How to Winterize a Camper
We’re turning the corner on cooler weather here in Pennsylvania, and many are looking to store their RV or camper for the winter. If you are one of the many people in our Mifflintown community, you may have plans to store your camper in a covered or uncovered storage unit, but before you park your camper, you should take the proper precautions to ensure your camper is road-ready for next spring.
At Juniata Valley RV, we’re committed to our community’s safety, which is why we’ve taken the time to outline the three major components you should consider before storing your RV. Taking these precautions will lead to a safer, and potentially less expensive, experience when you decide to remove your camper from storage. Let’s take a look at the three major components below:
Protect Your Plumbing
One of the first things you should do before storing your camper starts with the plumbing. Most RV’s source water either through a fresh-water tank or through a water hookup. The fresh-water tank is connected to a water pump, which may flow into a water heater. All that being said to show just how many components in your RV carry water. If water freezes in any of these systems, you can be a costly fix down the road.
That’s why it’s important to run antifreeze into every water-passing system — except for the water heater — before you store your RV. To ensure you bypass the water heater, which will save you money on antifreeze, you’ll need to ensure you have a “water-heater bypass kit.” Some RV’s are pre fitted with this kit, however, if you need to purchase one, our parts and service team can assist you with your purchase and installation.
Once your bypass kit is installed, you can begin the process of protecting your plumbing. First, you’ll need to drain your plumbing:
- Disconnect from outside water source
- Drain holding tanks (fresh water + black & gray holding tanks)
- Drain water heaters and drain lines
- Bypass your water heater to avoid filling it with antifreeze
Next, you’ll need to add antifreeze (we prefer pink antifreeze over green because it is nontoxic):
- Add antifreeze to the inlet side of the water pump
- Turn on the water pump
- Turn on/off each set of cold and hot water valves until you see antifreeze flowing through the faucet. You should start at the highest faucet point and work your way down.
- Flush the toilet until you see antifreeze
- Pour antifreeze down each drain
- Reconnect the water line to the fresh-water tank
Finally, you’ll need to depressurize your water system:
- Turn off the water pump and open a faucet to release pressure
- Ensure all faucets are then closed to complete this process.
Your plumbing should now be safe from the freezing winter temperatures. Please note that these are general suggestions and that you should always follow your user manual when completing this process.
Keep the Elements Out
Now that you’ve protected your pipes from the freeze, you’ll want to ensure you keep other elements and critters from taking up home in your camper over the next few months.
- Start by unplugging any electronics, and removing the battery from any battery-powered devices as the cold weather can be damaging to the battery’s life.
- Cover stove burners and other open small spaces.
- Remove any food or sugary drinks from the cabinets and fridge.
- Clean crumbs, food residue and dust.
- Store linens in a dry, safe space.
- Remove anything valuable.
- Fill any noticeable holes with steel wool.
- Leave an odor absorber inside.
- Ensure there is no standing water in your ice maker or washing machine if applicable.
Protect Your Exterior
Your interior is protected, but you’ll still want to complete the following steps to ensure the outside of your RV is shielded from the elements and critters:
- Use jacks to limit the stress on your tires — this will also protect against dry rotting. If you’re RV is going to be exposed to the elements, consider investing in tire covers.
- Close your roof vents, and repair any visible holes or leaks on the roof of your RV.
- Remove or cover awnings so they aren’t exposed to the elements.
- Close any gas tank valves.
- Seal any gaps around the doors or window seals.
- Fill the exhaust pipe with steel wool or aluminum.
- Add a new air filter.
- Wash your RV before storing it. If you plan to store your RV in the open, consider investing in a fabric cover. If you don’t plan to cover, avoid positioning your RV under any trees to prevent sap accumulation.
A Service-Oriented Dealer — Juniata Valley RV
If you have any questions about winterizing your camper, you can trust the experts at Juniata Valley RV to help. While taking these precautions may seem like a lot of work now, these efforts go a long way in extending the life of your RV, and ensuring you’re road-ready whenever you want to take your next RV adventure.
For further assistance with any routine or unexpected service you may need before winterizing, contact us today.