How to Winterize a 5th Wheel RV
Winterizing your luxury 5th-wheel RV is essential to protect it from the harsh cold, freezing temperatures, and potential damage that winter weather can bring. Neglecting this crucial step can lead to costly repairs and inconvenience in the spring when you’re ready to hit the road again. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to properly winterize your luxury 5th-wheel RV and ensure it remains in top condition for years to come.
Gather Your RV Winterizing Supplies
Before you begin the winterization process, make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand. Here’s a checklist of items you’ll need:
- RV antifreeze (non-toxic and safe for RV plumbing)
- Water heater bypass kit (if your RV doesn’t have one built-in)
- Air compressor with an adjustable regulator
- Wrenches and pliers
- RV-specific cleaning supplies
- Rubber gloves
- Bucket or container for catching water
Winterize – Drain Your Water Systems
The first step in winterizing your luxury 5th-wheel RV is to completely drain all water from the plumbing system to prevent freezing and damage. Follow these steps:
- Start by turning off the water heater and letting it cool down.
- Shut off the main water supply to your RV.
- Open all faucets, including hot and cold taps, in the RV to allow the water to drain completely. Don’t forget outdoor faucets, if applicable.
- Flush the toilet to remove water from the tank and bowl.
- Drain your freshwater tank and empty the black and gray water tanks.
- Remove any water filters or water softeners, if installed, and turn the bypass on.
Winterize – Bypass the Water Heater
To avoid filling your water heater with antifreeze, you’ll need to bypass it. If your RV doesn’t have a built-in bypass valve, you’ll need to install a water heater bypass kit. Here’s how:
- Locate the water heater and drain it completely.
- Find the inlet and outlet pipes on the water heater.
- Install the bypass valve so that water is directed away from the water heater. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific kit. (Luxe 5th Wheel RVs come with a built-in bypass)
Winterize – Blow Out the Water Lines
To ensure there’s no remaining water in the plumbing lines, use an air compressor to blow out the water. Follow these steps:
- Set the compressor to a low-pressure setting (usually around 30 PSI) and connect it to the RV’s city water inlet using a suitable adapter.
- Open each faucet (both hot and cold) one by one, starting from the farthest point from the inlet, until you see only air coming out. Don’t forget the outdoor shower if you have one.
- Flush the toilet until you hear only air escaping.
- Close all faucets and disconnect the air compressor.
Winterize – Add RV Antifreeze
Now it’s time to protect your RV’s plumbing with RV antifreeze. Here’s how:
- Pour a sufficient amount of RV antifreeze (typically 2-3 gallons) into the freshwater tank. Many units come with a winterized inlet port and a pump. You would need to run a hose from the antifreeze in a bucket to the inlet port, then turn on the pump.
- Use the RV water pump to pump the antifreeze through the entire plumbing system. Turn on each faucet (hot and cold) until you see the antifreeze flowing out.
- Don’t forget to add antifreeze to the P-traps of sinks, showers, and the toilet to prevent freezing.
Winterize – Protect the Exterior
In addition to the plumbing, you’ll want to take steps to protect the exterior of your luxury 5th-wheel RV:
- Clean and wax the exterior to protect the paint and finish from harsh winter elements.
- Cover the tires to prevent dry rot and deterioration.
- Cover any vulnerable exterior components like vents, air conditioners, and slide-outs with specialized covers.
Winterize – Store Your RV Properly
If possible, store your luxury 5th-wheel RV in a climate-controlled storage facility during the winter months. If not, consider using RV covers and wheel chocks to keep your RV stable and protected from the elements.
Properly winterizing your luxury 5th-wheel RV is crucial to ensure its longevity and performance. By following these steps and taking the time to protect your investment, you’ll be ready to hit the road again when spring arrives, knowing your RV is in excellent condition. Remember that regular maintenance and care will help you enjoy your RV for many seasons to come.