How to Winterize Your RV for Cold Weather


  1. Winterizing an RV refers to the process of preparing it for storage during the winter season or periods of cold weather. This involves draining the water and removing any remaining moisture from the RV’s plumbing system and other components to prevent damage from freezing temperatures.
  2. It is crucial to winterize an RV to prevent costly damages that can occur due to freezing water. When water freezes, it expands and can cause pipes and other components to crack or burst, leading to leaks and potential water damage.
  3. The steps involved in winterizing an RV typically include draining the fresh water tank, draining the water heater, bypassing the water pump, blowing out the water lines with compressed air, and adding antifreeze to the plumbing system. Other steps may include preparing the RV’s exterior, such as covering tires and sealing any openings to prevent critters from entering. It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific RV model and seek professional assistance if needed.

Drain the water system

  1. Draining the water system is an essential step in winterizing an RV to prevent damage from frozen water. Water left in the RV’s plumbing system can freeze, expand, and cause pipes, fittings, and other components to crack or burst.
  2. The steps involved in draining the water system of an RV include:
  3. Turn off the water heater and allow it to cool down before draining.
  4. Turn off the water pump and disconnect the RV from any external water sources.
  5. Open all the faucets, including the hot and cold taps, to release the pressure in the water system.
  6. Locate the low point drain valves, typically located near the water tank or under the RV, and open them to drain the water from the system.
  7. Open the water heater drain valve and let the water drain out.
  8. Flush the toilet and remove any remaining water from the bowl and tank.
  9. Drain the fresh water holding tank by opening the valve.
  10. Once all the water is drained from the system, close all the faucets, valves, and drain plugs.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your RV’s water system is drained and free from water, preventing damage from freezing temperatures during storage.

Add antifreeze

  1. Adding antifreeze is a crucial step in winterizing an RV to prevent damage from freezing temperatures. Antifreeze is a solution designed to protect the RV’s plumbing system by preventing any remaining water in the system from freezing and expanding, which can cause damage.
  2. The steps involved in adding antifreeze to the RV’s plumbing system include:
  3. Purchase RV-specific antifreeze that is designed for potable water systems.
  4. Connect a hose to the RV’s water pump intake and place the other end into a container of antifreeze.
  5. Turn on the water pump, and open each faucet, including the hot and cold taps, until antifreeze flows out.
  6. Repeat this process for each faucet, including the shower and outdoor shower, until the antifreeze flows out.
  7. Flush the toilet until antifreeze is visible in the bowl and tank.
  8. Pour antifreeze down each drain to fill the traps and prevent any remaining water from freezing.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your RV’s plumbing system is protected from freezing temperatures during storage. Remember to use only RV-specific antifreeze and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific RV model.

Seal windows and doors

  1. Explanation of why this is important: Sealing windows and doors is an important step in maintaining the energy efficiency and comfort of a home or building. When windows and doors are not properly sealed, air leaks can occur, allowing hot or cold air to enter or escape the interior. This can lead to higher energy bills, reduced indoor comfort, and even moisture problems that can damage the building materials and encourage mold growth.
  2. Steps involved in sealing windows and doors:
  3. Identify the areas that need to be sealed: Check for air leaks around windows and doors by running your hand around the edges to feel for drafts or using a smoke pencil to detect air flow. Look for gaps or cracks in the caulking or weatherstripping.
  4. Clean the surfaces: Clean the area around the window or door frame with a damp cloth to remove any dirt, debris, or old caulking.
  5. Apply caulking: Apply a new layer of caulking to the areas where the old caulking has cracked or deteriorated. Use a caulk gun to apply a continuous bead of caulk, and smooth it out with a caulking tool or your finger.
  6. Install weatherstripping: Install new weatherstripping around the edges of the windows or doors to prevent air leaks. Weatherstripping comes in a variety of materials, including foam, vinyl, and rubber, and can be easily applied using adhesive.
  7. Install door sweeps: Install door sweeps at the bottom of exterior doors to prevent air from entering or escaping underneath. Door sweeps can be attached using screws or adhesive.
  8. Test for leaks: Once the sealing is complete, check for air leaks again using a smoke pencil or your hand. If there are still leaks, reapply caulking or weatherstripping as necessary.

By properly sealing windows and doors, you can save energy, increase comfort, and protect your home from moisture damage.

Cover the RV

  1. Explanation of why covering the RV is necessary: Covering an RV when it’s not in use is an important step in protecting it from the elements and maintaining its overall condition. Exposure to the sun, rain, snow, and wind can cause damage to the exterior finish, tires, and other components of the RV, leading to expensive repairs and reduced resale value. A cover can also help to prevent dirt, debris, and pests from getting inside the RV, making it easier to clean and prepare for use.
  2. Types of RV covers available:
  3. Standard RV covers: These covers are designed to fit over the entire RV, protecting it from the elements and preventing dust, debris, and pests from getting inside. They come in a range of materials and sizes to fit different RV types and models.
  4. Tire covers: These covers are designed to fit over the RV tires, protecting them from UV rays and preventing cracking and dry rot. They are typically made of heavy-duty vinyl or polyester and come in a range of sizes to fit different tire diameters.
  5. Windshield covers: These covers are designed to fit over the RV windshield, providing shade and reducing heat buildup inside the RV. They are typically made of a reflective material and attach using suction cups.
  6. Steps involved in covering the RV:
  1. Clean the RV: Before covering the RV, it’s important to clean it thoroughly to prevent dirt, debris, and pests from getting trapped under the cover. Use a mild detergent and water to clean the exterior surfaces, and make sure to dry them thoroughly.
  2. Choose a cover: Select a cover that is the right size and material for your RV. If you’re not sure which cover to choose, consult the manufacturer or a reputable RV dealer.
  3. Install the cover: Spread the cover out over the top of the RV and drape it over the sides. Make sure the cover is centered and the sides are evenly draped. Secure the cover in place using straps, buckles, or zippers, depending on the design of the cover.
  4. Cover the tires: If you’re using tire covers, install them over the tires at this time. Make sure they are securely fastened to prevent wind from getting underneath.
  5. Cover the windshield: If you’re using a windshield cover, install it at this time. Position the cover so it provides shade and blocks the sun’s rays from entering the RV.

By following these steps, you can help to protect your RV from the elements and maintain its overall condition. A well-maintained RV is not only more enjoyable to use, but it can also command a higher resale value if you decide to sell it in the future.

Other tips for winterizing an RV

  1. Battery maintenance:
  2. Remove the battery: If you’re storing your RV for an extended period, it’s best to remove the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. This will help to extend its lifespan and prevent it from discharging.
  3. Check the battery charge: If you’re keeping the battery in the RV, make sure it’s fully charged before storing it. Consider using a trickle charger to maintain the charge during storage.
  4. Disconnect the battery: If you’re storing the RV for an extended period, disconnect the battery to prevent it from discharging.
  5. Propane tank maintenance:
  1. Close the propane tank valve: Before storing your RV, make sure to close the propane tank valve to prevent leaks.
  2. Drain the propane lines: To prevent damage to the propane lines, drain any remaining propane from the lines by lighting the stove burners until they go out.
  3. Check for leaks: Before using your propane system again, check for leaks by applying a solution of soap and water to the propane connections. If you see bubbles, there’s a leak that needs to be addressed before using the propane system.
  1. Engine maintenance:
  1. Change the oil: Before storing your RV, change the oil and oil filter to prevent contaminants from causing damage during storage.
  2. Top off fluids: Make sure all of the fluid levels in your RV’s engine are topped off before storing it.
  3. Start the engine periodically: To prevent the engine from seizing during storage, start it periodically and let it run for a few minutes to circulate the fluids.
  1. Tire maintenance:
  1. Inflate the tires: Inflate the tires to the recommended pressure before storing your RV to prevent flat spots and damage to the tires.
  2. Cover the tires: If you’re storing your RV outside, consider using tire covers to protect the tires from UV rays.
  3. Move the RV periodically: To prevent flat spots and damage to the tires, move the RV periodically during storage. Even moving it a few inches can help to prevent damage.

By following these tips, you can help to maintain the condition of your RV during the winter months and ensure that it’s ready for use when the weather warms up.

How to winterize your RV, Camper or Travel Trailer - Complete 13 Steps Guide | Black Series Campers


  1. Recap of the importance of winterizing an RV: Winterizing an RV is an essential step to protect it from the harsh winter elements and maintain its overall condition. It involves a series of steps, including draining water tanks, adding antifreeze, sealing windows and doors, covering the RV, and maintaining the battery, propane tank, engine, and tires. By taking these steps, you can prevent damage to your RV and ensure that it’s ready to use when the weather warms up.
  2. Encouragement to take necessary steps to winterize an RV: If you’re an RV owner, it’s important to take the necessary steps to winterize your RV and protect it from the elements. This will not only save you money on repairs but also ensure that your RV is ready to use when you’re ready to hit the road again. Don’t wait until it’s too late to winterize your RV. Take action now and follow the steps outlined in this guide to prepare your RV for the winter months. With a little effort, you can protect your investment and enjoy years of fun and adventure on the open road.

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