If you are lucky enough to own a recreational Vehicle, you want to take great care of it. Don’t let this weather fool you, winter is far from over, and your vehicles, whether car or RV still need to be taken care of. Just like taking your car to your local dealer’s service center for maintenance, it’s important to take care of your RV. Just ask anyone who lives in the Pittsburgh, PA area, it’s possible to get snow in May! These five steps for winterizing your RV will assure that your vehicle will survive the winter and be ready for more adventures next year!
Five Steps for Winterizing Your RV
It’s been a great summer and you’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of your RV. You’ve had some wonderful trips, made a lot of new friends, and created some special memories. You hate for it to end but the signs of winter are approaching and if you want your RV to be ready in the spring, you’ll need to winterize it properly. This can be done by professionals at a local RV service center, but the processes are so basic that you can save money by doing it yourself.
As you go through this process, you’ll want to make notes so that you can create your own checklist for next year. Each RV model is unique, so each checklist will be slightly different.
Drain the Tanks
Drain every tank. The big enemy of RVs is the freezing temperatures of winter. As the contents of the tanks freeze, they will expand. This can cause damage to tanks, connecting pipes, hoses, and even the plumbing fixtures. Start by draining the fresh water holding tank, using the attached spigot. Next, drain both the grey and black holding tanks. When they have been drained, use the water jet port to perform a complete flushing of these tanks. It’s not uncommon for some RVs to use combination grey and black tanks. You can consult your owner’s manual on this topic. Next, drain the hot water heater. This often gets overlooked and it can be a costly mistake. Some water heaters have a bypass where you can drain the tank’s contents, but if not, you can simply remove the water heater’s drain plug.
Drain the Water Lines
Begin by opening up all hot and cold water faucets and uncap the low-point drain. When you are certain that the lines have been completely drained, replace the drain cap. (You’d be surprised how often that step gets overlooked.) Close all of the faucets. Next, you need to disconnect all the lines leading into the water pump. You may need to check your owner’s manual to locate it. Run the pump for briefly to remove the remaining water.
This step is often overlooked, but it can be a costly mistake, leading to you buying a new pump in the spring.
Blow Out All Lines
Blowing out the lines can be a little tricky. It requires an adapter that will connect your RV’s fresh water inlet to the output of an air compressor. When you get the compressor hooked up, open each faucet, one-at-a-time. To avoid any system damage, don’t let your compressor go over 60 psi. Make sure to include the toilet in this purging operation.
Another item that is often overlooked is the hand-held shower sprayer, so make sure you include it. If your specific RV has water-dependent devices, like a dishwasher, washing machine, or ice-maker, be sure those lines get blown out as well. The water heater should be blown out as well. This is also the time you will want to drain your water filter canisters.
Protect Your Systems With Anti-Freeze
Protect your systems against the pending cold. As a final procedure, you should pour about a cup of RV-Grade anti-freeze into each drain. This should include the toilet, too.
Power down. Many RV owners like to remove batteries from their systems for the winter. It’s not a bad idea, but it certainly isn’t a requirement. Whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
While all of these procedures are still fresh in your mind, this is probably a good time to go over all of your notes and create your own personalized checklist, noting any quirks or unique features required to fully winterize you RV. You’ll thank yourself next autumn when it’s time for winterizing your RV all over again.