Unless you’re fortunate enough to live somewhere without cold winter weather and snow, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your RV for the season. It’s not a difficult process but, if anything gets missed, it could be very costly when you start to open again in the spring. We’ve compiled a list of the most important areas to remember with some helpful hints for each one.
The most important part of winterizing your rig’s plumbing it to make sure that ALL water is removed from ALL parts of the system, including the hot water tank and black and grey water tanks. Even a small amount of water left in the nooks and crannies can freeze, expand and cause leaks when you’re back up and running. The preferred method to remove water is to use air and blow out the system, followed by running the pump to refill it with plumbing-grade antifreeze. Once running the pump, open all the faucets and water outlets in the coach until the antifreeze starts flowing out. If you don’t have one already, don’t forget to install a hot water tank bypass kit before you start to prevent filling your RV’s water heater. Also, don’t forget to drain the water heater. If it freezes, it will split your tank open, resulting in an expensive repair.
The easiest method for winterizing your RV’s batteries is to remove them completely and store them somewhere warm. If you must keep them in the Travel Trailer or Motorhome, you will need to keep them charged. An idle battery will discharge, freeze and crack leaving you with a hefty replacement bill next season. AC or solar chargers are the most popular options but be sure to use a Smart Charger or Solar Charge Controller to prevent overcharging.
If your rig is being stored outdoors, the best protection against the elements is an RV cover. You want to be sure that your roof is protected from premature deterioration and possible leaks to prevent nasty surprises in the Spring. A good RV cover will deal with any kind of moisture but it is the wind that you need to be most concerned about. Measure your rig well and make sure the cover fits as snug as possible to prevent blowing and billowing. Avoid rips and tears by covering any edges with tennis balls, pool noodles, etc.
No one wants uninvited guests taking up residence during their search for food and warmth. Make sure that your RV is fully cleaned before you put it away for the season, taking special care in any areas where food is stored or prepared. You will also want to choose a form of rodent repellent. There are a variety of chemical and organic solutions that you can place throughout the interior. If you’re connected to power, you can also consider plug-in sound-based repellents.
This step is less for those who are storing their RV and more for those planning to use it in the shoulder season, or even the dead of Winter. Make sure that your heating is good to go before you set out to avoid some chilly nights. Many furnace issues are caused by the lack of combustion airflow. Check all your combustion passages for clogs or nests that could prevent ignition. Make sure that your ignitor/electrode is functioning and has a spark going to the gas. Take a listen to your blower fan and motor for excessive mechanical noise. This could be an indication that the motor may need to be replaced.