Winterize Your RV Now to Prevent Damage During the Winter

Motorhome driving through snow storm

The weather is changing, which means it’s time to take proactive measures to get your RV ready for the winter. Do you want your RV to be in great condition when spring rolls around? If so, this guide is meant for you.

You'll find helpful tips and a checklist with everything you need to protect your RV. When you use quality products from Liquid Rubber, you save money and enjoy peace of mind, knowing that the results are likely to exceed your expectations. If you want to be able to enjoy your vehicle and keep it safe all winter long, we're here to help you make that happen!

Note: While this general guide is intended to provide helpful tips for winterizing your RV, it is not a one size fits all approach. Before you use any products on your camper or RV, be sure to consult with your owner's manual for unit specific winterizing guidelines. 

Draining the Water Prevents Burst Pipes

It's important to drain the water supply to prevent damage due to frozen water when temperatures plummet. Over the winter, temperatures can vary drastically. If your RV is stored in an unheated space, stagnant water can continuously freeze and expand. To avoid flooding, burst pipes and structural damage, follow the steps below:

  1. Remove and bypass inline water filters.
  2. Drain your water tanks, including your gray, fresh and black tanks.
  3. Now, it's time to drain the water heater. Start by removing the drain plug and fully opening the pressure relief valve. CAUTION: Wait until your water heater has completely cooled if it's been recently used. It's important not to drain the water heater under pressure, so make sure it's not in use.
  4. Drain the hot and cold faucets. Open both hot and cold faucets to let them fully drain.
  5. Open the toilet and shower valves to ensure that no standing water is left in the pipes.
  6. If you aren't sure where the low point drain is, consult with your owner's manual, or call the manufacturer to locate it.
  7. Use a water pump to remove all the water. It's important to turn it off as soon as the system is drained to avoid damaging the pump or your drain line.
  8. One last thing, once all systems have finished draining, double-check to make sure that you've recapped and closed the drains and faucets.

Antifreeze Provides Additional Protection for Your Pipes

RV antifreeze can prevent your plumbing systems from damage due to freezing. Your RV water pipes are thin and narrow. So, when temperatures fall below freezing, the pipes can freeze quickly. As a result, the water inside them will expand, causing leaks, breaks and potentially causing structural damage.

Follow these steps to add antifreeze to your RV pipe:

  1. Purchase a bypass kit for your water heater. Installing a bypass kit allows you to prevent antifreeze from filling up your water heater prior to passing through the water lines. Otherwise, you'll have to buy a lot of antifreeze!
  2. You'll also need a water pump converter kit. This kit pumps antifreeze throughout the water lines. Alternatively, you can disconnect the water pump's inlet side. (This is the line that leads to your freshwater tank.)
  • Install a water pump converter kit to pump antifreeze through your water lines, or you can disconnect the inlet side of the water pump (the line coming from the freshwater holding tank).
  • Next, using a piece of clear tubing, connect the inlet side of the pump with a gallon container full of RV antifreeze.
  • Note that RV antifreeze is a nontoxic product sold specifically for this problem. Do not use regular antifreeze designed for other purposes.
  • Once you turn the water pump on, it will pressurize the system. Open up the hot then cold faucets closest to the pump until antifreeze appears.
  • Repeat this process on all faucets, adding more antifreeze when necessary.
  • You may have to flush the toilet a few times, stopping when antifreeze appears.
  • Once you have checked all faucets and the shower and toilet, you can turn off the pump.
  • Don't forget to open one of the faucets to release the pressure that has built up in the system.
  • For good measure, pour about a cup full of antifreeze down each drain. Next, pour a few cups of antifreeze down the toilet, flushing the toilet a few times. This will transfer antifreeze into the holding tank.
  • Does your water heater have an electric heating element? Turn it off or disconnect it until you use your RV again.

Waterproofing With Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating

It's important to waterproof your RV or trailer to prevent damage due to cold weather this winter. Follow these steps to waterproof your RV with high-quality products from Liquid Rubber.

Check for cracks. Rodents, bugs and insects love to find warm places to nest for the winter. To ensure that your RV doesn't become a hotel for all the local pests, it's important to check all the exterior seals. This includes the roof, vents, windows and other openings where water can get into your vehicle.

Now that you have identified the cracks, it's time to seal them. Join gaps, seams and cracks together using Liquid Rubber Seam Tape or Liquid Rubber RV Lap Sealant.

Next, protect your roof with the right coating to keep out moisture. Leaks and water damage can ruin your vacation home, create poor indoor air quality and attract pests. Of course, all of this is avoidable when you apply Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating to protect your vehicle in the offseason.

Here's how to apply Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating effectively:

  1. Wash your roof off thoroughly using Liquid Rubber RV Smart Cleaner and ensure it is completely clean and dry.
  2. Apply Liquid Rubber Seam Tape to any seams, vents or skylights. Use Liquid Rubber RV Lap Sealant for small areas like bathroom vents or ladders.
  3. Start by rolling or painting a generous coat of primer on the roof, Wait 1 to 2 hrs. For EPDM or aged/sanded TPO use our Liquid Rubber EPDM Primer, work in manageable section as the primer will be very sticky when dried. For Fiberglass, Metal, PVC or Wood use our Liquid Rubber Multi-purpose Primer.
  4. Next, apply Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating.
    1. Using a brush or roller, start by coating around vents, seams and antennae.
    2. Next, work in sections, starting with the sections furthest from the ladder and moving toward the ladder as you work. This will ensure that you can exit without walking on the wet sealant.
  5. Once the first coat dries completely and is a uniform color, you can add additional coats as needed, until the proper coverage is achieved.

Choosing A Location To Store RV To Reduce Possible Damage

Ideally, you'll want to park your RV for the winter in a shelter or under a roof. For some RV owners that may not be possible so, If you're planning to store your RV in your yard or driveway, try to find a location that's sheltered from the wind. Be sure to park your RV out of the way of any trees that may come down in a wind or ice storm. 

If your RV will be outside all winter, we recommend investing in a cover made especially for an RV. Having the cover will protect against extended exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays that can damage the paint finish. It will also protect your vehicle from wind damage, tree sap and bird droppings. Choosing a cover ensures an extra layer of protection wherever you decide to store it.

We recommend not to use a plastic tarp to cover your RV, plastic will trap moisture between the RV and the tarp. A tarp is also likely to flap around in the wind if not secured tightly and may cause more damage to exterior surfaces. 

Avoid Pests By Removing Temptation

Another crucial step in winterizing your RV includes removing all food from the RV. By thoroughly cleaning the refrigerator, freezer, cupboards, countertops and floors you minimize the chance for unwanted pests. Consider placing mouse and ant traps in and around your RV as rodents love to make RVs their home during the cold winter.

Winterizing Your Battery To Ensure Longevity And Performance

It is extremely important to take the battery out when storing RV for winter. This is especially true if you don’t have a climate-controlled storage location. Follow these steps to ensure your battery lasts through the winter:

  1. Disconnect the batteries and store them in a cool and dry place.
  2. Check the charge every four to six weeks with a voltmeter or multimeter. 
  3. Charge the batteries as necessary to keep them fully charged. This is important because a partially charged battery may freeze faster than a fully charged one. Freezing can damage or destroy the batteries.

Shop Liquid Rubber

If you want to keep your RV in like-new condition, winterizing can prevent expensive water damage and ensure long-term use without eating away at your travel fund. Liquid Rubber provides the solutions you need to protect your RV or trailer from water incursion this winter. You don't have to hire a professional when there are easy DIY products such as Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating. Contact our Technical Support team for knowledgeable assistance with any questions you may have.