Whether you’re preparing your RV for a long winter’s rest or getting ready to take advantage of smaller crowds, lower prices, and unspoiled wintery beauty with an RV trip, be sure your RV is ready to brave a wintery blast.
Winterize your RV for safe storage or safe travels. Winterizing done right means protecting the electrical, water, and living systems from freezing cold. Failure to properly winterize an RV can lead to costly problems in the spring when it’s time to awaken your RV from its hibernation – or a catastrophe on the road during a cold-weather adventure.
A starting point for winterizing your RV is deciding what you can do yourself, and what should be left to trained professionals. While skilled owners can do much winterizing work themselves, the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association/Recreational Vehicle Industry Association recommends a RVDA/RVIA certified service technician to avoid damage to complex systems.
When it’s time to winterize, let Crossroads Trailers in Newfield, N.J., handle it for you. With over 20 years’ experience in RV service, Crossroads’ technicians are experienced to meet and exceed your winter preparation needs.
Ready for Storage
While there’s lots of advice on do-it-yourself winterizing, for many owners, winter is the cue to take the RV in for a deep service and thorough check. Even with leaving the heavy lifting to a certified technician, there’s much work an owner should do before tucking an RV away for the cold months.
First, decide what you should leave to the pros. The RVDA suggests choosing a professional saves money down the road in several instances.
Leak Detection and Repair
Even the most experienced owner may miss a small leak, that could turn into a big problem during winter storage. By pressurizing the water system, a technician will be able to detect the sneakiest of leaks and repair it promptly.
Luxury RVs have complicated water systems. A certified brand-specific technician will have deep understanding of water systems and won’t overlook any part of the distribution, manifold, and lines snaking through your unit. Technicians will also be able to distribute anti-freeze through the cold-water lines without filling the tank.
A little water – or waste – can turn into a big problem during winter storage. Let technicians empty the holding tanks and check macerator pumps and transmission lines.
Do It Yourself
Even with the help of a trained technician, there are many tasks a smart owner should take before storing an RV. Don’t let moisture build up inside; check the seals of your doors and windows, and reseal yourself — or put it on the list for your certified technician.
Clean out food storage areas and wipe out crumbs and any residue. Clean out the refrigerator and wipe dry. Leave the refrigerator door slightly ajar. Leave cabinet doors and drawers open. Remove batteries from remote controls, clocks and small appliances, and turn off antennas and boosters. Close the window blinds and shades to protect your interior from sun damage.
Consider your plans for storage when it comes to batteries. If you plan to start the RV periodically during storage, plugging it in to power, leave the batteries with the unit. If the unit will be tucked away for the long haul, consult your service professional to make sure the batteries are fully charged and stored.
Winter is an ideal time to take a snow-mobile loaded toy hauler out for a weekend, or visit some of America’s snow draped parks in the RV. Visit a certified technician to make sure your RV is cold-weather ready, pack carefully, and be prepared for tons of frosty fun.
Windows and Doors
Keep the toasty warm in and icy leaks out by checking the seals on doors and windows. Re-caulk before heading out or have the unit resealed by the service center. Consider beefing up your window treatments with panels of foil-backed insulation hook-and-loop fastened to window frames. What the temporary window covers lack in curb appeal, they will make up for with insulating properties. If the unit isn’t already equipped with insulating blinds or curtains, swap the existing coverings out with weather-wise thermal treatments. As a bonus, insulated window coverings will help keep your unit cool when summer returns.
Before leaving home, consider assembling a cold weather skirt cut from insulating foam boards. Build the barrier from the bottom of your unit to the ground to shield tanks, water lines, and the floor. A purpose-built RV skirt will help, but won’t keep the underside of your unit as warm as the insulating material.
Check the forecast before you head out. Have materials at hand to protect your water pipes and systems from extremes and pack a blow dryer for quick thaws. Bring along a safety compliant space heater for when temperatures bottom out. A fast-moving, violent storm means you may be snowed in for the long haul or face power outages. Don’t leave home for a winter’s journey without cold weather staples, including extra warm clothing, a weather radio, extra blankets, full propane tanks, extra food and cash, and plenty of batteries.