Snow has already fallen in some parts of Arizona, leaving a dusting from Flagstaff to the White Mountains. And leaves have turned and fallen in others. In Phoenix, desert dwellers are turning on fireplaces, pulling their sweaters out of storage and dusting off their soup recipes.
What does that all mean? Winter is coming.
And, if you’re the type to put RV adventuring on hiatus during the winter months, it’s time to consider the steps that need to be taken to prepare your RV for the coldest months of the year. Although winter temperatures rarely drop below freezing in the Phoenix area, it can get close. So, it’s important to winterize your RV, even if it’s parked in the desert.
First, consider securing a storage option that offers covered parking. If you’re lucky enough to be able to do that at home, that’s fantastic. But, if you need to keep your RV at a storage facility, it pays to choose one that offers covered parking — like we do at I-10 RV Storage. Arizona weather is unpredictable, and even during the winter months the sun can be intense. A covered spot offers more protection against the elements, no matter what they are.
Second, empty out your rig. It’s never a good idea to leave anything in your RV for an extended period of time. It’s entirely possible that nothing will happen to any of it, if you do, but why roll the dice? It’s advisable to remove all food from the fridge and dry storage before parking your RV for the winter, and it’s recommended that RV owners sweep the floor to make sure no little critters are attracted to snacks that are left behind.
Third, handle your tanks. Both the gray and black tanks on your RV need to be drained and flushed as part of the winterizing process. At I-10 RV Storage, we make this part easy by offering an on-site dump station for the safe disposal of waste water. It’s important to clean the tanks properly to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Fourth, turn your attention to your water heater. In order to drain and flush the water heater safely, make sure it is off, it has had time to cool down and it is not under pressure. Once those three milestones are achieved, release the water and flush it with a fresh rinse.
Fifth, make sure you’ve bypassed the water heater before adding antifreeze. This is an important step, as you don’t want antifreeze running through the water heater. Some RVs are already equipped with a bypass, but if yours isn’t, you’ll need to manually make that adjustment.
Sixth, adjust valves and faucets and run your antifreeze. Once you’ve drained your fresh water tank, you can begin to pump antifreeze through your water system. Experts recommend that you open the lowest point valves on your RV and work your way up to determine when the antifreeze makes it through the system. (Hint: the water will begin to turn pink). Once you’ve determined that it has run through the system, from drains to showers to faucets, close all the valves and faucets.
Finally, double check that the heating element for the water heater is turned off. If so, lock up and start planning your next adventure in warmer weather.
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