Winterizing Your RV, Part l: Tips and Tricks for Cold Weather Traveling

NOVEMBER 18, 2019

Similar to how you over-dress your kids for chilly days, this should also be your approach to protect your RV during winter — the only difference is instead of sweater layers, you will add layers of protection to your RV, both inside and out.

Our RV community calls this “winterizing,” which means making your recreational vehicle winter-ready and weather-proof for the cold season ahead. 

Not sure where to start winterizing or what is most important to focus on? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered:

4 Steps to Winterize Your RV

While some fly down south for warmer weather or pack it up for a few months, many of us flock up north to the sparkling snow and peaceful destinations.

Here is your ultimate RV protection checklist for the brrrr-ing good trip you’re about to embark on:

  1. Install Insulation

Installing insulation is one of the best and simplest ways to both help keep your RV warm and protect many of the vehicle’s important components from damage.

Consider the following tips for insulating the interior and underbelly for cold weather traveling and camping:

  • Seal the windows and doors by replacing any sections that are missing or weak. Replace weather stripping on the exterior sides to prevent cold air or moisture from coming in. 
  • Install window covering with affordable window film and reflective foil to further insulate your windows. 
  • Add thick curtains to the inside of your windows to block cold drafts and keep warm air in.
  • Add foam board flooring or heavy rugs and carpets to block cold air that may come up. 
  • Install RV skirting to block cold wind from blowing underneath your RV which can cause your water tanks to freeze and suck heat out. 
  1. Protect the Plumbing

Freeze-ups are a common occurrence during winter RV traveling. They are dangerous because they can cause ice to form and expand in your pipes and hoses leading them to crack or burst. 

Here’s how to keep your water flowing and pipes from freezing:

  • Wrap freshwater hose and sewer hose with heat strips to prevent freezing. 
  • Apply foam insulation with the tape for extra protection. 
  • Warm your internal plumbing by opening your bathroom and kitchen cabinets so your RV heating can help keep your plumbing warm. 
  • Allow a small drip in your faucets to keep water moving which combats freezing. 
  • If your water lines/pump are not already protected by a heat source, use a small space heater at a safe distance.
  • Put antifreeze in holding tanks to protect valves from freezing.
  1. Energize the Engine

Your RV engine and its related components need extra care and protection to withstand the extreme weather conditions the winter can bring. 

Before going anywhere, inspect your RV batteries for any corrosion or damage. As well, make sure your batteries are fully charged and securely connected. Did you know that batteries that are not fully charged are much more likely to freeze or die? 

Additionally, refill your engine antifreeze with the correct amount of antifreeze and water (use at least 50 percent antifreeze for winter camping). 

If your driving and visiting very cold areas, use an engine block heater. They are meant to warm up your engine before you start driving, and if you are in temperatures below freezing, you should run them for about four hours prior to starting the RV. Life is definitely a highway but you don’t want to get stuck in the mountains with a frozen engine before even being able to get on it!

  1. Freshen the Furnace

Don’t wait until you’re on the road to check up on your furnace. As well, we advise that you have an inspection conducted by a certified RV repair technician.

Clean your furnace thoroughly and check the vents for any damage or obstruction. Also keep in mind that while on your chilly trip, you can use additional heat sources to keep you warm without putting all the pressure on the furnace. 

Additional RV Winterizing Tips

The list of ways to winterize your home on wheels is endless, but here are few more important cautionary steps to take to prevent your RV from experiencing problems due to weather:

  • Bring sturdy wooden blocks with you to stick underneath the stabilizing jacks for when you park so they do not get stuck to the icy ground.
  • Since you will not need your A/C unit on this trip, cover and protect it with an insulated AC cover.
  • Get RV vent covers so that you can keep them open without letting any snow, ice, or rain into your home. An additional benefit of having your air vents open is it reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and lets out moisture. 
  • Remove as many unnecessary plastic components as possible — in cold weather, plastic can become brittle and easily breakable. 
  • Put new batteries in safety devices such as carbon monoxide detectors. 

This might seem like a lot of precautionary steps, but we promise, the more you do, the safer and more relaxing your wintery trip will be!

Interested in visiting somewhere new this season now that you’re ready to go? Come visit Ocean Front Property’s RV park in Kermit, Texas. Not only will it be a small reprieve from snow and ice on your travels, but also an amazing place to take a breather. We can’t wait to meet you!