Winter is Coming: How and When to Winterize Your RV
Winter is coming! Before it snowed or froze, take the time to winterize your RV. This will allow you to enjoy all of the natural beauty of winter from inside of your vehicle rather than outside. The process is relatively simple and only involves a few steps that will give you peace of mind.
First, drain your water and gas tanks. If you don't intend on driving it anywhere for an extended period (more than 3 days), then you can disconnect your battery for added safety. You'll also want to cover any pipes that run through the exterior insulation material, like vinyl sleeves, because they can easily crack in cold weather. Finally, close any vents that are located on the outside of the vehicle. The temperature difference between the inside of your RV and outside can cause them to crack, which is very dangerous.
Why is winterizing important?
It's important to winterize your RV because it protects against potential damage from cold weather. By winterizing your RV, you can be sure that you're not at risk for pipes freezing or cracking, damage to the insulation material around pipes, and damaging the vents.
When should you winterize your RV?
You should winterize your RV before it gets too cold outside. This is because winterizing your RV protects against the risks of pipes freezing or cracking, insulation that covers pipes cracking, and vent damage. If you intend to drive your car (or RV) anywhere during the winter, consider doing it before the weather gets too cold and while you still have time to take care of these important steps.
When you should winterize your RV depends on the climate where you live. It's important to know the lowest temperature in your area. If you live in a temperate region, it's best to do your winterizing in September or October. On the other hand, if you live in an arid region, then it might be time to do it as late as November or December.
Once you know when to do it, here's how:
Step 1: Find the Water and Gas Valves
First, locate where your water and gas valves are located on your RV. They should be close to each other. They're typically located in a cabinet or an easily accessible area near the front of your vehicle. If you need help finding them, consult your owner's manual. Don't forget to shut off both valves when you turn them off! They may be hard to find afterwards otherwise.
Step 2: Drain Your Water System and Tanks
Drain every tank and reservoir that holds water in your RV including freshwater tanks, wastewater tanks, gray-water tanks, black-water tanks, toilet reservoirs, and water heaters. Take care when draining your freshwater tank to make sure you empty the bottom of the tank as well. Drain all utilities in your RV including any sinks, showers, bathtubs, or appliances that use water. If you have a pressure regulator on your freshwater line leading to your RV, remove it before draining the lines because it may be difficult to reinstall after the process is done.
Step 3: Disconnect Your Toilet's Water Supply
Disconnect your RV's black-and gray-water holding tanks from its toilet by unscrewing the nuts that hold them in place. You can drain these yourself or hire a professional because they are dirty work! Place two buckets under the supply line to capture any water that spills. If you don't, it will end up on the floor of your RV.
Step 4: Insulate Any Pipes That Are Exposed on Your RV's Exterior
Melt away or prevent access to pipes that are exposed through insulation. Use heat tape on any exposed plumbing lines and wrap the ends of hoses with insulation.
Step 5: Cover Vents With Tape or Plastic Wrap
Cover all vents in your RV with plastic sheeting, aluminum foil, duct tape, or even an old sweater if it keeps out rain and snow! Also, seal all doors and windows shut so you don't have air coming into your vehicle when the temperature drops at night.
Winterizing your RV is a thorough process that ensures your safety when you're planning to stay warm inside your cozy home on wheels. If you need any help with the process, please consult a professional in your area.
Tips for winterizing your Rvs?
- You can begin by draining your water and gas tanks using the valves on each tank. If you plan on leaving them empty for a long period of time, it's best to disconnect your battery as well.
- Next, be sure to insulate any vinyl sleeves that might expose pipes that run through exterior walls or under flooring such as heat pump tubing.
- Close all vents on the outside of your vehicle to prevent them from breaking when temperatures drop significantly. However, make sure to open the vents in your RV when you heat up the inside.
- Now, cover any windows with plastic or insulated material that will protect against cold air getting in. This step is important if you plan on leaving your RV when it's cold outside.
- When draining tanks, be sure to use a garden hose rather than letting water sit in pipes where it can freeze and break them.
- If you're going to drain the tank before freezing temperatures arrive, remove all water from grey and black water holding tanks by flushing them thoroughly and then continue draining by using a manual valve located near each tank. Be cautious not to leave these valves open while driving or you could end up with a very smelly cab.
- In addition, always use caution when working around water. Water and electricity don't mix well, even when it's not winterized.
Winterizing Method #1: Antifreeze
One of the easiest winterizing methods is adding antifreeze to your freshwater tank. It also helps to keep pipes from freezing in cold temperatures. Antifreeze comes in many colors but is typically either green or yellow. You can also purchase it with a rust inhibitor if you are dealing with metal pipes that could corrode over time. Winterizing your RV with antifreeze is easy!
- Open all of your faucets and let the water drain completely.
- Pour antifreeze liquid in or attach a hose to an exterior spigot and run it into one of your drains in the bathroom, kitchen sink, etc. The draining process takes around three minutes per foot (since there are 3 feet in each yard).
- Add some dye if desired; most people opt for green since it resembles plant life.
- The best part about winterizing with antifreeze is that you can reuse it every year by adding more anti-freeze liquid to the tank. Just like cars, RVs need their antifreeze changed every so often. The more antifreeze you add, the longer it lasts!
Winterizing Method #2: Remove Water From Holding Tanks
Another option for winterizing your RV is to remove all water from grey and black holding tanks by flushing them thoroughly using fresh water. If you plan on leaving your vehicle when cold weather arrives, be sure to close all vents on the outside of your vehicle in order to prevent cold air from getting inside. Once that's done, cover any windows with plastic or insulated material that will protect against cold air getting in since they are essential for maintaining comfortable temperatures within.
These methods can either be completed together or separately depending on how prepared you are. Either way, winterizing your RV is an important step to take in order to prevent damage from snow and freezing temperatures.
Winterizing Method #3: Compressed Air
Some people prefer to use compressed air to keep their pipes from freezing in the winter. This is an effective strategy when you are using plastic pipes, which are more easily formed to clean out any frost or ice that can build up in hard-to-reach places. But make sure the air is dry, warm, and filtered for this method to be most effective!
Don't flush your antifreeze system with compressed air
After winterizing the pipes with compressed air, make sure you don't flush your antifreeze system with compressed air as this could cause it to solidify.
Make sure that the air coming from your compressor is clean and dry. You can also use a dryer to filter the air by making a hole at the end of a vacuum hose and inserting it into the back of a dryer vent, then running a filter on the other end. This will remove moisture from the air. You should never mix antifreeze with compressed air in your pipes as this could cause both substances to solidify.
Winter is coming, which means that RVers all over the country are busy winterizing their RVs. Winterizing an RV means getting everything ready so you don't have to deal with any issues while spending time in a harsh climate.
Winterizing Method #4: Drain and Fill Your Freshwater Tank
Some RVers will drain their freshwater tank in the winter to help prevent it from freezing. They do this by unscrewing the cap on top of their water tank, opening up all of the faucets inside their home, and draining any remaining water until there is none left. Then they refill it with fresh water so that everything is ready for use when warmer weather arrives again!
Winterizing Method #5: Protect Your Metal Parts
If your RV comes equipped with metal pipes, you might want to protect them during the winter months by covering them or wrapping them in insulating material. You can also purchase a rust inhibitor just in case your pipes aren't made of plastic!
Winterizing Methods #6-10: Remove, Protect, Cover Your AC Unit
Some people will go the extra mile to winterize their AC unit by removing it entirely or covering it with a protective cover. You can also invest in an insulating blanket just for your AC unit to prevent any damage that might occur since cold air can seep in at times when doors are open. It's always better to be safe than sorry!
While not all RVs have AC units inside of them, some do, which is why it's important to protect them during storage periods when they aren't being used. You never know when you might need an escape from the heat!
If the RV has an outdoor shower take care of this before winter comes too! But if you are using your shower inside, winterizing won't have any effect on it.
Make sure that the drain valves of your AC unit are open to allow for proper drainage. You can use a screwdriver or other long tool to check each one. If it's being blocked by ice, simply thaw it with warm water.
Do not use antifreeze in your freshwater tank
Since most RVs come equipped with metal pipes, make sure you don't put antifreeze (which comes in many different colors!) in them as this could cause corrosion when your rig is left alone during storage periods. Put the antifreeze into your sewage tanks instead since they will be drained regularly during storage intervals!
While winterizing your RV might be a long task, it's definitely going to keep you from having anything major go wrong while away from your rig during the coldest months of the year. It takes a lot of time and effort to get everything done properly but it will all be worth it in the end!
Winter is coming soon which means that many RVs are being prepared for storage or will simply be closed up until warmer weather returns. Winterizing an RV isn't always easy, but by following these steps you'll be ready for whatever winter can throw at you!
Don't forget to check your water tank on an annual basis to protect against freezing pipes over extended periods of unoccupied storage! If you think there is any chance that your water tank might freeze, drain your water tank entirely!
Winterizing your RV is a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it in the end. With these 10 winterization methods, you're sure to have everything ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you! If there's anything we can do to help with this process or if you just want some more tips on how best to prepare for winter while away from home, let us at Gyspy Road RVs know and one of our experts would be happy to get back to you!