Skip to content
A group of friends sitting at a campsite picnic table outside of an RV

How to Dewinterize a Camper for Summer

Summer will be here quicker than you realize, meaning it’s time to get your RV ready for the open road!

Before you get the wheels turning, learning how to dewinterize your camper, particularly its plumbing system, is a crucial step to ensure everything functions smoothly during your travels. The last thing you want on your first camping trip of the summer is costly breakdowns or repairs!

Keep scrolling to find out about dewinterizing an RV water system in five simple steps. We’ll cover everything from flushing the antifreeze from your pipes to checking for leaks and making necessary repairs.

Get your RV ready for camping season

The Importance of Dewinterizing an RV

If your RV has been sitting idle for months, accumulating dirt under the winter covers, it’s highly likely it’s due for some TLC. At this point, your camper’s plumbing system, engine, and appliances may be susceptible to various issues such as pipe cracks, seal degradation, and system malfunctions.

Here are some reasons why de-winterizing your RV is important before hitting the road:

  • Enhanced durability: Proper de-winterization keeps your RV’s plumbing system clean and functional by preventing obstruction, leaks, and other problems.
  • Cost-effective maintenance: Taking the time to properly de-winterize your camper now can prevent costly repairs down the road, saving you money in the long run.
  • Uninterrupted fun: A well-maintained plumbing system minimizes the risk of malfunctions or breakdowns during the camping season, allowing you to focus on creating lasting memories.

How to Dewinterize a Camper Plumbing System in 5 Easy Steps

A person filling an RV’s fresh water tank
Image source: Shutterstock

1. Flush RV Antifreeze

The first step in de-winterizing the RV water system is draining any residual RV antifreeze from your fresh water tank. Wear gloves to protect your hands during this process. Attach a hose to the freshwater inlet and flush the system until the water runs clear. Make sure all hot and cold faucets are open to allow the antifreeze to be fully expelled from both lines.

2. Inspect For Leaks

Take a moment to thoroughly examine your RV's interior for potential leaks and water damage. Pay close attention to areas where pipes, water lines, and faucets meet. Keep an eye out for floor or wall bulges, warping, or soft spots, as these could be signs of hidden leaks. If you find any damage, replacing the hoses should be your priority before you use your camper. Addressing them promptly prevents water damage and saves you money and frustration down the road.

3. Sanitize the Water System

To ensure your water supply is clean and safe, sanitize the system. Mix a solution of one-quarter cup of bleach with one gallon of water for every 15 gallons of tank capacity. Fill the tank with this solution, run it through all lines (hot and cold), and let it sit for several hours or overnight. Then, flush the system thoroughly with clean water until the smell of bleach is gone.

Once your fresh water holding tank is prepped, refill its contents with clean, potable water. Prime the RV water pump according to your camper's owner's manual to see if it’s working and flush out standing water in the system. You usually have to open the hot and cold water faucets and let air escape while running water through the system until clear water flows.

4. Check the Hot Water Heater

Before checking on your water heater tank, turn off the propane or electric supply to the unit according to your specific model. This prevents accidents or heating while you inspect it. 

Examine the water heater visually and look for leaks, cracks, bulging, or excessive rust. These signs could indicate potential safety hazards. If you run the hot water heater and there's no hot water or the water isn't heating efficiently, it could indicate a malfunction. A water heater replacement may be necessary in this case.

Person spraying hand with RV outdoor shower
Source: Shutterstock

5. Replace or Clean Filters

Your filters might be clogged with particles over time, reducing water flow and quality. These filters catch sediment, debris, and possible contaminants in the water so that it is clean and safe to drink. Find your inline filters and any filters that are part of your fresh water system. Cleaning or replacing your water filter cartridges at the start of the season ensures optimal filtration and protects your health.

6. Test the System Under Pressure

After getting all of your plumbing ready, you should do a pressure test to find any leaks before they become a big problem on your camping trip. While the system is pressurized, inspect your camper and look for any leaks around connections, faucets, fixtures, or hoses. Even small leaks can cause significant damage over time.

By carefully following these steps, you can effectively wrap up de-winterizing an RV plumbing system, ensuring a stress-free and successful summer camping season for the whole family! Embrace the open road, explore breathtaking landscapes, and create lasting memories under the summer sun.

Prevent Camper Breakdowns With Quality Plumbing Parts

Dewinterizing a camper and updating its plumbing system can be easy with a trusted plumbing supplies company providing all you need to tackle the job.

Keep your RV’s plumbing, hot water heater, and fresh water system running smoothly with NYDirect’s collection of RV plumbing parts and supplies. With free same-day shipping for orders $99+, you’ll have your camper ready in no time. 

Sign up for our Pro Membership and enjoy great prices and free returns on our 60-day return policy.

Previous article How to Choose Between 5 Outdoor Faucet Types
Next article Types of Toilets: Your Toilet Buying Guide

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields

Become a Pro Member

  • icon Same-Day Shipping
  • icon Exclusive Discounts
  • icon Wholesale Pricing
Join For Free ➜

Shop Popular Brands

Liberty Pumps
Liberty Pumps

Liberty Pumps

Shop Now ➜


Shop Now ➜


Shop Now ➜

America's Leading
Plumbing Supplies Retailer

Save big on plumbing essentials with
our wholesale prices!

Shop Now ➜

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} of 3 items selected"}

Select first item to compare

Select second item to compare

Select third item to compare