How to Properly Winterize Your RV
Campers, winter approaches. If you have put off preparing your RV for winter hibernation, procrastinate no longer.
Protect the Plumbing
Draining your RV’s plumbing system and filling it with antifreeze avoids costly repairs come spring. Before you start, buy 3 gallons of RV antifreeze. Unlike the antifreeze you put in your car’s radiator, it is non-toxic.
Drain Supply Lines
• If your RV is still connected to outside water, disconnect that first.
• Shut off the electricity or gas to the RV water heater.
• Install a hot water heater bypass if you do not have one already.
• Close the inlet and outlet valves on the water heater to isolate it from the water supply.
• Bypass water filters or remove the filter elements.
• Open the hot and cold low-point drain valves. Opening sink taps speeds up the draining process.
• Flush the toilet until the tank is empty.
• Use an air compressor at the outside inlet valve to push out remaining water in the system.
Flush Water Tanks
Both the gray and black water tanks should be flushed out. Your RV supply store carries a cleaning wand to assist in removing tank sediment. After flushing, drain them and close the valves or plugs.
Add Antifreeze to Supply Lines
Start with all drain valves and taps closed before you add antifreeze. The simplest method to inject the antifreeze into your RV’s plumbing is to use the vehicle’s water pump with a conversion kit, which lets the pump suck up antifreeze directly from the container. You may already have one installed:
• Turn on the water pump.
• Proceed from the closest faucet to the furthest. Open each water tap until pinkish antifreeze flows out.
• Keep an eye on your antifreeze container and replace it when empty.
• Finally, flush the toilet until antifreeze appears in the bowl.
• Turn off the water pump and open any tap to release the remaining pressure.
Antifreeze in Drains and Appliances
The sink and shower drains are protected by pouring a pint of antifreeze into each one. If your RV is equipped with a washing machine or icemaker, winterize them according to their manuals’ instructions.
Remember the Water Heater
The water heater was bypassed so that you did not waste antifreeze filling it up. Now that the other plumbing is prepared, drain the water heater. A tee on the heater’s cold-water inlet will allow you to pour a pint or so of antifreeze into the tank after draining.
Storing the Vehicle Batteries
Any 12V batteries should now be disconnected, negative terminal first. Lead-acid batteries slowly discharge left on their own, which reduces their life, so put a trickle charger on each one to maintain them until spring.
Final Clean Out
If you have not already, remove all food and other belongings from the RV. Wash down all surfaces with a mixture containing 20 parts water, 4 parts bleach and 1 part TSP. This removes and helps prevent mildew problems. Running a dehumidifier in the RV during the winter, if not stored in a heated area, also reduces the chance of mildew gaining a hold.
Covering the RV
If the RV must be stored outside, use a custom-fit cover or at least a large tarp. The tarp should be suspended to shed rain and snow, while providing exterior ventilation. Block flue vents, exhaust pipes and any other holes where vermin may decide to set up winter residence.
Maintaining the Drive Train
Placing your RV on jack stands relieves pressure on the tires. Check the antifreeze in the engine’s coolant system and add stabilizer to the fuel tank. Let the engine idle for 5 minutes to distribute the stabilized fuel throughout its system.
Now the Easy Part
Pull your easy chair a little closer to the fire, fix yourself a warm, winter beverage and begin planning your next outdoor adventure after the thaw. The RV will be ready to roll next spring.
If you need a secure place to store your RV for the winter, Ten Mini Storage has the space. Call us today to request a quote for your RV or any other storage needs.