10 Steps to Winterizing Your RV
You’ve made a significant investment in your RV and want to keep it looking and operating in top condition. Winter weather – including freezing temperatures, heavy snows and ice build-up on the roof – can take their toll. Plus, rodents looking for a place to hibernate can cause considerable damage to an RV interior.
The following 10 steps for winterizing your RV – both inside and out – can help protect it from winter’s harms.
1. Drain all water in your RV and replace it with only non-toxic RV antifreeze.
Most RVs come equipped with a pump. Also, you can use hand pumps, mechanical pumps and, on certain systems, air compressors (as long as you have one faucet completely open). In addition, you can install a hot water tank bypass valve so that you don’t have to put antifreeze in the hot water tank.
Here’s a step-by-step method for draining your water:
- Empty all tanks (fresh water, gray water, sewage, water heater, shower pan and toilet).
- Open low-point drains and one faucet. Let the lines drain as much as possible.
- Close low-point drains.
- Blow air through lines using an air hose and blow-out plug.
(The following steps apply to an RV with a water-heater bypass)
- Turn off RV pump.
- Close valves A, B and D. Open valves E and C. (Refer to diagram on right.)
- Drain the water heater and fresh water tank.
- Put the hose from valve E into a gallon of non-toxic RV antifreeze. You will need more than one gallon.
- Turn on the pump and open each faucet until the antifreeze flows through, including any outside shower. Do not forget to run the antifreeze through the toilet.
- Pour at least one cup of antifreeze into each drain to protect the P-traps.
- Close valve E.
2. Your RV battery should be fully charged and stored inside.
Here’s a step-by-step method for storing your RV battery:
- Disconnect the batteries from potential loads while storing it or leaving it inactive for more than a couple weeks.
- Fully charge the battery before storing. Acid-filled batteries have less potential for loss when stored in moderately cold areas. Extreme cold such as freezing conditions will cause damage to the battery.
- Always store batteries away from potential sparks, flames and open sources of heat.
- Batteries stored for longer than a month should be recharged at least monthly.
- Clean the surface of the battery between the terminals to prevent any loss of charge due to moisture and dirt.
3. Protect your RV from mice, squirrels, chipmunks and other rodents.
Moth balls can be an effective pest deterrent when placed in closets and drawers. However, they are toxic, and you may want to choose an organic repellant, such as Shotgun® Repels All® or Havahart® Critter Ridder® granules. If your RV has skirting, be sure to throw the repellant under the RV. Place steel wool around any openings to the outside.
4. Empty cupboards of all food.
This will help you to avoid mold, as well as attracting rodents and insects.
5. Remove all liquids and liquid chemicals.
Liquids will burst containers in freezing temperatures, and cans will rust from condensation.
6. Unplug the refrigerator (or turn the breaker off) and prop the door open.
Otherwise, mold will grow inside the refrigerator.
7. Seal roof and/or roof seams with a sealant designed for RVs.
When snow and ice build up on the roof, melting water will work its way into cracks and seams, causing leaks and possible interior damage.
8. Cover skylights with a heavy-duty plastic and/or hard covering that’s weighted down around the edges.
This will help prevent water leaks and possible damage if something falls on the skylight during the winter.
9. Wax the exterior of the RV.
This helps protect the paint and deter ice build-up and water run-off.
10. Properly handle propane tanks.
Make sure propane tanks are turned off and covered. Check them for blistered paint and rust, which indicate the need for maintenance or replacement.
Just follow these 10 steps to winterizing your RV and come spring you will be ready to camp again!
Published: Oct 1, 2011
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