'Round The Campfire

How to Winterize Your RV


More from Outdoor Living Newsletter November Outdoor Living Newsletter
 
RV covered in snow
Prepare your RV for the winter

Buying an RV is a major investment, and as such, it is important to ensure that we get as much life out of our RVs as we do enjoyment from them. Winterizing goes beyond the basic maintenance we routinely do on our RVs throughout the year and, without question, exceeds the needs of our automobiles in the cold season. Here are some basic steps we can take to winterize our RV to ensure it's longevity.

  1. Make a trip to the local RV store to procure all the essential materials for maintenance. The necessary items are:
    • Cleaning wands for the holding/waste water tank.
    • A compressed air adapter.
    • New water filters.
    • Pliers and wrenches to remove plugs.
    • RV antifreeze.
    • Water pump converter and WD-40.
    • A water heater bypass will be required, unless it's already installed.
  2. Grab the owner's manual and remember to review all the specifications, even if you have been prudent about maintaining your RV. Don't forget that every RV is different in function and style, so some of us will require additional materials to perform this maintenance and alternate servicing techniques. It may be helpful to employ a partner to assist you during the maintenance process.
  3. Remove all in-line water filters.
  4. Empty out the fresh water tank and the hot water heater, allowing ample time for the water to cool after you have turned off the heater.
  5. Take out the drain plug and undo the pressure relief valve.
  6. Continuing with the draining process, empty out and flush the black and gray wastewater holding tanks. Some RVs have tank flushing systems; if yours does, use it.
  7. Clean the tanks of debris and remnants using your cleaning wands. Remember to leave the valves opened and apply the WD-40 to the termination valves.
  8. Attach the compressed air adapter to the fresh water inlet, setting the compressed air adapter to less than twenty pounds per square inch (PSI).
  9. Make sure to check each faucet one at a time, including the shower and toilet. The compressed air will remove any remaining water.
  10. Use the compressed air adapter to clear out the water heater.
  11. Replace the drain plug and shut the water heater bypass valve.
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  1. Detach the compressed air adapter, storing it in a safe place.
  2. Close all opened valves.
  3. Attach the water pump converter, fastening the kit's clear tubing to the pump's inlet side. In the other side, pour the antifreeze.
  4. Turning on the water pump to pressurize the system.
  5. Check every cold and hot valve, opening each slowly until the antifreeze appears.
  6. Afterward, close each valve. Add additional antifreeze, if necessary. Make sure to remember to close the shower valves during this process. The toilet will need to be flushed until you see the antifreeze as well.

While all of this may sound excessive, it's important to remember a little prudence now can save us from spending a lot of money on repairs later. As dedicated RV owners, it is our obligation to take care of the vehicles that serve us so faithfully. Also, make sure to check your owner's manual for exact specifications, as these are general instructions.

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