Winterize Your Small Travel Trailer Water System

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As of December 31, 2023, we are no longer camping much and I an no longer updating this website. I have left it online for the time being, knowing that people still find their way to my articles and find them helpful. Please note, however, that as time goes by, some of the information presented here (particularly on specific products) may become outdated and links may no longer work.
I've enjoyed eight great years of interaction with thousands of other small travel trailer owners. Thanks for all your support, and hopefully a few of us will meet again somewhere in the woods or on the road! - Denny

Will Your Small Travel Trailer Face Freezing Temperatures?

'Tiz the season!

It's that time of the year. Winter will be here soon. As a result, camping season is over for many of us. Not only will our trailer will sit beside the garage for the next many months, but we'll have to see it daily and wish we were going camping. Unfortunately, it won't get used again until spring.

We're not in Florida any more

Up until a year ago, we lived in Orlando and never got much cold weather so I wasn't concerned. But that's all changed now because we've moved to Tennessee in 2020. Last year we had a lot of weather in the low twenties. In other words, it froze here. In fact a few times it even got down into the teens. This may not mean much to you, but for us Floridians it was cold!

Obvious I now need to prepare our trailer for winter. Last year it seemed like a lot of work, but this year was pretty easy.

Winterize your small travel trailer water system?

Do you live in an area that gets low temperatures and freezing weather in the winter? If so, you will need to winterize your water system. Doing so will prevent any water remaining in the lines from freezing and creating leaks.

Simply draining your water is not sufficient because water can remain trapped at various places in the system. You must drain the water from your system and then blow out any that remains. But to be really safe, you should then fill the entire water system with RV Antifreeze. I know that some people skip this last step, but I don't want to take any chances.

Things you will need

Portable Tire Inflator
Air Compressor and hose with quick connect fitting or Portable Tire Inflator

This is used along with the Blow-Out Plug below and will force the remaining water out of the system after draining. If you don't have an air compressor already, you can also use a portable tire inflator.

I have a compressor, but I also have a portable tire inflator like the one pictured that I always take with us when we travel.

Blow Out Plugs
Blow-Out Plug

This attaches the compressor or tire inflator hose to your water inlet. The top one in the photo is used if you have a compressor hose with a quick-connect fitting and the bottom one is for use with a tire inflator.

RV Antifreeze
RV Antifreeze

Be sure to get the pink stuff for RV water systems an not the poisonous kind used in your automobile radiator. Check your owner’s manual to see if it says how much you’ll need. For our trailer, I’ve found that if I raise the front a bit so all the liquid runs to the back of the fresh water tank, I need 2 to 3 gallons.

By the way...For some reason this stuff was terribly expensive on Amazon this year. I found it at my local Walmart for less than a third of the price on Amazon.

The procedure I use

Please Note

The following is the procedure that works well with our Casita. Be sure to confirm the steps to be used with your trailer. Everything should be similar, but there could be some differences.

    Get the bad stuff out
  1. Turn the water heater bypass valve to the position to prevent water from entering the water heater.
  2. Crank up the front of the trailer a bit to help water drain from the fresh water tank and better fill the system with anti-freeze. (You will need to check your trailer to see if this will help or not in your case.)
  3. Drain the sewer storage tank(s), fresh water tank, and water heater tank.
  4. Open the sewer storage tank drain valves, all water faucets, and prop open the toilet drain.
  5. Connect the blow-out plug to the city water connection and also to the compressor hose.
  6. Make sure the compressor is set to a maximum pressure of exceed 50 psi, and then turn it on to blow out all remaining water from the system. Once I start the compressor, I close faucets and leave only one open at a time to make sure every line gets blown out well. To avoid creating any leaks, I always make sure that there is at least one faucet open while the compressor is running, just in case the pressure was too high.
  7. Close the sewer storage tank drain valves.
  8. Put the good stuff in
  9. Add the RV anti-freeze to the fresh water tank.
  10. Open the faucets and turn on the water pump to push the antifreeze into all the lines. Turn off each faucet once you see the anti-freeze flowing out of it. Also, be sure to flush the toilet until you see anti-freeze flowing into it.
  11. Pour some additional RV anti-freeze into each of the drains if needed to allow a little to go into the traps and sewer storage tanks.

That's it!

Of course there are some other things you should also do to get your small travel trailer ready for winter, but I'll leave that for another article.  You can also download my free Beginner's Guide and read the section on storing your trailer.

As always, drop me a note on the Contact page if you have any questions.

For more information or to purchase the products mentioned in this article, click the images below to access the related product page on Amazon. Thank you for supporting our sponsors and advertisers.
Air Compressor
Blowout Plug
Blowout Plug
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Denny Johnson

Denny Johnson

After having spent most of our adult life in Orlando, my wife Fay and I moved to Knoxville, TN in 2020. We are loving the change of seasons and being near the mountains. Plus, this part of the country is loaded with great places to camp. 
We camped years ago with a pop-up camper, but got serious about it when we purchased our Casita in 2014. There was a lot to learn as we started traveling with it, and a lot of conflicting opinions on line. That's when I decided that creating a website would be a good retirement project. I started to share things we've learned along the way that have worked well for us in hopes that the information would be of help to others.
However, since moving to Tennessee, I've gotten involved with new hobbies (you can check some out on my personal website at and we haven't camped very much. So, at the end of 2023, I made the tough decision to stop updating this website.
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