The RV antifreeze manufacturers produce it to raise the water's freezing point in your RV's plumbing system. I'm sure many of you had had first-hand experience of its importance when you forgot to add it.
Glycol antifreeze is a non-toxic chemical we should all stock up on with winter lying ahead. Many readers have asked us whether the antifreeze evaporates after being added to the plumbing of an RV. It got us searching for the right answers from the professionals. It's essential to know the quantities you should use when topping up, and how much to keep on hand before hitting the road.
Many are under the misconception that that antifreeze is only available with an ethanol base, hence the concern about evaporation, but the best antifreeze to invest in for your RV is glycol-based.
Ethanol and propylene blends in antifreeze are for automobile mechanical use and extremely flammable. It would be best if you used it with extreme care. Although some RV shops do stock it, we highly recommend that our readers stick to glycol antifreeze.
According to Evans Coolants, the only time antifreeze can evaporate is when the temperature rises above 223 degrees Fahrenheit - this is when it's mixed with water in a 50/50 ratio. Because we use it in our RV's to prevent plumbing parts from freezing, it's safe to say that RV owners don't have to be too concerned about it.
Ethanol and an ethanol/propylene blend are also available, but we still prefer to advise our readers to stick to the glycol blend. It's only available in RV shops, and you might pay a bit more for the product, but it's the safest, and therefore we stick to it.
The glycol-based antifreeze is less prone to leave a bad smell in your tank, and it prolongs the life of your plumbing system as it also acts as a lubricant. It's not flammable like its ethanol and propylene counterparts, adding even more points on our score in favor of it.
Okay, now that we've covered the basics, let's get back to this discussion's original intent.
Does Antifreeze Evaporate in an RV?
Firstly, why is it so essential for us to get to the bottom of this question? It's simple. Most warranties and insurance companies don't cover any weather damages to RV's. Winter is harsh on your plumbing system's smaller components, such as the rubber seals and faucets. If you don't prepare for -0 temperatures, you might end up with extensive damages and costs to repair.
Prevention is better than the cure, so using the right amounts of antifreeze to prevent this from happening is a longterm investment in your RV. If too much of the antifreeze evaporates before you can fill it up again, it can damage plumbing systems. The typical standard is that you'll need roughly 1 to 3 gallons of glycerol antifreeze depending on your RV size.
Fortunately, it's an easy product to work with, and as long as you keep it correctly sealed, it won't evaporate. When you pour it into open cisterns, you'll have to keep an eye on the levels and top up more regularly to prevent the ratio from dropping too low.
The good news is that if your liquid levels fall, it's most likely only the water evaporating due to higher temperatures. You can replace the water levels without too much concern about your antifreeze, also having to be topped up. It's only a real concern during warmer seasons, though.
Exposed glycol antifreeze will take up to 72 hours to evaporate if you should pour it out on a non-porous surface outside in the elements. So yes, it can evaporate if it's unsealed and exposed. However, this is not the case with antifreeze you pour into your cistern.
It's advisable to clean out your RV's water tanks when changing seasons or when you don't travel. Flush the systems properly and fill it up again whenever you're about to hit the road. It's also advisable to flush out your plumbing system after every winter to wash the antifreeze out of the plumbing system thoroughly.
Your RV specialists will have the recommended quantities for use in your specific model. The mix ratio of water and antifreeze for the size of your plumbing system should be adhered to at all times to prevent early weather damage to small parts.
Maintenance is faster and more affordable than repairs. As long as you follow the manufacturer's guidelines, you'll have many happy miles without smelly breakdowns.