Tech Tips: On Fall and Winter RV Maintenance
We have had far too many reports of water damage in both the roofs and side walls of all RVs, but especially Motor Homes. For your protection, please follow these recommendations. Carefully inspect the roof seams for possible causes of leaks. Dig out any cracked sealer with a putty knife, clean with thinner, and re-seal the seams with a good RV type sealer. Be sure to use a sealer approved for the type of roofing material used on your RV. Check the plastic roof vent lids to be sure they are still flexible. Replace any that crack easily. Just as important as the roof, check every opening in the side walls for cracked sealer. Pay particular attention to cab-overs on mini homes and the four corners on all RVs. Re seal as needed. Sight down the side wall on laminated bodies looking for bulges or soft spots. Have your dealer inspect any you find.
- Winterize before night time temperatures drop below 25 degrees.
- Put rodent and ant poison in hidden spots.
- Fully inflate and cover tires to prevent sun rot.
- Test the LP system for leaks.
- Put moth balls inside the water heater door to discourage spiders.
- Spray rubber surfaces with pure silicone spray to keep flexible.
- Wax your RV Use a special fiberglass wax as needed.
- Remove any rust from LP tanks and paint with a light colored rust proof paint.
During Winter Storage:
- Check inside monthly for leaks.
- Be aware of any mildew or rotted wood odors.
- Store off level to let water run off.
- Monthly, run engine and generator for 1/2 hour and move motor homes, even if only a few feet.
- Do not cover your RV unless you use a cover specially made for this purpose. Tarps can cause mildew and chafe the paint. Even RV covers can damage rubber roofs.
- Be sure some air can circulate through the unit and prop the refrigerator door open.
- Keep your batteries charged or store in a heated location to prevent freezing damage.
Tips On How To Winterize Your RV
These are general instructions only and not to be used to replace the method your RV manufacturer recommends.
Using compressed air.
- Drain the fresh water tank, close the drain then pour in one gallon of RV non toxic antifreeze.
- Run the water pump for one minute with one faucet open.
- Screw a blow out plug into the city water inlet and pressurize the system to 40 psi.
- Remove the drain plug from the water heater, blow it dry, and re-install the drain plug.
- One at a time open each faucet and blow air through the hot and cold side until no more water sprays out. Do the same with the shower and the toilet.
- Re pressurize the water system as many times as necessary.
- Pour 1 cup of RV antifreeze in the traps of the kitchen sink, lavatory, and shower.
Using a water heater by-pass:
- Drain the fresh water tank and the water heater, then close the drains. While draining the water heater, open a hot water faucet to let air back into the water heater.
- By-pass the water heater by following the instructions on the kit.
- If you can, disconnect the inlet side of the water pump and use a hose to pump antifreeze directly out of the jug. You may also install a pump by-pass to make this easy. If not, pour 2 or 3 gallons of non-toxic antifreeze into the water tank.
- Turn on the pump. Open each faucet one at a time until the pink antifreeze runs out. Do the same with the shower and the toilet.
- Be sure at least 1 cup of antifreeze goes down each trap.
- Turn the pump off and run one faucet until the flow almost stops, then remove the screen from the city water connection and push the eraser end of a pencil into the city water connection to trip the check valve and allow antifreeze to run out.
- Antifreeze pumps are available and work well. They come with good instructions.
Last for all methods:
- Dump the waste water tanks.
- Consult your owners manual for any other things which should be done before winter.
- For your safety, be sure to only use non toxic RV antifreeze. Automotive antifreeze is poisonous.