Camping Canada Campgrounds - Wintering your RV checklist

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Winterizing your RV    We hope you had a great camping season! Now it's time to prepare your RV for the coming winter months. So here's our "Winter RV Checklist" to help you "winterize" your RV. You can print this list and bring it with you on your "closing" day.
For starters Camping trailer in winter

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Buy enough "non-toxic" anti-freeze before you head out there (the amount depends on the layout and length of your plumbing lines.... 2 to 5 gallons will normally do). Note that "RV approved antifreeze" is recyclable and can be re-used year after year.
Buy and install a water heater bypass kit if not already installed on your RV
Buy and install a water pump converter kit if not already installed on your RV
Get basic hand tools (pliers, ratchet) to remove drain plugs
Clean and store all dishes
Turn-off  and clean the refrigerator (leave the refrigerator doors open and place some baking soda inside to absorb odors)
Clean the oven and leave the door slightly open
Leave all cupboard doors slightly open for air circulation
If your RV is equipped with appliances such as an icemaker or washer/dryer, follow the manufacturer's recommended procedures to winterize them

Waste water system
Inspect and lubricate the termination (inlet) valves
Inspect sewer hose and seals
Drain the fresh water holding tank 
Drain and flush the gray and black water holding tanks. Clean the black tank with a hose/wand. Close the valves (fully) to prevent damages to the seals

Fresh water system
Close the city water. If equipped, remove the inline water filter and store indoors. Remove water from the hose and store it
Open the floor drain plugs (normally located under the sinks) to drain all the water from the water lines. On units without floor drain plugs, simply remove the caps off of the (blue and red) drain lines under the RV
Open all hot and cold faucets (don't forget the toilet valve and outside shower if any)
Remove the water heater drain plug and drain all the water from the water heater. CAUTION.... never drain when hot or under pressure. To relieve pressure, open the pressure relief valve as per your water heater manual. Once drained, reinstall the water heater drain plug 
Set the water heater "bypass valve" to "bypass". Note that if you do not have a bypass kit, the water heater will fill up with antifreeze before the antifreeze fills the water lines, wasting up to six gallons of antifreeze
Close the floor drain plugs or re-install the caps on the (blue and red) drain lines under the RV
Put the antifreeze hose of your water pump converter kit into your antifreeze gallon. If no water pump converter kit, disconnect the inlet side of the pump (the line coming from the fresh water holding tank) and connect tubing from the pump into a gallon of RV antifreeze
Turn the RV water pump "on" to pump your antifreeze in the system. Starting with the closest faucet open the hot and then cold valves until antifreeze appears (close valve when you see antifreeze). Repeat on all faucets from the closest to farthest away. Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears. Don't forget the outside shower (if equipped). Use as many antifreeze jugs as necessary.
Pour one cup of antifreeze in each drain (including the shower). Pour a couple of cups in the toilet and flush into the holding tank.

Electrical system
Remove the RV battery and store it in a cool, dry place. Check and re-charge the battery (if necessary) every 3 months or better yet, puit it on a trickle charger. NB: never store a battery on a concrete floor as it will discharge quickly.
Cover the battery cables (RV wires) with plastic bags to protect from the element

Propane (LP)
Close LP tanks valves
Cover regulator assembly with plastic bags

Remove all dry-cell batteries (in lamps, clocks, gas detector, smoke detector....)
Remove all freezable foods and liquids from the RV
Wash your RV thoroughly and apply a coat of good quality wax or protectant to help protect the exterior from the ravages of the winter weather
Clean and let dry your awning. Lubricate all moving parts using silicon spray.
Bring all tires up to the maximum pressure rating as found on the sidewall. You may want to use tire covers to prevent weather and sun damage.
Lower the radio / TV antenna if necessary
Install plastic bags/covers on outside vents (furnace, refrigerator and water heater) to prevent nesting
Place mothballs near (not in) the gas burner assembly of the refrigerator (to prevent spiders from nesting and causing gas flow blockages at the burner)
Remove, clean / replace your air conditioner filter(s)
Inspect roof and re-caulk where necessary. Install roof vents covers.
Install an air conditioner (A/C) winter cover (buy an A/C cover, do not use a plastic bag because condensation may damage the unit)
Inspect the underside of the unit thoroughly. Look for anywhere that mice or other rodents can get it and seal as necessary.
Place sheets of Bounce or Fleecy (or similar product) under each mattress, cushion etc... This will keep field mice away as they don't like the smell. Some RV owners claim Irish Spring soap bars also works for them. Note that you can also place a package of mouse bait / poison on a paper plate on the floor
Place excess moisture absorbers such as DampRid throughout your RV especially in areas where airflow is restricted. To further keep condensation down, if possible, leave a small source of heat inside the RV.... such as a 40 watt light bulb which is inexpensive to run (approx. $25-$40/year) and a safe source of heat
Close all windows. If possible, consider leaving one sheltered window and one roof vent open just a crack to provide some air flow through the RV and help prevent musty odors or mildew
Close all of the window blinds to avoid sun exposure to countertops, carpets, drapes and upholstery. Leave doors, drawers and cabinets open.
Service all locks with a graphite spray lubricant. Lubricate all hinges and moving parts with WD 40.
If you want to cover your RV, make sure that you use a good quality cover constructed of breathable materials. Regular (black, blue or green) plastic tarps from hardware stores can do more harm than good as they allow moisture to build up (and eventually can cause rot). Note that as a general rule, we do not recommend "tarping" an RV unless absolutely necessary (leaking roof....)
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