Winter Storage

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This is a generic winterizing checklist that should be helpful for Rialta owners:

RV Winter checklist


For Starters
Buy enough anti-freeze before you head out there!
Bring some boxes, garbage bags, cleaning material, duct tape etc....
Clean and store all dishes
Turn-off and clean the refrigerator (leave the door slightly open for ventilation)
Clean the oven (leave the door slightly open)
Leave all cupboard doors slightly open (for air circulation)

Waste water system
Inspect termination (inlet) valves
Inspect sewer hose and seals
Drain the holding tank
Close the valves (fully) as this prevents damages to the seals
Install valve covers

Fresh water system
Close the city water (and store the hose)
Install the water plug (at the water hose connection)
Drain all the water from the water lines (using the two drain valves that are normally located under the rear bed/seat)
Drain all the water (if any) from the holding tank
Close the dumping valves and replace the cap
Drain most of the water from the water heater using the valve near the floor
Close the water heater drain valve
Set the water heater "bypass valve" to "bypass" (if so equipped)
Close floor drain plugs
Pump 3-5 gallons of non-toxic "RV approved antifreeze" in your water lines (start with farthest faucet) and also pour one cup of antifreeze in each drain (including the shower).  Note that if your RV is not equipped with a "bypass valve", you will need 6-8 gallons of antifreeze.  Also note that "RV approved antifreeze" is recyclable and can be re-used year after year.
As an option to using antifreeze, you can also blow out the remaining water in your water lines using air pressure from a compressor (not as effective as antifreeze but cheaper)

Electrical system
Remove the battery, check the water level and make sure it is fully charged.  Put a coat of petroleum jelly on the battery terminals and store in a cool, dry place.  Check and re-charge the battery (if necessary) every 3 months.  NB: never store a battery on a concrete floor as it will discharge quickly.
Cover the battery cables (RV wires) with plastic bags
Turn off all lights
Switch the main breaker to the "off" position

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

Finally
Remove all dry-cell batteries (clocks, gas detector, smoke detector....)
Remove all freezable foods and cleaning 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
Install a roof support to help with the weight of ice/snow (in open areas inside your RV).  Periodically check for snow accumulation and remove as necessary (NB: NEVER walk on a roof without proper support in place)
Clean and let dry your awning.  Lubricate all moving parts using silicon spray.  Once the awning is dry, roll it up and ensure that it is in the "lock" position.
Check tire pressures.  Bring all tires up to the maximum pressure rating as found on the sidewall.  You may want to cover the tires to prevent weather (and sun) damage .
Lower the radio / TV antenna
Install plastic covers on outside vents (furnace, refrigerator etc....) - use duct tape if necessary
Remove air conditioner filter, clean and then replace
Install an air conditioner winter cover (buy an A/C cover, do not use a plastic bag because condensation may damage the unit)
Inspect vent openings and re-caulk if necessary
Install roof vents covers.
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)
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.  Note that you can also place a package of mouse bait / poison on a paper plate on the floor.
Close all windows.  Consider leaving one sheltered window and one roof vent open just a crack.  This will provide some air flow through the RV and help prevent musty odors or mildew
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
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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Page Updated: 4 December 2016