Winterize a Travel Trailer: Your Guide to Preparing Your RV for the Winter

Winter is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about how you will prepare your RV. We’ve compiled a list of things that will help get your RV ready for the cold season ahead. From insulating the pipes, to sealing any air leaks in your trailer, this guide has everything you need to make sure your travel trailer is ready for winter.

Necessary RV Winterization Tools

Before you get started on RV winterization, grab a few tools so you will have everything ready and where you need it. You will likely need: 

  • A flashlight 
  • 3 or 4 gallons of antifreeze 
  • Crescent wrenches or open-ended wrenches
  • Needle nose pliers 
  • Screwdriver set 
  • Cordless power drill 
  • Socket wrench and socket set 
  • Siphoning kit

Winterizing Your RV in Simple Steps

1. Drain and Flush Your Tanks

Blackwater, Gray water, and other holding tanks must be emptied and flushed before winter storage. All of these tanks can be breeding grounds in terms of bacteria. However, leaving the tanks full through the winter can also mean a risk of freezing. Because water expands as it freezes, you could return to a lot of tank damage next spring. Once your tanks are properly drained, flush them with an adequate cleaning solution.

2. Clean the RV Inside and Out

From road grime on the exterior to food particles inside, all dirt from your summer travels should be eradicated. Give the exterior of the RV a thorough cleaning to reduce the risks of settled-on grime from breaking down the exterior components. Inside, clean out the fridge, vacuum the flooring, and get rid of any laundry or bedding.

3. Disconnect Electronic Connections

Make sure to go through your RV and disconnect any electrical cords, including anything you have connected to solar panels. Also, disconnect your battery when you are completely finished just in case there is anything you’ve missed that may drain the battery while the RV is in storage.

4. Drain Your Water Heater

Make sure the hot water heater is turned off and cooled down, and then drain out any remaining water in the tank. Once the water heater is drained, hook it up to a hose and open the lower drain valve. Flush out the tank for a few minutes to get rid of any internal sediment. If the anode rod appears corroded, be sure to grab a new one before spring.

5. Drain Out Water Lines and Add Antifreeze 

While you may have made an effort to drain all your water tanks, there can still be water hanging out in lines, which will also need to be drained. Go through the RV and make sure water is drained from faucets, the toilet, shower lines, and drains. Open up your external valves to release all the water from the lines. From here, go ahead and add antifreeze through your water pump using a siphoning kit. Once your drainage points start distributing antifreeze, close everything off. In the spring, you will go through this same process but use water to flush out the antifreeze.

Proper RV Winterization Ensures Happy Trails Come Spring

The more carefully you winterize your RV in the winter, the less of a chance you will have repairs and problems when the weather breaks. If you are feeling intimidated by the winterization process, be sure to get in touch with professionals to guide you through the process.

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