Winter will soon be upon us, and the temperatures are dropping. If you are a beginner to the RV life or used to warmer climates and are new to the cold, you may not think about winterizing your RV, yet it is a good thing to do if you are in a colder climate. That is why we are going to give you some tips to winterize your RV.
Why Should I Winterize My RV
Think of it as the same as protecting the pipes in your home. If you don’t winterize your RV the water in the lines and the pipes could freeze and crack when the water expands. Those of us here in Houston remember the winter of 2021 when the big freeze happened and busted so many water pipes in homes. That happened as well to many RV owners.
When Should I Winterize My RV
There are a few basic rules of thumb to know when to winterize your RV. If the Temperatures are going to be consistently at 20 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for more than a few hours, you NEED to winterize your RV. In fact, we suggest that you should winterize your RV when the temperatures start dropping into the 30’s that way it’s not too late. Another rule of thumb to winterize your RV is if you can’t heat and insulate your RVs underbelly. Also, if you don’t have heated tanks or will be running your furnace only at certain times.
A Word of Caution
A quick disclaimer, we are going to give the basic general concept and tips to winterizing your RV, however, you should always look through your owner’s manual. Your specific RV may have certain requirements that need to be followed.
Winterizing The Pipes and Water Storage
First, you will need 2-3 gallons of non-toxic RV/Marine antifreeze and some simple tools to remove the drain plugs. You will also need as water heater bypass kit, unless your RV is already equipped with one, and a tank cleaning wand and flushing system if your RV does not have one built in.
Remove Your Water Filters
Remember that antifreeze we mentioned earlier? You don’t want that going through your water filters. To prevent this, you will want to remove any inline water filters.
Drain Your Tanks
Drain all the tanks in your RV. Start by disconnecting and then draining the freshwater hose. Next, turn the water pump off. Empty and then flush through the grey water tanks and holding tanks through a sewer hose connected to a sewer dump found at a dump station or your campground sewer hookup.
Drain Your Hot Water Heater.
First, turn off the water heater’s heating element and allow it to cool. Then, drain your hot water heater by removing its drain plug. Make sure you have given the water enough time to cool before draining. Replace the plug once it has fully drained.
Turning On All the Faucets.
After the grey tanks and hot water tank have been drained, next turn on all the faucets, both hot and cold, and remove the drain plugs. This will drain the interior lines. leave them open for a minimum of fifteen minutes to ensure all water has drained out. Leaving your water pump on during this process is helpful in draining the water quicker. Just be sure to turn off the water pump once the water pressure is low. Close all the faucets and replace drain plugs when done.
Bypassing the Water Heater
Many RVs already have bypass kits installed. You’ll find out whether your RV has one by reading the owner’s manual. This mechanism ensures that the hot water heater does not fill with antifreeze, which is unnecessary. If your RV does not have its own bypass system, you can purchase and install one yourself or have the work completed by a local professional.
Bypassing Fresh Water or Water Pump Converter Kit
If your RV has a preinstalled winterization valve, turn it to the correct position so that you’re bypassing the freshwater tank. You’ll find out what that position is by looking in the user manual or on a diagram you might find near the system. The system will include a tube you can place in a jug that contains antifreeze.
If your RV does not have one of these valves, you will need to install your water pump converter kit to allow your RV to pump antifreeze into your system.
Flushing Your Water Lines Through with Antifreeze
Once you have connected your water pump to the antifreeze, turn just the cold faucet on and let it slowly trickle until you start to see pink. Then, turn on the hot faucet until you see pink, as well. Make sure you do this with all the valves, both cold and hot, to ensure both lines are filled. As soon as you spot some pink antifreeze coming out of the faucets, you’ll be able to shut the valves off. Also, you will want to flush the toilet until you see antifreeze. Flush the toilet until you see antifreeze.
Winterizing The RV’s Interior
Refrigerators and Freezers
Make sure they are not on. Clean the interior of your refrigerator or freezer with a damp cloth. Secure them open.
If you are storing your RV outside, be sure to pull the shades down that way you do not sun bleach your upholstery.
Winterizing The RV’s Exterior
Cover Your Tires and Wheels
Cover your tires and wheels to protect them from the elements like frost and snow. You can purchase tire covers in a range of different sizes, but a simple piece of plywood fitted over the tire works just as well. If possible, park your RV on wooden blocks or a paved surface.
Do not forget to turn the propane tanks off to prevent leaks. That also includes propane appliances. Store your tanks inside if possible.
Clean and dry the awning. To prevent mold, check that the awning is completely dry.
Clean your exterior shell and check for split seams or cracks. Patch areas that need repair. Check your RV’s roof, particularly around vent fans, antennas, wiring, exhaust pipes, and air conditioners. If your RV roof needs repair, consider getting a professional to repair your RV roof or get a new RV coating.
Doors and Windows
Check the edges of all the doors and windows in your camper. Any existing seal might have started to erode and need resealing with sealant.
With a few steps, you can make sure your RV is winterized and protected. If you do find damage to your RV roof, Spray America Coatings in Stafford TX near Houston can repair your RV’s roof and make sure that rain, debris and snow does not get in and harm your RV.