The quest for freedom has made the RV lifestyle really appealing to a large group of people. It is a simple way to discover and connect with the world around you.
There is something truly special about owning a camper, which is an RV that is towed to another vehicle. In a dream universe, it would be possible for everyone to go on camping trips for the whole year without interruption.
However, this is not the case for most camping enthusiasts, especially when winter weather gets in the picture.
That is why it is necessary to know how to take care of your RV when cold weather arrives. Leaving an RV like Prius Camper in the garage during that period will not cut it, you need to do more to protect your investment.
If you are looking to find out how to winterize a camper, the following guide will simplify the process. Before getting to the different steps to winterizing an RV, it is best to cover a few general issues around the topic to explain why this is necessary.
General Guidelines Before Focusing on How to Winterize a Camper
As with everything else in life, it is best to know what you are getting yourself into before starting. It is necessary to have a particular preparation beforehand.
When to Winterize Camper?
Obviously, local conditions may vary. However, it would be best if you started thinking about winterizing your RV around the month of September.
Most experts in the area agree that a pretty good indicator is if you are experiencing below-freezing temperatures (32F degrees or 0 degrees Celsius).
No matter where you live, this might need to be taken care of. Even places like South Florida do face periods of deep freezes that can be harmful to the sensitive pipes of your camper.
If you do not winterize your RV, you may end up with a hefty bill when the warm weather returns and you are ready to go camping.
It is important to track the weather where you live to know how to handle the situation. This process has to be repeated every year in order to protect your RV.
However, you might have nothing to do if temperatures do not reach that threshold in your area. This kind of nuance leads to questions like, what do I need to winterize my RV?
What Do You Need to Winterize Your Camper?
It would be helpful if you had some specific tools to winterize your RV.
1) Finding the correct type of antifreeze is a must; it is the most important part of this process. Moreover, depending on the size of your RV, 3 to 4 gallons should be able to accomplish the task.
2) If your RV does not already have one, you will need a water heater bypass kit. To run the antifreeze through the pipes of your camper, a water pump can simplify things.
3) When you are removing the drain plug from the water heater, having a set of wrenches can be pretty convenient.
4) A tankless air compressor and a blow-out plug are useful in this situation if you decide to blow air through the water lines before adding the antifreeze. That is crucial if you choose the compressed air method instead of the antifreeze one.
For the former, the adjustable water pressure regulator is also recommended.
5) A flashlight and a cordless power drill can be significant assets here too.
6) Getting someone to help out can facilitate a lot of things when trying to winterize your RV.
7) You have to keep your camper in the best state possible, that is the reason why buying rodent traps and repellents makes sense.
8) A non-abrasive exterior cleaner and a roof cleaner can help spot damages that you need to address right away. This will put your camper in a better condition for summer.
9) Dryer sheets and Cedar ships may protect the interior of your RV from insects and rodents.
After putting all these tools together, one thing comes to mind, is this a really long process?
How Long Does It Take to Winterize an RV?
Depending on how familiar you are with your RV, it can take anywhere between 30 minutes and a few hours to winterize it. Obviously, if you are well prepared, things will be a lot easier.
This is a big hassle, and that is why many RV owners do not think about it when purchasing a new one. However, it is something that cannot be put aside.
Some camping enthusiasts think the cost can be a problem.
How Much Does It Cost to Winterize a Camper?
Surprisingly, the cost of winterizing a camper is not as high as one would expect. Moreover, it is way cheaper than potentially costly repair if you ignore the issue altogether.
To winterize your RV, it will cost between $130 and $170. This is what RV dealers call the basic package. Moreover, the size and class of the RV will play a part in the total amount.
If you opt to go alone, $20 or $30 will get the job done. With the proper research and the right tools, most people can handle the matter on their own.
A little patience can go a long way if this is your first time tackling this. In short, there are a few little hurdles to go through, but it is possible to winterize your RV in a quick fashion.
The following steps will make things even more evident.
Steps to Winterize RV
These 13 steps will make winterizing your camper a little bit simpler.
1) Clean the Interior of Your RV
This is one step that is sometimes overlooked, but it is important. A nice house cleaning before storing your camper is an easy way to ensure that it is ready to go when the warm weather returns in the spring.
It is a good idea to defrost the freezer and not leave any kind of food behind. By doing this, your RV will not be attracting bugs. To avoid moths, make sure that you remove additional clothing and bedding.
2) Clean and Inspect the Exterior of the RV
As you are cleaning the exterior, pay attention to any signs of cracking on the roof, doors, sidewalls, windows, and elsewhere. This is necessary on two levels to prevent little bugs from getting inside and keep water out of the RV.
If you find issues that you cannot handle, take the camper to the closest repair shop.
3) Disconnect the Batteries of the Camper
Remove the batteries and put them in a safe area that is cool and dry. Batteries do not work well in the cold. They may get damaged or destroyed because of it.
Moreover, you also want to maintain their charge along the way. In short, disconnecting your RV’s batteries keeps them fresh.
The same thing should be done if you are using solar panels.
4) Drain and Clean the Wastewater Tanks
In winter, you have to drain the gray and black tanks in a thorough fashion. Otherwise, this will be a fertile area for mold to form. It is common practice to begin with the black tank first.
Moreover, once they are drained, use a specialized cleaner to take care of the black tank.
5) Drain the Fresh Water Tank and Water Lines
Many campers have three water lines. The first two are for hot and cold. The third is the fresh water tank. There is a possibility that it contains more than you expect, so check out the different levels before you proceed.
6) Drain the Water Heater
There is a panel outside that will let you access the water heater. It is also important not to forget to turn off the water heater.
It needs time to cool down and not be under pressure.
7) Bypass the Water Heater
To make sure that antifreeze does not get inside the water heater tank, you have to bypass it. You will have to remove the access panel to reach the valves to get the process moving.
8) Drain and Empty Other Water Lines
It is an important recommendation in order to winterize your RV correctly. The draining will ensure that freeze does not damage the plumbing system.
After turning off the water pressure, drain the fresh water tank and inspect all the different parts of the water system, including the toilet.
Moreover, you will have to check if all the lines are clear by blowing compressed air. The air guarantees that water does not stay in the different lines.
9) Antifreeze to the Water System
There is a different way to address plumbing issues; you add antifreeze to the water system. In this case, the antifreeze needs to be specific for an RV.
This method does not require an air compressor and gets the job done really well by leaving no trace of water. For the antifreeze to flow in the water, you will need a siphoning kit and to make sure that the water pump is on.
10) Stabilizer to the Fuel
To avoid additional damage to your RV’s engine, adding a stabilizer to the fuel can help. It functions like the antifreeze for the plumbing system. The engine has to run for a few minutes for the stabilizer to make its way to the system.
11) Change the Oil
After your last ride before the winter break, perform an oil change on the RV’s generator and engine, the process is similar to changing the oil of a car. During the hiatus, the oil tends to become toxic.
12) Inflate the Tires
With an RV that is parked for a decent amount of time, the tires will naturally deflate. The goal is not to have totally deflated tires in the spring.
13) Store the RV Properly
Now that you have followed all the essential steps to winterize your camper, it is time to find a safe spot to park. A garage is the ideal setting for the storage of the RV. Moreover, a covered area is perfect for protecting your camper.
Your camper means a lot to you, so it makes sense to know how to take care of it the right way when winter arrives. If you want to save and simplify things, you have to winterize your RV the correct way.