Winter is just around the corner, and there would be plenty of things you planned for. Then, you probably have packed up your RV to head south in the cold season.
However, there will be many questions coming to your mind. The first one would be how to winterize an RV or a camper? When it comes to winterizing your recreational vehicle, you may become overwhelmed with the number of questions. Will the fuel freeze? What to do to stay warm inside? How to protect the plumbing system in RVs? Is it possible to live in RV during the cold season? These are the most common questions RV owners have.
While some load their RVs with essentials and head out to explore, others stick around to enjoy the breezy days and quiet campgrounds. No doubt, RV camping in winters allows you to take a break from the bustling summer season and give you a chance to relax in the peaceful and beautiful wintery days.
If you are wondering how to winterize your camper trailer, we have got you covered! Keep in mind, the RV tips we are sharing will make your journey smooth and adventurous. Check out this guide to stay safe and warm in your RV during the freezing temperatures.
Preparing Your RV for a Winter Trip – How to Winterize an RV?
Before you embark on the cold weather trip, make sure your recreational vehicle is in the best condition to resist the catastrophe damages winters cause. Knowing all the essential tips regarding how to winterize your travel trailer will help prepare your RV against harsh weather.
Moreover, it will also help protect your engine and other important components from damages, like freezing. Additionally, it will keep you and the members inside warm, making your RV camping experience more enjoyable and comfortable. Here is the RV winterize checklist that will help you prepare your motorhome to withstand the harsh weather conditions.
1. Install and Upgrade the Insulation
When it comes to winterizing your RV, insulation is one of the most important things you must consider. Installing insulation will keep your g vehicle warm in the cold season. Moreover, the RV insulation protects your RV components from damage. It creates a warm and cozy living space. If you install it around the base, it will block cold winds that can damage piping.
- Install RV Skirting
Cold winds can cause plumbing systems and water tanks of your RV to freeze. Therefore, it is essential to install an RV skirting around its base to block the winds. You can also use foam boards in place of skirting.
- Insulate the Floors
Use foam boards to block the open floor areas. You can also use heavy carpets or rugs to block cold air.
- Seal the Doors and Windows
Before taking your RV to roads for a winter trip, check out the caulking and seals around its windows. Reseal the cracks and replace the areas that have become weak. Replace the stripping to prevent moisture or cold air from leaking in. You can use heavy drapes to block the cold drafts around windows. To insulate window coverings, use reflective foil.
2. Protect Your RV Plumbing
Dealing with freeze-ups is a common challenge for RV camping. No doubt, it can damage your plumbing system. Not to forget, when the ice expands in hoses and pipes, it can cause them to burst or crack. This particularly happens when you have not properly insulated the RV.
Therefore, keep your water flow in the RV to keep pipes from freezing. Whether you are pondering over how to winterize a camper to live in or how cold can it get before I have to winterize my camper, you will get answers to all your questions by the end of this article. So, keep reading!
- Dump Tanks
Make sure to keep the waste valves closed when you are not using them. Moreover, dump the tanks wisely, particularly when these tanks are full to minimize the risk of freezing.
- Add Antifreeze
You can use a small amount of antifreeze in your RV water tanks to protect the pipes and valves from freezing.
- A Space Heater
If you have not protected your RV water pump or water lines with a heat source, you can use a space heater to warm them up and prevent freezing.
- Make the Internal Tank the Main Source of Water
Instead of using external water sources, use the installed water tank. This will allow you to disconnect your freshwater hose, keeping it from freezing.
- Use Heat Tape Hoses and Pipes
Wrap all the sewer hoses and freshwater pipes with heat tapes. This step helps keep the water lines from freezing, as they stay warm. You can also protect the connections and valves with heat strips. For extra protection, you may also add foam insulation.
3. Protect Your Engine
Your RV engine and its components need extra protection to withstand the harsh weather conditions. Therefore, make sure to inspect your batteries before heading out for the trip. Look for the signs of damage or corrosion in your batteries and ensure they are fully charged. In addition, you will need to connect your RV batteries safely and securely. Note that, uncharged or part-charged batteries tend to freeze or die in the cold season.
In addition to that, make sure to check the engine and refill it with water and proper concentration of antifreeze. Although water is effective for cooling down the engine in summers, using 50% antifreeze is essential for RV camping in winters. However, if you are going to an extremely cold region, you may use an engine block heater to warm up your engine before starting your RV. Note that, you should run block heater for 4-5 hours before starting the engine.
4. Check the Propane
Before heading out, do not forget to fill up your propane tank. Since it is dangerous to keep propane tanks outside the RV in harsh winters, make sure to remove and store them in a sheltered location of your vehicle. Cover the fittings of tank connection with rubber bands and plastic bags to keep the cold winds out.
5. Prepare the Electrical System
Make sure to flip off the main circuit breaker of your RV to protect the electrical systems. Disconnect your rig from the shore power and block the exhaust pipe with aluminum foil. Check out the manual to place your RV generator in the proper place. Remove batteries from detectors, radios, and clocks.
6. Drain the Plumbing System
It is one of the most important parts of winterizing your RV. Even a little water left in pumps, valves, faucets, or pipes can freeze, expand, crack, and damage the waterlines. While most plumbing is inside cabinets and walls, repairing them will be extremely costly. Therefore, it is imperative to drain the plumbing system. However, it is not enough; you will need to purge the entire system. You can blow out the system with compressed air. In other words, you may winterize RV with air compressor, which you can purchase from any hardware shop.
7. Stabilizing Jacks
You will need to keep the stabilizing jacks from freezing. When you park your trailer in icy conditions, your vehicle may stick to the snowy ground. So, set wooden blocks under the jacks to prevent this. Moreover, coat the pivot points with graphite spray or silicone spray to prevent rust.
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8. Keep Your Camper Warm
After you have winterized your RV, it is important to load certain essentials to keep your vehicle warm. While insulation greatly increases your RV’s internal temperature, you may keep RV furnace to keep it warmer. Nevertheless, RV furnaces may not be sufficient to keep you and your RV warm. In such situations, you can use a portable, electric, or catalytic heater.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How Much Does It Cost To Winterize A Camper?
Generally, the professionals charge around 120$ to winterize small recreational vehicles. For big motor homes, they usually charge around 160$ and around 130$ for travel trailers.
2. How Do You Flush Antifreeze Out Of A Camper?
The simplest method to flush antifreeze out of your RV is by running water through the affixed systems. You can run water through the city water inlet or the water tank using a water pump. You will need to open all the faucets of hot and cold water to allow it flow through the pipes.
3. Can You Live In A Camper In The Winter?
Living in a camper during winters is possible. However, you may need to do some preparations and work on a few adaption ideas. Make sure to follow the tips we have mentioned above to make your RV traveling a hassle-free experience.
4. At What Temperature Should You Winterize Your RV?
If you are heading to the areas that experience below 32-degrees Fahrenheit temperature, you should winterize your RV before to avoid future damages.
The Main Takeaways
If you are planning to spend the upcoming cold days in the south, make sure to prepare your RV by following the tips about how to winterize a camper or an RV. Before the temperature drops, get your RV ready for winters. If you were wondering how much it costs to winterize a camper trailer, you probably have your answer in this guide.
While you can take your trailer to a local maintenance shop, it is always better to hire professionals to get the work done. This is because they have expertise and experience to prepare your RV efficiently to withstand the extreme weather conditions.