Winterize RV Without Antifreeze: Try Compressed Air Next Time

Winterizing is no fun. When the winter season comes, and you do not use your RV, you can perform different tasks to make sure your RV is ready for the Spring or Summer seasons. This means picking the best ways to take care of your tanks and plumbing systems

Compressed air is a good way to winterize your RV. At the right air pressure, the tanks and plumbing systems should have all the water driven out except in a few locations. You just have to be careful about not putting that air pressure too high.

To learn more about how to winterize your RV, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about in order to keep your RV in top shape throughout those cold months. Take a few minutes and see if this information will help you.

Is Antifreeze Necessary in RV?


No, it is not necessary as using antifreeze will depend on where you live in the country. If your winters are relatively warm and remain above freezing throughout the winter months, then you can get by without using this product.

But if you do live in a region where below-freezing temperatures are the norm, you may need to consider using antifreeze. It is just one layer of protection that helps maintain your RV and keep it in good condition.

This is going to be a decision you have to make as there are some people who are on the side of always use this product and those who claim they have had no problems using alternative winterizing methods.

Both have strong arguments, and both have seen positive results without any damage to their vehicles. Whether you use antifreeze or not will depend on how big a risk you want to take. If you leave where it is warm, it is not a risk to leave the antifreeze in the bottle.

Can You Winterize an RV Without Antifreeze?


Yes, this is possible, and depending on where you live, you may have many more options than just antifreeze. The big concern that comes when you do not use this product is the water that remains in valves, traps, and other locations.

This situation is only a cause for concern if you live in the frozen regions of the country. There will be some water left in your plumbing system, and if those water pools do freeze, they will expand. It is a possibility they will cause some damage to your pipes.

We say ’a possibility’ as this is not a given, and you may be one of the lucky ones who escaped any damage. Of course, adding insulation around the traps, etc., will prevent those areas from becoming frozen in the winter weather, and you may be safe.

You should make sure to drain all the water by using all the lowest point exit or drain valves possible. Then add insulation to the pipe system and use skirting as another layer of protection.

You have options available that help keep the underbelly warmer than the outside air and protect your pipes.

Winterize Camper With Compressed Air


This is one of those non-RV antifreeze options that you have. All it takes is to thoroughly send the air through the different openings to make sure almost all the water is pushed out by the air.

Yet, the same problem remains with this option. The compressed air does not get all the water out of the traps, pumps, toilet, or water heaters. But it may get enough to allow you to avoid using antifreeze.

Some people do both. They use compressed air, and then they follow that up with some antifreeze to make sure those pools of water are protected. It is one way to minimize any risks that come with using compressed air.

The other drawback to using this alternative is that you could put the air pressure too high and end up damaging what you want to protect. You just need to make sure the air pressure gauge is set to the proper level, so you avoid this drawback.

If you are not sure or confident in using this option, let a trained mechanic handle the duty for you. They will be able to be thorough and send the right level of air pressure through your system.

RV Antifreeze Or Blow Out Lines

No matter which way you go, there will always be positive and negative aspects to each method. Plus, there will be both supporters and dissenters to each method. Their attitude depends on their experiences with those methods. here are some pros and cons for both options:

RV Antifreeze


  • Very effective at keeping the water from freezing
  • Available just about anywhere RV products are sold
  • Easy to use
  • Comes in 3 varieties - Propylene or Ethanol Based (non-toxic), Propylene Glycol based (non-toxic), and Ethanol based (some issues)
  • Comes in 2 colors, pink for up to - 50 degrees F and blue for up to -100 degrees F
  • Depending on the size of your RV, you may not need a lot of antifreeze to winterize


  • Can be expensive - the price can range between $6 and $8 per gallon
  • Will take some time to do a thorough job
  • Can change the taste of fresh water
  • May have a short shelf life, that is, if it is not stored correctly

Compressed Air


  • Doesn’t take long to do for the most part
  • Flushes the whole system fairly easily
  • No worries about water taste changing
  • Non-toxic
  • Can be done with a portable compressor
  • Inexpensive


  • May cause damage to your pipe system
  • May damage seals on toilets
  • May not get all the water out
  • Not always a convenient method to use if you do not own a compressor
  • May still need antifreeze to winterize properly

How do I Winterize My RV With Compressed Air?

There is a process to handle this option when you want to get all the water out for the winter. It is good to be thorough and go slowly as it is possible to leave water inside the plumbing system and have something crack.

When it does crack, you have to find the problem and then replace the part. That can be costly in both time and money. Here is the process to help you avoid any damage:

First, drain the freshwater tank through the low point drain valve. Second, drain the hot water tank. Third, open the hot and cold water valves one at a time and finally drain the outdoor and inside shower lines. Then blow the air through the system.

However, the pumps and the traps may still have water in them, and no matter how much you blow air through, that water remains. It is not advisable to raise the compressed air pressure to try and get that water out.

If you do, you could blow a toilet seal or some other part, and you would need expert help repairing the damage.

There is one special note that needs to be addressed here. Many RVs come with a special blow out plug. It is located under your city water connection, and it is typically made of plastic or stainless steel with a coating over it.

If your RV doesn’t have this blow out plug, do not use compressed air to winterize your vehicle. When you try this, this is where a lot of the damage to your pipes will come in.

Once you screw in your blow-out plug to the exterior water inlet, you can screw the air compressor hose and start your process.

How Much Air Pressure to Blow Out RV Water Lines


The key is not to set the air pressure too high. If you do, you can damage the pipes. The best psi to use ranges between 30 and 40. Anything more than that, and you are taking a few risks you could avoid.

Anything less than that, and you may not get all the water out. Once you start the air flowing., open all the valves one at a time to make sure you completely drain every line. Valves can be just about anywhere as there are some for hot and cold water, your water heater tank, and so on.

Make sure to find them all before you stop the process. When you are done, disconnect the compressor and the blow-out plug. Then place the plug in a secure spot that is safe and where you won’t forget where it is.

After you have finished, you can then decide if you want to add antifreeze or not. Sometimes you do not have to put antifreeze in the water heater if you have done a good job blowing it out.

What is The Difference Between RV and Car Antifreeze?


To some people, there is no difference, and they may think they are saving money by using car antifreeze in their plumbing system instead of RV antifreeze. This will not save you any money and may put you and your family at risk.

One of the big differences between the two products is that generally, RV antifreeze is non-toxic while auto antifreeze is toxic. Also, auto antifreeze is made to use in engines, not in freshwater tanks.

Whereas RV antifreeze can be safely used in your fresh water tank to make sure it is safe throughout the winter. Another difference is that the auto version is designed to absorb heat. The RV plumbing system doesn’t generate enough heat to warrant this type of product.

It is designed not to expand and keep your pipes safe. While both products protect different systems from freezing, they have different designs that can be fatal if you use the wrong one in your RV.

To be on the safe side, always use products made for RVs when you work on important issues like your water tanks and plumbing systems.

Some RV Antifreeze Tips

It pays to get as much knowledge as you can about antifreeze and winterizing your RV. These tips should help you winterize better and make sure you are using the right products correctly.

  • 1. Sometimes RV antifreeze can go bad on you. If you do not seal it correctly after using a portion, chances are it can spoil. Usually, there is a 2 to 5-year shelf life but look on the label to see for sure.
  • 2. Do not dilute the antifreeze. There is no reason to weaken the product by adding water to it. It won’t go further, and you just put your RV at risk. Keep the antifreeze at full strength.
  • 3. Can I avoid using RV antifreeze? While it is possible to use other methods, the antifreeze may only cost you between $20 and $30 to winterize. That is not a lot of money to protect your $30,000 to $100,000 RV.
  • 4. Most RVs can get away with using only 2 to 3 gallons of antifreeze. But you be the judge as you know how big your RV is. The larger the rig, the more antifreeze you will need.
  • 5. If you use antifreeze in your freshwater system, be prepared to have a change of taste in your freshwater. Some products are made not to change the taste, but that depends on a lot of factors.

Some Final Words

Winterizing your RV is essential. After all, you spent some big bucks on buying it. It is wise to spend a few more and make sure it is protected throughout the winter season. Make the right choice, and sometimes that means using compressed air and antifreeze.

Leave a Comment:

1 comment
Add Your Reply