Winterizing Your RV
Preparing Your Rv for Winter
Author: Mark Polk
Owning an RV certainly comes with as many responsibilities if not more than in owning a vehicle. Failing to winterize an RV can cause unpleasant surprises come spring. If lines aren’t properly flushed and systems cleaned out, freezing temperatures can cause expansion and damages, leading to online casinos contamination and costly repairs.
To winterize your RV you can either do it your self or hire a certified RV technician.
For those do-it-yourself types, here are a few things you will need before getting started.
• Non-toxic RV antifreeze (The amount depends on the layout and length of your plumbing lines. Two to three gallons will normally do).
• A water heater by-pass kit, if not already installed.
• A wand to clean out holding tanks.
• 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 to go through the steps of preparing your RV for winter.
• If you have any inline water filters remove and bypass before starting.
• Drain the fresh water holding tank.
• Drain and flush the gray and black holding tanks. If your RV doesn’t have a built in tank flushing system clean the black tank out with a wand, or use a product like Flush King that allows you to clean both the black and gray tanks. Lubricate the termination valves with WD 40.
• Drain the water heater. Remove the drain plug and open the pressure relief valve. CAUTION (never drain the water heater when it is hot or under pressure)
• Open all hot and cold faucets; don’t forget the toilet valve and outside shower.
• Locate and open the low point drain lines. There will be one for the hot and cold water 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 water pump (the line coming from the fresh water holding tank). Connect a piece of clear tubing to the inlet side of the pump and put the other end into a one gallon container of non-toxic 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 the antifreeze container as required.
• Repeat this process on all faucets from the closest to the farthest away. Don’t forget the outside shower, if equipped.
• Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears.
• Turn the water pump off and open a faucet to release the pressure. Go outside 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 couple of cups in the toilet and flush into the holding tank.
• If your water heater has an electric heating element make sure it is turned off. This will protect the element if the unit is plugged in while being stored.
• Make sure all the faucets are closed.
• Consult your owner manuals for winterizing icemakers and washing machines.
That’s it you’re done! That wasn’t so bad was it? Now remove your batteries for winter storage!
Check out other RV information by Mark Polk at RV Education 101