If you’re an RV owner, the winter months can be daunting. It’s important to take precautions in order to protect your plumbing system from freezing temperatures and burst pipes. But how do you decide between blowing out RV water lines vs antifreeze?
Overall using compressed air to blow out an RV’s water lines is a cost-effective method of winterizing an RV and is easier to perform in addition to being easier to de-winterize. However, in extremely cold weather it is not as effective as using antifreeze to winterize.
In this article, we’ll delve into both approaches to assist you in making a well-informed decision on which is the most suitable for your recreational vehicle.
That way you can practically guarantee it runs without any issues during winter.
We’ll discuss topics such as fresh tank draining techniques, black tank maintenance tips, hot water heater bypass valve tricks – all while exploring why blowing out RV water lines vs antifreeze might be a good idea (or not.)
Table of Contents:
- What is Blowing Out RV Water Lines?
- How to Blow Out RV Water Lines
- Pros and Cons of Blowing the Lines in Your RV’s Water System
- Pros and Cons of Using Antifreeze in Your RV’s Water System
What is Blowing Out RV Water Lines?
Blowing out RV water lines is a process of removing all the water from your RV’s plumbing system.
Anytime your RV will just be parked during winter without the power on and without the taps dripping, you need to winterize it if it gets below freezing where you live.
The process involves using compressed air to force the remaining water out of the pipes and faucets, leaving them completely dry and free from potential harm.
What is the Process?
Blowing out RV water lines requires an air compressor with a minimum pressure rating of 50 PSI (pounds per square inch). Most will go much higher than 50, but staying around 50 ensures you won’t damage the water system.
Don’t worry. I’ll do a step-by-step guide in the next section.
Blowing out RV water lines can be beneficial in multiple ways. It helps protect against frozen pipes, which can lead to costly repairs due to bursting or leaking plumbing systems when exposed to cold temperatures over extended periods of time without regular use.
Additionally, it reduces buildup within piping systems that could cause clogs and affect performance negatively if left unchecked for too long between trips or uses.
Blowing out RV water lines is an essential step for winterizing your rig and ensuring that it survives the cold temperatures.
Now, let’s look at how to blow out those water lines so you can enjoy a worry-free camping season.
How to Blow Out RV Water Lines
Turn off any water supply connected to your RV from a hose. Then, open up faucets throughout the RV and allow them to run until the water runs out. Keep the faucets open.
You’ll need an air compressor that can reach 50 PSI, like this one on Amazon. You will also need a blowout plug like this one on Amazon which will thread onto your fresh water tank’s drain plug.
The drain plug is located on the freshwater tank outside the RV usually accessible behind one of the exterior doors.
Start by connecting one end of your hose to the blow-out plug and then connect it to your air compressor. Then turn it on starting with a low PSI.
Gradually increase the PSI until you get to about 50. Keep blowing air until there is no water visible coming from any faucet.
One tip for successful blowing out is making sure that all hoses connected between outside faucets such as an outside shower or washing machine are disconnected prior to starting the procedure.
This helps prevent overpressurization which could lead to leaks occurring down the line after refilling the tank with fresh potable drinking water post-winterizing season.
Additionally, always remember to wear protective eye gear anytime working around high pressured systems like those found within RVs since even small amounts escaping unexpectedly can cause serious injury if not taken seriously ahead of time.
Once you’ve successfully blown out your RV water lines, you can explore the alternative option of using antifreeze to protect your water system from freezing temperatures.
Discover the advantages and disadvantages of using antifreeze to protect your RV water system from freezing temperatures, as well as how to implement it, by reading further.
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Pros and Cons of Blowing the Lines in Your RV’s Water System
Pros of using compressed air to blow the lines in an RV’s water system:
- It is a fast and efficient way to remove all standing water from the system.
- It can be done without having to disconnect any of the plumbing.
- It is a relatively inexpensive way to protect the system during cold winter months.
- It can be done by one person in a short amount of time.
- It is a safe and effective way to prevent damage from freezing temperatures.
- Un-winterizing in Spring is quick and easy as it doesn’t involve flushing the lines of antifreeze.
- No lingering antifreeze taste in your water once you return it to normal use.
Cons of using compressed air to blow the lines in an RV’s water system:
- The process can be noisy.
- The air pressure needs to be monitored carefully to avoid damaging the plumbing.
- The process requires access to an air compressor, which may not always be available or convenient.
- If not done correctly, it can cause leaks or other damage to the plumbing system.
- It may not be effective in removing all standing water from some areas of the system (putting your RV at risk of freeze damage).
- Not quite as good as using antifreeze in places where temps get well below freezing.
Pros and Cons of Using Antifreeze in Your RV’s Water System
Pros of Using Antifreeze in an RV’s Water System
- The best and most effective way to ensure no burst pipes during cold winter months.
- Septic-safe RV-approved antifreeze is easy to find.
Cons of Using Antifreeze in an RV’s Water System
- Must be continually purchased as opposed to a one-time compressor expense.
- A lot of work to de-winterize.
- A lingering taste of antifreeze in the water once you de-winterize.
- Dangerous to wildlife and the environment despite RV anti-freeze being labeled non-toxic.
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How to Use Antifreeze in Your RV’s Water System:
First, make sure all of the water lines are empty.
This can be done by turning off the water supply and running all of the faucets until they are dry. Then, turn off the water heater and drain it completely. Once all water has drained from the faucets, turn them off again.
Next, add antifreeze, like this best-seller on Amazon, to each of the drains in your RV in addition to the toilet.
Most water pumps in an RV have an antifreeze suction tube attached to them.
It’s typically a small white plastic tube that connects to the pump on one end and is not connected to anything on the other end.
Close the valve to the fresh water tank, and open the valve for the antifreeze tube. Then place the other end of the tube into the gallon of antifreeze.
Turn on the water pump and allow it to pull the antifreeze into the plumbing system until the gallon of antifreeze is empty.
Then close the valve for the antifreeze tube and open the valve for the freshwater tank back again.
Then run the faucets inside the camper (with the pump still on) and the outside shower if you have one, and allow them to run until what comes out is totally pink (the usual color of RV antifreeze).
CLICK HERE to see the best choice for RV non-toxic anti-freeze on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
What PSI should I use blowing out water lines in RV?
Blowing out water lines in an RV is essential to prevent damage from freezing temperatures.
The PSI (pounds per square inch) used for this process should be about 50 PSI. This pressure will ensure that all the water has been removed from the system, while still being gentle enough not to cause any damage.
It’s wise to be mindful that too much PSI can cause more harm than benefit.
So it is best to take the safest route when selecting a pressure level. With proper preparation and maintenance, your RV will stay safe during cold weather months.
Can I winterize my RV without antifreeze?
Yes, you can winterize your RV without antifreeze.
Empty the plumbing system of all liquid and replace it with air – this includes draining out the fresh water tank, hot water heater, and any other holding tanks/lines. This includes draining the fresh water tank, hot water heater, and any other tanks or lines that contain liquid.
Once everything is drained and filled with air, use a non-toxic RV antifreeze alternative such as propylene glycol to protect against freezing temperatures in exposed pipes.
Finally, add lubricants to all moving parts like pumps and valves for added protection during cold weather months.
Do you leave RV antifreeze in the RV’s plumbing lines?
Yes, RV antifreeze should be left in the lines to prevent any damage from freezing temperatures.
Keep it in there until the last danger of freezing temperatures has passed. Then go through the process of de-winterizing it which involves completely draining the antifreeze and flushing the lines with water to get rid of any lingering antifreeze.
Is blowing out your RV water lines cheaper than using antifreeze?
Winterizing an RV is an important part of preparing for the cold winter season.
One of the most important steps in winterizing an RV is protecting the water lines from freezing. There are two main ways to do this: blowing out the water lines or using antifreeze.
Overall, blowing out your RV’s water lines is usually cheaper than using antifreeze to winterize it.
However, there are some cases where using antifreeze may be more cost-effective, such as if you live in an area with extremely cold winters or if you plan on leaving your RV unattended for long periods of time during winter months.
Does blowing out your RV water lines prevent pipes from freezing?
Yes, blowing out your RV water lines can help prevent pipes from freezing during freezing temperatures.
This is because when you blow out the water lines, you are removing all of the water from the pipes. Without any water in the pipes, there is nothing for the cold temperatures to freeze.
It is important to note that this method will only work if ALL of the water has been removed from the pipes.
If there is still some water left in them, then it can still freeze and cause damage to your RV’s plumbing system. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you completely empty all of your RV’s water lines before attempting to blow them out.
Other steps to help avoid burst pipes
In addition to blowing out your RV’s water lines, there are other steps you can take to help prevent your pipes from freezing during cold temperatures.
One of these steps is to insulate your RV’s plumbing system with insulation wrap or foam insulation. This will help keep the temperature inside of your RV’s plumbing system higher than outside temperatures and reduce the chances of freezing.
Another step you can take is to keep a small trickle of water running through your RV’s plumbing system when temperatures drop below freezing. This will help keep the temperature inside of your plumbing system higher than outside temperatures and reduce the chances of freezing as well.
Of course that requires being connected to a water source like when you’re at a campground.
Finally, it is important to make sure that all exposed pipes are properly insulated and sealed off from cold air drafts or wind chill factors that could cause them to freeze more quickly than normal.
Taking these steps will help ensure that your RV’s plumbing system remains safe and functional during cold weather conditions.
How to winterize an RV: The complete guide!❄️
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Is blowing out RV water lines as effective as antifreeze in sub-zero temperatures?
Blowing out RV water lines is a popular method of winterizing recreational vehicles in sub-zero temperatures. It involves using compressed air to force all the water out of the lines, preventing them from freezing and bursting.
However, this method is not as effective as using antifreeze.
Antifreeze is designed to remain liquid even in extremely cold temperatures, so it can protect the pipes from freezing and bursting. It also helps to lubricate the valves and seals, which can help prevent leaks.
Blowing out RV water lines does have some advantages over antifreeze.
It is much less expensive than antifreeze, and it does not require any special equipment or tools. Additionally, it is much easier to do than using antifreeze, as it only requires a compressor and an air hose.
However, blowing out RV water lines is not as effective as antifreeze in sub-zero temperatures.
The compressed air may not be able to reach all of the pipes and fittings in the system, leaving some areas unprotected from freezing and bursting. Additionally, if there are any leaks or cracks in the system, they may still be vulnerable to freezing even after being blown out with compressed air.
RV antifreeze types – which is best?
The most common type of RV antifreeze is propylene glycol-based.
This type of antifreeze is non-toxic and biodegradable, making it safe for use in recreational vehicles. It also has a low freezing point, which makes it ideal for winterizing an RV. However, propylene glycol-based antifreeze can be more expensive than other types. But it is the most common choice for winterizing RVs.
Another type of antifreeze is ethylene glycol-based, and this is what you might normally see for cars.
This type is more toxic than propylene glycol-based antifreeze and should not be used in recreational vehicles. It also has a higher freezing point than propylene glycol-based antifreeze, making it better suited for colder climates.
However, ethylene glycol-based antifreeze can be more corrosive than other types and can damage some metals over time. It SHOULD NOT be used to winterize an RV.
A third type of RV antifreeze is methanol-based.
This type is toxic and hazardous to humans and animals alike. But it is popular as it has a higher boiling point than either ethylene or propylene glycol-based antifreeze.
Methanol-based antifreeze also does not corrode metals like ethylene glycol does, making it a good choice for those who want to protect their metal components from corrosion over time.
However, methanol-based antifreeze can be more expensive than other types and may require special handling when disposing of them due to their toxicity levels.
Because you will be eventually drinking water from faucets that once contained the antifreeze, DO NOT use Methanol-based antifreeze.
CLICK HERE to see the best choice for RV anti-freeze on Amazon.
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How do you de-winterize an RV?
De-winterizing an RV is an important step in preparing for the camping season once the last danger of freeze has passed. It involves a few simple steps to ensure that your RV is ready for the road.
The first step is to drain the freshwater tank.
With the power to the RV on, turn on the water pump and open all the faucets and shower. The antifreeze (pink stuff typically) will begin to flow. All it to flow until it stops flowing.
Next, you will need to flush out all of the plumbing lines. This can be done by connecting a garden hose to the RV as you normally do at a campground and turn it on. With the faucets still open, run fresh water until all of the antifreeze has been flushed out.
Make sure to run plenty of water through each line until it runs clear.
Do monitor the levels in your black and gray tanks to ensure you don’t accidentally overfill them! If you are at a campground, simply ensure your gray/black water tank hose is connected to the campground’s sewer drain and open the gate valves as you would normally at a campground.
De-winterizing an RV is an important step in preparing for the camping season, as it ensures that your RV’s plumbing system is protected from freezing temperatures during winter months.
But that’s just a quick snapshot and not the focus of this article!
Check out my complete step-by-step guide and checklist on de-winterization. I show you everything you need to do to get your RV ready be back in action.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
What do you do with the water filter when winterizing an RV?
Winterizing an RV is an important part of preparing for the cold winter months. One of the steps in this process is to take care of the water filter.
The first step is to remove the filter from its housing.
This can be done by unscrewing the housing and carefully removing the filter. It’s important to be careful when doing this, as some filters can be fragile and easily damaged.
The water filter is typically located very close to where you connect the water supply from a campground to your RV. Typically on the outside of the RV behind one of the hatch doors.
Once the filter has been removed, it should be inspected for any signs of damage or wear and tear. If any damage is found, it should be replaced with a new one before continuing with winterizing.
The next step is to clean the filter thoroughly. This can be done by running a solution of vinegar and water through it, or by using a specialized cleaning solution designed for water filters. Once cleaned, it should be rinsed thoroughly with clean water before being stored away for winterization.
Finally, the filter should be stored in a cool, dry place until it’s ready to be used again in springtime. This will help ensure that it remains in good condition throughout the winter months and will help keep your RV’s water system running smoothly when you’re ready to use it again in springtime.
How much antifreeze do you need to winterize an RV?
For a standard RV, you will need between 2 and 4 gallons of antifreeze.
If your RV is larger than average, you may need up to 6 gallons. It is important to use a non-toxic, propylene glycol-based antifreeze that is safe for drinking water systems.
CLICK HERE to see the best choice for RV anti-freeze on Amazon.
Ultimately, comprehending the dissimilarities between blowing out your RV’s water lines and utilizing antifreeze is paramount for correctly winterizing your rig, if it even gets cold enough to warrant winterizing your RV.
Blowing out the water lines is an ideal approach to guarantee no liquid remains in the system or holding tanks, but if that isn’t possible, then antifreeze can be a suitable substitute.
However, make sure that you follow all of the instructions outlined in your owner’s manual when doing either one of these tasks as improper use could lead to costly repairs down the road.
No matter which method you choose for winterizing your RV‘s plumbing system, just remember that blowing out rv water lines vs antifreeze can both be used effectively depending on what works best for you.
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