There are a few aspects of RVing that you need to be aware of to keep your rig in great shape. Whether you are a full time RVer or a weekend adventurer, winterizing your RV is incredibly important! Whenever you park your rig for the winter, the cold freezing temperatures can do immense damage to your RV if you do not prepare your rig in advance. So, how much does it cost to winterize an RV?
Winterizing your RV by yourself is inexpensive and can be well worth taking the time to do yourself. Typically, you only need to buy marine & RV antifreeze to pour down your drain to keep your pipes from freezing during extremely cold temperatures. If you are planning to pay someone to winterize your rig, you can expect to pay $90-$150 dollars depending on if you have any additions such as a washing machine, ice maker, etc.
Why do you Need to Winterize Your RV
Whether you are a full time RVer that is parking your RV near family for the holidays, or a weekend traveler that is taking a break on trips for the winter, winterizing your RV will protect your rig while it awaits your next adventure. Winterizing your RV simply means taking necessary precautions to protect your rig from freezing temperatures while it is being stored.
One major issue that winterizing your RV helps with is keeping the pipes within your rig from freezing and breaking. Water pipes throughout your RV must be drained. If water is left inside and it freezes, it can be an expensive issue to fix.
It is incredibly important to winterize your RV to protect your rig from issues that can be caused from freezing weather. When you winterize your RV, you are taking extra time to take precautionary measures to protect your rig.
How to Winterize Your RV
There are 5 main (easy) aspects of winterizing your RV, this is an easy job to do yourself, or you can hire someone if you don’t have the time.
Drain the Water
One of the most important parts of winterizing your RV is making sure all of the water is out. When water freezes it will expand which can lead to busted and cracked pipes within your trailer, RV or fifth wheel.
You can get all of the water out of your RV by:
- Turning off your water pump and water heater and draining your rig completely.
- Run RV & Marine antifreeze through your system by pouring it down all of your drains. If you are deciding to use antifreeze, always remember that once your RV is in use again, you must flush your rig until all of the antifreeze is out of the system.
Get the Food Out
Something you may not think of within your RV that needs to be taken care of before storing it in winter temperatures is the dry food from your pantry. Although the cold temperatures will not necessarily affect the quality of your food, it has the potential to attract rodents and bugs to your camper. Moving food out of your camper will keep bugs and rodents away.
Keep Pests Out
Something else to check is to make sure there are no spaces for rodents to get into your rig to escape the cold. A rodent getting into your RV can lead to chewed wires, and will destroy parts of your rig. Attaching bug guards to the outside of your rig will also keep bugs away and keep all of your vents protected and secured.
Don’t Forget the Fridge
Another part of your rig that must be taken care of before storing your rig when it is cold outside and for long periods of time is your refrigerator. Make sure to completely empty your RV refrigerator and prop the doors open. Take the time to wipe up any excess water once the ice defrosts and prop the door open. Many RV shops will sell attachments that will keep your doors open while your rig is being winterized. Keeping your doors propped open will allow your fridge to air out and keep mold and mildew away.
Detach & Remove the Battery
Besides the steps mentioned above, another smart thing to do before you store your rig is to detach the battery and store it in a warm place. By leaving the battery attached you risk draining the battery or the freezing temperatures and ice damaging your battery. Simply detach your battery and store it inside or in a warm place so when you are ready for your next trip, you aren’t greeted by a completely dead battery.
When Should I Winterize My RV
RVing in cold temperatures is one thing because you can run your water heater as well as your furnace to keep your pipes warm and keep them from bursting. If you are deciding to store your rig where temperatures will drop at or below 32F you need to make sure you winterize your RV.
If you try to store your RV in extremely cold temperatures without winterizing your RV you risk the pipes bursting and costly damage that you will have to get fixed. Many people winterize their RV when they come home for holidays to stay with family or when during camping off season during the winter months.
How Do I De-Winterize My RV
After winter has passed and you and your family are ready to get back on the road, there are a few things you must do to de- winterize your RV and get it ready for travel again.
Drain the Antifreeze
If you use antifreeze in your rig during the winter, you must make sure you flush the antifreeze before you use any of the water. Plug your rig into your water source and run water from all faucets until you can no longer see the pink coloring of antifreeze draining out. Taking the time to flush out all the antifreeze will help you know that you are using safe water. After you flush your rig from antifreeze, you need to take the time to do a thorough walk thru to make sure everything is in working order.
Charge & Return the Battery
If you detached your battery for the winter, make sure it is fully charged and reattach it to your rig.
Check the Lights
A few important parts of your rig to check during your walk through are your lights, both inside and out, to make sure they are all working properly. Once you are hooked up to your truck have someone go around and check our brake lights to make sure they survived the winter as well.
Check the Slideouts
If your rig has slideouts, make sure they are working properly before you hit the road again.
Restart Your Fridge
Turn on your fridge the day before your trip and allow it time to adequately get cold.
Check the Propane Appliances
Also, take the time to double check that your appliances that run off propane are working properly by starting the stove and testing the water heater.
Check Your Tires
Make sure all of your tires are properly inflated and holding air well before you take off on your next adventure as well.
Taking the time to do a thorough check will allow you to be confident before you take off on your next trip as well as give you time to fix any issues before you go. What you do not want to have happen is discover all kinds of issues caused by winterizing once you get to your next destination. De-winterizing your RV is an important step to get your rig back in working order before your next adventure so you can have a carefree trip that is full of memories and a perfectly working rig.
Winterizing your RV, fifth wheel, or trailer comprises simple steps that make a world of difference when storing your RV during cold winter months. Whether you pay someone to do it for you or you do it yourself, winterizing your RV is an imperative and inexpensive step.
If you are deciding to winterize your RV yourself, you can find many checklists that will help you make sure you cover everything you need. Many RV dealerships are kind enough to talk you through what you need to do yourself as well. Winterizing your RV is a must do when storing your RV in freezing temperatures and will allow you to take your rig on many adventures to come.
As far as how much it costs to winterize an RV…that really depends on whether or not you want to do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you.