How to Winterize Your RV

By | January 6, 2017

For most of us winter means packing up the camping equipment and storing the RV for the cold weather season. Whether you plan to leave your RV parked on your driveway or place it in a storage facility you can’t simply leave it after your last trip. You will need to be properly winterize your rv before it can sit.

Here’s the to-do list of winterizing your RV:

  • Winterize the plumbing system.
  • Clean the interior and exterior.
  • Remove all food and valuable items.
  • Put in preventative measures against invading animals.
  • Do a check of your RV.
  • Protect from moisture and mold.
  • Take the weight off of the tires.
  • Winterizing your RV Plumbing System

    While you can take your RV to a professional to have this done it’s also fairly easy to do yourself. Here are the steps to winterizing your RV’s plumbing system:

  • Drain and dry the water lines of your RV’s potable grey and black water tanks.
    • Run all faucets (including the indoor and outdoor showers) and flush the toilet a few times to ensure the water is out.
    • Don’t drain the water heater yet as this will be done later!
  • Attach a regular air compressor to the lines using a blowout plug (also known as a water intake fitting). Run the compressor at a max 50 psi or 30lbs of pressure per 1 inch.
  • Replace the caps and turn off your faucets.
  • Add antifreeze to plumbing by using an inside water pump conversion kit or an exterior hand pump. Use a bypass if possible as you use much less antifreeze.
    • Disconnect the line between the potable water tank to the potable water pump and attach the inside water pump conversion kit or an exterior hand pump upstream of the water tank (the antifreeze goes in before the tank).
    • If you have one attach the water heater bypass. Disconnect the water supply if you haven’t done this and disconnect the hot and cold lines going in and out of the water heater and connect the bypass following the instructions on the package. Close off the hot and cold water lines and then open the bypass.
    • Place the disconnected end of the water line in a jug of RV antifreeze – it should be pink. 7-12 litres will fill the entire plumbing system of most RVs as long as the bypass is installed. If you do not have a bypass the amount of antifreeze needed will be significantly more.
    • Turn on the potable water pump and allow it to run or use a hand pump connected to city water.
    • Starting from the highest point and working to the lowest run each hot and cold water faucet until it runs pink. Generally the order is the kitchen sink bathroom sink shower toilet and outdoor shower. Make sure you run the faucets until you see a strong shade of pink coming from each one then you can turn them off. You may need to flush the toilet several times.
    • Pour 0.5 to 1 litres (or 3 cups) of antifreeze into the toilet and each drain – don’t forget the washing machine and ice maker if you have them!
    • Take the water line out of the antifreeze jug and reconnect it to the potable water tank.
  • Locate the water heater remove the plug and drain it.
    • This should be done last! Make sure you’ve drained the plumbing system and added antifreeze! 

    Next you should remove all food and valuable items. You’ll want to clean the interior and exterior of the RV as this will make your life a lot easier come spring. It also discourages pests and other nasty surprises from appearing and allows you to check your RV for problems. Pay special attention to the seals and roof. Make sure to fix any issues before storage as they can worsen over time or if you forget about them be an unpleasant discovery when you go to use your trailer next year.

    Cover all your vents and holes to prevent animals from making your RV their home. Unless your RV is stored inside you will also want to cover the RV with a breathable material. You can put rags on corners or sharp edges to prevent tearing of the cover. You should also store your RV with wheel blocks as this takes the weight off the tires and prolongs their lifespan.

    Check your owner’s manuals for winterizing your RV and the individual units inside like the fridge and washing machine. Once that’s been done your RV is ready for winter storage! Don’t forget to talk to your independent insurance broker on how your insurance is affected during the winter season and if your RV is covered if it’s in a storage facility.