Winter is approaching, now is the time to put the coach in storage. You can’t just finish up the season and drive your coach into storage. Make sure you take the proper steps to ensure your coach is ready for winter storage by following our RV winterization tips.
In short, RV winterization is when all the water is drained from an RV. This includes every holding tank, water line, and appliance. The process is conducted to protect the RV’s water system from leaks and damage when water freezes in the RV. Freezing water expands and can cause cracks throughout the system. Once all the water has been drained from the system, antifreeze is added. The antifreeze keeps the water system safe.
You should winterize at the end of the camping season. The time of year varies depending on where you live and when the temperatures typically fall below freezing.
If you plan on storing your RV under roof and plugged in, you should still winterize it. The RV water tanks and lines might still be exposed to freezing temperatures. It is not worth the risk of damaging your systems and having to perform repairs later.
Before we get into the general winterization process, let’s find out what kind of tools and supplies you need with a few special considerations.
There are specific instructions found in the Newgle How to Winterize a Coach article if you have the following equipment in your coach:
Save time by making sure you have the right tools and supplies before you start the process. Make sure you have at least two gallons of non-toxic RV antifreeze. Do not use automobile antifreeze; it is not safe for RV use.
You will also need a regulated compressed air supply set to 50 PSI. Lastly, have a blow-out plug that you will use with the compressed air and a flashlight.
Make sure you have access to a proper sewer connection.
The first step is crucial, turn off your water heater and let the water cool. It may take up to two hours from when you turn off your water heater for it to cool. Waiting for the water to cool is critical to keep you safe when you drain your water heater.
Turn on your refrigerator and disconnect your coach from city water.
Drain the fresh water holding tank by turning on your water pump and opening all hot and cold faucets, including outdoor faucets and your kitchen sprayer. Do not let the water pump run dry. As soon as there is no more water, turn it off.
Your gray and black tanks also need to be drained. Open the black tank valve first, then the gray. If you have a macerator hose, empty it as well.
The following steps involve draining your water heater tank and blowing air into the system.
First, remove and bypass any inline water filters, including the refrigerator and drinking water filters. Check your water pump to make sure it is off.
Double-check the time to ensure enough time has passed since you turned off the water heater. Remember that water needs to be cool so that you do not hurt yourself. Close valves to the water heater and open the bypass valve. Remove the water heater tank drain plug. Stand back because all the water in the water heater will come rushing out.
Open the low point drains for the hot and cold water, usually in the water compartment. Connect the regulated air supply to the city water fill inlet using a blowout plug to run air through the system. While the air supply is connected, turn on every faucet one at a time for at least ten seconds. Don’t forget to also do this for the hot water spigot with low point drain and the tank fill valve.
You can now disconnect the air supply.
Before you do anything else, close the low point drains. Otherwise, all the antifreeze you add will just go straight through your system, through the low point drains, and onto the ground.
If you have a whole house filter canister, remove it, dump the remaining water, and reinstall it.
Find the “A” and “B” winterizing valves in the water compartment. Rotate “A” valve clockwise to close it. Rotate “B” valve to counterclockwise position to open it. Locate the winterizing hose and remove the plug. Insert the hose in the antifreeze container and turn on the water pump. You will see the antifreeze flow through the clear hose to the RV water lines.
Open each hot and cold faucet throughout the coach until antifreeze is detected. Don’t forget to also do this for the outdoor faucets and hot water spigot with low point drain. Next, flush your RV toilets, and use the toilet sprayers until you see antifreeze-tinted water flow. Lastly, pour antifreeze directly into all drains.
Don’t forget about your appliances. Your dishwasher, refrigerator, and washing machine all need to be winterized as well.
Winterizing your dishwasher is easy; just run it empty without soap. For the washing machine, run it for two minutes using warm water. Then press “cancel” and “drain” to stop it.
To winterize your refrigerator, run water through the external water dispenser until you see antifreeze in the water. Next, make sure the ice maker is on and give the freezer time to make ice cubes. Once you see colorful ice cubes, you can turn off the refrigerator. There is an additional step to winterize the fridge, but a technician should perform it. You can get details by clicking here.
Now that you have run antifreeze through your entire motorhome water system turn off the water pump. Close the wintering valve “B”, open valve “A”. Plug and stow the winterizing hose. Drain your gray and black water holding tanks to make sure they are empty. If you have a macerator hose, make sure to empty it as well.
Your RV is now winterized and ready for long-term storage. Everything you need to know can be found in the Newgle How to Prepare a Coach for Storage Article. Access it by clicking here.
There are a few things to keep in mind to save you time and frustration.
We hope this article helped you learn how to winterize an RV. If you feel overwhelmed, get help from a qualified RV technician.
Don’t forget that as a Newmar customer, you have access to Newgle. It’s information provided by Newmar’s team of experts to help you with all your needs. Click here for Newgle Winterization Articles.