Get Ready for Winter Unless you’re an RVing snowbird, it’s about time to winterize your RV and put it away during the coming months of cold. Read on for a few tips on getting your RV ready for storage.
First, even though it’s called winterizing, the process of prepping your RV for non-use should actually be done prior to winter, usually during October or early November. And even though there are some general rules to DIY winterizing, which we’ll discuss below, you should always read your vehicle’s owner’s manual to check for any specific instructions about winterizing your model. In particular, your manual should tell you how to winterize your appliance models.
Winterizing Your RV’s Plumbing
The trickiest thing to winterize—which is also the most important—is the plumbing system, because your water tanks can damage easily if they are exposed to freezing temperatures. Luckily, there are a couple ways to avoid bursting pipes: you can drain all your tanks or use antifreeze. But we recommend doing both, just in case any extra water collects after your holding tanks have been drained.
To start, drain all your holding tanks: freshwater, gray water, black water and the water heater (but not while it’s hot!) After draining, it’s a good time to clean out all your tanks, which is easier when you use a water wand (find all the tools you need for winterizing here). If your tanks aren’t easily accessed, then refill the empty tank with fresh water and bleach (laundry detergent works, too) and take your rig for a drive…preferably somewhere bumpy! This will clean out the tank if you can’t get to it. Once you’re done, drain the tank again completely.
Open all your faucets: sinks, shower heads, etc. Force all the extra water out of the system, but turn off all your water lines as soon as everything is empty to prevent damaging the system. Once all your faucets are closed, it’s time for antifreeze.
If you want to save some money, bypass the water heater by installing a bypass line. This means you won’t fill your water heater with antifreeze, too, so it will require a few gallons less of antifreeze.
Then, fill all your lines with antifreeze using a water pump converter kit. Run the pump on each fixture to your RV. This step can be difficult, but if you stop by our dealership we’ll be happy to show you how.
The last step is to pour a cup of antifreeze down each drain and flush a cup down the toilet, too. This makes sure there will be no standing water without antifreeze, and your water lines will be protected during the winter. Check out this diagram for a visual representation of how to apply antifreeze. And remember, RV antifreeze is designed to be nontoxic (unlike what’s used for cars) so it is safe for use in all your water tanks.
Other Steps for Winterizing your RV
Indoor storage is always recommended, but if you plan to store your RV outdoors, it should be completely covered. Covering the entire body will protect your RV from weathering and sun damage. Consider using blocks to take pressure off the tires, as this could damage and flatten them over time.
Also, cover all holes and points of access using cardboard, aluminum foil, or anything that will prevent mice and bugs from getting inside. Cover roof vents to keep birds out, and cover the air conditioning unit, too. Just to be safe, spray bug spray around the outside of your RV.
Other things seem obvious, but are easy to overlook. Remove all food from your vehicle, and thoroughly clean the interior and exterior—any dirt or buildup will only get worse with time. It’s a good time to clean out all appliances, too.
If you follow these steps, your RV should be all ready to sit for a few months until spring. But if you’d like your RV to be winterized professionally, or if you have questions about how to properly do it yourself, contact us today.