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Monday, December 15, 2008

Winterizing the RV

I've been reading a lot about how to winterize a motorhome. But I'm actually USING mine, so antifreeze in the drains is not an option. Global Warming? Not here this past month. We set some records for cold.

Life aboard an in-use motorhome - and I don't mean in an RV park with skirting and heat tape - means you pay attention to heat and water.

I had nursed my dying coach batteries through the fall because I wanted to go into winter with brand new ones. In spite of the research I did on golf cart batteries and gel batteries, I bought three new deep-cycle coach batteries at Wal-Mart. I've had good luck with batteries from Wally World in the past and if they go bad I can return them anywhere I happen to be. They handle the heater blower so much better than my old, smaller, worn out ones did.

I run the furnace morning and evening but not while I'm asleep. I also have a small Mr. Heater space heater, which doesn't drain batteries but it uses the more expensive propane in pound cans. I have a carbon monoxide detector and keep a roof vent open a little bit to keep it happy. And I have an electric space heater for when I am plugged in to shore power.

I have an electric blanket under the bottom sheet for when I have shore power, to warm the bed before I get in. I also have a DC electric lap robe from a truck stop which isn't as effective as the electric blanket but it does work well enough to pre-warm the bed. If you haven't tried it, a pre-heated bed is a marvelous thing.

I drained the fresh water system and the water heater when the weather got Very Cold. I carry water in gallon jugs and heat it on the stove for washing and dishwashing. It goes down the drain like always.
That's the most winterizing I've ever done. I've had the pipes freeze when I haven't drained them but they didn't do any damage, they weren't frozen that hard or that long. Most winters I have drained the pipes at the right time. The only damage I've had, since I got my first RV in 1995, was last year's cold snap froze my waste tanks and the grey water has a slight leak in the valve. It only leaks when I actually dump it, and it's grey water so a couple of drops doesn't get me all excited.
NB: I have always had old-fashioned faucets with two turn knobs. My friend had drained his RV but re-filled the water for a Christmastime trip and forgot to drain it again. He went to take it out in the spring and had to replace both faucets because the lever mixer kind don't take to freezing well at all.

I still think the best way to winterize an RV is to drive it far enough south that people don't know what a snow-shovel is, but I'm addicted to paychecks, so I stay in the mid-atlantic region where I can get them.

Travel Safe, Stay Warm, Have Happy Holidays.
- Gypsy

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