Products You Need for RV Winterization
Updated: Mar 8, 2021
When you think of hitting the road in your RV, you probably picture warm sands, bright sunshine, and a lack of bulky, cold-weather layers. For many RVers, the end of summer and fall means putting your rig away and forgetting about it until spring. For other daring travelers, though, winter is just another opportunity for an unforgettable adventure. No matter what you do with your RV when cold weather comes, you should make a few preparations to keep everything safe from the elements. From protecting your plumbing system to keeping the interior warm and cozy during travels, here are the essential products you need for RV winterization.
RV Winterization for Storage
As mentioned above, many people winterize their RV with the intent of storing it for the season. Storing your RV for winter is an in-depth process that you must do right to keep your rig in good shape. You can winterize your RV yourself, or take it to a local servicing center so the professionals can do it. If you do it yourself, one of your main priorities should be to keep your pipes from freezing and bursting. Your first step is to drain all tanks and pipes, bypass the water heater, and then pump antifreeze through the entire system. Be careful during this process. You never want to add antifreeze to your freshwater tank or water heater. Additionally, you should only use RV-safe, nontoxic antifreeze, which experts design specifically for RV water systems. Make sure you have a couple of extra gallons of antifreeze on hand. One gallon likely won’t be enough to pump through your entire system, and having backup gallons will allow you to get the job done without interruption. Once this process is complete, close off all valves and faucets.
In addition to winterizing your RV water system, you will also need to check the vehicle’s interior. Take care not to leave any food, valuables, or temperature-sensitive items in your RV over the winter. Carefully inspect the RV—both inside and out—for any cracks, holes, or water damage. Finally, you need a safe place to park your RV through the season so that it doesn’t suffer damage from heavy rain, ice, or snow.
RV Winterization for Travel
You can still travel in your RV even when it gets frigid out. With the right products and preparations, you can adventure any time of the year, no matter the season or climate. Winterizing is just as important if you choose to travel, as it keeps your RV comfortable, cozy, and functional throughout your trip. Here are some of the products you need for RV winterization when you hit the road.
Valve, Pipe, and Tank Heaters
Another crucial step in protecting your RV’s plumbing system is to install valve, pipe, and tank heaters. RV holding tank heater pads and other crucial heating products from UltraHeat help keep your pipes warm enough to resist freezing while your RV is in use. These products are easy to install and use a built-in sensor to power on and off as needed. Make sure you choose a heating pad that works with the size of your tank and the power supply in your RV. You should also take care to use these products correctly. Powering your tank, valve, or pipe heaters when there are no fluids present or when temperatures are above freezing can damage your water system.
An RV Skirt
Of course, UltraHeat heating products work best when paired with other insulation techniques. An RV skirt can prove invaluable when you’re traveling through cold weather. There are many crucial components on the underside of your rig. If the air beneath your RV gets too cold, it can freeze the holding tanks or draw heat out of the interior. When you place an RV skirt around the bottom of your rig, it keeps frigid winds from blowing across the underbelly. If you don’t have an RV skirt, you can also insulate the bottom of your rig by placing foam boards or tarps around the underbelly.
Vents within your RV help keep air flowing, which prevents stuffy air and moisture buildup. These vents are just as important in the winter as they are in the summer. You need air to keep circulating so that humidity doesn’t accumulate and cause moisture damage to your RV. Vents are also crucial if you plan on running a portable heater inside your RV. However, vents can also let in cold air, snow, or rain. Vent covers will prevent the elements from getting into your RV while you have the vents open, and they continue to allow for air circulation through the RV. On particularly frigid days, you can also add more insulation to your rig with a vent insert that will help you retain heat.
The RV Fridge
You should always check your RV’s appliances before you hit the road. After all, no one wants to find themselves stuck at a campground with a broken refrigerator or furnace. As you winterize your RV, take a moment to evaluate your fridge. In many rigs, the fridge vents face the exterior of your RV, which means the unit can get too cold and start to have problems. Some manufacturers offer a cold-weather package to prevent issues from occurring. You can also insulate the outer access cover yourself—just be sure not to cover the vent completely, as this can cause even more damage to the unit.
Finally, many RVers bring along a secondary heat source to help keep the interior nice and cozy throughout the trip. Portable units like space heaters or catalytic heaters can keep you warm while giving your furnace a break. However, you should always monitor the airflow within your RV whenever you run a heater. Inadequate air circulation can lead to humidity or even a carbon monoxide buildup, depending on the kind of heater you use. Use the vents to keep air flowing. You can also bring a dehumidifier to control the moisture levels in your RV. Furthermore, running an internal unit will cause your furnace to run less often. If the furnace helps heat your RV’s underbelly, running it less frequently means your RV’s water system could freeze. If you use an internal heater, make sure your pipes and tanks are still getting the warmth they need by installing tank, pipe, and pipe elbow heaters throughout your water system.
When your RV is warm and safe, you’re free to enjoy your winter travels. Gather these products, prepare your rig, and fill the coldest time of the year with adventures and memories you’ll never forget.