Fall is right around the corner and winter is not far behind. After the crazy freeze of February 2020, we plan to make sure our RV is ready for COLD Texas weather. It is never a fun job to shut it down, close it up or spend time winterizing it. However, the payoff comes when the spring weather arrives and it’s time for road trips again. Making preparations to prevent damage caused by frozen water and low temperatures is a smart move.
Every RV is a little different in terms of its systems and which tasks to do in a certain order, but there are some common steps to take to make sure you are in good shape when warm weather returns.
- If your RV is hooked up to a water source, it is time to unplug. Turn off that water heater and let it cool down. Empty it by opening the pressure valve and taking out the drain plug. Turn on sinks, showers and toilet valves and run the water until it runs out. If you have extra accessories that use water – icemaker, washer, outside shower – empty those, too. Once all lines are cleared, it’s time to turn off the water pump.
- As many of us learned last year, the water system is the most susceptible to major damage during freezing temperatures. You’ll need to run RV antifreeze through your water system during the winterizing process. NOTE: RV antifreeze is very different from the antifreeze that is put into your car. RV antifreeze is typically a non-toxic pink fluid that is used to protect your RV’s plumbing system.
- Clean out all tanks – black, gray, and fresh water, usually in that order. Sanitize them and flush fresh water through to clean them out. In your black and grey tanks, treat with a tank treatment to prevent bacteria from growing. Don’t forget to clean out the sewer hoses, too.
- Disconnect the battery – the negative cable. If it is left connected during storage, the battery can drain completely, resulting in a reduced battery life.
- Check seals to prevent water damage. Lubricate hinges and locks with a household lubricant.
- Thoroughly clean the exterior of the RV. During your travels, salt, tar, droppings, bugs, and sap may have accumulated on the outside. If not washed off, they may cause corrosion or staining. Hand washing, if possible, is the best way to clean and prepare your RV for winter. Remember to also check the awning.
- Cleaning the interior is mandatory. Vacuum the interior well and the exterior storage bins. Remove any food that might attract animals – they can do severe damage camping out in your RV over the winter months.
- If possible, it is best to keep your RV out of direct sunlight. You might consider purchasing a cover if feasible. Sun visors are available for the windshield area and blinds should be closed to keep the sun out.
Your RV came with a manual which includes specific cleaning instructions and suggestions. Find those sections and read them carefully for system instructions and advice for your specific unit. Make sure any cleaners you use don’t damage the interior or exterior surfaces. Taking care of your RV increases its life span and the great memories you’ll make while using it.