How to De-winterize Your RV

How to De-winterize Your RV

Now that the weather is getting warmer, all of you seasonal RVers are no doubt thinking of even more epic wanderings in your RV. This means there are a few things you need to be checking off your list to prepare for the return of spring and summer.

Fortunately, de-winterizing your RV is an easy task – done in a matter of hours in most cases. However, if you’ve never done it before, there’s a few things to get down. Keep these tips and tricks in mind as you head to warmer environs or dust that RV off and out of storage.


First, What Does it Mean to Winterize Your RV?

Most RV owners when they put their RV into storage for the winter, they ‘winterize’ their water system by removing as much water as possible from the lines, and replacing it with special RV antifreeze to keep the system from freezing. Wal-Mart and other similar outlets or your local RV dealer should have this.

Additionally, they may set out traps for any pets that decide to move in, remove the RV batteries, and deep clean the RV before putting it into storage.

As you may have guessed, de-winterizing is basically a reversal of this process. Remove the antifreeze from the water lines. Also, check for any leaks that may have developed while in storage, ensure the propane tanks are full, replace the battery, and check the tires.


When is a Good Time to De-winterize?

That all depends on where you live and where you’re headed. Colder U.S. states in the north should wait until May to do this process, as you can definitely experience freezing temps well into April. That is, unless you are heading south, in which case, you should de-winterize just before you start your trip.

Those who live far enough south year-round will not have to winterize/de-winterize at all, especially if you rarely to never see freezing temperatures.


How to De-Winterize Your RV

Here is a checklist of items you should pay attention to, as well as instructions on how to winterize RV plumbing.

  • Inspect the exterior. Give it a good wash and check for any broken parts, holes, gashes, or pealing seals. Repair anything you find. Check that your awning is in good shape. Check the engine and lights.
  • Install the RV Battery. Hopefully, you have removed the battery during the winterizing process. This is to ensure that it doesn’t corrode in the engine during non-use. Before re-installing, check the water levels in the battery, make sure it’s fully charged, or replace the battery altogether.
  • Fill Your Propane Tanks. Before doing this, inspect the tanks for signs of leaks and visually inspect the hoses for damage. If you suspect a leak, spray soapy water on the area to pinpoint the source of the leak.
  • Check the tires. Your tires will most certainly have lost at least a little bit of air from non-use, so check the tire pressure and add any air as necessary. While you’re doing this, inspect each tire for signs of damage. Look for uneven wear, cracks, etc. Make sure the lug nuts are tightly fitted.
  • Clean the interior. Keep an eye out for any pests that may have taken up residence. If you gave it a good cleaning before storage, just go over the interior lightly with a dust cloth and clean anything that may need touching up.
  • Test Alarms and Appliances. Make sure all interior systems are in good working order. Replace the batteries on the alarms, even if they still seem to be working – it doesn’t cost much to give them fresh, fully-charged batteries.
  • Maintain the generator. If your RV has one of these, it’s a good idea to run it at least once a month to keep it in good working order. When you pull it out of storage, change the oil and oil filter, fuel filter, air filter, and spark plug before running it again.


How to De-winterize Your RV Plumbing

Follow these steps to properly de-winterize your rig and get it ready for epic adventures:

  • First things first, close all faucets.
  • Connect your RV to a water source and turn on your water at the spigot.
  • Take a few moments to look and listen for any leaks in the system.
  • Open the cold side, then the hot side of the faucet closest to the water source. Let the water run until it runs clear.
  • Repeat the process with the shower, toilet, and every faucet, ending with the one furthest to the water source.
  • Fill your freshwater tank.
  • While running the water pump, repeat the process with each until the water runs clear.
  • Sanitize your fresh water system.

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