This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases. The images and content on this page may be created by, or with the assistance of, artificial intelligence, and should be used for entertainment and informational purposes only.

When the weather gets cold, it is time to winterize your RV. Therefore, it is critical that you know how many gallons of antifreeze you will need.

You need to use the proper amount of antifreeze or you run the risk of not using enough and your pipes freezing and bursting. This can lead to thousands of dollars in water damage to your RV.

To winterize your RV, you typically need 2-3 gallons of antifreeze, but if you have a large RV, you may need 3-4 gallons of antifreeze. It is important to use enough to properly winterize and a little extra antifreeze will not hurt your plumbing system.

Owning an RV provides a lot of fun for those people that are adventurous, but it is critical to know how to properly maintain your RV in all seasons.

By winterizing your RV properly, you reduce the risk of damage to your plumbing system as well as the rest of the RV in the event that the pipes burst. This information has been researched and reviewed by industry experts and is accurate as well as the most up-to-date information.



What Is Antifreeze?

Antifreeze is a product that lowers the freezing point of a water-based liquid. The main purposes of antifreeze are to maintain optimal temperatures in a car engine, but also to prevent an enclosure from bursting when water freezes inside of it. This is why it is commonly used to winterize RVs. It will keep the water from freezing in the pipes and then the pipes bursting. Antifreeze is also used for HVAC units, solar water heaters, and to clear ice from driveways.

However, antifreeze can also be used to raise the boiling point of any liquid that is water-based as well.

How is Antifreeze Made?

Antifreeze is typically made using 4 specific agents. Any of these can be mixed with water to create antifreeze. Each of these agents is used in different types of antifreeze and are used for different purposes depending upon what you need antifreeze for.


Methanol is highly combustible and toxic. If you are using an antifreeze product that is made from methanol, it is critical that you handle it with care. Methanol is used commonly in windshield wiper fluid in order to keep that water from freezing.


Glycerol is one of the safest agents found in antifreeze. It is non-toxic and typically made from plant and vegetable matter. It is also able to withstand higher temperatures than other agents that are used in antifreeze.

Ethylene Glycol

This is the most common agent that is used in car antifreeze. It is toxic to humans, but has a lower freezing point than glycerol. Ethylene glycol has been found to be great at preventing both temperatures that are too cold as well as too hot.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is used in place of Ethylene Glycol in areas where toxicity is of utmost importance. This can be in areas such as the food industry. Propylene Glycol is less toxic, but has to be used in very large quantities to get the same result.

Winterizing Your RV

The process of winterizing your RV means that you will antifreeze and flush it through your plumbing system. This will prevent the water from freezing inside the pipes when the weather gets very cold. It is important to winterize your RV before storing it for the winter in order to prevent damage to your RV.

How Many Gallons of Antifreeze Do You Need to Winterize Your RV?

Typically, you will need 2 to 3 gallons of antifreeze to winterize your RV. The amount is going to depend upon how large your tank is. If you have a large RV, you are more likely going to need upwards of 3-4 gallons of antifreeze. It is important to use enough so you can properly winterize and better to use a little extra than not enough.

How Long Does Winterizing Take?

Winterizing your RV can take a few hours to complete from start to finish. It is best to allow plenty of time as you will need to refill and drain your water tank as well as flush your plumbing system a few times in order to clean out the antifreeze after the process.

The process of winterizing your RV is straightforward and can be done at home without the need for professional help.

1. Drain all water in the RV

The winterizing process needs to be started by draining the black and grey water tanks. You want to drain these because they can hold bacteria and you also do not want the wastewater to freeze and sit in the tank.

After draining the black and grey water tanks, then you can drain the water heater as well. You want to be sure the water in the water heater is not hot when you drain it so let is sit for a couple of hours before draining.

2. Bypass the Water Heater

At this point, you will want to bypass the water heater. You do not want any antifreeze getting into the water heater. Some RVs have a bypass valve that can easily be flipped to do the bypass.

3. Drain the Freshwater Tank

You will want to completely drain your freshwater tank. You can also open your faucets at this point to help the water flow out.

4. Close Faucets and Dump Antifreeze

After draining the fresh water tank, you will want to close the faucets and then pour the antifreeze into a siphoning hose. You can then turn on the water pump to allow the antifreeze to move through the plumbing system.

5. Open External Then Internal Faucets

You will begin with your external faucets and open those until you see pink water coming out and then close them. Then you can open all internal faucets and do the same thing. Let the water run until it turns pink.

6. Pour Antifreeze Into P Traps

Once you have opened and closed all faucets, you can pour the remaining antifreeze into all P traps and let it sit.

At this point, your RV is winterized and can be stored as needed. It is a good idea to cover your RV for storage if possible after you have winterized it.

Does Winterizing Last A Long Time?

You should only need to winterize your RV once per year if you are storing it all winter long. However, if you winterize your RV, take it out to camp, and then need to store it again in cold weather you will most likely have to go through the winterizing process again.

If you do not plan to store your RV for the winter, you can winterize it for camping without using antifreeze. There are options available to protect your pipes such as heaters for the belly of the RV and using a skirt if you are camping in below-freezing temperatures.