How do I winterize using the antifreeze method?
NOTE: This is the general instructions for all RV's. Your specific model may have features not commonly found on Keystone products (utility command center, or another type of centralized utility center) which will make it necessary for you to modify these guidelines to meet your model's options. They generally will work for any Keystone RV with some minor adaptations as required.
1. Purchase at least 2, preferably 3 gallons of RV approved non-toxic, anti-freeze (the pink stuff), the appropriate fitting and supply hose for your water pump and an anti-freeze hand pump. All of these are available at most RV stores.
2. Go to the Keystone website and watch the video titled, "Winterize Your RV": http://www.keystonerv.com/customer-service
Once you are familiar with the video and have read and understand the sequence below, you're ready to start the process. I would suggest printing these steps and using them as a “checklist” to make sure you complete all the steps.
3. Drain all fresh water and holding tanks. Flush the black tank thoroughly. It should be clean, although it doesn't need to be "squeaky clean".
4. Make sure the water heater electrical heating element is turned off, then drain water heater by removing the anode rod or, on Atwood water heaters, remove the plastic plug. Check the anode for condition (Atwood HWH does not use an anode rod). Note: opening the relief valve will drain the water faster.
5. Turn water heater by-pass valve to the by-pass position. The by-pass valve is located on the back side of the water heater and may not be accessible without removing an access panel, a drawer or climbing inside a cupboard to reach it.
6. Open all the hot and cold faucets in and outside the RV. Open low point drains on hot and cold water lines. This may take up to 3 or 4 hours before the water stops draining, however usually it's less than one hour.
7. Close all of the faucets and the low point drains after all water has stopped dripping.
8. Remove the fresh water supply hose from the inlet side of the water pump and install the antifreeze suction hose. Insert the suction hose into a gallon of antifreeze. Turn on pump switch. You will notice anti-freeze being drawn from the container and into the pump.
NOTE: During the following steps, monitor the level of anti-freeze in the container, as it empties, turn off the pump and either refill the container or insert the hose into a fresh container of anti-freeze.
9. Starting with the closest cold water faucet, open each one until antifreeze flows from the faucet, then close the handle and move to the next furthest faucet. Repeat until all faucets are protected. Don't forget any outside faucets in the outdoor kitchen, outdoor shower and if your RV is equipped, the washer components (hot, cold, drain). .
10. Flush toilet until anti-freeze begins to flow into the bowl. This will complete the “cold water supply” side of your RV plumbing.
Repeat the above procedure with the HOT water faucets, again starting with the faucet closest to the water pump, and moving to the next faucet in line until all the HOT water faucets flow pink. Don't forget the outdoor kitchen and/or outdoor shower. When all of the faucets and the toilet have been purged of water and flow pink, turn off the water pump, remove the anti-freeze suction hose and replace the FW tank supply line on the pump inlet.
11. Pour about one or two cups of anti-freeze down each sink drain and the shower drain to fill p-traps. Pour about 2 cups of antifreeze into the bowl of the toilet. DO NOT open the valve. Antifreeze on top of the slide valve will protect the rubber seal and keep it moist/pliable during the winter storage.
12. Using the hand pump, instill an adequate amount of anti-freeze into the city water connection to fill the hose. (Usually about one or two cups) This will allow antifreeze to get to the check valve.
13. Using the hand pump, instill antifreeze into the Black tank flush inlet. This will protect the anti-siphon valve and its water lines. This may take up to 1/2 gallon depending on the distance from the inlet port to the black tank.
If you Google "winterizing an RV" you will find loads of information about how to do this. You can also use the "air" method to winterize instead of using RV antifreeze or use a combination of both. These will be discussed in another FAQ topic.
When you are doing the winterizing of your RV, it's a great time to also consider inspecting your axles, suspension, brakes, bearings, tires, running gear and the overall condition of your RV, Starting at the top, from the roof and going all the way down to performing corrosion control on the frame and metal components as well as checking the tire tread for damage.
Some things you might consider are:
1. While your HW tank is drained, take a few minutes to flush it out. You can buy a special wand like adapter to work through the anode rod port, make one yourself, or simply shoot some water in there under high pressure while watching for debris and anything that might have settled to the floor of the tank during use.
2. Clean your EPDM/TPO roof membrane and condition it with your choice of products.
3. Wash and wax your trailer
4. Reinspect for any holes or access points where rodents or insects could get into your RV. Seal them well and add any "anti-rodent" products you might want to add.
5. Clean and dry the refrigerator, furnace, A/C filters.
6. Unplug the TV's and any small appliances you might have on the counters or other places.
7. Clean/shampoo/mop all floors, furniture, drapes, windows, vents, shower walls and upholstery that may need attention.
8. Check, double check and then triple check for any food products or clothing/blankets/pillows that may attract rodents. Remove them, protect them or store them in places that are not accessible by such pests.
9. Remove anything that may be damaged by freezing or that may damage something in your RV by freezing. Especially remove all liquids, canned foods, soda, beer, wine, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, medicines, hair spray, mouthwash, etc.
Winterizing is not a difficult process and when you do it once successfully, it becomes easier each year.