Thursday September 3rd 2020
So you purchased a RV this summer to get some freedom and enjoyment in this year of Covid-19. Well congratulations it has certainly been a year for the record books, depending on where you fit into the work force, you either have been struggling to make ends meet or you worked through the shut down and are finding yourself with a lot of expendable income because you couldn’t go out for dinner or go shopping.
And therefore RV sales were up over the past few years, but as the camping season comes to an end everyone has to start preparing to winterized their unit. So you might be wondering what is involved in winterizing, well as much as every unit is different, the process is the same for all of them.
First and foremost what will freeze in your RV? Well there is the obvious the water lines in your rig, but that grows to cover a lot of areas so make a list what has water in it? Oh there is the obvious all the hot and cold water pipes, storage tanks, (fresh, black, grey, and hot water), every sink valve, (kitchen, bathroom, outdoor kitchen, tub, shower, outdoor shower, black water flush), then you have to think about what you don’t see, under every sink or tub is a trap that holds water and will freeze and crack as well
So how do we stop all these items from freezing, Well they have to get the water removed and an antifreeze added to replace the water, so how do we accomplish this? Well here is where everyone’s opinion varies, so say just drain everything with water, some say use air pressure to purge the water, either way works. But then you have to force antifreeze into lines, valves, and traps but how, a pump is needed to push the antifreeze into the system, every tap has to be filled with antifreeze, and enough must force the water out of the traps and all tanks drained.
Well that’s a start, now what else? Well what containers will freeze, like canned items like food items, bottled items like cleaners or drinks, boxed items such as drinking boxes or soup broths, kind of getting the idea. So every drawer, shelf, and cabinet, needs to be checked, and I recommend removing all food and drinks, as well as any freezable items in the bathroom or bedroom area.
Next item on the list cleaning the tops of the slides, making sure the slide seals are lubricated, and they close and seal properly. Rain and water can get a lot of places but wind and snow can even find more places to blow in then melt. So make sure everything is closed and locked.
One of the toughest things is rodents, every fall the field mice start looking for a dry place to winter … you don’t want it to be your new RV. So what can be done … first don’t leave anything that they can eat, next make it difficult for them to get in, check the underside of your RV for any holes or splits in the underside. Aluminum tape, steel wool are both good protection, many manufacturers are very careful but remember a mouse can get through a hole about the same diameter as a dime. They can climb up a water hose or a power cables, so remove all items that are climbable, next items that will deter them from wanting to stay. Items that are very popular are dryer sheets, Irish spring soap, peppermint, mothballs, and ammonia (and again this year we will be selling Mr. Sams used litter box gravel, to sprinkle under your RV). Don’t leave them bedding material such as tissues, toilet paper , or napkins and the like. Traps are not recommended as they can’t be emptied till spring
It’s about now that you start to wonder why did I get such a big RV? But we need to keep looking for areas that could be a home for a rodent or could let water in. Now I over time have seen plastic bags on roof air conditioners, and water heaters, not necessary and some would tell you that it will trap in more water than it keeps out both these items are made to be exposed to the elements. Now placing plastic badges around your RV refrigerator vents will help keep insects and the such out but there aren’t really any winter insects so why.
Now as your RV is powered down it’s a good idea to take batteries out of any items to stop any possible corrosion when the battery discharges, like smoke detectors, clocks, remotes you get the idea. You also need to disconnect your 12 volt battery so that the items like propane detector won’t draw it down over the winter, in fact I recommend taking your RV battery home to trickle charge it over the winter to extend its life.
Then you need to start looking at outside storage areas, so the same rules apply so all mice want is a warm dry place to winter, so don’t forget the deterrents there as well, larger creatures like skunks and raccoons love our low decks, or shed bases to provide winter shelter so again mothballs seem to be a leader but there are many comercial products on the market as well.
Note: Remember if your in recreational areas many of these items will become very scarce further into the fall, so start planing early.
There are a number of service people that do winterization but they just do the water and antifreeze, you still have to do much of the preparation work. The advantage of paying to have it done is the liability that they take on to winterize your RV.
And as we round out this process the propane system needs to be shut down as well, refrigerate doors propped open to prevent mould or odours, RV fridges have latches to accomplish this, residential fridges don’t, so a little piece of something to prop the doors open avoids mould.
Our winterization is a little more involved, and includes a ride south to warmer weather. But as we are getting closer to our departure date and the border still being closed to vehicle traffic I may be learning quickly how to winterize our coach … just saying.