Preventative Seasonal Maintenance is one of the best ways to make RV ownership easier and avoid having costly things break down. A big maintenance factor and potential hazard during the winter is water. Once temperatures dip below 32 degrees, any water inside your lines will start to expand. This expansion forms pesky blocks of ice that become bigger than their original container, busting open any pipes or lines that are filled with water. Even the smallest leak could leave you stranded without important things like drinking water, sink use, shower functionality, or the ability to cook. Completely draining your RV and filling your lines with antifreeze or pressurized air will prevent major problems that will surely arise from letting lines freeze over.
Seasonal RV Maintenance for the Winter: How to “Winterize an RV”
Here’s a quick rundown of how to prep your water system in your RV for the winter:
Turn the water heater offDrain all exterior drain plugs and valvesOpen all interior taps, sinks, and showers (don’t forget the outdoor shower)Flush the toiletDrain the water heater (Teflon tape helps create a strong seal on the drain rod)Empty black and grey water tanks (starting with black water)Locate and drain water heater Next, close the water heater’s valves (you don’t want antifreeze in there)Close all other valuesTurn all taps offFill tank with 1-3 gallons of RV antifreeze. Don’t use automotive antifreeze as it is poisonous!Turn on the pump to fill linesTurn all taps, toilet, and shower back on until water turns pinkPour remaining antifreeze into the tub and sink drains.Note any ice makers, sewer flushes, washers & dryers that need antifreeze as well (we’ll take care of these for you!)
Now, your water lines are ready for winter!
Safely Storing Your RV
In addition to the winterization steps listed above, you may want to cover your rv with a protective mat or optimally park under a covered space if you are not going to use your RV for an extended period of time. Be mindful of heavy snow, as several feet of snow piled on top of the RV can wear out and destroy the suspension. Proper winter storage procedures can be just as important as winterizing your plumbing systems! If using an RV cover, don’t cheap out on the mat, because the sun, wind, rain, and snow will quickly dry rot right through a cheap tarp. Cover tires as well. You will want to check the entire exterior for even the smallest possible leak before safely storing your RV for the winter.
Other Pro tips for Safely Storing Your RV:
If you own a trailer, lower it via the jack to allow the water to flow better and faster out of the pipes. Put baking soda in the fridge and leave doors propped openCharge batteries monthly, as they will self-discharge when in storage, making them more susceptible to freezing. Add fuel stabilizer and run engine to let it run completely through the engine and generatorChange the oil and oil filter on engine and generator prior to storage. Acids can accumulate in used oil and cause accelerated corrosion in engine bearings.
Seasonal RV Maintenance for the Summer: How to “Summerize” Your RV
Once the warm weather rolls around, it’s time to pull the RV storage and get it ready for another season of adventure! When you are getting your Camper Trailer or RV ready for the Summer, it’s wise to perform a few checks before you take it out on the road. Winter may have caused leaks, fittings could have gone out, or important parts rusted. Letting so many pieces of equipment sit for an extended period of time allows systems to clog up and stop functioning. Extreme cold only serves to compound this, and that’s why it’s important to check for a plethora of problems that may be lurking in your Camper.
You wouldn’t want something to go out during the middle of a camping or road trip, and it’s always easier to get things fixed when you aren’t away from home and actively relying on them. A potential complication may not be apparent until your trip is already underway. This could potentially leave you with a broken refrigerator, air conditioning, faulty power, or without water to cook and bathe in. Even worse, neglecting to check for a problem while the rig is sitting at home could mean you end up stranded in the middle of nowhere without the equipment you’ve been relying on to enjoy (and survive) your camping trip!
Here, we’ve compiled a list of a few things you can do and check to get your Camper or RV ready for a summer of fun. However, we always recommend that you let our professional team perform a thorough, multi-point, proactive inspection of the interior and exterior of your Camper before you embark on your journey!
RV Seasonal Maintenance for Summer: Pro Tips
Make sure all drain valves and nozzles are closedTurn on the powerFill water tanks with fresh waterCheck that all fittings (especially the hot water plug) are tight and completely sealedCheck batteries and ensure they hold sufficient chargeTurn on the water pumpTurn on every faucet and let run for several minutes (to completely rinse antifreeze)Fill hot water tank BEFORE turning it on (activating a hot water heater without water inside can overheat it and burn up the element)Check propane tank lines and levelsCheck the roof for cracks, gaps, and leaksCheck tire air pressure, treadsTurn on all remaining lights, systems, ect.Check the fridge, stove, oven, lights, ect. Check for any abnormal noises, hums, or smells,
Don’t forget to stock the snacks and sunscreen!
This information is for educational purposes. VIARV shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.