How to Winterize a Camper: Simple Steps to Prepare for Winter
For many people, having an RV is an excellent way to see parts of the country and travel in style. However, in most cases, unless you’re a full-time RVer, most of your adventures will be during the warmer spring and summer months.
Thus, as the weather gets colder, you have to make sure that your RV can survive the winter and stay in pristine condition for next year. Even if you plan on using it during this season, you need to protect all of the various elements from the elements so that they don’t break down and leave you in bad shape.
So, with that in mind, we want to look at some of the vital steps to take to winterize your camper or RV. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to prepare your vehicle for freezing temperatures, as well as snow and ice.
Clean It Thoroughly
Whether it’s a camper, a barbecue, or something else that you won’t be using for the upcoming season, you want to make sure that it’s put away as clean and neat as possible. Yes, it will accumulate dirt and debris during these winter months, but starting with a clean slate (literally) will expedite the recovery process when you’re ready to use it again.
When we say clean your RV thoroughly, we’re talking about every nook and cranny. We’ll get into what you should do with your internal systems in a bit, but the more comprehensive your cleaning can be, the better off your camper will be when not in use.
You should pay particular attention to any parts that may break down or rust during the winter, such as your engine and plumbing. Also, if you can put some type of sealant or coating on them, they will withstand the season much more comfortably.
Remove All Water
One of the most significant issues that will plague your RV as the temperature drops is that any water in the lines can freeze and cause damage. On one end of the spectrum, that may create small leaks in your pipes. In worst cases, it could force you to replace your entire plumbing infrastructure, which can be a costly repair.
To help expedite the process, you should invest in a water pump so that you can work quickly and ensure that all of the water is removed thoroughly. While there will still be some lingering wet spots, the next step will ensure that they don’t pose a problem.
Flush Your Pipes With Antifreeze
While having dry plumbing may be sufficient for winter, you want to make sure that your system is ready for anything. Thus, pumping non-toxic antifreeze (remember, these pipes are used for potable water) into your RV is a smart idea. You’ll want to refer to your owner’s manual to see how much is necessary, although we suggest two or three gallons at the most.
For RVs that have specialized systems, such as ice makers or a washing machine, you’ll need to look at your manual for specific instructions on how to winterize your plumbing, so you don’t accidentally put antifreeze where it’s not supposed to go.
As with any home (either on wheels or otherwise), there are bound to be cracks and holes in the facade. During winter, these openings, no matter how small, can create significant hazards. Not only will they allow the cold air to seep in and potentially freeze elements inside your RV, but they can be welcoming gates for pests and rodents.
Thus, you want to go over your RV with a fine-tooth comb and seal any openings you find. Use any sort of sealant, from caulk to waterproof tape if necessary.
Rodent and Pest Prevention
Your RV is a warm and welcoming place for you and your family, but unfortunately, it’s inviting to critters as well. During the colder months, rats and other pests will seek shelter, and your camper will look like the Ritz Carlton. Be sure to set traps and other pest prevention measures before parking it for the winter. Also, check on them periodically to make sure that they’re still active and working.
Inspect All Internal Systems
Your RV may have a variety of complex parts that make it a home away from home. Propane tanks, water heaters, electrical outlets—these are all components that should be inspected before you put the camper away for the winter. Make sure all valves are sealed off and remove any propane tanks, so they don’t wear down in the cold temperatures.
Also, it’s a good idea to pull both your engine and your housing battery out beforehand. They will lose charge over the winter, and they may have trouble starting up when spring arrives. Pulling them out will ensure that they don’t corrode either.
Cover Your RV
Finally, before you put it away, protect your RV with a thick winter cover. Even if you plan on keeping your camper under shelter during the season (i.e., in a garage), covering it will keep it secure and will help with a lot of the problems we’ve discussed (such as pests and cold air seepage).
Contact Kirkland RV
If you’re interested in getting a new RV this year, come to Kirkland RV. We have a vast selection of makes and models that are ready for adventure. Contact us or come and see our current stock today.