Getting your RV ready for spring!
As the weather gets warmer, the days longer, the excitement of another camping season is setting in!
Before you head out this spring you first need to ensure your RV is de-winterized and ready for the season ahead, below is a guide on de-winterizing your RV.
First thing first, check the extended forecast to ensure there will be no more temperatures below freezing.
During months in storage your tires can lose up to 2-3 PSI of air pressure, even more if you’re storing your camper outside during the winter months. Using a tire gauge, check the pressure in all RV Tires, don’t forget your spares! The correct tire pressure can be found in the owners’ manual.
Inspect the Exterior
Inspect the outside of your RV for any damage, leaks or cracks, weather-stripping around windows and replace any sealants that is cracked or peeling. Checking the body, roof, and slide outs, if you have a towable camper check the hitch for rust and damage.
Charge and Reinstall your Batteries
RV Batteries will lose a percentage of their charge if they are not periodically checked and recharged during the off-season. Keeping batteries charged while in storage can extend their lifespan. Using a voltmeter, check the charge of your battery. A 12-volt RV battery will read about 12.7volts, anything less than 12 volts or below should be charged before hitting the road.
To charge your RV batteries, attach the battery charger to the RV charger while the battery charger is turned off. Turn the battery charger on and allow the battery to charge completely, this can take up to few hours or days depending on the size of your battery.
Flush your water system
When you winterized your vehicle, you likely added non-toxic RV antifreeze to the water system to prevent pipes from freezing. This antifreeze now needs to be flushed out of the plumbing, so the water is clean and safe to consume.
If you’ve added antifreeze to your tank the first step is to completely drain the tank. Once you’ve drained the tank you can add potable water back into the fresh water holding tank.
Follow this 8-step guide for flushing antifreeze from your camper water system:
1. Turn the water pump on.
2. Open all water faucets, including sinks and indoor and outdoor showers.
3. Allow water to run through the system for several minutes.
4. While the pump is running, flush the toilet a few times.
5. When the water comes out clear, close the faucets and turn off the pump.
6. Take the water heater out of bypass mode.
7. Replace all water filter cartridges that you removed for storage.
8. Dump your gray and black water holding tanks at an official dump site.
Instead of using your RV water pump to flush antifreeze from your camper’s water system, you can also use a garden hose or city water supply. Begin by attaching the hose to your water hookup instead of turning on the RV water pump.
Sanitize your water system
The second essential step for de-winterizing your RV water system is to sanitize it as bacteria and mold can grow during months in storage. Sanitizing your water system is important regardless of whether you used non-toxic antifreeze.
Follow these steps to sanitize your water system:
1. Close all drains and install drain plugs.
2. Measure one-quarter cup of household bleach for every 15 gallons your fresh water tank holds.
3. Pour the bleach into a one-gallon container and fill it up with water.
4. Add the bleach and water mixture into the fresh water tank fill.
5. Fill the fresh water tank entirely with potable water.
6. Turn on the water pump and open all faucets.
7. Run the water until you can smell the bleach and then close the faucets.
8. Let the solution sit for up to twelve hours in the water tank and water lines.
9. Drain all the water from the system.
10. Refill the fresh water tank with potable water.
11. Flush the system by turning on the water pump and opening all faucets.
12. Allow the water to run until it no longer smells like bleach.
Check for leaky pipes
While you’re preparing your water system it is important to also look for potential leaks under sinks and around the toilet. With water in the fresh water tank, turn on the electric pump and allow it to pressurize the water system. When the system reaches full pressure, the pump will shut off. Listen for a few minutes to hear if the pump turns back on. If the pump cycles back on again or does not shut off at all, there is a leak somewhere in the plumbing system.
Leaks inside your RV can lead to water damage so its crucial to repair these issues as soon as possible.
Replace propane tank
If your RV uses propane, reinstall the tanks to their mounts and connect the hose.
To ensure your connection is tightly fitting, apply soapy water to each of the hose connections to see if any bubbles form, this would indicate a propane leak. Tighten the fittings and repeat the process to make sure it is tightly connected.
Check propane appliances
After you’ve reinstalled your propane tanks check the gas-fired appliances are working properly by opening the gas line and testing each appliance. If any gas fired appliances are not working, schedule an inspection with a certified RV maintenance service. Propane leaks can be dangerous and should be handled by a professional.
Test 120 volt appliances
Once your propane appliances are operating properly, plug in your unit to test the 120-volt appliances using 30 or 50 amps.
Check the engine
Inspect the RV engine by checking all the engine fluid levels this includes the power steering, transmission, engine oil, brake fluid, engine coolant and washer fluid. Make sure all lights and controls are operational including dash lights, headlights, taillights and windshield wipers. If any service lights come on have your RV serviced by a certified mechanic.
Test your RV generator
If your RV has an onboard generator first you need to check the oil level, if it is low, have your generator serviced by a professional.
Before testing your generator, you’ll need to check the exhaust system for damage, operating a generator with a damaged exhaust can lead to significant consequences. Once you know the exhaust is operating properly, you can turn the generator on to test it. Run it for a few hours with a half-rated load, load ratings are found in the owners’ manual.
The filters in your RV collect a lot of dust and debris during camping season, changing filters in your water system and air conditioner can improve the efficiency of your systems and save energy. Be sure to purchase the correct size filters to effectively filter out bacteria and dirt.
Check windows and air vents
Open all your windows and air vents. Properly functioning air vents ensure proper flow throughout your camper, and prevent excess humidity in the summer months and are essential during fall camping when the heat is turned on, filters prevent build up of toxic gas inside your RV.
Check safety devices
All safety devices including smoke alarm, fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector and LP detector should be checked. Install new batteries and keep extras on hand to replace as needed. Restock first aid and emergency supplies as well as RV maintenance kit with pliers, a hammer, screwdrivers, extra oil and coolant, hoses, batteries, and leveling blocks.
Registration and insurance up to date
RV registration and insurance should be up to date. Store all your RV documents in an accessible place in your RV!
**If you are not comfortable with any of the above, take your camper to an RV repair service for peace of mind. **
1) How to Dewinterize Your RV or Camper this Spring | A Complete Guide | KOA Camping Blog. (n.d.). Koa.com. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://koa.com/blog/get-your-rv-ready-for-spring/
2) How to De-Winterize Your RV. (n.d.). How to De-Winterize Your RV. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.winnebago.com/lifestyle/winnebagolife/gear/how-to-de-winterize-your-rv
3) Group, T. Z. (n.d.). How to De-Winterize RV. Keystone RV. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.keystonerv.com/owners-how-to/rv-pro-tips-
4) RV, H. (2022, April 13). PREPPING FOR SUMMER – HOW TO DEWINTERIZE YOUR RV. Heartland RVs. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://heartlandrvs.com/prepping-for-summer-how-to-dewinterize-your-rv/