With the coming of the warm weather, our thoughts inevitably turn to the camping season. With that time of year, we all need to perform the task known simply as “DE-WINTERIZING”. This mysterious term means different things to different people. Usually it refers to just flushing out the water system of antifreeze from the fall, but there is a whole lot more to it than that. De-winterizing is really the best opportunity you will have to also do a major and thorough inspection and cleaning of the unit to make sure it is safe and ready to go well before your first trip. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a problem the night before you leave chipping away at your valuable vacation time. Here are the main areas that you should focus on:
If you properly winterized your trailer last fall, then to start de-winterizing, follow these steps to get it back to regular operation.
Locate and open the low-point drains underneath the trailer, go inside the unit and open all of the faucets to break the vacuum and allow the antifreeze in your plumbing lines to drain out.
Close the faucets and low-point drains and fill your fresh water tank with fresh water.
Make sure (if equipped) your winterizing pump diverter is set to draw water from the fresh water tank, and turn the water pump on, and wait until it builds pressure and shuts off. Then go to each faucet and turn on hot and cold water lines one at a time and run water until all pink is gone and the water runs clear. Don’t forget the toilet and outside shower.
Install the Anode rod or drain plug on your water heater, and open the bypass valves to allow water into your water heater, and use the pump to fill it up making sure to bleed the air out of it so it is actually full.
Let the pump sit under pressure and listen for it to be turning on and off, this can be an indicator that there is a water leak, and the pressure is not holding. If so, trace the plumbing lines until you find it, and fix it. Don’t let it wait; water leaks can do a lot of damage in time.
Now is also a great time to sanitize your water system, and for more about that, watch this video.
Once you have the water system filled and sitting under pressure, use compressed air and blow out all of the appliance access areas like the fridge and water heaters.
Then go inside and fire up all of the appliances to make sure they are working correctly. If there is a problem, now is the time to address it, not when you are counting on the furnace at the campground…
After you check all of them, go ahead and drain all your fresh water, including your water heater. You really don’t want to let that water sit in there.
Wash and wax the unit (if you are a wax person), and remove any stains or black streaks on the outside. While doing that, wash the roof and thoroughly inspect all seals, and touch up as necessary. For more on checking for water leaks, click here.
Also make sure you check out your tires, they are a very important component to your trailer, and many times we don’t look at them until it is too late…
Go over every inch of the trailer to make sure it is sparkly clean, taking time to clean off all those things you forget to clean during regular cleaning during the season. Click here to see a video about cleaning your fantastic fan, and here is a video about how to thoroughly clean your A/C unit.
Now your trailer is sparkling clean and ready to use. Remember, the work you put into your camper today, can save you a LOT of time and money tomorrow.