10 Tips for Winterizing Your RV

10 tips to winterize rvIt's that time of the year again - time to pack up and clean out your RV, because winter is here.  Winterization is important, as your RV will stand in storage for a long period of time in extreme temperatures. Without proper winterization, you face many risks, such as mold, frozen plumbing and critter infestations to name a few. It is important to follow manufacturer instructions when winterizing your RV, but the general tips below will also go a long way to keeping your RV safe throughout the cooler months.

  1. Get to know your RV

By understanding all the different systems in your RV and knowing what happens to them during winter, you will have a good idea about why winterization is so important. Winterization is an important step to preventing damage due to freezing. If you're not comfortable with winterizing your RV, it is best left to the service professionals.  You could however save money by taking care of the basics:

  • Wash the exterior of your RV.
  • Clean the inside of your RV.
  • Winterize the plumbing lines using a non-toxic antifreeze.
  • Cover the RV, tires and A/C.
  • Disconnect the batteries and propane bottles and store them away from moisture.
  1. Prevent snow from damaging your RV

Manufacturers use lightweight materials to make RV roofs, so even a few inches of snow can cause it to collapse. Once the storm has blown over, go outside and remove snow from the roof of your RV using a plastic snow shovel. 

  • If possible use an RV Cover to protect your RV through the off season
  • Don't use an aluminum or metal-tipped shovel.
  • Never use a hammer.
  • Even if your RV is covered, snow must be removed because the weight poses a risk.
  • Remove the snow, but don't worry too much about the ice as that will melt when exposed to sunlight.
  • Don't stand on the roof! Rather use a portable ladder to move around the RV.
  • Be extremely careful not to puncture the rubber roof or damage any venting.
  1. Keep the moisture outside

Moisture leads to mold and mildew and damage to your RV, so it's best kept out. Here's how:

  • Let the unit breathe by opening the doors and windows once a week.
  • Open closets, cupboards and the fridge to avoid letting the air become stagnant.
  • Use moisture-preventing beads to absorb the moisture in the air.
  • Use a preferred product A good product is Dri-Z-Air  to safely remove and absorb excess moisture and musty smells from the air.
  • After defrosting the freezer compartment and cleaning the refrigerator, place baking soda in all the compartments and leave the doors open.
  • Crack open the overhead vents slightly to allow some ventilation. Installing air vent covers will help with air circulation while the RV is not in use.
  1. Prevent odors from the holding tanks

When the weather starts to heat up after winter, many RV owners complain about the bad smells emanating from their RV holding tanks. Instead of buying expensive septic tank chemicals (Note:  The holding tanks work differently to septic tanks and those chemicals will do more harm than good.), simply dissolve 2 cups of water softener in a gallon of hot water and pour it down the drain while the drain valve is closed after you have emptied the tanks. You could use holding tank treatment found at any RV Dealer.

  1. Prevent freezing

Ice can damage your water system, because frozen water expands, which can cause pumps to fail, tanks to rupture and pipes to split. Applying antifreeze is not difficult:

  • Drain the system by evacuating remaining water using compressed air.
  • Pump antifreeze through the system

If you're unsure as to how to do it, speak to your service professional.

  1. Don't feed the rodents

During winter, rodents and other critters are on the hunt for food. It is important to remove all foods from the RV while you winterize. Apart from eating your food, rodents can also damage your fabrics and insulation. Here's what you can do to prevent critters from making your RV their home:

  • Clean the RV properly and have it insulated professionally.
  • Remove all food, including canned, dry and boxed goods. Canned goods can freeze and split.
  • Set a good multiple catch trap (be sure to empty them regularly).
  • MouseFree is a good application to prevent rodents.
  1. Keep the RV exterior rust free

Any dirt, grime and road chemicals that are not removed from the RV exterior, will harm the finish by causing dissolve, rust and discoloration. Keep your RV's shiny new look by giving it a good wash and wax before putting it in storage.

  1. Take care of those tires

Before putting your RV in storage, inflate all the tires properly. There's nothing worse for tires than sitting under-inflated, as it leads to flat spots, weak spots and sidewall cracks. The sun can also cause rot and failure, so cover them to prevent damage.

  1. Winterize your appliances

We've already mentioned that you should leave the refrigerator doors open, but what about the other appliances, such as the ice-maker, washer and dryer, water filter and outdoor shower?

  • Be sure to drain these appliances when you drain the water system.
  • Shut off the propane at the tank to prevent a leak from building up fumes inside the RV, leading to a fire or explosion.
  • Inquire about The RV Warehouse / CENTRAL ONTARIO RV RENTALS Driving Through Winterization Event
  1. Minimize storage risks

The best place to store your RV is in a fully protected, heated garage; the worst place would be on the lawn or in the backyard. Most options pose some risk, which is why it is important to invest in comprehensive or storage insurance. That way, you can be insured against theft, fire, vandalism and other calamities for which storage facilities cannot be held liable.

Check out our storage page with 24 Hour Access!

By following these points, you can rest assured that your RV is well-winterized. Once spring rolls around, you'll be ready to camp and travel again, without concerns about all the different things that would've gone wrong, had you not invested the time in winterizing your RV.

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