Winterize A Hot Water Tank In A Travel Trailer

Winter maintenance is important to keep your travel trailer in good shape for spring.

If you do not winterize your travel trailer, your pipes could burst, your water heater could be damaged and your water tank could crack, costing a lot of money to repair or replace. Filling your water lines and drains with an RV antifreeze and draining and flushing your water heater, water storage tank, gray water tank and black water tank will prevent damage over the winter months. Draining your water heater is easy if your water heater has a petcock valve. If it do not have one, you should replace the plastic drain plug with a petcock valve to make it easier to drain the next time.


1. Open the vent cover on the driver’s side of the travel trailer where the water heater is located. Open the petcock valve on the bottom of the water heater. If your trailer does not have a petcock valve, use a wrench to unscrew the plastic drain plug from the water heater. Open the relief valve on the top of the water heater to allow air to go into the tank as the water drains out. Leave the petcock valve or drain plug off for the winter. Close the vent cover on the outside of the travel trailer.

2. Go inside the travel trailer and close the water heater bypass valve near the back of the water heater. The bypass valves will be open when the handles are parallel with the pipes. Turn the handles on the valves so the handles are perpendicular to the pipes to close the valve to the water heater. Now, you can add the RV antifreeze to the water lines without having to use 6 gallons of antifreeze to fill the water heater.

3. Flush the water lines to remove the RV antifreeze in the spring. Replace the plug, using teflon tape on the threads to seal the plug, or close the petcock valve. Open the bypass lines to fill the water heater with water before turning the power onto the water heater.