole gallon into the tank. Depending on the number of faucets you may need more. Too much is fine, but too little is a problem. Now you are ready to run the antifreeze through the plumbing lines.
Turn on your water pump. If you have already dumped your black and gray tanks prior to winterizing, use a basin to catch any of the liquid at the faucets. This is to avoid adding the heavily diluted antifreeze into the tanks. Once it becomes bright pink, go ahead and let it go into your gray tank.
Start with the kitchen sink. You want to do one faucet at a time. Turn on the cold water and run until it turns pink, then shut it off. Then turn on the hot water until it runs pink and shut it off.
If you have a bathroom sink, you will not to do the same there.
Then do the shower. Turn on the cold until it runs pink and then the same with the hot. If you have an outside shower do the same there. If you have already dumped you can run into a bucket or basin instead of the toilet.
Next flush the toilet until the water runs pink.
Now you have that “pink stuff” in almost all of your water lines.
Can you think of what we are missing? They are probably the most commonly missed items in winterizing (besides the macerator on newer Roadtreks).
First is the city water input in the outside compartment. It has a check valve in it. Disconnect any quick release connector you might have added and reach a finger up inside to push on the check valve. Some water will come out. Keep pushing on it until the water coming out is pink. If you forget this and it freezes it will require replacement of the valve and potentially other plumbing parts.
Second is the fresh water drain line. The drain line from the fresh water tank can up opened briefly until pink stuff runs out. Then close it back up. You should still have adequate antifreeze in your fresh water tank to protect it.
Oh yeah, be sure to turn off your water pump.
For Older Roadtreks only.
For those of you with older Roadtreks, you will not have an outside shower, but you may have low point drain valves (one hot, one cold) instead. They are very handy for draining the system, but they need to be winterized too. They are located near the city water connection (valve shown open in the photo).
The output of these low point drain valves is in the wheel well. Should you not have a water heater you will only have one of these valve and drain lines.
Open each valve (hot and cold) until the output runs pink.
You have now run antifreeze through all of your fresh water system. But you still have a few items left to do – dealing with your black and gray systems. You are ready for Part 4.