As the summer season approaches and the days begin to lengthen, you start planning a family vacation in your RV. Yes, spending quality time with your family is exciting, but before you plan any such thing, you must know how to dewinterize your RV. It means getting your RV out of storage, inspecting it, and preparing all the mechanics for vacation. Surely, you don’t want to ruin your vacation if your RV develops any fault.
Today, we will walk you through this comprehensive guide on how to dewinterize your RV so your camper is fully ready for your next vacation.
10 Tips on Dewinterizing an RV
When it is time to haul your RV out of storage, you must reverse the winterizing process you performed in the fall. Generally, dewinterizing an RV takes just a few hours.
Initial steps include inspecting and cleaning the exterior and interior parts of the RV to determine if any faults exist. The clean-up process involves draining the antifreeze and cleaning the water system. Let’s understand in detail how to unwinterize an RV.
1. Take Your Rv Out of Storage and Examine the Exterior
Before hitting relaxing vacation spots, inspect your RV’s exterior when you remove it from storage. Ensure your RV is free of debris by removing the cover or any junk that might be present on it. You should thoroughly look over the exterior for any signs of weather damage, cracks, or leaks.
Review your RV’s seams for any cracks in the caulk. Additionally, ensure the window and door seals are not peeling or flaking. Replace any damaged sealant to prevent water from entering your RV.
2. Inspect the Tires
RV tires lose approximately 2 to 3 psi of air pressure each month while in storage. Resurfacing your RV after storing it outside or somewhere cold may result in even more deflated tires. Underinflated tires on your RV can lead to unsafe driving that may cause a fatal accident.
You should check all the RV tires, including the spare, for air pressure using a tire pressure gauge. It is advisable to reinflate the tires according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Your RV owner’s manual will reveal to you the proper tire pressure.
Keep an eye out for worn-down treads and cracks in your RV tires – if there are any, buy new tires. RV tires are a great purchase at the beginning of the season, especially if you’re planning a long-distance trip.
3. Inspect RV’s Fluids and Systems
Check the level of different fluids, as well as make sure that all RV lights and controls are functioning correctly. Examine RV’s engine oil, brake oil, cooling fluid, braking system, transmission, and windshield washer.
Before you start living in your vehicle, ensure that all the mentioned fluids are at optimum capacity. Contact a professional mechanic immediately if you think there is a leak in any part of your RV. A leak from the engine, transmission, brake system, coolant, etc., can lead to a disastrous situation.
4. Check Battery Condition
Cold weather can deplete RV batteries of their charge. Disconnect your battery from the electricity supply to obtain an accurate reading of whether the battery needs to be charged or not.
Depending on their size, a few hours or several days could be necessary to charge the RV batteries. Fill the RV battery with distilled water if its level is low. Wear gloves when filling your battery fluid level, and remove any jewelry from your hand.
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5. Dispose of the Antifreeze Liquid
While dewinterizing an RV, you should remove all the antifreeze from the tank. To prevent the pipes from freezing, you probably would have added non-toxic RV antifreeze during winterizing. To test the safety of the water, flush the antifreeze from the plumbing system.
First, start draining your holding tanks if you use non-toxic RV antifreeze. Refer to your RV’s owner manual for specific instructions on this step, which vary depending on the model and style.
You must drain your RV water heater’s antifreeze if you haven’t put it in bypass mode before de-winterizing. After flushing it for several minutes, you can add baking soda to help remove the residual antifreeze taste in your water. Pour baking soda down the drains directly or dissolve it in water and then pour it. The water should taste clean after the second flush.
6. Disinfect Your RV Water System
After you know how to dewinterize your RV water system, disinfecting it is the next step. Cleaning your water system removes any bacteria that may have grown in your pipes over the winter.
It is a good idea to check the owner manual to see if you can also sanitize the water heater. Some RVs allow sanitization of the heater, while others don’t.
Sanitizing your water heater is impossible unless you leave the drain plug and put the unit in bypass mode. Every 15 gallons of fresh water will take 1/4 cup of bleach. As soon as the mixture is ready, fill the fresh water tank with it.
If the smell of bleach is noticeable, turn on your RV water pump and open every faucet. The mixture may require a few minutes to circulate through the pipes first. After closing the faucets, allow the solution to sit for at least six hours. You can sanitize water lines for up to twelve hours by leaving the sanitizing solution in place.
Please ensure you drain and refill the system with fresh water after the mixture has settled for a few hours. Furthermore, check that the system has been flushed entirely and you do not smell bleach anymore.
7. Replace RV Filters and Safety Devices
After flushing and sanitizing your RV’s plumbing system, replacing your water filters is a good idea. It is usually necessary to replace your water filter every three to six months, depending on how frequently you use it. Doing that also guarantees that the sanitization will not leave a lingering taste in your water.
You may also need to replace the air filters. Keeping your RV’s air clean and cool requires the installation of new air filters. When you fail to clean regularly, the dirty filters will reduce the airflow; if left unattended for an extended period, your AC system may fail. It is possible to wash RV air filters; however, you must replace them if they are too old or dirty.
8. Lookout for Any Leaks in The Pipes.
Before you plan on living in your RV for the spring season, check your plumbing system for leaks. One way to inspect for leaks is – if water is present in the freshwater tank, you can use the electric pump to pressurize the water system. Upon reaching full pressure, the pump will cease operation. After several minutes, listen to see if the pump returns to operation. Your plumbing system leaks when the pump keeps cycling back on or doesn’t shut off at all.
Examine under sinks and the pipe system for leaks. In addition, look for leaks around the toilet’s edge. You may also witness water damage inside your RV if you do not address leaks promptly. If you are uncomfortable fixing leaks, your camper may need a professional RV repair service.
9. Check the Propane System of Your RV
If your full-time RV runs on propane, you must reconnect your propane hose. Open the gas valve a little to see if the hose fits snugly. By using a sponge or small spray bottle, clean each hose connector with soapy water. Bubbles may indicate a propane leak, so watch out for them. To ensure a secure connection, tighten the fitting one more time.
Go to a nearby propane station to refill the propane tank. It is mandatory in some states to replace propane tanks regularly.
10. Ensure That Your Registration and Insurance are Up-to-Date
In addition, to de-winterizing your RV battery, water system, propane tank, and other systems, you must also double-check your paperwork is in order. Keep your RV insurance, emissions sticker, and registration up-to-date. The right insurance will cover losses in case of an accident or mishap.
Dewinterizing an RV is necessary to guarantee you and your family will have a safe and enjoyable vacation. RVs differ in their build and construction. Therefore, you should refer to your owner manual whenever a problem arises or contact an RV professional for assistance.