Winterizing your RV is a very important task when you’re getting ready to put it in storage for the cold months. Winterizing will help prevent damage caused by freezing temperatures and keep everything in working order for your next trip! Let’s go over the things to consider and steps on how to winterize your RV!
The Water System
It is very important that you take steps to protect your RV water system. If any water is left in the lines during the colder months, it can freeze. It will expand and cause ruptures in your pipes and hoses. To protect your RV from this, run antifreeze through the entire water system when you winterize it.
Unlike the antifreeze that goes in the radiator of your car, RV antifreeze is meant to protect your plumbing. It’s typically pink and can be found in the automotive section at most stores and most RV dealerships. RV antifreeze is generally made to withstand much lower temps than what goes in your car, but it doesn’t have the coolant component in it. It’s also non-toxic, which is another reason to use this and not the toxic green stuff that goes in your car’s radiator.
Cleaning the Tanks
You want to have clean tanks before you put your RV away! Start with the dirtiest tank and work toward the cleanest. Dump and clean your black tank, then the grey, and then the fresh water tank. Once they are all cleaned out, sanitize them and flush them with more water to ensure you got everything out.
Empty the Lines
This step includes your water heater as well. Ensure that the water heater is off and cooled down before you begin to prevent burning and pressure-related issues. Once it is cooled, empty it by opening the pressure valve and taking out the drain plug. Go inside and turn on all the faucets and let them run until no more water comes out. This will include any valves you have for the toilets as well as outside plumbing for things like an exterior kitchen or shower. Once all the water is out of the system, turn off the water pump. Running it on empty can burn it out and then you’ll have to replace it.
Your RV should have a way to bypass the water heater. You’ll want to get that bypassed next. If it does not have a way to do this, get a kit installed. The water heater doesn’t need to be full of antifreeze and unless you want to pay extra to fill it up, you want to send the plumbing around it!
Convert your water pump so you can pump from the jug of antifreeze instead of the fresh water tank. Turn the pump on and open the faucets one at a time until your antifreeze runs out. Start with the faucet that is closest to the pump and then work your way toward the farthest one, which will generally be any exterior faucets. Don’t forget to flush the toilets until the antifreeze shows up there too!
For tips on keeping water from freezing in your RV when you’re winter camping , click here!
If you have a motorhome, your job is going to require an extra step than those with a towable RV. You need to protect your battery as well. Make sure you disconnect the negative cable. If you leave it connected while stored for the winter, especially in cold temperatures, your battery can drain which will result in a shorter battery life span.
Inside the RV
Aside from the water tanks, there are some things you will want to do to prep the inside of the RV for storage as well. These can make a huge difference in how well your RV holds up during storage.
The first thing is to make sure you clean it from top to bottom. Get rid of any food, trash, or anything else that can either rot or attract pests. Take out your clothes as well as any bedding or other removable fabrics. Depending on the temperature and conditions you store in, you could end up with mildew on fabrics.
Check to make sure all windows and vents are closed. Inspect the floor, water inlets, and plumbing lines and close up any gaps that you see. You can do this with simple spray foam that will help keep the bugs and critters out.
These are just a few more steps you want to take to ensure your rig is kept in the best condition possible while you anxiously await the next camping season!
Check your tire pressure and ensure it’s where it should be. Storing your rig on tires that are not properly inflated can cause damage to both the rims and the tires themselves. Once you have it parked, look to make sure that your tires are not in the sun. Even if it’s cold, the sun on the tires can actually rot them and you can end up with a dangerous blow out. If you’re in direct sunlight and unable to move to another spot, get yourself some wheel covers to protect them. Learn about rotating your tires here!
Winterizing your RV will help prevent unnecessary repairs due to damage caused by cold temperatures and critters who want to call it home. If you don’t have the time to prep your RV yourself, call your local RV dealership and schedule an appointment to have them do it for you. Either way, the steps you take now will make camping next season easier!