How to Winterize Your RV

As fall and winter approaches, we know that many RV owners choose to end their camping season during this time. While it may be tempting to simply tuck your camper away in storage, there are a few steps you need to take before doing so to avoid damaging your RV. 

Follow the process below to winterize your RV for the upcoming off-season. 

How to Winterize Your RV - Winter RV Prep

1. Clean Your RV

The first thing you will need to do is clean out your RV. You’ll want to avoid bugs or rodents coming inside the RV during the winter, so remove any food or crumbs that will attract them. Be sure to wipe down floors and surfaces including closets, countertops, oven, cabinets, microwave, refrigerator, toilets, and showers as this will also lessen the chance of bugs. Clean out all cabinets and cupboards. 

In addition, remove and clean all bedding, sheets, and linens. 

In the kitchen, you will want to unplug your refrigerator and defrost the freezer, along with emptying everything out. Prop both the refrigerator and freezer doors open to prevent mold. 

You will also want to inspect your RV for any possible openings that insects and rodents can enter through. 


2. Remove Inline Water Filters

If there are any inline water filters, these will need to be removed and bypassed. If you have an inline water filter at a sink faucet, there should be a bypass hose that can you install once the filter is removed. This is also a good time to check and see if your water filters need to be replaced. 


3. Drain Black and Gray Water Tanks

It is very important that you do not let wastewater sit in your RV throughout the winter season. These tanks can be a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria, and the water can also freeze and cause issues. Drain and flush these black and gray tanks at an approved RV dump station. 


4. Drain Water Heater and Water Lines

Next, you will need to drain the water heater tank. Never drain the water heater tank when it is hot or under pressure. Once the water heater has cooled down and is no longer under pressure, remove the drain plus and then open the pressure relief valve to let the water drain out. 

After completing these steps, be sure to open all faucets and the hot and cold drain lines. This will help to drain the rest of the water out of the system. 


5. Bypass Your Water Heater

To avoid wasting antifreeze, you will need to bypass the water heater tank before adding antifreeze to your RV. If you skip this step, you will risk wasting 6-10 gallons of potable antifreeze. Most RVs come with a bypass kit installed. If your RV does not come with this, Blue Dog RV will be happy to install one for you. 


6. Add Antifreeze

After bypassing your water heater, the next step is to add antifreeze to your RV. You will first need to install a water pump converter kit to introduce RV antifreeze into the water system, or disconnect the inlet side of the water pump and place it inside the antifreeze. To introduce the antifreeze into the water system, you will need to close all faucets and drain lines and then turn on the water pump. 

Once the system is properly pressurized, turn on the hot water at each faucet until you see antifreeze. Do the same for the cold water. Repeat this step for both hot and cold. You will then turn off the water pump and open all faucets. 

Next, you will go to the city water inlet and remove the small screen in there. You will use a small screwdriver to push in on the valve until you notice that the coolant is working its way out. Replace the screen and close the inlet. 

Once this is complete, you should pour additional antifreeze down the drain of each sink. After this, double-check that the water heater’s heating element is turned off and all faucets are closed. 


Let Blue Dog RV Help You Winterize Your RV

If you still need assistance with winterizing your RV, let our highly-trained service technicians at Blue Dog RV do the job for you. While a do-it-yourself project can be rewarding, having our professional service staff help you out can help to save time for your busy life. Contact our service department today for more information.

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