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How to Winterize Your RV

Lakeshore RV Center

How to Winterize Your RV

Winterizing Your RV In 8 Simple Steps

With winter upon us it's a good idea to start thinking about how to winterize your RV for these cold months to come.Winterizing your RV simply means you have taken the necessary steps to protect your camper's plumbing and water system from the potential damage caused by freezing water. Winterization only costs a small amount, but pays off big time in the long run! We broke down the process into 8 simple steps to make the process simple.

Why is it important to winterize your RV?

Winterizing your RV includes removing the water from the water lines, holding tanks, and water heater so it doesn’t freeze when temperatures drop below freezing. Even a small amount of water left in your system can damage your RV if it freezes and expands. Winterizing saves you from high repair costs. You can either add antifreeze to your RV or blow out your lines to ensure the water is removed. You should winterize your RV when temperatures drop, before the first freeze of the year, when you store your RV for the winter, or when you are traveling through cold climates.

Items you need to winterize your RV:

  • Non-toxic RV antifreeze: 2 – 3 gallons, depending on the length and layout of your plumbing lines.
  • Water heater by-pass kit (if not already installed).
  • Wand to clean out the black water holding tank if the RV doesn’t have a built-in clean out system.
  • Water pump converter kit, or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the 12 volt water pump.
  • Basic hand tools to remove and install drain plugs.
  • Note: Be sure to read your owner’s manuals for unit specific winterizing guidelines. Follow the steps below that apply to your RV.

    How to Winterize Your RVStep 1 Disconnect your outside water source if you happen to be hooked up to an intake How to Winterize Your RVStep 2 Bypass your water heater and any under-sink water systems. You don't want the antifreeze getting in these areas. How to Winterize Your RVStep 3 Open the petcock, water taps, and flush the toilet to drain any and all water remaining in the system. You want to get everything out of the pipes before you begin. How to Winterize Your RVStep 4 After draining as much water as possible, attach a blow out plug to the water intake fitting and apply air pressure from an air compressor to drain the remaining water. Blowing out the remaining water is not required, but the remaining water will dilute your antifreeze. Close all faucets and petcock when complete. How to Winterize Your RVStep 5 You can add antifreeze either from the inside using the water pump conversion kit or from the outside using a hand pump. Check your progress by opening up one faucet at a time, starting from the highest and working to the lowest point in the fresh water system. Begin with the kitchen faucet. Open the HOT side of the faucet only. Pump antifreeze until flow from the faucet becomes pink. This will indicate that all the water has been flushed from your system. Close the faucet. Repeat step on cold side. Continue to the next lower fixture. Usually the bathroom sink, then the shower and finally the toilet.How to Winterize Your RVStep 6 We recommend pouring at least 2 pints of antifreeze into all sink & shower drains. The ice maker, washing machine and external shower will also need to be winterized. Look for this information in your appliance manuals. How to Winterize Your RVStep 7 Open the drain plug on the water heater and leave it open. How to Winterize Your RVStep 8 The unit is winterized. Now, next spring when it’s time to head out in the RV you won’t have any unpleasant, not to mention costly, surprises waiting for you. Leave antifreeze in the lines until spring. Do not drain it early or you risk cracking and bursting pipes.

    From the Experts

    Michael will walk you through these steps in the video below!

    How to Winterize Your RV
    How to Winterize Your RV

    Other Winterization Tips

    Turn the refrigerator off completely, and clean and dry the inside. Prop open the door slightly to allow any additional moisture to evaporate. This will help to eliminate odors and keep any remaining moisture from freezing. Check the condition of the screening material underneath the refrigerator roof vent. If it is in poor condition, ensure that it is replaced.
    Turn off all connections completely.Thoroughly clean inside and out and leave this slightly propped open as well.
    Electrical systems
    Disconnect all the batteries you have hooked up, and fully charge them so that there is no room in it for moisture to collect. 120-Volt System Turn off all the breakers at the box and unplug anything that is plugged in.
    How to Winterize Your RV

    Miscellaneous Areas

    Clean and cover the roof including the air conditioner and any vents you may have.
    Check the seals around all the windows and doors and ensure they are not worn or cracked. If need be, replace them, or find an alternative way to seal the gap.
    Inspect all the seals to ensure they are not worn or cracked. For the winter, keep all the slides in the retracted position to help keep the cold out of the rig.
    Make sure your tires are protected by placing the weight of the rig on a jack or leveler. This will help to prolong the life of your tires.
    Clean and completely dry your awning before you retract it. Any moisture on it can freeze and cause the awning to crack.
    Check underneath for any openings. Make sure to cover them well if you find any. Not only do these openings allow cold air in, but there are a lot of little critters out there looking for a place to hide from the cold as well. You don't want to find an infestation when you roll your RV out in the spring.
    AC Filters
    Remove, clean and replace your AC filters to ensure it is ready for the following year.
    Printable copy available here
    8 Steps to Winterization
    Our team at Lakeshore RV in Muskegon, Michigan specializes in exceptional service on the top, wholesale RVs. We can provide you with any help you need for maintenance or winterization. If you have any questions or concerns about winterizing your trailer feel free to call Lakeshore RV at (231) 788-2040.