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When Do You Use RV Anti-Freeze?

If you want your camper to last as long as possible, there are some important things you need to do to extend its life. RV anti-freeze is one product that can help you avoid experiencing serious issues with your RV’s plumbing system.

But when and how to use RV anti-freeze to protect your rig can confuse some RVers.

Today, we’ll help you understand why and when you should use RV anti-freeze. Let’s get started!

What Is RV Anti-Freeze?

RV anti-freeze is a liquid that does exactly as its name implies; it refuses to freeze. This unique liquid can withstand temperatures as low as -50 to -100 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the substance of choice for those who want to protect their RV’s plumbing system from experiencing damage during the winter.

RV anti-freeze is very different from other types you can find on the market. One of the main differences is that it is non-toxic. While you don’t necessarily want to drink it, you won’t have to worry about it leaving behind any dangerous chemicals in your plumbing system.

You can typically identify it by its bright pink color. This is very different from the green or yellow-green color manufacturers use for automobile anti-freeze.

What Do You Use RV Anti-Freeze For?

You use RV anti-freeze in the plumbing system of an RV. Its main purpose is to protect the water lines and other sensitive parts in an RV’s plumbing system from damage due to freezing temperatures.

Pumping RV anti-freeze through the water lines and plumbing system eliminates any water that could remain in the system. Since water expands as it turns into ice, this could cause damage to water lines and various connections in the system.

Unfortunately, many RVers who don’t winterize their rig properly often discover serious issues at the start of the next camping season. Cracked pipes and damaged fittings can cause leaks that ultimately lead to water damage in the rig.

Pro Tip: Even as temperatures drop, keep warm in your RV by using these 5 Ways to Heat Your RV This Winter.

Man pouring anti-freeze into vehicle
Only use anti-freeze safe for RVs.

When Should I Put Anti-Freeze in My RV?

If you live or store your RV in an area that experiences temperatures dropping below zero during the winter, you should use RV anti-freeze. The best time to prep your pipes is after your last trip for the season when you start preparing your RV to sit unused for months.

We highly recommend winterizing your RV and protecting your pipes before the temperatures drop. While it’s not an overly time-consuming task, you don’t want to be in a hurry. You want to be able to take your time to make sure you do it right. You don’t want to wait until the threat of freezing temperatures is in the forecast.

Not everyone needs to winterize their RV, especially those in warmer climates. However, if temperatures could reach below freezing for more than 24 hours, you’ll want to consider it. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Which Drains Do You Pour RV Anti-Freeze Down to Winterize?

When using RV anti-freeze to winterize your camper, you should pour it down all of the drains in your RV. This includes showers, sinks, and toilets. 

You must dump at least a cup of RV anti-freeze down each drain. This helps ensure you remove any remaining water from the drains and protect them from any potential damage from freezing temperatures.

Blue anti-freeze sitting on top of vehicle motor
Protect your camper by properly winterizing it before temperatures drop.

Do You Put RV Anti-Freeze in the Fresh Water Tank?

You can put RV anti-freeze in your RV’s fresh water tank. It won’t cause any damage to your tank or contaminate your water. For some RVers, this is one of the easiest ways to cycle the water through their water system.

You’ll want to dump a couple of gallons into your fresh water tank and then use the water pump to move the liquid through the system. You’ll want to open each faucet, toilet, and shower head until you see the pink color from the anti-freeze.

Do You Put Anti-Freeze in the RV Hot Water Tank?

You want to avoid putting RV anti-freeze in it. However, you’re not going to cause any damage to your hot water tank if you do. You’re simply going to need substantially more anti-freeze.

When winterizing a camper, you can typically get by with only 2 or 3 gallons of RV anti-freeze. However, a typical RV hot water tank is 6 to 10 gallons. This means you’ll need multiple times more RV anti-freeze if you fill your hot water tank. It’s best to check your owner’s manual to see how to bypass the water heater entirely.

Will RV Anti-Freeze Melt Ice in Pipes?

Unfortunately, RV anti-freeze will not melt ice in pipes. If you’re experiencing frozen pipes, you’ll need to wait for warmer temperatures to thaw them. Once the pipes thaw, you can dump RV anti-freeze through them to prevent any future frozen pipe.

Pro Tip: Trying to decide how to best winterize your RV this winter? Find out Do You Need RV Skirting This Winter?

Is It Necessary to Use RV Anti-Freeze When Winterizing? 

Using anti-freeze is one of the easiest and most effective ways to winterize a camper. However, it is possible to winterize it without using a single drop of RV anti-freeze. This method involves using low air pressure from an air compressor while opening each water source. This pushes out any remaining water in the lines, so they’re safe for winter.

Have you ever winterized your RV? What’s been your experience?

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