If you live in a cold climate and don’t plan on traveling somewhere warm during the winter, winterizing your RV is essential to keeping your RV in tip-top shape. The harsh winter weather can result in expensive damage to the recreational vehicle and delay camping trips when the camping season comes back around.
Winterizing your RV includes, protecting the exterior, battery, water system and more. In this ultimate guide to winterization, we discuss the products that need for a DIY winterization as well as the steps that are essential to protecting your RV this winter.
RV Winterization Shopping List:
- Artic Ban Antifreeze: Prevents pipes from freezing and cracking during winter
- RV Blow Out Plug: Clears water from plumbing before antifreeze can be added
- Antifreeze Hand Pump: Manually pump antifreeze into the plumbing system
- RV Pump Converter Kit: Allows RV water pump to fill plumbing with antifreeze
- Slide-Out Rubber Seal Treatment: Protects seals from weather and elements
- Sniff ‘n’ Stop Odorant Pouches: Deters pests like ants, roaches, mice and more
- DampRid Moisture Absorber: Traps moisture, absorbs odors and keeps the air fresh and clean
- Dryer Sheets or Cedar Chips: Prevents incest and rodent infestations
- Non-Rusting Metal Dish Scrub Pad: Keep mice out by plugging possible entry points
- Rodent Repellent: Protect the exterior of your RV from insect and rodent abatement
- Exterior and Roof Cleaners: Clean your RV thoroughly before storage. Follow manufacturer's guidelines for the appropriate product
- Roof and Exterior Sealant (if damage presents itself after cleaning): Use a proper sealant if you find any cracks, tears or damage to the exterior or roof of your RV
- RV Cover: Protects RV from snow, rain, cold temperatures and debris during offseason
- Vent Covers: Help prevents moisture and mold and helps circulate fresh air through your RV
Once you gather all the materials, it's time to begin the winterization process.
Clean Out RV
To start, thoroughly clean your RVs interior by emptying out all drawers, cabinets and defrost the refrigerator and unplug all electronics. Inspect the RV for any damage or possible openings for rodents and insects. Remove all bedding and other linens to be cleaned and put away while in storage.
If there are any openings for possible entry by rodents or insects, plug them with the dish scrub pad. This helps prevent rodents from entering the RV. Also place the dryer sheets or cedar chips along the interior walls to help prevent pest infestation.
Winterize the Water System
Next is to winterize the RVs water system. Without this crucial step, frozen pipes and damaged water lines can occur. To protect your water lines, you need to flush out all of the water in your camper and pump in antifreeze.
Start by draining the freshwater from the RV from the water lines, holding tanks, hot water heater and toilet. To do this, remove the drain cap that is located on the underbelly of the RV.
Relive pressure from the water heater and remove the water heater drain plug. It's important to be careful when doing this as the water may still be very hot if the water heater has been used recently.
After removing all water from the water lines, it is time to pump antifreeze through the pipes. Connect the hose to the city water entry and place the hose into a container of potable antifreeze. Turn on the water pump and this will start releasing the antifreeze throughout the RVs water system.
Start the process at the water faucet that is closest to the pump and turn on the hot and cold faucet, one at a time, until antifreeze comes out and then turn the faucet off. If there is a single lever faucet, it must be done in both hot and cold. Repeat this step on all faucets throughout the RV.
Make sure to follow the manufacturer's recommended steps for the washing machines and fridges as they are brand specific. The last step in winterizing the water system is to finish with the RVs city water entry.
For more detailed information and a step-by-step guide, download our Winterization Ebook.
Winterize the RVs Exterior and Interior
Wash and inspect the interior and exterior of the RV with appropriate cleaners that won't damage the RV. Cleaning the RV will help reveal any damage that needs to be worked on. Check for damage on the roof seams and seals, vertical seam seals, vent covers, exterior window and lighting seals as well as slide-out room seals. If there are any cracks or damage, make sure to repair them before putting the RV away for the winter.
Read more in detail about protecting your RVs exterior during the winter.
Prevent Mold in the Interior
Natural dehumidifiers such as No Damp or DampRid and roof vent covers help circulate fresh air and help prevent mold and moisture in the interior of the RV.
Prevent Insect and Rodent Infestation
To help fend off insect and rodent infestation, try using dryer sheets, cedar chips and non-rusting metal dish scrub pads in the interior and rodent repellent around the exterior of the RV.
Store Your RV for the Winter
There are three different ways to store your RV during the winter months to keep your RV in good shape and ready to use come Spring.
- Rent a storage unit
- Apply a cover to your RV
- Maintain RV by hand
The storage unit is the most effective way to ensure your camper is protected throughout winter. It’s more expensive than the other options, but for RVers who prefer this option, it is a great way to go to make sure your RV is protected.
Applying a cover to shelter all sides of the RV provides protection from snow and ice build up as well as keeping water from getting into the unit.
Maintaining the RV throughout the winter requires more work and a closer monitor of the RV but is a cost-effective way to make sure the unit stays in shape. Use plastic shovels to keep snow and ice from building up on the roof of the RV to prevent damage. Learn more about RV winter storage here. https://blog.campersinn.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-protecting-your-rv-in-the-winter
RV Battery Winter Care
To keep the RVs battery in working order during the winter, it needs to be removed from the RV and stored in a warm place. If it is left in, it has the possibility of freezing.
- Remove the battery from RV
- Check water levels and fill up if needed
- Charge the battery fully
- Store battery in a warm indoor location. And don’t rest it directly on the floor
- Attach a battery maintainer to keep it charged during storage
- Check your battery monthly to ensure it is still fully charged
Make sure to take the proper safety precautions when handling your RVs battery. To learn more about RV battery care, read about it here.