Can You Put RV Antifreeze in Water Heater? | Start Your Winter Prep Right




My family and I hit the road in our recreational vehicle last winter for a cold-weather adventure.

Let me tell you something, though: our water heater was our biggest concern. Considering the icy conditions and all. Because of this, I began to question, Can you put rv antifreeze in water heater?

Can You Put RV Antifreeze in Water Heater

Put RV Antifreeze In Water Heater

Antifreeze does not belong in a water heater. Doing so ensures the water heater remains safe during very cold weather, such as winter. Because of this, the water won’t freeze and do any damage.

I wanted to be sure I was doing everything correctly to keep things secure and cozy, so you asked this seemingly easy inquiry. To keep our warm home-on-wheels safe from the elements, I conducted some research.

Key Point

  • Keep Antifreeze Out of the Water Heater – It’s best to use antifreeze in the pipes, not in the water heater, to stop them from freezing.
  • Use a Bypass Valve – This valve helps you keep antifreeze away from the water heater while protecting the rest of your RV’s water system.
  • Drain and Protect – Always empty your water heater before cold hits and protect your pipes with antifreeze to avoid any winter damage.

Can You Put Rv Antifreeze In The Water Heater?

So, can you put RV antifreeze in the water heater? You shouldn’t just pour RV antifreeze into the water heater. An RV’s water heater should be drained and bypassed while winterizing the vehicle to avoid damage from freezing temperatures. RV antifreeze is meant to be poured into the plumbing system to keep pipes from freezing. 

Can You Put Rv Antifreeze In The Water Heater

However, it’s more effective to empty the water heater first. Why? Because if you put antifreeze on the water heater, it can be hard to get all of it out later. Which might compromise the safety and flavor of your hot water. Passage valves are standard on most recreational vehicles and let you separate the water heater from the antifreeze circulation system.

So, when you’re getting your RV ready for some chilly times, remember to check your bypass valve and use a jug of antifreeze to protect your water lines. In the winter, it’s like wrapping your recreational vehicle in a warm embrace. Because, really, who wouldn’t want to keep their recreational vehicle nice and toasty? So, do your research before getting an answer for whether can you put RV antifreeze in water heater.

Reasons To Keep In Mind While Putting Antifreeze In Water Heater

Are you considering adding antifreeze to your water heater? Although weird, some people consider it to prevent items from freezing. I’ll explain why this may not be a good idea in simple terms!

Reasons To Keep In Mind While Putting Antifreeze In Water Heater


So, can you put rv antifreeze in hot water heater? Yes, but your water heater experiences the same extreme cold that you do when your nose starts to feel like an icicle. This will help you to winterize your rv. Without antifreeze, the water inside might freeze solid. Put a Coke can in the freezer, and presto! The water pipes in your home might burst at any moment. 

To prevent water from freezing, add antifreeze, preferably in gallon quantities. If you want your water heater to remain functioning smoothly even while it’s snowing outside, it’s like giving it a warm embrace.

Boiling Point

Imagine for a second a steamy summer day when you’re perspiring profusely. Adding antifreeze to your water heater can increase its boiling point. Water won’t boil over in your water heater, even on the hottest days, because of this. Having this on hand is like giving your water heater a tranquilizer; it keeps everything calm and collected.

Heat Capacity

The ability of antifreeze to improve the water heater’s heat retention is quite remarkable. To keep warm, it’s similar to draping a heavy blanket over oneself. 

Your water heater will be able to keep water warm for longer without exerting too much effort if you add antifreeze to it. You may enjoy long, hot showers without worrying about draining your water heater.

Engine Damage

Okay, so water heaters don’t have engines, but they have parts that can get hurt if things go wrong. Without antifreeze, parts like the anode rod or the water pump could get damaged by freezing or too much heat. It’s like protecting your bike from rusting. Using the right antifreeze mix helps keep everything running smoothly so no unexpected breakdowns.


Water can be sneaky; it can cause rust and corrosion inside your water heater. Antifreeze helps protect against this, kind of like a superhero shield. It keeps the inside of your water heater tanks safe from the villains of rust and corrosion. This way, your water heater stays strong and lasts longer.

Fuel Consumption

Now, you know do you put antifreeze in your rv water heater? But, you may conserve energy by using antifreeze. You may reduce the amount of fuel your water heater uses by making it run more effectively. Similar to how you don’t get fatigued as easily when you master the art of riding a bike more smoothly. 

You can help the water heater to avoid overworking and save energy by maintaining it with antifreeze. And about that, you need a CDL to drive an RV myth;  it’s not always true, but always check local laws to be sure.

What Happens If I Get Antifreeze In My Water Heater?

So, What happens if I get antifreeze in my hot water heater? Because of the chaos it may produce, it’s best avoided. Just picture yourself attempting to whip up a mug of hot cocoa and getting a nasty flavor instead of the usual sweet, chocolaty one. That is somewhat the point being made. Not enjoyable, is it?

What Happens If I Get Antifreeze In My Water Heater
  • Contamination Of Water Supply: So, you’ve got antifreeze in your water heater. First off, that’s a big oops! Your fresh water tank, which should only have clean water, now has chemicals from the antifreeze.
  • Health Risks: Health-wise, this is a big no-no. Antifreeze has chemicals that are not friends with our bodies. Drinking water tainted with antifreeze? Yikes! It can make you feel sick. We’re talking stomach aches, dizziness, and much worse if you drink a lot.
  • Corrosion And Damage: Now, onto your water heater. Antifreeze in there is like having a small, uninvited party that you didn’t want. It can cause corrosion. Parts like the anode rod, water heater tanks, and even the water heater bypass can start wearing down faster than you’d think.
  • Performance Issues: Performance takes a hit, too. Imagine your water heater trying to do its job, but now it’s got antifreeze in the mix. It’s like trying to run with your shoelaces tied together – not going to work well. 
  • Ventilation: Let’s talk about the air around your water heater. If antifreeze gets heated up, it can release fumes. These aren’t the kind of scents you’d want in your home. It’s important to have good ventilation around your water heater to keep the air clean. 
  • Prevent Future Incidents: Preventing this from happening again is key. It’s all about being careful when adding antifreeze to your system, especially if you’re trying to protect it in cold weather. Use a bypass valve to keep antifreeze out of your water heater.

Remember, when it comes to living in an RV, keeping your water heater in good shape is super important. You want the hot water to be working well because it’s like having a tiny house on wheels.

So, in the end, should I put antifreeze in my RV water heater? The answer is pretty clear. You want to avoid it to keep things running smoothly. Just like RV batteries aren’t the same as car batteries. And it is risky to use it in rv, just like antifreeze. Using it isn’t safe.

How Do I Winterize My Rv Hot Water Heater?

Okay, then, let’s go into the process of preparing your RV’s water heater for the next cold weather. The arrival of winter means it’s time to wrap up your recreational vehicle, too!

  • Turn Off Power And Propane: You gotta make sure your RV’s hot water heater isn’t trying to heat anything while you work. So, turn off the power and the propane. 
  • Disconnect From Water: Next up, you need to disconnect your RV from any water sources. This is like unplugging your garden hose after you’re done watering the plants. 
  • Drain The Water Heater: Now, let’s get all the water out of your water heater. Find the drain plug and let that water run free, kind of like letting a balloon loose into the sky. It’s important to let every drop out so it doesn’t freeze, and automotive antifreeze causes trouble later. 
  • Turn Off The Water Heater Bypass Valves: Your RV might have a bypass valve that lets you skip the water heater when you’re running antifreeze through the system. Make sure these valves are in the bypass position, posting rules,  so you don’t end up filling your water heater with antifreeze. 
  • Run Antifreeze Through The System: Now for the antifreeze – it’s like a warm coat for your RV’s pipes. Get enough gallons of antifreeze and start pouring it into the system. You want to make sure every water line gets a good dose of antifreeze so nothing freezes and cracks.
  • Drain The Black And Gray Tanks: Don’t forget about your black and gray water tanks! Drain them out and rinse them if you can. 
  • Drain The Antifreeze: After everything’s all set and winterized, you’ll eventually need to drain out all the time, shall we? It’s kind of like getting your cozy sweater out when the leaves start to antifreeze before you start using your RV again. 

Also, talking about cozying up, are RV fireplaces gas or electric? Most of the time, just like their electric water heater bypasses, making it super easy to get that warm, fuzzy feeling without the hassle of gas.

And remember, do you put antifreeze in RV hot water tank? Nope, you bypass it to protect it. Can you put RV antifreeze in water heater without harming it? Again, nope. That’s what the bypass is for. Keep these tips in mind, and your RV will thank you for staying cozy all winter long.

Is There Any Risk Of Using Antifreeze In The Water Heater?

Yes, antifreeze does not belong in a water heater. Putting antifreeze in your water heater is a no-go zone, my friend. Imagine turning on your tap for a nice hot shower and instead getting a whiff of antifreeze.

So, Can you put RV antifreeze in water heater in winter? Not only does it make your hot water taste and smell funky, but it can also mess up the parts inside your water heater.

Is There Any Risk Of Using Antifreeze In The Water Heater
  • Antifreeze poisoning: Ingesting products containing ethylene glycol can cause serious complications, such as kidney failure, permanent nerve damage, and, in some cases, death.
  • Damage to the thermostat and heating element: Damage to the thermostat and heating element could result from not flushing out all of the antifreeze. Just like RV toilet chemicals aren’t safe for septic tanks.
  • Taste and smell of antifreeze: You can notice an unpleasant aftertaste or odor from the antifreeze if you don’t drain it thoroughly.

Antifreeze is the stuff you add to water to stop it from freezing in super cold places. It’s super useful, but not when it comes to your water heater. 

Now, when it gets chilly, and you’re thinking about your RV’s fresh water tank or those gallons of antifreeze you’ve got a pressure relief valve, remember the water heater is off-limits for antifreeze adventures.

Now, if you accidentally have antifreeze in your water heater, don’t panic. There are ways how to get antifreeze out of RV water heater. It involves flushing those water lines and making sure your bypass valve is set right. 

Plus, keeping an eye on that drain plug and anode rod can save you a lot of headaches later.

How Do You Remove Antifreeze From Rv?

My support is behind you. Getting your recreational vehicle ready for a new beginning is a good analogy. Think of it like getting ready to go again after a lengthy sleep.

Step 1: Turn Off The Water Pump

You gotta turn off the water pump. It’s like telling your RV to hold on a second because you’re about to give it a mini makeover. 

By turning off the pump  or hot water valve, you’re making sure nothing unexpected happens while you’re in the middle of the job. 

This step is important because it’s like the prep before the big show. You’re getting everything set, so when you start flushing out the antifreeze, your RV is ready to cooperate. 

It’s a simple move but think of it as the quiet before the fun begins, making sure all those gallons of antifreeze are ready to say goodbye.

Step 2: Attach A Blowout Plug To The City Water Intake

Next up, you’ll want to attach a blowout plug to the city water intake. This is kind of like putting on your game face before a big match. 

The blowout plug is your best buddy in making sure the antifreeze waves goodbye without leaving a mess. 

By connecting it to the city water inlet, you’re setting the stage for a clean and efficient flush. It’s a simple step but super crucial. 

It’s like you’re telling the antifreeze and hot water lines. This step makes sure that when you’re flushing out the system, everything goes where it’s supposed to, keeping your fresh water tank and water lines safe and sound.

Step 3: Go Outside To The City Water Inlet

The city water connection is your gateway to getting rid of the antifreeze, making sure your RV’s water system is fresh and clean. It’s a crucial moment, kind of like the turning point in a great story, where you’re about to see all your hard work pay off.

Step 4: Remove The Small Screen

Alright, it’s time to remove the small screen. It might seem like a tiny step, but it’s mighty important. Think of it as clearing the way for all the good stuff to happen. 

By removing the screen, you’re making sure nothing blocks the antifreeze from making its grand exit. It’s a bit like clearing the stage before the main act, ensuring that when you push in the valve. 

The antifreeze has a clear path to leave  the antifreeze method, making room for clean water to take its place. It’s a small move with a big impact, ensuring everything runs smoothly.

Step 5: Push In The Valve Until You See Antifreeze

This step is where the action happens, and you start seeing the results of your hard work. It’s a satisfying moment, seeing the antifreeze flow out, knowing you’re getting closer to having a clean water system. This step is all about action, making sure every last drop of antifreeze is on its way out.

Step 6: Replace The Screen

After the antifreeze is all gone, it’s like you’re wrapping up a successful project. Putting the screen back is like putting the final piece of a puzzle in place. It’s a sign that you’re almost done and everything is back in order. 

This step is about finishing up with a sense of accomplishment, knowing your RV’s water system is ready for fresh, clean water. It’s the perfect end to the adventure, leaving you ready for whatever comes next.

Throughout this process, remember that it’s all about making your RV ready for adventures. 

Whether you’re dreaming of a suburban pull RV or wondering if a tiny house can be used as an RV, the goal is the same: getting your RV in tip-top shape. It’s about preparing for the journeys ahead, making sure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Where Do You Put Rv Antifreeze?

All you have to do is pour it into your RV’s plumbing system. When it’s really cold outdoors, this helps prevent the water lines from freezing. Similar to donning a winter coat.

Do You Put Rv Antifreeze In The Freshwater Tank?

You don’t put RV antifreeze straight into the freshwater tank. Instead, you add it to the system to keep things from freezing, but not where you’d drink from. Just make sure to follow the steps for your RV to get it right.

Is Plumbing Antifreeze The Same As Rv Antifreeze?

Plumbing antifreeze and RV antifreeze are generally made from propylene glycol, which is less toxic and generally considered food-safe. Both are used to winterize RVs and houses where people may consume the water.

Last Words

So, can you put rv antifreeze in water heater? In a nutshell, no, it’s not a good idea. And I’ll tell you why. 

To prevent the water lines in your recreational vehicle from freezing, you should apply antifreeze while preparing it for cold weather. However, the water heater is not the place for it. 

Instead, while adding antifreeze to the system, be sure to skip the water heater. You may avoid damaging the water heater while protecting the water pipes in this manner. 
Always remember that you may save a lot of hassle by not letting the antifreeze go inside the water heater. Stay with little anywhere to get more info like this.

John Little

Written by

John Little

Meet John Little, the Tiny Living Guru. With two decades of hands-on experience and an architecture degree, he’s a Sustainable Housing Innovator and Tiny Home Ambassador. John’s mission: inspire eco-conscious, mobile living. Join him on this transformative journey.

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