winterize RV with air compressor

An Easy Guide to Winterize RV with Air Compressor

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think much about your RV’s water lines until something goes wrong. But if you want to avoid costly repairs down the road, you need to winterize it before storing it for the winter months. Most RVers do this with antifreeze, but you can actually winterize RV with air compressor.

RV water lines are susceptible to freezing in winter, which can cause extensive damage. But if you take precautions, you can keep them in good shape during the long storage time. So, you must be thinking about how to winterize a camper with air compressor. We’ve documented the process so you can do it without hassle.

The Disadvantages of Using Antifreeze

As we said, many RVers use antifreeze for winterization. While it works without any significant issues, there could still be some little disadvantages.

It’s messy. Let’s face it; antifreeze is a messy substance. It’s hard to work with and can make a mess of your RV if you’re not careful.
You need lots of antifreeze. Depending on the size of your RV, you may need two to three gallons of antifreeze to winterize your water lines properly. It can be expensive, as a gallon from a renowned brand costs around $20 to $25.

After winterizing with antifreeze, you need to de-winterize the water lines when the warmer weather returns. This process can be time-consuming and adds to your maintenance work.

Overall, winterizing your RV water lines with antifreeze can be a hassle. It’s messy and expensive, and you’ll need to de-winterize when the warmer weather returns. Weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

You can avoid the inconveniences and save money by choosing to winterize RV with air compressor.

winterize RV with air compressor
You don’t need antifreeze for RV winterization. Photo: Virrage Images/Shutterstock

How to Winterize RV With Air Compressor

Winterizing the RV plumbing is an effective way to prevent the freezing of the lines and several other related problems. Frozen pipes can burst open besides having premature wear and tear. So, preparing them for the cold months is one way of saving on costly repairs.

Let’s see how to use air compressor to winterize RV:

What You’ll Need

If you don’t have an air compressor and winterization kit, you’ll need the following tools and accessories:

  • An RV air compressor. Read this buyer guide before buying one.
  • A winterization kit

If you don’t have a kit, you can assemble one by collecting these tools:

  • Female quick connector
  • Make quick-connect plug
  • An air pressure regulator (adjustable)
  • A blow-out plug
  • Antifreeze (non-toxic and RV-safe)

Are you surprised to see antifreeze on this list? Don’t be. You will need a small amount for the p-traps.

Steps for How to Use Air Compressor for RV Winterizing

Even if you know nothing about how to winterize RV with air compressor, this guide will be helpful. We’ve covered the step-by-step procedure.

Drain the water tanks and lines

Emptying the tanks requires connecting them to a sewer system and opening the low-point drains on the water system. There should be no water left in the tanks and the pipes. Keep the gray water tank connected to the sewer line throughout the time.

Similarly, the water heater also needs to be drained. But you cannot just open it and release the water because it’ll be searing hot. The best practice would be to turn it off the previous night so it’s cold when you open it the next day.

Drain the faucets

The next task is draining all the faucets. Open all the kitchen and bathroom taps and wait for 10 to 15 minutes. However, even a small amount of remaining water can cause leaking or make the pipes burst. So, take your time and wait an hour (if needed) to ensure the faucets are drained.

The RV water system should still be connected to the sewer line to ensure that all water gets dumped properly.

When the draining is done, close all pipes of the tanks and the faucets.

Prepare the air compressor

You need to set the air compressor PSI before using it to blow air. Too high of air pressure can damage the plumbing system.
Setting the PSI will require an adjustable pressure regulator. Use the trailer’s water pressure regulator if you don’t have one. Set it up after the compressor hose’s trigger. It prevents the unnecessary running of the compressor.

Blow out the plumbing system

The first step to winterize RV with air compressor is to blow air into the water heater lines. Ensure the heater’s pressure release valve is closed, and the drain is open. Connect the compressor to the open drain and turn it on.

The air will drive out some water from the heater. Keep it running until no more water comes out, or it becomes a trickle.

Blow the hot and cold water lines

First, open the warm water at a faucet and use the air compressor to blow air through the hot water lines. When the water stops dripping from the faucet, close it and the warm water side.

Open the cold water line and blow air through it. The step will be complete when no more water comes out of the line. Turn off the cold water supply.

how to use air compressor to winterize rv
Winterization with an air compressor. Photo: The RV Geeks

Repeat the blowing process for all faucets

After successfully blowing off the hot and cold water lines, it’s time to repeat the process for all other RV faucets. You have to do them one by one, so it may take quite some time.

Don’t forget about winterizing the taps in the outside kitchen and shower.

Use antifreeze for drains and toilets

While we are using an air compressor for winterizing the water lines, you cannot use it for drains and toilets. In this case, some antifreeze will come in handy. Pour some down the toilets and drains to save them from getting cracked in the winter.

The drains in your trailer should have a trap. It prevents the smell from coming out of the water tanks by holding a small amount of water. You need to replace that water with antifreeze.

So, that’s how you can winterize your RV with an air compressor. It’s easier than using antifreeze if you follow the proper instructions.

One Response

  1. Bart McGlinsey

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