How to Winterize Your RV or Motorhome in 2020
How to Winterize Your RV or Motorhome in 2020
Posted on March 24, 2021
2020 has certainly been a year to remember—or in some cases forget. As we all adjust the way we gather and socialize, one activity that exploded this year was recreational travel.
Camping, backpacking, cycling and especially RVing were outrageous this year as we all took to exploring our own backyards. We saw record-breaking sales and met a huge number of new RV owners excited to do some exploring this summer.
The season is now winding down and we start to think about how to prep our rigs for the winter hibernation. Winterizing your RV or motorhome is possibly the most important maintenance job you can complete on your rig, given the damage that a frozen or burst pipe or a leaky roof can do to your precious and expensive vehicle. On that note, we’ve assembled several extremely important steps to complete just prior to parking your rig for the winter. Or, you can skip this and book your RV for winter service in Duncan or Victoria!
Securing your pipes for the winter
Winterizing your pipes for the winter is the most important shutdown procedure and requires several steps depending on what your particular rig has equipped. All of the prep below is designed to lay the groundwork for a flush and fill with an eco-friendly, non-toxic anti-freeze product. Complete every applicable step prior to filling with your chosen product.
- Inventory your appliances: You’re likely very familiar with your set up and have possibly been through this step several times. However, each new RV might have some new features that rely on running or standing water to operate. Check your manual for some additional winter preparation.
- Drain the system: Drain everything. You’re trying to flush all of the non-treated water out of the vehicle which has a very high freeze point and can burst pipes if left in the system. Taking note of the appliances that you identified in the inventory ensure that you’ve followed all of the manufacturer’s procedures for draining items like ice makers, washing machines, secondary sinks, etc… Be thorough.
- Hot Water Heater: If you have a hot water heater it is generally customary to bypass the heater and drain the water. It’s unnecessary and a bit wasteful to flush anti-freeze through your full hot-water heater. There are numerous hot water bypass couplers to choose from at your local supply store.
- Water Filters: If your drinking water supply includes any inline filters, you will want to bypass these as well. Or, it’s also common just to remove the filter and run the solution through it as it doesn’t take too much water. This is only recommended for the simple filter cartridge type systems as replacements are quite inexpensive.
- Grey and Black Water Systems: Drain and clean your grey and black water holding tanks. This may seem obvious, but you really want to give this a good going over. Any residue could lead to breakouts of mould or dangerous bacteria that will give you a rotten surprise in the spring. Use a flushing product or a pressure wand to get everything spic and span!
- Battery: Cold weather is a battery killer. Pull your batteries and store them, fully charged in a warmer location off of concrete. Be cautious when removing electrical components and be sure that your RV or motorhome breakers and shut-off switches are switched off before attempting to remove your batteries.
You may wish to leave the batteries in the vehicle if they’re part of a larger system. When leaving in the vehicle, follow the shut off procedures and disconnect the batteries from the rest of the system. Consider using a battery insulator or similar product and be sure to periodically check the charge. Deep-cycle batteries have a higher tolerance to discharging, but as a rule, you never want to fully discharge a battery.
- Clean: By clean, we don’t mean tidy up, we mean a deep sanitizing clean and removal of 100% of food, drink, bedding and any clutter that might be a welcoming home for critters. You want a deep cleaning of everywhere from the bathroom, sinks, cupboards, fridge, everywhere. Crack out those kitchen gloves and start scrubbing.
- Dehumidifier: Humidity breeds bacteria, mould and fungus, so keeping your rig as dry as possible is very important over the cold, wet months. If you have one, run the de-humidifier periodically over the winter to keep the dampness down. There are also several great RV products that are developed for over-wintering your vehicle; check them out.
- Awning: If your rig has an awning, give it a good clean and dry. Over the season it can accumulate a nice layer of dust, dirt, needles, leaves and pollen. You won’t want that stuff breeding bacteria and mould crammed in its holder over the winter.
- Wax On: On a dry day, consider a deep clean and waxing of your vehicle’s exterior. It gives it a fresh layer of protection while it sits for several months over the winter.
- Roof: Give your roof a visual inspection, looking for cracked seams and any caulking or sealer that has pulled up. You don’t want any surprises inside the vehicle in the spring because you missed a crack in one of your vents or a roof seam pulled up from all the wind and driving. Quickly hit it with some silicone or appropriate RV roof sealer.
- Locks & Hinges: You’ll thank yourself for this one. This is possibly an overlooked, yet vital life saver for the spring start-up. Hit your hinges with some penetrating lube like PB Blaster (stay away from WD-40 unless for emergencies). Hit all your locks with Teflon lubrication that is dry and doesn’t freeze. Be sure to thread the key in a few times so the Teflon penetrates all the tumblers.
- AC Filters: While cleaning the exterior, don’t miss any of the AC filters or any other external, fresh air filter that your particular vehicle has. By replacing them now, you ensure that over the winter, only clean air is circulating through the rig and you’ve preempted another start-up step for the spring.
- Tires: If you’re storing your vehicle outside, which most of us do, don’t forget to cover your wheels to protect them from the elements. Those treads aren’t cheap and you want to get several seasons out of each set. Bitter cold and winter sun can cause the rubber to become brittle and dangerous.
Winter Service Special at Galaxy RV Victoria
From Oct. 15th, 2020 through Mar. 31st, 2021, customers can bring in their RVs to Galaxy RV in Victoria for a Special $199.95 Winter RV Service at the new Galaxy RV Victoria location on Westshore Parkway. There is more information at the top of our RV Service page.
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