Don’t have time to winterize your RV yourself?
A lot of us are done RVing for the year and we need to start thinking about end of the season maintenance and storage for our camping buddy! RV City is here to help!
We are hosting our annual drive-thru winterizing days at both the Nisku and Morinville locations to ensure your RV is ready for the harsh Alberta Winter. Come early on one of these Saturdays. Drive-thru Winterization will be during the hours of 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday September 21, 28 and October 5.
It is important to make sure your RV is winter-ready.
If you think that means throwing the cover on and parking it, we’re here to tell you that If you don’t take the time now to ensure everything has been checked over you may regret it come spring, when all you want to do is get on the road. Winterizing will help prevent damage that can be caused by freezing temperatures. Note: Always read your RV owner’s manual for unit-specific winterizing guidelines. Some RVs come equipped with built-in winterizing controls.
Winterizing an RV water system can be done at home with basic tools and a bit of RV know-how. If you want to tackle this yourself, here’s a handy list of tools and steps to winterize your RV to help guide you along.
* RV Winterizing Fluids * An RV Water Heater Bypass Kit
* A Wand for Rinsing Your Holding Tanks * A Water Pump Converter Kit
* Basic Hand Tools
If you need any of these things, our friendly and qualified Parts Advisors at RV City in Morinville or Nisku would be happy to help you get everything you need. If you need advice on which products to buy, our RV experts can point you in the right direction!
Prevent burst pipes; Check the Water System. If any water is left in the lines it can freeze, expand and rupture your pipes and hoses.
You will need 2-4 gallons of RV Antifreeze. The amount of RV winterizing fluid you will need depends on the amount of water in your lines and pipes. The layout, size, and length of your lines are what determines this. RV Antifreeze is typically a non-toxic pink fluid and is used to protect your RV’s plumbing system. DO NOT get RV Antifreeze confused with the toxic antifreeze that goes into your car. Never use automotive antifreeze (ethylene glycol) and windshield washer antifreeze (methanol) as they are poisonous and if put in your fresh water system it may be fatal if swallowed.
An RV Water Heater Bypass Kit. This kit enables you to bypass your RV’s water heater when winterizing your RV if bypass valves are not already installed. It’s permanently installed and operates using a single valve that is opened and closed. The idea behind installing this is that by bypassing your water heater when winterizing water lines, you are able to use less antifreeze and save a bit of cash. It’s easily installed on most 6 and 10-gallon water heaters with basic hand tools.
Cleaning the Tanks and Emptying the Lines. Before you store your RV for the winter you will want to clean out all the tanks and make sure you’ve cleared all the water out of your systems. After a long camping season, debris and other things can get into the tanks and plug them up. You will want to dump, clean, sanitize then flush with more water to make sure you clean everything out. If you don’t have a built-in tank flushing system, you’ll want to get a Holding Tank Rinsing Wand that you can insert in the opening of the tanks, so you can rinse each tank out. Staring with the black tank, then your gray tank and lastly your fresh water tank and leave the valve open.
Open any low point drains that your RV may have and close them when water stops flowing (Note, not all RV’s will be equipped with low point drains).
Next step will be to drain your water heater tank (Caution: Never drain the water heater tank when it is hot or under pressure. Allow the water heater tank some time to cool, for at least a day if it has been used, before draining.) With no water connected to the RV and the 12-volt water pump in the “off” position, open a hot water faucet to remove any pressure on the system. Remove the drain plug or anode rod (Inspect the anode rod in the heater. If the rod is close to the core, it is time for the anode rod to be replaced.)
Locate the bypass valves on your RV. Turn the valves in the opposite direction of the one they are currently to open them. There could be one, two, or three valves depending on the style installed by the factory. For quarter-turn valves – the direction of the handle usually shows the direction of flow.
If your RV is equipped with any water filters, remove them and put them in storage.
You can open the pressure relief valve located at the top of the water heater to assist in draining the tank faster. Open all the hot and cold water faucets and flush the toilet to help get remaining water out of the plumbing lines. Don’t forget the outside shower, if equipped. Locate and open the low point water drain lines by removing the drain plugs. There is one for both the cold and hot water lines. You can use the 12-volt water pump to help force most of the remaining water out of the system, but turn the pump off as soon as the system is drained to prevent damage to the pump. Recap all drains and close all faucets.
Bypass the water heater. The majority of RVs come equipped with a water heater bypass kit. If your RV does not have a bypass kit installed, the water heater tank will fill with RV antifreeze before it goes through the water lines, wasting six or ten gallons of RV antifreeze. You can install a bypass kit or have one installed.
Now you can begin to pump RV winterizing antifreeze into the system. We recommend using a siphon hose or purchasing the water pump converter kit in order to pump antifreeze through the system. This enables the water pump to draw antifreeze from the container and pump it into the system. If you are unable to do this, close your freshwater tank, pour several gallons of antifreeze into the tank, then use the pump to draw from it.
Pump the antifreeze through all of the cold lines first. Start with the faucet furthest away from the tank – run the tap until you see the antifreeze coming out. Repeat this process for all of the cold taps, then the hot ones (Don’t forget your outside shower!). Your antifreeze jug will need to be changed at least once depending on the size of the RV.
Once this is done, return the pump to regular use.
Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears. Pour a cupful of antifreeze down each drain. Pour some RV antifreeze in the toilet, and flush it into the holding tank to prevent any remaining water in the tank from freezing. If your water heater is equipped with an electric heating element, turn the switch off. This will protect the element if the RV is plugged in while in storage. Make sure all faucets are closed.
With the water pump turned off, move to the exterior of your RV. Remove the screen from your city water inlet and depress the plunger until antifreeze dribbles out. If you have a sewer flusher, repeat this step and drain the water.
Don’t forget about your RV’s Ice Maker? Your RV’s ice maker should be drained and dried. This will prevent water from freezing in the solenoid valve or becoming stale and producing bad tasting ice. Refer to your unit’s owners manual for the correct technique as not all systems are the same.
General Winterizing Tips
* Remove any food from your rig that can spoil or attract unwanted critters
* Thoroughly clean your RV’s interior
* Clean and store the sewer hose
* Before storing is a good time to wash and wax your RV
* Examine all exterior doors and window seals
* Keep your RV out of direct sunlight if possible
* Check plumbing vents, roof vents and air condition shrouds
As always, We’re here to help you with any advice, parts, accessories, or service that your RV needs. We want to help you create RVing memories that are going to last a lifetime! Our RV Technicians have decades of experience and can help you winterize your RV or service anything you may need as well!
While Winterizing and De-winterizing are two of the most important maintenance tasks that must be done to keep your RV in tip-top shape, especially in cold climates. Monthly, Seasonal and Annual RV Maintenance check should be done as well. Check them out here.