Winterization of Your Airstream
You’ve made the most out of your Airstream during the vacation months, but those Winter winds are beginning to blow and you need to make sure your “travel companion” is going to be ready to go in the Spring. That means getting it properly winterized. As you follow each of these steps you’ll want to put together your own checklist for next year and add any quirks that may be unique to your specific model.
The first step is to drain all tanks. The biggest threat winter poses is freezing temperatures which cause liquids to expand and crack your pipes, tanks, fixtures, and hoses. Drain the fresh water at the holding tank spigot. Drain the grey and black holding tanks, and do a thorough flushing of the black tank using the water jet port. Some models have combination grey and black tanks, so be aware of this. Drain the water heater next. If you have a water heater bypass that can make the task a lot easier, but if you don’t, that’s fine too. Just remove the water heater drain plug.
The next step is to drain your water lines. Open up the hot and cold water faucets in your RV and then uncap the low-point drain lines. Once the lines are drained, replace the cap and close all faucets. Disconnect the lines going into the water pump and let it run briefly to remove the water from the pump itself. Just run it for a short period of time so you don’t take a chance on burning it out.
The next step calls for a special piece of equipment, but you can find it at almost any RV supply store. It’s an adapter that allows you to connect an air compressor to your fresh water service inlet. Once it’s connected, open up your faucets, one at a time and use no more than 60psi of air pressure to blow out all of the lines. This should include the shower and the toilet. Many times the hand sprayer is forgotten and becomes a victim of the cold, so be mindful of that. This is also a good time to drain the water filter canisters, and if you have any water-dependent appliances like washers, dishwashers, ice-makers or such, those lines will need to be blown out as well. Blowing out the water heater may take some time and require rocking your RV a bit, so be prepared.
The final step, once everything has been drained, is to put about a cup of special RV grade anti-freeze down each drain, including the toilet.
At this point many individuals choose to also pull the batteries, but that is a personal decision.