Well, we’ve unfortunately hit that time of year. Camping season is coming to a close, and when the temperature starts regularly dropping below 32°F (0°C), it’s time to winterize. Basically, winterizing entails protecting your RV from freezing temperatures so it’s prepared when the snow melts, the frost thaws and spring flowers start poking out. (Yes, I’m currently listening to The Beatles’ classic “Here Comes the Sun”).Your main goal when winterizing your RV is taking care of the water system. Here is a step-by-step guide so your rig is thoroughly prepared to hibernate through Jack Frost.
Before getting started, make sure you read through your owner’s manual carefully to take any additional recommended steps.
- Drain all water tanks completely –Take your RV to a waste station and drain all tanks.
- Drain the water from the hot water heater (DO NOT DO WHILE WATER IS HOT OR UNDER PRESSURE)– Small lime deposits may come out. This is normal.
- Drain the pipes –Turn on all faucets (hot and cold), flush the toilet, and turn on the outside shower.You can also use an air compressor to blow out all the pipes (set to no more than 30psi).
- Open all low-point drain lines –There will be a hot and cold water line.
- Once all lines are drained, recap, close and turn off all drains and faucets.
- Bypass the water heater –This isn’t a must, but will save you gallons of antifreeze. If you don’t have a bypass kit, you can get one installed relatively cheaply.
- Pump antifreeze through your water lines (RV antifreeze is PINK) –Most newer RVs have a valve attached to the water pump that will allow the pump to draw antifreeze directly from the bottle. Turn on water pump, and starting with the closest faucet, open the hot and cold valves one at a time until you see pink antifreeze, then close. Keep replacing the bottle as needed, don’t let it run dry.
- Open each faucet until each has antifreeze coming out –Also, keep flushing your toilet until you see antifreeze. Make sure you run antifreeze to the outside shower as well.
- Turn off the water pump –Open a faucet to release pressure, then close.
- Pour antifreeze down each drain and into the toilet.
- Make sure if you have an electric heating element on your water heater, it is turned OFF.
- Make sure all valves and faucets are CLOSED.
- If you have other appliances (ice maker, dishwasher, etc.) consult the owner’s manual to winterize
You may want to raise your rig on jacks, but at least make sure you’re parked on concrete or pavement so tires do not sink into the ground.
Remove batteries of any type and store in a warm, dry location.
Propane Tanks –
Fill all propane tanks, and store in a sheltered location.
Not inside the RV.
Electrical System –
Turn off the RV’s main circuit breaker. Block the exhaust pipe with steel wool or aluminum to keep out pests.
Food and Drinks –
Remove all food and drinks as some things can burst and become messy (and attract unwanted visitors like rodents and insects in the spring).
Clean stove, make sure to thaw freezer completely and dry. Leave all refrigerator doors open.
Close all roof vents, make sure windows and doors are fully sealed. Cover any holes with screening, and cover vents with cardboard to make sure rodents and
insects can’t get in.
Moisture Control –
Get a container of moisture absorbent and place it on a flat surface inside the RV. This will prevent corrosion and mold.
Weather Protection –
This is a given, but try to protect your RV from the elements as best you can by parking in a shelter or getting an RV cover. Obviously, this sounds like a lot of work, but it will be well worth it when you’re ready to make your next excursion to one of our fine resorts in the spring.
As always, be sure to check your owner’s manual for any additional steps, and happy exploring!