A camper that you winterized to prepare it for cold months needs to be de-winterized to hit the road again. Dewinterizing is generally a matter of reversing whatever actions you took to winterize the camper. Some of these actions included:
- Draining black and gray water tanks
- Removing and bypassing the water filters
- Draining water heater and water lines
- Bypassing water heater
- Adding antifreeze to the camper
- Shutting off the water and draining the pipes to prevent freezing
- Unplugging appliances
- Disconnecting flexible supply tubes for washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, sinks, and other devices
To reverse the process, you need to hire a professional to do the work. However, if you don’t have money to hire a professional, you can also do the work yourself by following some basic steps. The steps are so easy to follow and can generally be completed in less than an hour.
Charge and Reinstall Your Batteries
Batteries are one of the most delicate components of your camper. They work best in warm weather and need to be recharged continuously to keep those internal chemical reactions balanced.
When winterizing your camper, you will need to remove the batteries and take them inside the house where it’s not freezing. Storing a battery long enough will discharge no matter the temperature. Otherwise, it is advisable to keep your RV batteries charged during storage to extend their lifespan.
So before you take your camper on the road for a summer vacation, you will need to check the charge on your batteries. If your battery reads below 12 volts, make sure you charge it before attaching it back to the camper. If you don’t know how to install the battery on your own, you can contact a professional camper maintenance service to do the task for you.
Check Your Tires
Like many RV owners, you probably parked your beloved camper for the winter. During the months in storage, freezing temperatures may cause your RV tires to lose traction, stiffen or deflate or possibly crack. Iced water may also penetrate the inner liner and casing of tires to rupture. Now that winter is over, it is important to think about what you can do to help ensure your camper tires remain roadworthy. Take the following steps to ensure your tires are ready to hit the road again.
- Inspect your tires for signs of damage and damage.
- Check the air pressure levels. If the pressure is too low, it can result in weather checking, flat spots, and unnecessary pressure on the sidewall.
- Use a shovel or ice pick to remove as much snow as possible from around the tires.
Flush the Water System
Another way to de-winterize your camper for spring preparation is to flush the water systems. When winterizing a camper, an RV antifreeze additive is added to the plumbing system to lower the freezing point of pipes. After months in storage over winter, you will need to flush out the additive out of the plumping system to make the water safe for washing dishes, cooking, drinking, and showering. Below are some of the few steps you can take to flush out the water system:
- Hook your clean water hose to the tap.
- Connect the other end to your camper’s clean water intake connection.
- Open your camper’s gray water tank and turn on all the faucets, including sinks and showers.
- Flush out the system until the water comes out clean. If your RV’s gray water tank is not hooked to a sewer, you will need to direct the dirty water into a drainage outlet or bucket.
- Dump the dirty water at an official RV dumpsite.
Sanitize the Water System
Flushing the water system will only remove the antifreeze that you added to the plumping system. The next thing you need to do after flushing out the water system is to sanitize it. Sanitizing your water system can help you remove any harmful micro-organisms that might have accumulated in the pipes during the winter period. Below are quick steps you will need to follow when sanitizing the water system:
- Close all drains on the camper using drain plugs
- Add some household bleach to the freshwater tank holds.
- Pour the household bleach into a separate container and fill the container with tap water. Mix the two thoroughly.
- Add the components into the freshwater tank fill and add some water.
- Turn on your camper’s water pump. At the same time, open all the taps and faucets.
- Run the water through the taps and faucets for several minutes and then close the faucets.
- Leave the solution in the water tank and water lines to sit for at least twelve hours.
- After 12 hours, drain all of the waste water from the water system.
- Refill the camper’s freshwater tank with tap water.
- Flush the water system by turning on the camper’s water pump.
- Proceed to open all the taps and faucets.
- Allow the water to run in the taps and faucets until the water clears of the smell.
Inspect the Exterior for Any Damage
Another crucial thing to do when you are de-winterizing your camper is to examine the exterior components. Use a non-corrosive detergent or soap to remove any dirt, stain or mildew that may have accumulated on the camper.
Remove the covers from the camper and wash them thoroughly to get rid of debris and dirt. Inspect the awnings to make sure they are operating properly. Clean them as well to remove any dirt or debris.
Inspect the doors and window panels for any damage. Make sure the sealant is intact. Inspect the hinges for damage or rust. If the hinges are damaged, replace them to avoid getting stuck out on the road or possible accident.
Clean the Interior and Appliances
Storing your camper for long during the winter season may cause the accumulation of dust, debris and spider webs on the interior components of your camper. So before you hit on the road, make sure the interior parts of your RV are thoroughly cleaned. Below are some of the RV Spring cleaning tips you need to keep mind:
- Clean all the appliances such as the water heater, air conditioner, refrigerator, stovetop, oven, and microwave.
- Clean all the compartment drawers, cabinets, and electrical components such as electrical hookups.
- Clean all the hard surfaces thoroughly with bleach
- Replace or clean the carpet in your RV can also help improve the style and décor of your mobile home.
- Wash the interior of your camper, starting at the top and working your way downwards. Make sure you use a detergent that will not harm the paneling.
- Check your camper for any mice, bugs, or spiders that found their way into the unit.
- Clean all the components of fans and air conditioners such as screens and blades with warm soapy water.
- Take out the window screens from the recreational vehicle and then clean them gently using water mixed with soap. Allow the window screens dry and then wipe them using a clean cotton towel.
- Replace linens and curtains that you may have removed before storage and change all washcloths, towels, blankets, pillows, and beddings.
- Vacuum your camper floors to remove any dust or dirt that accumulated during the winter.
Check the Engine
After parking your camper for long, you will need to get your engine checked out. Start by checking out the fluid levels, power steering, the transmission, windshield washer, and engine oil and brake fluid.
Consult your RV owner’s manual for guidance on how to maintain the engine. Use the owner’s manual to service the engine, engine fluid levels according to specified intervals. Once you are sure the engine is okay, start it and check for correct readings on all propane gauges. Make sure the inspection stickers e lights are operating properly.
If there is a leak in any part of the engine or camper, it is advisable to take the camber to a mechanic to get it repaired.
Check the Generator
If your camper has a generator, make sure you check it if it is in good condition. Start your inspection by checking the oil level and the exhaust system. If the generator has low oil levels or a faulty exhaust system, you may find yourself in the dark while traveling or camping.
Once you are sure the exhaust system is working properly and there is enough oil in the generator’s tank, you will need to turn on the generator and run it for a few minutes to test it. If it is not operating at an optimum level, replace it, or take it a professional for repair.
Check the Safety Devices
Re-install fuses that were removed for storage during the winter season. If the fuses were not removed, inspect them if they are working properly. If not, you will need to replace them. The next things to check if they are working are fire and gas safety devices such as the smoke alarm, LP gas leak detector, and carbon monoxide detector.
Also, check all fire extinguishers to make sure they are fully charged. If your camper has fire extinguishers that use dry powder, check the tap to see whether the units have enough powder. Once you are sure your fire extinguishers have enough powder or are fully charged, test them to confirm if they are working correctly.
Check for Leaks
When a leak develops on your camper, the water may travel unnoticed in other areas, including the ceiling and electrical components. Leaking water may cause serious damage, which may not be detected until you’ve got a costly problem on your hands. Performing a leak test can save you from unwanted water leakage and costly problems when you are on the road or camping. Here are a few tips on how to look for water damage in your camper.
- Inspect the components of the roof such as the seams and flashing for cracked or damages
- Examine the areas where the water inlet, shower, and furnace come into the inside of the camper and make sure there are no signs of water damage.
- Check for wrinkles, discoloration or soft spots on the walls, particularly around vents, windows, doors, and slide-outs.
- Inspect inside cabinets, paying special attention to the corners where the ceiling meets the cabinets.
- Inspect the insides of the storage compartments for signs of water damage.
Once you have conducted a thorough inspection of your camper, you will need to address any issues that may arise.
Replace Propane Tanks
Without any doubt, a propane tank is one of the most important components of your camper. From showering and cleaning to cooling and cooking, propane tanks serve many functions in a camper. After winter, you will need to mount the tank back to the frame of your recreational vehicle and drive your camper to a propane filling station to get your tank filled.
But before you do that, check the propane tank itself to make sure there are no leaks. Also, check the propane tank gauges, covers, tank holders, and other components to make sure they are not damaged. If the tank is completely damaged, you will need to replace it.
Restock First Aid and Emergency Supplies
Your camper’s emergency kit contains tools and other supplies for personal use and emergencies. These items include first aid kits, foodstuffs, medicines, extra oil, coolants, and repair tools such as screwdrivers, a hammer, and pliers.
If you had removed the first aid kits and emergency supplies during winter, now it’s time to return those items to the camper before you begin your camping journey. Check their expiration dates to make sure you are only restocking healthy and safe items.
Throw away any dry food that has expired and then stock your camper with fresh food products. Also, make sure your camper is stocked with enough bottled water before you travel.
Now that your camper is de-winterized and clean, it is time to hit the road again or go camping. Whether you want to return to a favorite spot or explore a new destination, there are several campgrounds and RV parks across the United States where you can park your camper. Most of these camping locations offer comfortable amenities, including full hookups and laundry facilities. Since most of these campsites get filled up quickly, make sure to make your reservation early so that you can find a perfect campground for your camper.