The Time has come to winterize your RV Travel Trailer.The grass are are dead the trees are loosing there leaves and everything ells is going into hibernation.
This is also the time you realize that camping season is over and it time to winterize your RV for storage. Here is a complete guide How To Winterize You RV Travel Trailer
How To Winterize You RV Travel Trailer
Park your trailer somewhere that you are able to store it through the entire winter months. It is very important not to keep your trailer outside exposed to rain, wind, snow, and other elements. This will subject the structure to premature wear and tear which could lead to costly repairs later down the road.
It’s a good idea to park your travel trailer under some type of cover whether it be at a storage lot or carport etc.
Don’t forget about breakers and fuses when you are making repairs to your travel trailer. Most of the time you will find them on the outside of the unit and won’t have to go inside for this particular repair but if necessary, getting into the trailer can be easy as well.
Make sure the area where you are going to store your travel trailer is dry and there is good airflow so that condensation will not form on the unit’s roof covering or walls inside. Condensation can eventually lead to mold growth.
Make sure the area where you are going to store your travel trailer is level so that it won’t be subjected to uneven pressure which can cause stress and damage.
2. Close Up All Entrances
Close all windows and vents on water heater, appliances (furnace etc.) or other areas where you may have plumbing in your travel trailer. This will help prevent moisture from collecting inside while the unit is being stored.
Make sure all drawers and cabinets are closed in order for items such as plastic ware, pots and pans etc. to not break or bend over time due to being exposed to heat as well as humidity.
Many travel trailers come with skylights installed so if you have one make sure it is resealed properly before storing because even though such windows may be small they can cause a lot of damage inside by dripping water through roof covering that collects wood inside which then causes mold growth on any type of surface whether it be fabrics or carpeting, ceiling board etc.
3. Open All The Valves
Open all valves on all propane tanks whether they be located outside or inside of trailer, turn off main gas valve. Make sure to close fuel valve on generator if one is present.
If you have any portable stoves inside your trailer turn off main tank valve for stove whether it is LP (if applicable) or natural gas but leave burners on if using LP to avoid damage when emptying container.
Propane can be purchased at almost any hardware store and is relatively inexpensive to purchase compared with the cost of replacing or repairing appliances that were left on without safety precautions being taken into consideration.
4. Prevent Leaking
Put all batteries in a plastic bag and store them away from propane tanks, gasoline, or kerosene to prevent leaking of any kind as well as prevent damage from freezing temperatures.
Leaking can cause rust so be sure to put the batteries in something that will contain a possible leak if one does occur.
5. Disconnect battery
Unhook battery charger and disconnect it from power source if applicable, also remove battery for storage period because they can start to discharge over time if left attached to power source which is why some people put a trickle charge on batteries while traveling so as long as they are hooked up to a shunt or trickle charger, they will not start to discharge while being stored during off season months.
After it has been winterized I would recommend going through batteries and charging systems making sure they are in good working condition, check water levels in batteries which can be done by using a volt meter placing one lead on the positive post of other lead touching any negative cables including ground cables or battery box itself to see what voltage is registered this will tell you how much power your batteries have at that time as well as how far they need to be charged.
If reading is below 12 volts charge slowly overnight with auto charger then check again after several hours next day if it is still under 12 volts repeat until reaching above 12 volt level indicating fully charged once off charger, do not allow charging to continue after reaching this point as it can cause battery damage.
When checking voltage try to keep cables from touching metal body of trailer as this will give you an incorrect reading
6. Clean The Inside
Clean carpets and floors inside of travel trailer to remove any dirt if storing for longer than one month.
A good tip is to use baking soda mixed with warm water as your cleaning agent because it will make floors dry faster by removing moisture from flooring, especially vinyl flooring which can be damaged by standing water left on flooring for too long.
This step is optional depending on how clean you like your travel trailer to stay over time when stored or not in use (sage green color dries dark brown).
7. Disconnect ALL Hoses
If you are using your travel trailer for storage purposes make sure all water hoses on outside of trailer including spigots are turned off and not connected so that there is no chance of a freeze or burst pipes in the winter season.
8. Check Tire Pressure
Travel trailers like many other types of vehicles such as cars, trucks etc. have tires that need to be properly inflated and maintained in order for there to be no chance of a blow out while being stored over time so if you have a travel trailer make sure all tires are at proper pressure in order to avoid any problems with tires while storing your unit.
A good general rule of thumb is inflation has been lost when the tire wall appears flat or drum-like compared with normal condition under load or on vehicle (straddle trailer tire) meaning tire wall will show some bulging by hand while deflated appropriately, not heavily underinflated where it would cause damage but not overly inflated causing premature aging of rubber which can result in blow outs.
9. Disconnect RV Electricals
If you are going to be storing your travel trailer for more than one month I would recommend disconnecting any type of satellite dish that may be installed on outside of unit as well as disconnecting and cleaning all awnings, or patio cover so that there is no chance of mold or mildew building up from sitting in water gathering on these types of objects while being stored over time (cleans with bleach solution).
After this I would go ahead and disconnect any electric cables running through travel trailer then remove shore cable from power pedestal making sure not damage cords they can be damaged if not handled properly.
10. Use a Fan
If you are storing for longer than one month I suggest putting a roof fan inside of unit because it will keep air circulating and prevent any stagnation causing mold growth inside over time on certain surfaces such as carpet, hardwood etc., also insulates against cold and heat if stored in a climate where temperatures drop below freezing or top 100 degrees during summer months (room fans works too).
11. Check All Locks
ALWAYS check all locks especially door latch, storage compartments, gas tanks caps etc. before storing your travel trailer for long periods of time because corrosion from weather elements can cause them to become loose and make entry for anyone with a little knowledge, plus any type of break-in or vandalism can occur if you don’t check your unit over before storing especially if it’s in an area where unsafe people may be.
12. Don’t Drive Before Winterizing
If you are moving from one state or country to another and want to store for more than three months I would recommend traveling no more than 2,000 miles at a time between storage sites to prevent having as many breakdowns and maintenance problems by trying to go too far once and end up breaking down and not being able to go any further because there is nothing worse than that.
13. Drain The Tanks and water system
Next step is going inside travel trailer and try turning faucets full on, if no water or barely any flows out then the hoses have not been completely drained this must be done before storage,
if they still do not flow freely from inside faucets to outside when filled using a garden hose attached to the spigot you found that was plugged with a rag you can easily fix it yourself by simply finding where outside water is not flowing back in by inserting end of clear hose into spigot and block off end with your finger while filling other section with fresh water until it overflows.
Once bottom has been properly winterized I would re-check roof drains for proper drainage setup then go ahead and drain fresh water tank which should be drained from spigot on bottom after flipping unit over so hose fits better and is easier to handle, when draining do not use any hoses as caps can become loosened allowing entry of foreign material into internal system.
Once those have been drained turn each one in opposite direction starting with hand shower these are usually hard to get at if they leak which is usually the case because the threads become stripped out making them difficult to unscrew therefore I would recommend using an adjustable wrench to do so.
14. Winterize Toilet Area
When winterizing toilet areas I would recommend replacing their lids with the ones that have a built-in freshwater flush tube with vent cap then set each lid under one of the two opposing tanks outside boone caps where tp holder was mounted to keep them dry and clean out any snow accumulation before going inside as these large tanks could possibly freeze cracking the tank or breaking off flush tubes if allowed to remain intact while sitting in freezing temperatures.
15. Use Antifreeze
You will need to place approved winterizing fluids or automatic antifreeze through all running water systems, shower head and their cold water lines while using included funnel when finished capping them tightly with provided caps then turn fresh water tank valve handle until it clicks this should be done after turning off both hot and cold valves located on outside of unit otherwise you could end up having to drain more fluid later.
This is very important step as damage can be caused by not doing this correctly so do not rush or skip any steps.
16. Clean Outside
Next comes exterior metal’s go ahead and wash down everything then wax all painted surfaces using quality auto type wax , I prefer Meguiars NXT Generation Tech Wax which you can also use on your car’s paint job before going to car wash for washing purpose’s and best of all it cleans itself as well without leaving annoying water spots like some brands leave behind.
Making your hand work easier saving time the next time you wash it as well, do not wax any windows or clear plastic Lexan parts which are clear but can scratch easily causing them to loose their transparency.
Therefore I recommend using a quality brand name polish like 3M’s System Three Plastic Cleaner & Polish which I use myself.
Not only on travel trailer but also my house siding plastic window replacement glass as well,
this product is easy to apply and remove and most important of all it does not leave behind oily film that attracts dust instead its transparent.
Just like the actual surface that has been polished might want to keep some extra on hand for when traveling into those dusty dry areas because they will cause your plastic surfaces look foggy in appearance even if you clean before returning home.
17. Check Hoses
This is where most people never even think about checking by making sure all hoses are exactly in same spot every time.
This could cause problem because if one hose is laying down flat on the ground water could find its way outside of that stake and into your home or trailer causing some serious damage along with some kind of odor coming from evaporated warm waste water mixing with winter months cold air moisture.
Another reason you always want to make sure your hose stakes are working properly which in my case I use four total two at each end which hold section of hose together then I use two additional stakes at each end of ground section to hold hose up off the ground.
Your travel trailer should come with a manual on how to properly winterize and maintain all systems over time including heating, cooling etc. so make sure you read that manual in its entirety to learn how and why these things are done during the winter season or any other time of year because if it was not for manufacturer’s recommendations some things could be taken care of incorrectly which could also cause unnecessary problems while traveling when using your travel trailer.