Dewinterizing Your RV

It is spring and it’s time to prepare for your upcoming adventures, whether it is a cross country trip or parking at a campground with your friends for a few months, there are a few things to be preparing on your RV.

  • Check for rodent intrusion: Open all your doors and compartments and look for any bugs, spiders or mice that may have found their way in through the winter. Make sure to look at all the nooks and crannies, including your water heater, refrigerator, drawers and cabinets.
  • Sanitize your water system: Even if you did not use non-toxic antifreeze to winterize your plumbing, sanitizing your water system is still important for any bacteria that could have grown in the winter months. The following steps will help you to sanitize your RV water system:
  • Close all drains and install drain plugs.
    • Measure ¼ cup of household bleach for every 15 gallons of fresh water that your tank holds.
    • Pour the bleach into a one-gallon container, filling it with water.
    • Add the bleach and water mixture into the fresh water tank fill.
    • Fill the fresh water tank entirely with potable water.
    • Turn on the water pump and open all faucets.
    • Run the water until you smell the bleach and then close the faucets.
    • Let the solution sit for up to 12 hours in the water tank and water lines. Leaving it too long can cause synthetic seals to deteriorate, so be aware.
    • Drain all of the water form the system.
    • Refill the fresh water tank with potable water.
    • Flush the system by turning on the water pump and opening all faucets.
    • Allow the water to run until it no longer smells like bleach.
  • Plumbing: Check your plumbing for any leaks. With your fresh water tank, turn on the electric pump and allow it to pressurize the system. When the system reaches full pressure, the pump will shut off, listen and if it turns back on or does not shut off at all then there is a leak somewhere. Check everywhere for the leak and if you can then repair it, if needed, take it to a RV repair service if you are not comfortable fixing it yourself.
  • Check propane: If your RV uses propane, reinstall your propane tanks on their mounts and connect the hose, make sure that the hose is fitted tightly by turning on the propane valve a little to open the gas line. Apply soapy water to each of the hose connectors using a sponge or small spray bottle, watch for any bubbles, indicating there may be a leak, then tighten the fitting. After the tanks are reinstalled, check that all of your LP gas appliances are working properly by opening the gas line and testing each appliance. If any are not working, schedule an inspection with a certified RV maintenance specialist, propane leaks or ignition issues can be dangerous and are best left to professionals.
  • Check the engine: Inspect your engine by checking all fluid levels and making sure all the lights and controls are in working order. Check the fluid levels of the power steering, transmission, engine oil, brake fluid and engine coolant. If any are low, top them up. After that start the engine, check the readings on all the gauges and verify that all the lights, dash, headlights, taillights, etc. are in working order.
  • Check safety devices: Make sure all of the safety devices are operational in your RV before heading out on the road. Ensure that your smoke alarm, fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector and LP detector all have new batteries and are in working order. Look at the expiration date on your fire extinguisher, release any power that may have settled during storage by shaking it and tapping the bottom. Make sure you know how to properly operate your fire extinguisher and know what all the alarms sound like in your RV. Also check your first aid and emergency supplies, restock any that are low, your supplies should include some tools as well for emergency repairs, such as pliers, a hammer, screwdrivers, etc.
  • Change your filters: Change out all of your water and air filters. Air filters can collect a lot of dust and debris during a busy camping season, so start with fresh ones. Make sure to purchase the correct size for your systems, and ensure that the filters fit snugly to effectively filter out dirt and bacteria. As a part of this step, open all your window and air vents to make sure they are in working order. Air vents ensure proper air flow throughout your camper to prevent excess humidity and keep you cool.

The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer and the excitement of hitting the road in your RV is setting in, and now you will be ready. There are some smaller things you can do as well:

  • Open the awning to let it dry, and slide outs
  • Inspect all seams and windows for water damage or leaks
  • Lubricate all hinges and locks
  • Inspect the tires for dry rot
  • Use some bounce sheets under your mattresses and cushions as field mice do not like it

After all of this you should be ready to hit the road. Have fun and drive safe!!

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