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Old 10-09-2018, 12:51 PM   #1
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Location: Upstate SC
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Winterize & Camping in Jan/Feb

I am a first time RV owner. I have several camping trips planned for Jan. and Feb. My question is do I winterize, then de-winterize, then winterize again? We live in the upstate of South Carolina where the winter temps can get below freezing at night and on occasion remain there during the day. Our trips are to the warmer coastline in Jan. and Feb. Any advice would be appreciated. I have a 2016 Rockwood Roo 233S.



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Old 10-09-2018, 01:01 PM   #2
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Location: Cedar Creek Lake, TX
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A lot depends on where you are going, and for how long. In cold temps many people winterize and then use bottled water and the campground restroom. But if you go to warm areas just decide if it is worth it to dewinterize and then re-winterize.

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Old 10-09-2018, 01:30 PM   #3
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a choice you have to make. to me damage is never worth 6$ worth of rv anti freeze and 10 minutes of my time. or leave it winterized and park next to the bathrooms and don't put water in your unit.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:55 PM   #4
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I winterize when home. Ready to leave, add water to FT. Get home, drain, blow out and ready for next trip. If only a week between trips, I will leave it as,is and run the house furnace at 40 degrees. This will last for almost a month if need be. Lows in the upper 20s and 40s during the day.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:59 PM   #5
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We are going for long weekend trips probably 3-4 days. The temps at our destination will be above freezing most likely. I have never winterized before, so I don't have a reference on how much time and money it takes to winterize and de-winterize...
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Old 10-09-2018, 06:13 PM   #6
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Here in Wisconsin, we don't have an option. I am beginning to think living farther from the north pole would be nice.
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:20 PM   #7
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Go on you tube, or search the functions on here and I think you will find it is a pretty simple and inexpensive chore. Hopefully your hot water tank has a bypass and you have a winterization kit for your pump, and an air fitting for you inlets. If not you can add them easily. Those and a couple of gallons or so of rv antifreeze, which is cheap, are all you’ll need. The you tubes are short and will walk you right thru it. Have the stuff along if you decide not to do it so if the cold hits you hard it’s a ten or fifteen minute job. Have a great time at the beach!
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Prior to this Jayco fifth wheel: 24' Eagle, 30' Designer, and 40' Jayco pinnacle.
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Old 10-10-2018, 11:42 PM   #8
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So, we are in the same boat.
Here we sit, in the mountains of Colorado, in mid-October. It will go into the 20's tonight. We had snow overnight for several days running. Today there was a 20-car pileup just 15 miles from us because of winter driving conditions.

But we fully intend to camp again this season, and last year we rolled out in mid-March over an uncharacteristically warm weekend...with plenty of winter left. I developed this technique (as have many others) simply because I want to be ready to roll on a moment's notice.

Because I have a pop-up, I have two stages of winterization:
1) Partial
2) Full
Both rely on a good air compressor.

I use a ceramic heater to heat the interior of the camper...connected to shore power. My closed PUP is small, so the heater barely runs and keeps the interior about 80 degrees.
Other steps:
  • Open the low-point drains;
  • Drain the water heater;
  • Drain the fresh tank;
  • Turn on the water pump and use the outside sink to purge the water in the pump--this won't hurt the pump if you limit it to about 30 to 60 seconds;
  • Open the faucet to my outside kitchen sink to allow air to enhance draining thru the low point drains;
  • Then close the faucet, re-plug the water heater, and move to air;
  • Set the air compressor to about 40 PSI and connect it to the city water input;
  • Open the outdoor shower valves and blow that out;
  • Open the outside sink faucet (again) and blow that dry;
  • Meanwhile the air is continuously blowing the lines clear thru the low point drains;
  • finally, add RV antifreeze to the drain (outside trap under the rig) from the outside sink;
  • Done...everything "outside" is protected, and the heater protects everything inside;
  • But that heater can get expensive if you run it weeks on end.

Since my issue is that I have a PopUp camper (PUP), the real pain point in winterization is setting up the camper to allow me to get inside the camper to winterize the interior. And, as anyone with "canvas" knows (and you'll soon find out), cold canvas is a bitch to fold and put away, so setup and teardown is at least a couple hours of work.

But once open, the remaining steps are minimal. I must also:
  • Blow out the kitchen sink;
  • Blow out the fresh water supply to the toilet (and bathroom sink if I had one);
  • Empty the water filter housing.

What's the key to all of this? Using air to blow out the water system in the camper. I do not contaminate my fresh water system, at ANY point, with RV antifreeze or anything else. In fact, I chlorine-sanitized my system ONCE, in 2014, when I bought it. I blow it dry and keep it clean.

Being confident in this method requires examining your fresh water plumbing to ensure that there are no low points in the lines that can't be blown dry, AND a damned good air compressor.

I have a 30 gallon semi-stationary compressor rated at 175 PSI. Anything of this caliber will do. Again, I 'blow' at 40 PSI so I don't blow up my plumbing, but that big tank and high pressure reserve enables me to deliver essentially unlimited air to the RV. This compressor delivers 6+ SCFM at 40 PSI....that's a LOT of air.

One other tip is, with the low incoming air pressure, it's OK to shut off ALL the valves/faucets while moving from one to the next several times to blow them out until all run dry...including the low-point drains. The other key is to remember to "run the pump dry" (it actually gurgles a bit, but it's dry enough that ice can't fracture it) and empty the filter housing (it holds about 2 or 3 cups of water, and air does not blow it dry).

The principle is a lot like blowing out a sprinkler system. And a big air compressor eliminates the need to reconfigure the intake valves on the hot water heater. My 30 gallon air compressor can fill and pressurize a 6 gallon hot water heater with no effort whatsoever. This means no fiddle-farting around with bypass valves and so on. Leave the hot-water heater intake valves in summer mode.

I bought several brass adapter bits to assemble a male garden hose to male 1/4" NPT air hose quick connect fitting. You may be able to buy such a thing ready to go, but my hardware store had the male hose to 3/8" female thread adapter, and I have a box of the 1/4" air connectors. I attach the air hose to the city water input and leave it there until I'm done.

When finished, I close all valves, including the low point drains.

The only place I use RV antifreeze is in the traps and a bit in the toilet bowl to keep the seal moist.

This means, all I have to do to roll out is fill the fresh tank (I always boondock), turn on the pump and use the outside sink to purge air as I fill the hot water heater and purge the cold-water lines and fill the water filter I have max water capacity when I hit the road. The little residual air in the lines is dealt with when I open the camper at the sink, toilet, etc. In other words, "de-winterizing" is little different than rolling out in the summer...fill the water and go.

You could use my "full" winter prep method all the time in a Roo, because you can get inside easily. Just be sure there aren't any vulnerable low points in the fresh-water plumbing the might resist being blown out. If you find one, consider installing another "low-point-drain" at that spot.

It took me about 30 minutes to do the "partial" winterize last night...leaving me time to winterize the pump on my pressure washer, winterize my garden hoses, and so on. The air compressor makes it easy, but you can't do it properly with a pancake compressor.

These tactics enable me to sleep at night, because I'm not worrying about the camper freezing, and knowing I can be ready to roll almost as quickly I can on any summer weekend.

Hope this helps.
Jim & Renee
2014 Forest River/Rockwood HW 277
2006 Ram 1500 4WD Crew with Firestone Airbags
Typical season is about 30 nights camping, usually nearby boondocking in the National Forests or at Lake Wellington
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Old 10-11-2018, 08:47 AM   #9
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If you choose to use the pink stuff and if you've never winterized your unit before, I suggest you winterize it once while the weather is decent. In my 36bhq, the pump was smack dab in the middle of the unlit with no bypass valve. It took a bit of time to relocate it to a more accessible point and add the bypass kit. Probably took 3 hours the first time. Next time will take 15 minutes.
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Old 10-15-2018, 06:18 PM   #10
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Location: Splendora, Texas
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I also winter RV but in southern Florida!

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camping, winter, winterize

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