How to Put Antifreeze in Camper

How to Put Antifreeze in Your Camper: A Step-by-Step Guide

As winter approaches, it’s essential to prepare your camper for the freezing temperatures to prevent any damage to your plumbing system. One crucial step in winterizing your camper is adding antifreeze. In this article, we will guide you through the process of putting antifreeze in your camper, ensuring that it remains in optimum condition during the cold season.

Step 1: Gather the necessary materials
Before starting, make sure you have the following items:
– RV antifreeze (non-toxic)
– A water pump converter kit or a hand pump
– A bucket or a large container
– A funnel
– A set of pliers
– Safety glasses and gloves

Step 2: Drain all water from the system
To begin, ensure that all water tanks, including fresh water, gray water, and black water tanks, are completely drained. Open all faucets, showers, and valves to allow water to flow out. Flush the toilet to empty the water from the toilet bowl and tank.

Step 3: Locate the water pump and bypass valve
Next, locate the water pump and its bypass valve. The bypass valve diverts antifreeze into the plumbing system without entering the fresh water tank.

Step 4: Prepare the antifreeze
Take your non-toxic RV antifreeze and mix it with water in a 1:1 ratio. This dilution will prevent the antifreeze from being too concentrated, ensuring it won’t damage your plumbing system.

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Step 5: Connect the pump converter kit or hand pump
If you have a water pump converter kit, connect it to the water pump inlet. If not, you can use a hand pump attached to the end of a hose. Place the other end of the hose into the antifreeze container.

Step 6: Start pumping the antifreeze
Turn on the water pump and open each faucet, one at a time, including showers, tubs, and both hot and cold water taps. Begin with the faucet furthest away from the water pump and work your way closer. Keep the faucets open until the antifreeze comes out, ensuring that all water lines are filled with antifreeze.

Step 7: Flush the toilet
Flush the toilet until you see antifreeze in the bowl and the plumbing system connected to it.

Step 8: Bypass the hot water tank
To avoid filling your hot water tank with antifreeze, locate the bypass valve near the tank and turn it on. This will allow the antifreeze to bypass the tank and flow directly into the plumbing system.

Step 9: Check the plumbing system
Once you have completed the antifreeze pumping process, turn off the water pump and close all the faucets. Inspect each faucet, valve, and showerhead to ensure they have antifreeze inside. Also, check the toilet bowl to ensure it has antifreeze present.

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Step 10: Drain the remaining antifreeze
When spring arrives, you need to remove the antifreeze from your camper. Begin by draining your fresh water tank and refilling it with clean water. Turn on the water pump and open all the faucets, allowing the clean water to flush out the antifreeze. Repeat this process until the water runs clear from each faucet.


1. Can I use regular automotive antifreeze in my camper?
Using regular automotive antifreeze is not recommended for your camper. It contains toxic chemicals that can harm your plumbing system and the environment. Always use non-toxic RV antifreeze specifically designed for campers.

2. How much antifreeze do I need for my camper?
The amount of antifreeze required depends on the size and layout of your plumbing system. On average, a 25-30 ft camper may need 2-3 gallons of antifreeze.

3. Can I reuse the antifreeze from the previous year?
It is not advisable to reuse antifreeze from the previous year. Antifreeze loses its effectiveness over time and may not protect your plumbing system adequately.

4. Is it necessary to bypass the hot water tank?
Bypassing the hot water tank is essential to prevent antifreeze from entering it. Antifreeze can damage the hot water tank and may be difficult to flush out in the spring.

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5. Can I use compressed air instead of antifreeze?
Using compressed air to blow out the water lines can be an alternative to antifreeze, but it may not completely remove all water from the system. Antifreeze provides better protection against freezing temperatures.

6. Do I need to add antifreeze to the black and gray water tanks?
No, antifreeze is not required for the black and gray water tanks. These tanks are designed to handle freezing temperatures and do not need antifreeze.

7. Can I mix the antifreeze with water before adding it to the system?
Yes, diluting the antifreeze with water in a 1:1 ratio is recommended. This ensures that the antifreeze is not too concentrated, preventing any potential damage to the plumbing system.

By following these steps and properly winterizing your camper with antifreeze, you can protect your plumbing system from freezing temperatures and ensure a smooth camping experience come spring.