Fall is here with winter just around the corner. This time of year, RVers need to ask themselves the question, “What am I going to do with my RV?”.

Many will be done camping for the year and winterize their RV. If this is you, be sure to properly winterize your RV to avoid damage during freezing weather. Here is a link from our friend Gary Bunzer on how to fully winterize your RV if you are unfamiliar with the process.

While winterizing your RV don’t forget to remove items from the RV that can be damaged by freezing weather like cans/bottles of soda, water bottles, canned goods, etc. It’s no fun to come back to your RV in the spring and find a sticky mess caused by ruptured pop containers and canned fruit.


Don't Forget to Remove Items That Can Freeze and Rupture

Others will keep their units ready to use when conditions are conducive for camping or traveling to friends/family for the holidays. RVs also make great guest rooms when family come to visit.

The degree of readiness can vary from leaving the unit fully operational to partially winterized. Let’s look at some of the options you might consider.

Option 1 - Leave Your RV Fully Operational

If you leave your RV fully operational, make sure to keep heat in the unit and the water heater turned on during periods of freezing weather. You might want to consider an electric heater* to keep the unit warm rather than running your furnace and consuming propane. Using an electric heater assures you won’t run out of propane (unbeknownst to you) during an extended freezing period. Plus, you will be ready to roll with a full tank of propane when you are ready to head out on a trip. One advantage of leaving the RV fully operational during the fall and winter is it makes a great emergency shelter when a storm or natural disaster knocks out utilities to your home.


Electric Ceramic Heaters with Tip Over Protection are a Good Choice

*Note: If you have water lines that run in the floor or belly compartments of the RV, an electric heater in the interior of the RV is unlikely to keep these lines from freezing and you may still need to run the RV’s furnace. Those with the water lines contained within the interior of the RV will want to leave cabinet doors cracked allowing warm air to reach the pipes.


Heat Critical Areas Like the Bathroom


Sometimes You May Want to Remove a Drawer for Heat to Circulate to Plumbing

Option 2 – Leave Your RV Partially Winterized

Leaving your RV partially winterized allows you to avoid heating it during cold snaps saving you money, while requiring minimum prep time to get it ready for an outing. A partial winterization may include some or all of the following:

•  Draining the majority of the water from the pipes via low spot drains.


•  Using a blow out plug to clear water out of the freshwater pipes
.

•  Only partially draining the freshwater tank leaving room for expansion if freezing weather occurs. This allows you to have a freshwater source in the event you need to use your RV during an emergency.

Note: This may not be possible in all RVs due to the location of the water tank outlet and the ability to protect the water pump and the line between pump and tank.


•  Leaving the water heater full of water, turning it on during periods of freezing weather to avoid freezing and rupturing the tank.


•  Drain the water heater and reinstall the drain plug so it is ready to be refilled when you head out on a winter campout.


•  Supply limited heat to items most likely to be damaged during freezing weather like the water pump, toilet ball valve and toilet vacuum breaker.


•  Pouring non-toxic antifreeze down the P-traps in the shower, bath sink and kitchen sink to prevent them from freezing and cracking. The antifreeze will flush out on its own when you run water down the drain.

Note: Know your RV and apply the above tips appropriately. These tips apply mostly to Northwest RVers that live west of the Cascades where temperatures stay above freezing most of the winter.

When you do head out for a Fall or Winter RV excursion these 14 tips will help make your stay more enjoyable.


Fall RVing

For our readers east of the Cascades or those of us that want to take an RV trip to the colder regions of the Pacific Northwest, in the next installment we will review tips for camping during extended freezing temperatures and/or snow.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave Helgeson
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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