Will your RV be ready for winter when the temperatures start to drop?
Winterizing your RV yourself can seem intimidating. Thankfully, once you break down the steps into smaller tasks and locate the areas of your rig where you need to do the work, the winterization process won't be difficult at all!
Let's get started!
Winterizing your RV is the process of removing water from water lines, holding tanks, the water heater, and other water systems that can freeze when temperatures go below freezing. Even a little bit of water left in your system could freeze, expand, and damage your RV. Winterizing your camper will save you from paying high repair costs and help keep your RV out of the shop once spring rolls back around. Whether you choose to winterize your RV by adding RV antifreeze or blowing out your lines, the goal is the same — get the water out of the lines.
Start thinking about winterizing your RV before the first freeze of the season. If a sudden cold snap catches you off guard, you might find it challenging to get to your RV storage facility and winterize your camper at the last minute. The easiest way to monitor temperatures is to use a weather app that provides an hourly detail. That way, you'll know the exact time the temperatures are supposed to dip below freezing. Just one freeze could damage your RV, and you don't want that to happen!
You should also winterize your RV when you're ready to store it for the winter. Even if the temperatures are still warm, properly tucking your camper in for the off-season will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your RV is ready for the cold.
Are you headed to a warmer climate for the winter? Keep an eye on the weather, where you live, as well as where you're traveling. While you might be tempted to keep your systems in summer mode if you're moving south for the winter, driving through freezing temperatures, even for one day, could potentially damage your RV.
For the most part, winterizing your camper or RV is a simple task you can do yourself. Whether you winterize your camper yourself or have a certified RV technician do the work, it's important to prep your RV for the winter, no matter how you get it done.
Since every RV is different, it's a good idea to consult your owner's manual before starting the winterization process. Also, remember that some RVs may have extra components, like a washing machine, ice maker, or dishwasher, which may require additional steps to winterize.
Start with clean and empty black and grey water holding tanks.
Drain the freshwater tank.
Clear out the water in your lines.
Tip: Opening a faucet during the next few steps may help clear the lines faster.
Bypass the water tank using the bypass valve on the water heater.
Tip: Have a small towel handy in case you need to absorb any water that comes out of the water pump.
Locate the siphon tube from the water pump converter kit and insert the siphon tube into a one-gallon jug of pink RV antifreeze.
Tip: Many newer RVs have a siphon tube and a water pump winterization kit already installed. If you don't have a siphon tube and water pump winterization kit, disconnect the line coming from the freshwater holding tank (the inlet) and connect the tube from the water pump inlet into the jug of pink RV antifreeze.
Push RV antifreeze through the system.
Push RV antifreeze through the city water intake on the outside of the RV.
Drain the siphon tube.
Pour RV antifreeze into the P-traps.
Once you've winterized the water system, consult your owner's manual for RV long-term storage procedures. Although the process differs depending on your RV type and storage facility, here are 10 quick tips to prep your RV for winter storage.
Yes! Keep in mind that once your RV is winterized, you won't be able to use any of your water systems unless you dewinterize your RV first. To keep your RV winterized but still use it, you'll primarily rely on campground facilities and treat your RV like a big tent on wheels.
Yes, but it's better to winterize your RV before temperatures drop below freezing. Depending on how cold it is, exposing your RV to even five minutes of below-freezing temperatures can damage the water systems. We recommend keeping your RV in a heated building if you plan to winterize it once the temperatures drop below freezing.
Yes and no. It just depends on how you plan to use your RV during the winter. If you store your RV in a heated and insulated building, monitor the building's temperature, and keep it there for the winter, you shouldn't have to winterize your camper.
The same rule applies to people who live in the warmer parts of the United States. In the Sunshine Belt, you typically won't have to worry about winterizing your RV. But, as we all know, the weather can be unpredictable. That's why we suggest that all RVers keep an eye on the sky and have the supplies on hand in case you need to winterize your RV last minute.
Some RVs come with tank heaters, sealed underbellies, and four-season capabilities. However, to keep the water systems in your four-season RV from freezing, you still need to rely on your tank heaters and propane or electric heat to keep everything warm.
While you might be able to keep your systems from freezing if you're stationary, it could be challenging to keep things from freezing while you're driving, even if you add plenty of antifreeze to your holding tanks and drive with your tank heaters on.
Winter camping can be fun. But, before you head out with your RV in the snow, make sure you understand how your systems operate and be mindful of your RV's extreme temperature limitations.
Now that you know more about winterizing your RV, you can decide if you want to tackle the project yourself or pay someone to help you out. We know that winterizing your camper means the end of camping season, but don't worry. Before you know it, spring will be just around the corner, and you'll be ready to dewinterize your RV and start planning for the upcoming camping season.
Proper winterization and storage help keep your RV in great shape for years to come. Keeping your RV in optimal condition during every season is especially important if you decide to rent out your RV on RVezy.
Our hosts are required to regularly check their RV for any defects in operations or safety standards. Hosts warrant that their RV will be safe and roadworthy, and in good mechanical condition at all times.