7 Essential Steps to De-Winterize Your RV
Information Courtesy of Western RV
Get ready for another great camping season by de-winterizing your RV. Here are seven essential steps to getting ready for the road.
SEAMS AND SEALANTS
Winter weather can wreak havoc on rubber, plastic and caulking compounds so inspect seams and seals for leaks.
Batteries can discharge up to 10% a month when in storage unless you check and recharge them. Check that the water level in the battery covers the plates. Then fully charge the batteries. Top up the battery with distilled water. If the batteries were removed for storage reinstall them and making sure they are connected properly.
Caution: If you are not comfortable working on or around batteries, have the maintenance done by an authorized RV repair facility.
RV WATER SYSTEM
Remove RV antifreeze by running potable water through the fresh water holding tank. Then, turn on the water pump and all faucets. Remember to include the outside shower, toilet, icemaker and water heater. Once the water runs clear all antifreeze is out of the system. Now change the water heater bypass and reinstall or replace water filter cartridges. The antifreeze is now in the gray and black water tanks. Empty these tanks at a dumping station.
Propane gas systems should have a leak test and gas pressure test performed annually by an authorized RV repair facility.
Once these tests are done, you can check gas appliances by opening the propane tank valves and starting appliances. Make sure the water heater tank is full of water before testing. If a gas appliance is not operating properly, have it inspected by an authorized RV service facility.
After the gas appliances are checked, plug the RV into an electrical outlet and test all 120-volt appliances and accessories for proper operation. Make sure you have an adequate electrical source (30-50 amps depending on your unit) before testing items like the microwave and air conditioner(s).
Just like the charge lost by stored batteries, tires lose a percentage of air pressure while sitting. Your tires can lose 2-3 psi a month while in storage. Check the tire pressure using a tire inflation gauge and adjust the inflation pressure to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Note: Tire manufacturers publish load and inflation tables for proper inflation pressure.
ENGINE & GENERATOR
If you have a motorized RV, check all vehicle fluid levels. Consult your owner’s manual for proper levels. If a fluid level is low, try to determine why and correct the problem. Start the engine and check for proper readings on all gauges.
If you have an onboard generator, check the oil level and service the generator according to the owner’s manual. Inspect the generator exhaust system for any damage prior to starting. Never run a generator with a damaged exhaust system. If you didn’t use a fuel stabilizer in the fuel system and the generator won’t start, or it continues to surge after starting, have it checked out and repaired by an authorized RV service facility.
RV SAFETY ITEMS
Re-install or replace dry-cell batteries or fuses removed from safety devices like the carbon monoxide detector, propane leak detector and smoke alarm. Test the operation of safety systems. Inspect all fire extinguishers to make sure they are serviceable and fully charged. Recharge or replace fire extinguishers as required.