How To Flush Antifreeze From Camper?

If you’re an avid camper, you’re likely aware of the importance of winterizing your camper to protect it from freezing temperatures. One crucial aspect of this process is flushing the antifreeze from your camper’s plumbing system. Failing to do so can lead to costly repairs in the spring. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to properly flush antifreeze from your camper, ensuring that it’s ready for your next adventure.

Are you gearing up for your next camping season? As the temperatures start to rise, it’s essential to transition your camper from winter hibernation to adventure-ready mode. One crucial step in this process is learning how to flush antifreeze from your camper. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or new to the world of recreational vehicles, understanding this procedure is vital to ensure the safety of your plumbing system, the quality of your water, and the overall enjoyment of your camping experience

Important to Flush Antifreeze from Your Camper

Before we delve into the step by step process, let’s briefly understand why it’s essential to flush antifreeze from your camper.

Antifreeze, also known as RV or marine antifreeze, is used to protect your camper’s water system from freezing during the winter months. While it’s effective at preventing frozen pipes, it’s crucial to remove it once the cold season is over for several reasons.

Health and Safety: Antifreeze is not safe for human consumption. If any remnants of it remain in your camper’s water system, it can pose a health hazard to you and your family.

Taste and Odor: Antifreeze can impart an unpleasant taste and odor to your drinking water. Flushing it out ensures that your water remains fresh and potable.

System Damage: Prolonged exposure to antifreeze can lead to damage in your plumbing system, such as seals, gaskets, and other components. Flushing it out is crucial to prevent long-term harm to your camper.

Environmental Impact: Properly disposing of antifreeze is not only responsible but also required by environmental regulations in many areas. It’s essential to follow safe disposal practices.

Health and Safety:Ensure safe, potable water for you and your family.
Taste and Odor:Eliminate unpleasant flavors and odors in your drinking water.
System Damage:Prevent long-term damage to plumbing components.
Environmental Impact:Comply with eco-friendly disposal regulations.

Now, let’s move on to the step by step guide on how to flush antifreeze from your camper.

What You’ll Need

To get started, you’ll need a few essential items a freshwater hose, a bucket or container, and a non-toxic water system sanitizer. Additionally, having a wrench or pliers and safety goggles on hand is a good idea. If you have access to an air compressor, that can be helpful too.

Before you start the flushing process, gather the following materials.


  • Freshwater hose
  • A bucket or container

Nontoxic, potable water system sanitizer

  • Wrench or pliers
  • Safety goggles

 Optional Materials

  • An air compressor

Drain the Water Heater

To drain the water heater, open the valve at the bottom of the heater to let all the water inside it flow out into a container, ensuring it’s safe to handle before you start. This step helps get rid of any water that’s been sitting in the heater during the winter, so your camper’s plumbing system is ready for action.

  • Turn Off the Water Heater: Make sure your water heater is turned off to avoid damage.
  • Release Pressure: Relieve any pressure inside the water heater by opening the pressure relief valve. Ensure the water is not hot before proceeding.
  • Drain the Heater: Connect a hose to the water heater’s drain valve, usually located at the bottom. Open the valve and let the water drain into a suitable container.

Drain the Water Lines

To drain the water heater, open the valve at the bottom of the heater to let all the water inside it flow out into a container, ensuring it’s safe to handle before you start. This step helps get rid of any water that’s been sitting in the heater during the winter, so your camper’s plumbing system is ready for action.

  • Open All Faucets: Inside your camper, open all faucets, both hot and cold. This includes sinks, showers, and toilets.
  • Low Points Drains: Locate the low point drains in your plumbing system. These are usually small valves near the floor. Open them to allow water to drain completely from the system. It’s essential to let all water drain from the lines.
  • Flush the Toilet: To remove water from the toilet bowl and tank, flush it several times.

By pass the Water Pump

Bypassing the water pump means redirecting the water flow in your camper so that it doesn’t draw in antifreeze, ensuring your plumbing system remains free from it during the flushing process. This helps prevent contamination and makes your camper’s water safe to use. If you’re wondering how to winterize a pop up camper, this step is crucial to safeguard your plumbing system from potential damage caused by freezing temperatures.

  • Locate the Water Pump: Find your camper’s water pump. It’s typically located near the water tank, often in a storage compartment.
  • By pass the Water Pump: Most water pumps have a bypass valve that allows you to redirect water flow. Set the valve to bypass mode, preventing the antifreeze from being drawn into the system.

Connect to a Freshwater Source

To ensure your camper’s water system is clean, simply attach a freshwater hose to your camper’s water intake and turn on the water source. This step allows fresh water to flow through your system, helping remove any remnants of antifreeze and preparing it for safe use during your camping trips.

  • Connect a Freshwater Hose: Attach a freshwater hose to your camper’s freshwater intake. This hose will be used to flush out the antifreeze.
  • Turn On the Water: Ensure the hose is connected to a freshwater source, and turn on the water supply.

Flush the System

To flush the system means to clean out all the pipes and tanks, making sure there’s no leftover antifreeze or contaminants, so your camper’s water is safe to use.

  • Open the Faucets: Starting with the furthest faucet from the water source, open it to allow the freshwater to flow through. This helps flush out any remaining antifreeze.
  • Work Your Way In: Gradually move closer to the water source, opening each faucet in succession. Don’t forget to include the outdoor shower if your camper has one.
  • Flush the Toilet: Flush the toilet multiple times to ensure all antifreeze is out of the tank and bowl.
  • Check for Pink Antifreeze: Keep an eye on the water coming out of the faucets and toilet. If it’s still pink continue flushing until it runs clear.

Sanitize the System

While not strictly necessary, sanitizing your camper’s water system after flushing the antifreeze is a good practice, especially if your camper has been in storage for an extended period. Follow these steps for sanitization.

  • Prepare a Sanitizing Solution: Mix a solution of water and a nontoxic, potable water system sanitizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Add Solution to Freshwater Tank: Pour the sanitizing solution into your camper’s freshwater tank.
  • Turn On the Water Pump: Activate the water pump to distribute the solution throughout the plumbing system.
  • Open All Faucets: Just like when flushing antifreeze, open all faucets and let the solution flow through.
  • Let It Sit: Allow the sanitizing solution to sit in the system for the recommended amount of time, often at least 2 hours.
  • Flush the System: After the waiting period, thoroughly flush the system by running clean water through all faucets and the toilet until you no longer detect the sanitizer’s odor.

Final Checks

For your final checks, ensure all faucets and valves are closed, make sure your water heater is set correctly, and inspect for any leaks in the plumbing connections. This step ensures everything is in order for your next camping trip.

  • Close All Faucets: Make sure all faucets and valves are closed.
  • Return the Water Heater to Normal Operation: If you bypassed the water heater earlier, reset it to its normal operation mode.
  • Check for Leaks: Inspect your plumbing connections for any leaks. If you find any, tighten them with a wrench or pliers.
  • Optional: Use an Air Compressor: If you have access to an air compressor, you can use it to blow out any residual water from the lines. This can help prevent freezing in case of unexpected cold weather.

Dispose of Antifreeze Properly

To protect the environment and your health, make sure to throw away antifreeze the right way by following local regulations and using designated disposal facilities.

Antifreeze is toxic and should be disposed of according to local regulations. It’s crucial to follow safe disposal practices, which may include recycling or taking it to an appropriate disposal facility.


Can I skip flushing antifreeze from my camper’s plumbing system?

It’s not recommended. Failing to flush antifreeze can lead to health risks, unpleasant water taste, system damage, and environmental concerns.

What if I see pink antifreeze when flushing my camper?

Keep flushing until the water runs clear, ensuring all antifreeze is removed from the system for safe, potable water.

How often should I flush antifreeze from my camper?

It’s typically done during the spring when winterizing is reversed, but frequency depends on your climate and camping habits; annually is a common practice.


Learn the essential steps for preserving your camper’s plumbing system and ensuring safe, fresh water for your next adventure in our comprehensive guide on how to flush antifreeze from your camper. Discover why flushing antifreeze is a crucial part of your seasonal maintenance routine, preventing damage to your RV and safeguarding your family’s health.

In this informative guide, you’ll find easy-to-follow instructions and safety tips, along with a checklist of materials you’ll need for the process. We cover everything from draining the water heater and lines to bypassing the water pump. You’ll also learn about optional sanitization steps to enhance your water system’s quality.

Don’t miss out on this valuable resource to prepare your camper for the road ahead. With our step-by-step guidance, you’ll ensure that your plumbing system is antifreeze-free and ready for your next memorable camping experience.

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