For many, Spring cleaning and winterizing an RV is an annual ritual. For some however 2020 is their inaugural adventure into the world of RVing. For these folks, a reminder that your season is not quite finished. Unless you have plans to store your new summer home in an heated warehouse you will need to winterize. Which at a minimum means removing the water in your RV or your plumbing will freeze and your lines will likely crack.
Here is a compilation of suggested procedures from GoRVing Canada and Canadream as well as a YouTube Video. Keep in mind all RVs are unique and the extent or location of plumbing lines will vary.
Things you may need:
- Nontoxic RV/Marine antifreeze. The amount depends on the layout and length of your plumbing lines. Two to three gallons will usually do it.
- A water heater bypass kit, if one is not already installed on the water heater.
- A water pump converter kit or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the water pump.
- Basic hand tools to remove and install drain plugs.
The first step is to deal with the plumbing. Black and gray water tanks should already be empty. Open and drain all water tanks aboard your RV including the hot water tank. Replace all drain caps and close all faucets. Add antifreeze to your plumbing system. This involves disconnecting the water line that connects to the fresh water pump and pumping antifreeze through the system. If possible, bypass your water heater. Run each tap and flush the toilet until you see antifreeze.
Here is a fun YouTube video that demonstrates how to winterize your plumbing. Don’t forget to close any outside lines before pumping antifreeze through the system!
- Remove all food and valuable items.
- Fix anything that is broken.
- Cover any vents or holes. This reduces the likelihood that mice, birds or other creatures will inhabit your vehicle over the winter.
- To prevent mold and odours leave cupboard and refrigerator doors open. Dryer sheets, baking soda, kitty litter and charcoal can also help with moisture and odour. Removing or propping up mattresses and cushions is also a good idea.
- Take the weight off your tires. Use wheel chocks to take the weight off your tires and prevent them from going flat over the winter.
- If possible cover your RV with a breathable cover. This protects your RV from damaging mold and mildew that can grow during the winter months. Ensure that you use a breathable material to prevent this problem. To prevent rips in the material, place rags around any sharp corners or surfaces. Other options include a garage or paying to store your RV in a warehouse.