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RV and Motor Home Repair and Maintenance Home

rv winter traveling and maintenance tips

Leaving an RV on its own during freezing temperatures is sentencing it to a slow death. Engines on motor homes as well as plumbing systems on travel trailers can freeze and crack upon ice expansion. Every RV needs some winter care treatment (from brand new luxury RV's to vintage travel trailers and campers), which is for the most part removing excess water. There are two ways to go about doing this.

Winterizing With Antifreeze

First, you can fill the system with antifreeze. Note that the antifreeze should be special RV antifreeze that is made for the vehicle as well as non-toxic. Antifreeze is special formulated liquid that retains its form even under freezing conditions. Drain all the sources of water - the water tank, holding tanks and water heater. Then, pump all the lines dry as much as possible with the tap, toilet and water heater open. After shutting the tap, it is at that point that you pour antifreeze into the tank. You should shut off the pump and bypass the water heater by joining the cold inlet and hot outlet lines together. You should then pump every source until antifreeze comes out of the drain; the water heater, tap, faucets, shower drains, traps and toilet. On all systems turn off the pump and leave the valves open. After the storage period ends, the hot-water bypass should be switched so that the water will go through the tank and city pressurized water connected so that the remaining antifreeze will be flushed out.

Winterizing With Compressed Air

The other option in winter care for your RV is to use compressed air to purge the water. This is the technique for more basic systems, whereas the other method is for more sophisticated units. This involves opening all the drains and tanks in the system and blowing out the excess water with compressed air from an air nozzle. A fitting adapter for the city water connection should be purchased so that you can blow the air out with relative ease. Operate the pump with an open faucet until it runs dry. Connect the air-fitting adapter to the city water hookup and open the faucet farthest away from the water pump. Close all drains and blow air through the city hookup line until all the excess water is blown out and only air returns. Open the closer faucet and then close the first one, blowing that line out until the excess water is gone. Continue this procedure until all the lines have been blown dry. Close the faucets, turn off the pump and close the drains.

Sanitizing Water Systems

Though remaining antifreeze is tasteless and nontoxic, it's a recommended that you sanitize the system after the storage period. This also applies if you haven't used the water system for a good while or if the water has become contaminated. This can be done with a chlorine solution (mixing water with household bleach). Fill the system with fresh water and release the air by opening faucets. Allow three hours or so to pass and then drain and flush.

Now that the winter season is over, get ready for a nine-month RV, travel trailer, or camper vacation!