Fall is the time of year you need to decide if your camping season is over. Parking your RV for the winter requires some preventive measures so it will be ready to use next spring. You’ll also be glad you did it when you don’t have costly repair bills due to the damaging results of winter. Now the question is how do you prepare it for winter, and who will be doing it? If you’re like me and you enjoy performing the routine maintenance on your RV, not to mention saving a few dollars, the “who” part is answered. As for the “how” part, this checklist is the same one I used to make our Winterizing & Storing video. I feel it is the easiest and most effective way to winterize your RV.
Before you get started there are a few items you will need to have. These items can be found in most RV parts stores:
* Non-toxic RV antifreeze (the amount depends on the layout and length of your plumbing lines. 2 to 3 gallons will normally do).
* A water heater by-pass kit, if not already installed.
* A water pump converter kit, or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the water pump.
* Basic hand tools to remove drain plugs.
Now we can winterize the RV water system to protect it from freezing. Be sure to read your owners manuals for unit specific winterizing guidelines. Follow the steps below that apply to your RV.
* If you have any inline water filters remove and bypass them before starting.
* Drain the fresh water holding tank.
* Drain and flush the gray and black holding tanks. Clean the black tank with a wand. Lubricate the termination valves.
* Drain the water heater. CAUTION: Never drain when hot or under pressure.
* Open all hot and cold faucets; don’t forget the toilet valve and outside shower.
* Locate and open low point drain lines. Using the water pump will help force water out, but turn it off as soon as the system is drained.
* Recap all drains and close all faucets.
* By-pass the water heater. If you do not have a by-pass kit installed the water heater will fill up with antifreeze before it goes through the water lines, wasting six gallons of antifreeze.
* Install a water pump converter kit, or disconnect the inlet side of the pump (the line coming from the fresh water holding tank) and connect tubing from the pump into a gallon of RV antifreeze.
* Turn the water pump on and pressurize the system. Starting with the closest faucet slowly open the hot and then cold valves until antifreeze appears. Replace antifreeze jug as required.
* Repeat on all faucets from the closest to farthest away. Don’t forget the outside shower.
* Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears.
* Turn the water pump off and open a faucet to release the pressure. Go to the city water inlet.
* Remove the small screen over the inlet and push in on the valve with a small screwdriver until you see antifreeze. Replace the screen.
* Pour a cupful of antifreeze down each drain. Pour a few cups in the toilet and flush into the holding tank.
* If your water heater has an electric heating element turn it off. This will protect the element if the unit is plugged in while being stored.
* Make sure all faucets are closed.
* Consult your owner manuals for winterizing ice makers and washing machines.
Your RV is winterized
This checklist is a basic guide that was intended to assist you in winterizing your RV. As with many other checklists it would be impossible to cover every RV. It is extremely important that you read your owner’s manuals for unit specific winterizing guidelines.
Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk, owner of RV Education 101