Now that the dog days of summer are behind us and cooler air is starting to creep in, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your RV (unless you’re a snowbird of course!). While winterizing is never a fun chore, it is a necessary one that can have damaging consequences if not done correctly or in a timely manner. So protect your valued investment against freezing temperatures by learning how to prep your RV for winter!
Emptying Your Plumbing Systems
If liquid is trapped in your water lines when cold temperatures hit, you run the risk of having that liquid freeze, expand, and break your lines. Avoid this costly damage by preparing your plumbing system before winter has time to wreak its havoc. Here’s how:
Step 1: Drain all the water from your fresh water holding tank by opening up the petcock valve.
Step 2: Drain and flush the gray water and black water holding tanks.
Step 3: Flush out your black tank. If your RV isn’t equipped with a flushing system, use a specialty cleaning wand.
Step 4: Open up your faucets inside the RV before draining the water heater.
Step 5: Using a blowout plug and an air compressor, blow lightly-pressured air into your water intake fitting to force any water that remains out of the lines.
Step 6: Remove your air compressor and plug. Recap all the drains and close the petcock valve.
Step 7: If your RV has a method of bypassing the water heater, engage it. If not, after-market kits are available and one of these will save you from needing an extra 7-9 gallons of antifreeze.
Step 8: Place the detached tube end from your water pump inlet into a container of RV antifreeze. (NOTE: Unlike toxic antifreeze which is green, your RV antifreeze will be pink.)
Step 9: Turn your fresh water pump on to pull the antifreeze through your plumbing system.
Step 10: Beginning with the point closest to the water pump, open up the hot faucet and let it run until you see the pink antifreeze come through. Do the same with the cold faucet.
Step 11: Work your way to the farthest point from your water pump and flush your toilet several times until you see a heavy shade of pink come through.
Step 12: Turn off your water pump and open a faucet to relieve pressure. Remove the water tube from your antifreeze container and reconnect it back to the tank.
Step 13: Dump around three cups of antifreeze into the toilet, as well as in each drain.
Step 14: Double-check to ensure that all of your faucets and valves are closed.
Preparing For Storage
If you don’t complete all the steps to prep your RV for winter, when warm weather rolls around again and you go to get your RV out, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise. Make things easier on yourself by completing these final basic details. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Step 1: Take out any food from your refrigerator, pantry, and cabinet. Not only will this help you avoid mold and rotten odors, but it will also limit the temptation for rodents to get inside.
Step 2: Make sure your appliances and LP gas supply valve are turned off.
Step 3: Make repairs. If you see something is broken, don’t let it sit all winter leaving yourself stuck with the problem once the weather has you eager to get your RV out.
Step 4: Put your RV up on blocks that accommodate the full footprint of the tires to alleviate the weight and pressure so the lifespan of your tires is maintained.
Step 5: Close your vents and cover up any holes to keep pests out of your RV. Cover your RV with a protective tarp or store it inside a protective enclosure.
If you take these steps to properly prep your RV for winter, you’ll be more than ready to whip out your rig and head out for adventure once the warm weather finds us again! So make things easy on your future self by putting the work in now before it becomes a problem later!
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!