if you live in the northern climes, winterizing your RV is an important
step to protecting your investment. Whether you store your RV in paid
storage or at your home, it will still be unoccupied for long periods of
time. Mother Nature tends to invade, so here are some ways you can
keep her out.
Empty your holding tanks. The best time to do this is at completion
of your final trip of the summer or fall. Use a dump station, and flush a
goodly amount of water through the tanks.
Drain your fresh water tank and your water heater (hopefully they're
almost empty from flushing out the holding tanks). Remove the drain
from the bottom of the tanks and allow the water, and any accumulated
deposits, to flow out. You may wish to leave the plug out over the
winter to allow the tank to completely dry out.
Connect a blow plug (available at RV supply stores) to an air
compressor line, and then attach it to the water intake opening on the
outside of your RV. Make sure the compressor is set to a low psi'around
30-50 is usually fine. Open up a water line, and start the compressor.
This will blow air through the lines, drying them out. Go through your
RV, opening up faucets and other water lines, one at a time. Flush the
toilet, and don't forget your inside and outside showers! After
removing the compressor hose, open up a faucet to relieve any air
pressure still in your water lines.
Place some anti-freeze in your lines. Water can still accumulate in
your lines over the winter, freeze, and ruin a line, resulting in a
spring repair before you ever hit the road. Avoid this by running some
anti-freeze into your unit, using a line directly into the anti-freeze
bottle and into your system. You can install a valve on the intake line
to your water pump that will pull anti-freeze directly into the water
system. You will, however, need to fill the entire system (usually 6-10
gallons), and this requires purchase of a lot of anti-freeze. If you'd
prefer to use less, install a bypass line, which will allow you to run a
limited amount of anti-freeze into the system. Bypass lines are
available at RV stores. Make sure each fixture, including the toilet and
showers, gets some anti-freeze in it so your entire unit is protected.
Consider covering external vents with plastic to discourage wintering or hibernating rodents from calling your RV home.
Consider covering your RV. This prevents weather and sun damage, but
can lead to increased humidity inside your trailer. Make the call
depending on your knowledge of winter weather conditions in your area.
Place a container of dehumidifying gel in your RV. This is an
extremely simple, low-cost step that doesn't require any electricity.
For large RVs, consider placing one at either end. Temperature changes
will cause condensation within your RV; dehumidifying gels will help
keep that humidity contained so mold and mildew don't begin to grow.
Check the container at least once during the storage period and be
prepared to replace it, especially if you live in a high humidity area,
like near a coast.
One afternoon spent preparing your RV for the winter will pay off in
the spring. You'll be able to start the travel season without costly
repairs and time-consuming delays.