Winterizing your RV is an essential task that every RV owner must undertake to ensure proper maintenance and longevity. As the mercury starts to dip, the water in your RV’s pipes and lines can freeze, leading to cracks and potentially expensive repairs. This is why winterizing your RV is not just a step towards proper maintenance, but also a preventive measure to avoid any unwelcome surprises during your next adventure.
In this detailed guide, we will walk you through the process of how to winterize your RV, ensuring it stays in top-notch condition, ready for your next trip.
Why You Need to Winterize Your RV
Winterizing your RV is a critical maintenance step that shouldn’t be overlooked during ownership. The automotive part usually requires replacing the current coolant solution with antifreeze. The “house” part, however, involves a series of steps that ensure all the water lines and pipes in your RV are free from water and safeguarded with antifreeze. This process protects your plumbing system when temperatures dip below freezing.
Step-by-Step Guide to Winterizing Your RV
Step 1: Preparation
Firstly, assemble all the necessary materials. These include 3 gallons of antifreeze, drain plug removal tools, tubing and or a water pump converter kit , and a wand for cleaning — provided your RV isn’t equipped with a flushing system. What’s more, you might also need a water heater bypass kit if your RV isn’t already equipped with one.
Step 2: Filter Removal
Before you start pumping antifreeze through your water system, it is crucial to remove any inline water filters. Antifreeze can potentially damage these filters. This is also a good time to check if the filters need replacement.
Step 3: Drain Your Tanks
Begin by emptying the freshwater holding tank and then proceed to drain the black and gray water tanks at an approved dumping facility. Ensure your drain hose is properly attached before you start the process.
Step 4: Drain the Water Heater
Next, drain the water heater. Before you start, make sure the heater is off and has fully cooled down. Once it’s cool, remove the drain plug and let the water drain out. Replace the plug once it has fully drained.
Step 5: Drain All Water Lines
Open all faucets and remove all drain plugs to allow the water to drain from your RV. Remember to open both the hot and cold lines. Once all the water is drained, close all the faucets and replace the drain plugs.
Step 6: Bypass the Water Heater
Make sure you have bypassed the water intake system before you add any antifreeze. This prevents the hot water heater from filling with antifreeze, saving you gallons of antifreeze.
Step 7: Connect to Antifreeze
Now, install the water pump converter kit or connect some tubing to the inlet of your water pump so you can pump the antifreeze into your RV’s system.
Step 8: Pump Antifreeze into Your Water System
Turn on the water pump and start with the faucet closest to the water pump. Open the cold side until you see the antifreeze, then repeat the process with the hot side. Repeat this process for all faucets, working your way from the closest to the furthest from the pump.
Step 9: Flush the Toilet
Flush the toilet until you see antifreeze in the bowl. This ensures that the toilet and septic system are well protected.
Step 10: Pour Antifreeze into Drains
Pour a cup of antifreeze down every sink and toilet and drain. This will ensure that the antifreeze reaches all parts of your plumbing system.
Additional Steps to Winterize Your RV
Apart from winterizing your RV’s water system, there are several other steps you should take:
- Vacuum storage bins to remove any food crumbs that might attract rodents.
- Check all external seals and caulk for any damage.
- Clean out sewer hoses and store them for the winter.
- Make sure your RV is stabilized and use wheel chocks.
- Protect your RV from direct sunlight and consider investing in a protective cover.
- Clean the awning using a cleaner specifically designed for the fabric.
By following this comprehensive guide on how to winterize your RV, you can ensure that your RV remains in optimal condition throughout the winter. With proper care and maintenance, you can look forward to many more seasons of exciting travel and adventure.