How to Winterize a Travel Trailer [9 Easy To Follow Steps]

Ready to store your travel trailer for the winter? These are the step you need to take to winterize your travel trailer?

Step 1. Disconnect any outside water source

Step 2. Drain your water system

Step 3. Drain your water heater

Step 4. Blow out your lines

Step 5. By-pass your water heater

Step 6. Add anti-freeze (Non-Toxic RV Anti-freeze)

Step 7. Pour anti-freeze in the shower and all sinks

Step 8. Drain your gray and black water tanks

Step 9. You are done winterizing your travel trailer

For many travel trailer owners, the beginning of the Fall is the end of their travel trailer season. This is the time that many choose to winterize their travel trailer and prep it for storage.

So let’s begin the process of winterizing a travel trailer. Before you begin there are few things you may want to have on hand to help the process move along a little quicker and more efficiently

  • You’ll want to get some non-toxic RV antifreeze. The amount you will need is going to be about 2 to 3 gallons.
  • If your travel trailer does not already have a water heater bypass you will need to get one and install it.
  • You will need a tank cleaning wand if your RV does not have a built-in tank flushing system.
  • A water pump converter kit is also helpful’
  • You will also need some basic hand tools to remove and install drain plugs

Winterizing Your RV Detailed Steps

Step # 1 – Okay, so the first thing you’re going to want to do is to disconnect any outside water source. You will also want to disconnect any inline filters or bypass them if they have a bypass.

Step # 2 – Now it’s time to drain your system. Find the fresh water holding tank and drain it.

Step # 3 – You are now you ready to drain the water heater tank. It’s important to know that you should never drain the water heater tank when it is hot or under pressure. Make sure the water pump is in the off position, open up the hot water faucet to remove any pressure and allow the water heater tank to cool before draining. The water heater tank has a pressure relief valve located at the top and you can open that to help drain it faster.

Step # 4 -Blowing out the lines is an optional step. To do so attach a blow-out plug to the city water intake and apply air pressure from an air compressor. The air pressure should not exceed 45 PSI. Once you’re done blowing up the lines close all faucets and petcocks.

Step # 5 – In this step, we’re going to bypass your water heater. By doing this you avoid having to fill your water heater with antifreeze which can save you as much as 6 to 10 gallons of antifreeze. Some RVs come pre-equipped with a bypass system but many do not. If yours does not have a water heater bypass system then you will need to purchase a kit and install it.

Step # 6 -Let’s add the antifreeze. There are typically two ways to add antifreeze to your travel trailer. You can use a water pump conversion kit and add the antifreeze from the inside or you can use a hand pump and add the antifreeze from the outside. To check your progress you will need to open up one faucet at a time. Begin with the kitchen faucet and open up the hot water side and keep it open until antifreeze is flowing through it. Once the flow output from the hot water side faucet is pink you will know that antifreeze is in that system and you can close the faucet. Do the same with the cold side. Do this with all faucets working from the highest which is usually the kitchen faucet to the lowest which is typically the bathroom in the shower and finally the toilet.

Step # 7 -At this stage of the process, you will want to add about 2 pints of antifreeze into the shower and sink drains. If you have an ice maker, washing machine, or an external shower you will want to winterize those as well. For those accessories check your owner’s manual on how to winterize them.

Step # 8 – Next thing you’ll want to drain is the grey and black water holding tanks. make sure you drain them at an approved RV dump station. If your travel trailer does not have a built-in tank flushing system you can use our recommended tank flushing wand to clean and drain your system.

Step # 9– You now are done winterizing your travel trailer.

Here are some additional tips before you place your travel trailer and storage.

  • Clean out your refrigerator and pantry and remove anything that can spoil will not attract rodents.
  • Perform a thorough cleaning on the interior of your travel trailer.
  • Perform an exterior inspection and check for areas that might need caulking or repair.
  • Your sewer hose will probably need cleaning before you start it.
  • Thoroughly wash the exterior of your RV and wax.
  • wash the awning with an awning cleaner. let it dry completely before you roll it up.

Below is a video showing the winterization of a typical travel trailer.


Winterizing a travel trailer is not a difficult task. We do encourage you to check your owner’s manual to make sure that you are following the precise step for your particular travel trailer. if you are uncomfortable winterizing your travel trailer most RV dealers will do the job for you at a cost of $300-$700.

Caution: The steps above are very general and some may or may not apply to your particular travel trailer. Check your owner’s manual for the exact steps needed to winterize your travel trailer or hire a professional to do it for you.

Don’t own a travel trailer just yet? If you are thinking of buying one in the near future check out our top-rated travel trailer brands post.

Ray RomanĀ is the co-owner/author of Go Travel Trailers. He is the main contributor of content and an avid researcher of travel trailers and the RV lifestyle. He loves fly fishing, vacationing in Red River, NM, and spending time with family and friends.

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