When the cooler months start to roll in, you need to start thinking about winterizing your RV if you plan to store it for the winter. This process helps to protect all the components of your RV while it sits. Cold, sun, and pests are the biggest enemies to a sitting RV, especially if you’re storing it outside. Here is a winterization step walk through to get your rig ready to face the winter!
Water Lines & Tanks
The water system is the main thing at risk of breaking from the cold temps. Water left in the system can freeze, which can cause pipes to crack and burst open. Here’s how to prep the system to keep it safe all winter long.
Step 1: Drain the System
Since freezing in the water lines can cause them to crack, you’ll want to get every last drop of water out of your lines! Completely drain all the holding tanks (make sure to give your black tank a good scrub too!), empty the water heater, and make sure to get any sitting water out of the water lines. You'll save thousands of dollars, because we’re sure the last thing you want to do in the spring is to pay to replace your RV’s water system!
Step 2: Add Antifreeze
Just like you’d put in your car, your RV will benefit greatly from antifreeze during the freezing months! Don’t run out and pick up some automotive antifreeze though, your RV needs a special kind of antifreeze, which is typically pink or reddish in color.
Adding antifreeze to your RV’s water system isn’t as easy as putting it in a car either. You’ll have to disconnect your water line, and stick it straight in the bottle. From there, the water pump does all the work! You’ll just have to go around and open up the faucets one at a time until antifreeze starts flowing out, then close them back up. That way, all the water is totally flushed out of the lines, which will now be filled with antifreeze instead.
Your water system is all set! Now it’s time to move on to the inside of the RV!
The inside is one area that is often neglected. Many people just leave things the way they are and expect that everything will be fine when they come back. This could lead to unwanted problems! You want to make sure you prep the inside before you close it up to keep things clean and keep rodent and insects out!
If you’re not careful, the inside of your RV is going to look like a scene from Disney’s Cinderella come spring. That is, you’re going to be furiously trying to get your space clean while mice, insects, and goodness knows what other woodland creatures scurry around your RV. And unfortunately for you, there will be no fairy godmother to help you out!
Before you leave your RV for the winter, clean your RV to make it look even more sparkling than when you first bought it! Even little crumbs will tempt critters and pests, so remove any and all food items, even if they’re in airtight containers!
If you think that cleaning certain areas of your RV isn’t necessary, think again! Clean every nook and cranny. Clean the bathrooms and windows to avoid mold buildup, sweep and mop the floors, and clean out all your cooking appliances and everything from the refrigerator too! If you’re not as much of a worrier as some of us here at Gillette's RV, double check that each and every appliance is turned off!
Remove all your valuables, and while you’re at it, go ahead and check around for any holes or signs of water damage in your RV so you can get that taken care of before it turns into a huge problem come springtime!
Isn’t the exterior of an RV meant to handle varying temps? The answer to this is both yes and no. Most RVs are set up to withstand temps as low as 0° F, but this is usually with the thought in mind that the furnace will be running and the RV won’t be sitting unused for an extended period. Also, some parts of the country see temps drop below 0° F. You also have to consider the damage that the sun can do, even when it’s not hot. Here’s what you need to do to prep the outside of your rig!
Just like the inside of your RV, make sure that your RV gets a good cleaning before you kiss it goodbye for the season! This will help to prevent rust, mildew, and mold building up.
If you’re going to use an RV cover, which is an easy way to protect your rig from the elements and sun damage (don’t forget to cover the tires too!), make sure that your RV is completely dry! You should ideally be winterizing long before the snow begins to fall, and that means that some warmer days will still probably crop up. If your RV isn’t totally dry, mold and mildew will go wild! Let your RV sit with the awning and slide outs extended for at least 24 hours to get completely dry before you wrap it up!
Time to bring on the wintertime! Hopefully, this step-by-step guide to winterizing your RV will keep your rig in perfect condition so that you can get out and camp in the spring without having to bring your RV here our service center for some costly repairs. Speaking of Gillette’s service center, if you’d like someone else to take care of the winterizing, call us and we’ll do the grunt work! Just another reason why Gillette’s Interstate is your #1 go-to RV dealer in Michigan!