Whether it is draining fluids or just scrubbing the interior, it is important to properly winterize your RV. When it comes time to winterize, RV owners must take great care to ensure that all the proper steps are followed so the RV isn’t damaged over the long winter months in storage.
When it comes time to winterize, RV enthusiasts have a long list of things to remember to prevent unwanted damage to. Freezing water can cause pipes to burst and hoses and seals to break, and an unclean RV can attract unwanted winter “tenants.” Whether it comes to draining fluids or just scrubbing the interior, many things are important to ensure you have no surprises in the springtime and are able to transition smoothly back into camping season. Here’s a list of things to remember when it comes time to winterize your RV.
Winterize an RV: Draining Fluids
Frozen pipes can cause a lot of damage to an RV, so it is important to make sure all fluids are drained before winter actually hits. First, you need to drain the fresh water tank, drain the hot water heater, and flush the gray and black water tanks. You may want to refill and re-drain the black water tank multiple times to remove any build-up. After you have drained the gray water tank, leave the gray water valve open.
After you have drained the main tanks, use a compressed air adaptor to drain any additional water that may be left in the lines. While the air is being blown through the pipes, open one faucet at a time throughout the RV until no more water drains out. The four main faucets to remember for the draining process are the tub and shower faucets, the bathroom sink, the kitchen sink, and the toilet. After all faucets have been drained, remove the hot water tank drain plug to let the remaining water be blown out, and reinstall the drain plug after the water has drained.
The last step in draining fluids is to fill the lines with antifreeze. First, close the water heater bypass valve. From the water tank side, remove the line between the fresh water pump and the fresh water tank. Using the water-tank end, place the water line in a large jug of antifreeze (probably about two gallons worth), and turn on the fresh water pump. Open one faucet at a time (kitchen sink, bathroom sink, toilet, tub/shower), until antifreeze comes out. Then, reattach the water line to the fresh water tank. Be sure to shut the gray water valve, and pour antifreeze down each drain and the toilet to prevent the trap pipes from freezing.
Winterize an RV: Cleaning and Exterior
As with any home or home away from home, cleaning is essential during a time in which the owners will be absent. To winterize, RV enthusiasts also need to make sure the RV interior and exterior are properly cleaned and prepared for the winter. Be sure to give the RV a thorough cleaning: clean the bathroom, floors, countertops, and other surfaces that are dirty.
You also want to open the fridge and freezer, as well as the cupboards and drawers to prevent them from acquiring a bad smell over the winter months. If you feel it is necessary, you may want to place mousetraps around the RV. Pop-out seals should be inspected to be sure they are working properly. To prevent snow from getting in the air conditioner, cover it with a tarp.
The final step in the process to winterize RV’s is to turn off all the propane tanks and unhook the batteries. Even if you think you already turned off the propane tanks, it is still a good idea to double-check. After you unhook the batteries, be sure to store them in a place where they won’t freeze.
Benefits of Proper RV Winterization
Although it is a long process to winterize, RV enthusiasts must agree that it is better than the alternative of damaging your camper. If an RV is winterized incorrectly or not at all, there may be great costs to repair pipes, big messes to clean up in the spring, or nasty smells that have built up over the winter months. By following the steps listed, you can be sure to have an easy transition back into the camping season, rather than the frustration of making spring repairs.
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