Unless you’re taking your RV someplace warm for the winter, it needs to be prepped for the cold, when unused pipes are as likely to burst as they are in an apartment and animals might be looking for a warmer place to hide out. Keeping plumbing and heating systems safe when it gets to be freezing isn't difficult, but it takes some effort. Here are just some of the important steps you'll need to take to make sure your RV is ready.
READ THE MANUAL
You'd think this would go without saying, but read your RV’s manual. Mark Polk at RVEducation101 says it can save time and effort. Some RVs have built-in winterizing controls, so give the manual a look before taking any other steps.
DRAIN THE WATER TANKS
Handling the fresh water holding tank is as easy as finding it and draining it out; draining and flushing the gray and black water holding tanks is a little trickier and way more gross. You're going to have to go to an RV dump station (state and national parks often have them), but if the RV doesn’t have a built-in tank flushing system, you're going to want to pick up a tank-flushing wand (starting at less than $10 on Amazon) and use it at the dump station.
DRAIN THE WATER HEATER TANK
DRAIN THE REST
BLOW IT OUT
While Polk notes that products such as the Flush King ($47 on Amazon) can help here, Jeff Adams at ReserveAmerica.com welcome.do suggests something a little stronger. By using an air compressor, a blow out plug ($5.50 on Amazon), and your water heater bypass, you can disconnect power and propane, connect the plug to the city water inlet on the outside of the RV, connect the compressor to the plug and run the compressor until all water is blown out.
INSTALL A WATER PUMP CONVERTER KIT
A converter kit, or winterizer kit ($12 from Camping World), isn't essential, but it is helpful. The next step is one of the trickiest, and the converter kit keeps you from wasting time and resources.
Yes, you put antifreeze in the water system. It isn't the same toxic kind used in vehicles. This non-toxic RV and marine antifreeze (well-reviewed products start below $10 at Walmart) can be added to the system with a converter, with a hand pump ($18 from Walmart), or by disconnecting the inlet side of the water pump from the holding taking and running a hose right into a jug of antifreeze.
REPRESSURIZE THE SYSTEM
SHUT DOWN THE HEATER
CLOSE ALL FAUCETS
TEND TO TIRES
PREP THE ENGINE
BLOCK THE TAILPIPE
PREPARE THE PROPANE
CLEAN IT UP
STRIP THE LINENS
COMPLETE PEST CONTROL
CHECK THE ROOF
SEAL IT UP
If you want to run a dehumidifier in your RV, that's up to you. Most RVs are fine if you open a container of moisture absorbent ($6 on sale at Camping World) dehumidifiers and put it on a flat surface inside. You'll be happy you did when you aren't attending to mildew, mold, and rust in the spring.
GIVE IT A HOME
You can use an RV cover (between$64 and 425 on sale at Camping World, depending on size) but they tend to trap moisture and take a toll on vehicles’ exteriors. Canopies and shelters (starting at $463 at eCanopy) are better, but can be troublesome with neighborhood associations or just picky neighbors. RV storage is the best option but, unsurprisingly, tends to be the most expensive as well.