Winter will be here before we know it. And, when winter approaches, you need to winterize your RV. There are a number of steps involved, but if you follow this handy checklist, you will not miss a beat!
How to Winterize your RV:
1) First, you will need to drain all of the RV’s water tanks. You will want to make sure that you completely drain all of the black, gray and fresh water tanks at a sanitary dump station.
2) Remove water from the hot water heater and the water lines, too. All water needs to go to prevent freezing. For the water heater, the drain is typically on the bottom. Open up the drain, drain the water and any lime deposits. Next, go to the rear of the water heater and put it in bypass mode. If your water heater has 3 valves, put the top valve in the closed position, the middle valve in the open position and the bottom valve in the closed position. Go to the outside of the water heater and re-install the drain plug or anode rod if equipped. If your refrigerator has an icemaker or a water dispenser, be sure to disconnect and drain the lines at the refrigerator. Refer to your owner’s manual for the refrigerator to see if any special procedure needs to be performed.
You should also attach a plug, called a ‘Blowout Plug’ to your RV’s city water inlet. Connect the other end of this plug to your air compressor and set your air compressor to 30 psi. Then, blow air into the water inlet.
3) Walk around your RV and open up water valves, one at a time. Blow the water out from the lines. When you have blown out all of the water, close each valve and move on to the next.
4) Flush the toilet. Don’t forget the showers. Open up both the hot water line and the cold water line. Once you have done each of these fixtures, all of the water should be out of the freshwater system. Don’t forget about the air source, either. You will need to open up a faucet to get rid of any remaining pressure.
5) Pump antifreeze through all of the water lines.
6) You will also want to clean up your water tanks after a season’s worth of use. You can simply pour a cup of laundry detergent into your black and gray water tanks, and then dump detergent directly into your shower drain and toilet tanks.
Pour water into these drains in order to add them to the gray and black tanks. About ten gallons of water should suffice. You will want to dump ice into the toilet as this will give it help with the scrubbing process.
Then drive your RV around for about 15 miles, up and down hills, to help the scrubbing action of the tanks. When you dump the tanks for the last time, go over the valves of the tanks with a bit of 30 weight oil.
7) Once you are parked for the winter, pour a bit more antifreeze down each drain in order to help protect the trap. Then, close the toilet’s flush valve. You can pour a small amount of antifreeze into the toilet bowl, too.
8) If you are worried about mice or other animals getting into your RV, make sure to cover all of your external vents. They probably already have mesh inserts, but a little extra cover is very helpful at this time.
In addition to vents, look for any small openings that bugs or rodents could get in through, such as gaps around the door and windows. Weather stripping is an excellent ally here. In fact, you may want to weather strip whether you see any gaps or not. Better safe than sorry.
9) Take a final look around to check out the condition of the roof and check for any possible leak spots. Look over the entire exterior to see if any repairs need to be done. If there are small problems, they could turn into big ones as the RV sits for months, so avoid this and fix them today.
Finally, cover the RV with a loose cloth. And, if you prefer, you can put your RV up on blocks to protect the tires.
Now, wave a goodbye to your RV and tell her you will see her when it gets warm again!
Coach-Net RV Technicians
Someone told us that they use to put Vodka in their motorhome to winterize it instead of anti freeze. Is this possible? When we use anti freeze, it smells so bad when spring comes and we flush it out.
Very expensive to us vodka
But will it work? Will it damage anything?
We do not recommend using Vodka or any alcohol for a winterizing agent. Instead, we suggest using a commercial product specifically for winterizing RVs. Should you experience an unpleasant odor when you de-winterize in the Spring, we would suggest using baking soda and fresh water to flush the system.
Is there a reason why you shouldn’t use Vodka? Other than it is expensive to use. Will it harm anything?
We are not aware of any studies performed using alcohol to winterize an RV, so we cannot guarantee what sort of damage (if any) would be caused by winterizing a RV with Vodka or any alcohol. We can speculate that alcohol would prematurely erode rubber gaskets and/or seals within the plumbing system though. Hope this helps. If you do decide to try this method, please let us know how it worked for you. 🙂
Roger Reddick said:
How many vents should be left open? We live in a damp climate, last year I left two roof vents open and the window over the kitchen sink a small amount, Then put in 3 Dry-eeze containers and keep dumping and adding ingredients over the winter. In the Spring we had mold every where. What is the best way to deal with this??
Thanks for your help.
If it’s a damp climate, make sure to close all windows and vents completely.You can use electric dehumidifiers so you don’t have to check them. Since you are using Dry-Eze, it is important to check it regularly.
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