As cool fall weather ushers in so does the need for RVers in northern climates to do some RV winterizing. We're going to show you how…
No one likes to do it. After all, it means that for many RVers, the camping season is over for a few months. For many, not necessarily most. Take us, for example. We do camp in the winter. In Michigan. In the snow.
But our RV still has to be winterized.
Over the past nine years, we've dutifully winterized it every fall. Usually late October, but sometimes not until mid-November, depending on how cold it gets.
We have had five different RVs in that time and while all are a little different, the basics in RV winterizing are pretty much the same.
So first, take a look at the video below. Then scroll down beneath the video and we'll walk you through a little more.
When should I do RV Winterizing?
Use these two indicators to know that time has run out and you need to do RV winterizing RIGHT NOW:
- When it gets down to 28 degrees for more than a couple of hours
- If the water in puddles on the ground freezes over
The Most Important Thing About RV Winterizing
Before you try to DIY or even before you take it to a dealer or RV service shot to have it done for you, get out the instruction booklet from your RV manufacturer and go to the winterizing segment and read it through.
Take it inside the RV. Bend down, look at the plumbing valves that you will have to turn. Go outside, remove the water heater cover. See what switched and things need to be done.
Plan on spending from $100 – $150 to have a service tech do the RV winterizing for you. If they charge much more than that, find another tech.
Oh yeah, also read through how to de-winterize your RV. Seeing how to reverse the steps you are about to do (or have done for you) helps cement in the entire RV winterizing process.
RV winterizing tips for DIYers
- Invest in a winterizing kit as you see me use in the video. The one we bought cost something like $17 and was from Camping World – CLICK HERE for a direct link This is a little valve that attaches at the water pump and allows you to siphon water directly from a bottle of antifreeze into the RV pipes and out the faucets, thereby protecting pipes and connections. This is very clean and neat and makes winterizing so easy.
- I shouldn't have to say this but use ONLY antifreeze clearly marked for RV and Marine use.
- They also make a blow out plug. This little plug screws into the city water hookup. I need to point out although while most RV service techs DO use compressed air, under 50 psi, to blow out the water lines, most manufacturers do NOT recommend forcing compressed air back through the lines. That's because they know there will be some who use shop pressure (over 10 psi) and totally destroy those flimsy little RV pipes.
- But I do see the wisdom of pushing what water may be in the lines back to through the faucets so, as shown in the video, I attached a bicycle pump. It did indeed push some water out the faucets and down the drain. Others have apparently had success with it too, as I see Camping World now offers a hand pump to clean out the lines after you drain them.
- Don't forget to remove the freshwater filters in the RV. Take them out and empty the container. It's good to get a new one each season.
- Clean up the antifreeze residue in your sinks, toilet bowl, and shower. Wipe them out with a towel. When tried, antifreeze is sticky and yucky.
- Put a plastic bag over your shower head (secured by a rubber band) to keep it from dripping antifreeze all season.
- Be sure to put about a cup of antifreeze down each of the drain/traps in your RV.
See the products and gear we use and recommend
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