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Winter Storage Tips For Southern California

       The following are some guidelines you can use when winterizing and/or storing your RV. The steps for winterizing are pretty standard for most RVs and should be done in the order listed. For storing, the steps can be done in pretty much any order you're comfortable with, along with adding items to the list as needed. The guidelines also assume you have some knowledge about RVs in general, and your RV in particular (such as, knowing where your inlet lines for the fresh water tank are located).


Winterizing Your RV

Drain and flush fresh water tank
Drain and flush gray water holding tank
Drain and flush black water holding tank
Drain and flush hot water tank
If you have low-point drain lines under your RV:
Open the hot and cold faucets in your RV
Uncap the low-point drain lines; let water drain completely
Recap Drain Lines
Close the hot and cold faucets
Blow out the water lines:
(Note: If you have low-point drain lines, this may not be necessary)

Screw on compressed air adapter onto main fresh water inlet
Apply compressed air, keeping pressure to less than 20 psi
Open each faucet, one at a time, to force water out of lines
Make sure to open each faucet in the RV, including the shower and toilet
Open hot water drain plug and blow out the water in this tank
Remove compressed air and compressed air adapter
Replace drain plug in hot water heater and close all faucets

Put Antifreeze in the water lines:
Use RV Non-Toxic Antifreeze ONLY
Approximately 1-2 gallons should be plenty
Make sure water pump is off and all faucets are closed
Close the Water Bypass Valve to your hot water tank
NOTE: If you don't have a Water Bypass Valve for your hot water tank, seriously consider having one installed. Otherwise, in addition to the water lines you will end up filling the hot water tank with antifreeze. It's not harmful, but you'll use an additional six gallons of antifreeze.

Disconnect the water line where it joins the fresh water tank
- or -
If your RV is so equipped, shut off the valve coming from the fresh water tank and open the valve for the winterizing inlet line
Place the water inlet line (either from the main system or the winterizing line) into the jug or other source container with the RV antifreeze.
Switch on the water pump; it will start to suck up the antifreeze into the lines
Open each valve of each faucet slowly, one at a time, until the red antifreeze starts coming out. Once flowing, shut off the faucet valve.
Note: If for some reason you can't drain the water lines using the low-point drain lines and you can't blow out the lines with compressed air, you will have to wait until the antifreeze pushes out the fresh water in the lines before closing the valve. A rule of thumb; don't shut off the valve until the antifreeze starts coming out.
Remember to also do this for the toilet and the shower.
Shut off the water pump
Remove the inlet line from the antifreeze, then either:
Re-attach the water line to the fresh water tank
- or -
Close the winterizing inlet valve and reopen the fresh water valve, if your RV is so equipped.
Pour a small amount of antifreeze down each drain to ensure that the sink traps have antifreeze in them.
Pour a small amount of antifreeze in the toilet bowl also. Note: Don't flush it into the holding tank.
You Are Done !

Storing Your RV

The following items are useful when you will be storing your RV for any extended period of time, not just for the winter.

For motor homes, fill up the gas tank. This will prevent moisture buildup in the tank. Also make sure all your fluid levels under the hood are full.
Drain and flush all holding tanks; fresh water, gray water, black water and hot water tanks.
Drain all water lines, using compressed air or at least the low-point drain lines.
Note: If storing for the winter, follow the winterizing steps above
Close the LP gas tank valve's. If your LP tanks don't already have a cover, consider purchasing at least a vinyl LP tank cover.
Disconnect shore electric power to the RV.
Remove all batteries from the RV and store in a place where they won't freeze. Batteries that have been frozen will never again hold a proper charge, and will more than likely have to be replaced.
Visually check your RV for anything that might need to be repaired. Make sure you also check the roof.
Defrost and clean the refrigerator and freezer. Place open boxes of baking soda or crumpled newspapers in the compartments to eliminate odors during storage.
Remove all perishable items from the interior. Include in this any items that are susceptible to freezing, if storing during the winter months.
Cover all external outlets, such as furnace outlet, to prevent critters from entering.
Thoroughly wash the interior and the exterior of your RV. You might also consider shampooing the carpets inside and waxing the outside.
Close all windows; leave the roof vent(s) open ever so slightly for air circulation during storage.
Cover the tires to prevent weather-checking.
Cover the roof air conditioner
Consider the purchase of a tarp to cover your RV during storage. Make sure you invest in a good tarp that can breathe.


Storing Your RV Between Trips

Between trips, the following steps can be taken to protect your RV from the elements, keep pests out and make preparing for the next trip easier:
Empty the holding tanks.
Remove all perishable food from cabinets.
Turn off the refrigerator, making sure the refrigerator circuits are off. Remove all food from the refrigerator and leave the door open.
Clean the interior of the RV.
Pull shades and close blinds.
Turn off the propane cylinders and cover the regulator.
Cover the tires, if they will be exposed to the sun.


Preparing for Spring Start-Up

A. To begin spring startup on your unit:

Remove all protective covers and plugs. (Any duct tape adhesive left behind may be removed with WD-40.)
Wash interior of your unit with mild soap and lukewarm water.
Turn on all lights, replace bulbs as necessary.
Check operation of all appliances.
Open all windows/roof vents to air out inside (clean and wipe with warm water and liquid dishwashing soap).
Open windows/shades.
Clean exterior of your unit with mild soap and lukewarm water - use a streak cleaner such as "Reliable Products" - aluminum black streak remover or comparable brand product.
Lubricate hinges, locks, and moving parts as necessary.
Reinstall any dry-cell batteries in clocks/smoke detectors etc.
Close water taps.
Remove moth balls and rodent bait from interior and exterior compartments. (Be sure to remove from the vicinity of the hot water heater and refrigerator gas burner assembly.)

B. Air Conditioner

Remove protective cover.
Remove air shroud and check cooling coils, blower fan and motor.
Vacuum or wash the condenser coil.
Clean the cooling fins.
Clean air filters.
Clean any dust from discharge air opening and ceiling grill.

C. Refrigerator
See tips listed separately on "Refrigerator Operating Tips" sheet in your manual.
Open the refrigerator side vent and look up to the roof vent and check for nesting, remove debris if necessary. Remember to remove mothballs from the vicinity of the gas burner assembly.

D. Water System

Close pressure relief valve on water heater. Remember to remove mothballs from the vicinity of the gas burner assembly.
Close all drain valves and faucets (including shower head).
Flush out RV antifreeze by running water through entire system.
Reinstall drain plug (removed in the winterization process).
Add a few ounces of baking soda to the tank, drive around to mix solution, then drain and refill.
If your water has a bad taste or strange odor, take these steps to kill bacteria that may be present:
a. Fill fresh water tank half way with clean, fresh water.
b. Mix 1/4 cup of household bleach for every 15 gallons of tank capacity in a container with a gallon or two of clean water and pour this mixture into the water tank.
c. Top off the water tank with fresh water. Go for a drive to mix the solution.
d. Pump water through each faucet so that all the lines are filled with the water/bleach mixture from the tank. Usually, running a quart of water out each faucet is adequate.
e. The hot-water tank holds at least 6 gallons of water. Run the hot water faucets until this much solution has passed to insure that the old water has been purged from the hot-water tank, and it is now filled with the water/bleach solution from the water tank.
f. Let the water stand for several hours.
g. Drain the entire water system, hot water tank included.
h. To remove the bleach odor, mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with a gallon of water and pour into the freshwater tank.
i. Fill the tank completely and pump this solution through the water heater and rest of the water lines. This solution can sit in the system for a few days. Driving the rig around the block will slosh water around and thoroughly clean the tank.
j. Drain the entire system and refill with fresh, clean water.

E. Awning Check for damage/mildew by rolling out.

F. Tires

Inspect tires for wear.
a. Tires should be replaced if tread is worn down to 1/16 inch or if tread sidewall is cracked, cut or flaking.
b. Select tires of the same construction, load range and size.
Reinflate tires with proper pressure.
Remove trailer from jacks or blocks.
For safety sake after a few miles traveling on your first trip in the Spring, check the lug nuts to be sure they are still tight.

G. Furnace

Remove cover.
Check for insect nests and lint accumulation.
Turn on the electric power and turn on the thermostats (to check for operation).
Turn on the main gas supply to the furnace.

H. LP System

Open the main LP-gas valve and check the LP gas system for leaks. (Use soapy water or commercial leak detector solution and brush to check each gas line connection.)
A rusted tank will not be filled by an LP gas attendant, sand and repaint if necessary.
Consult a trained LP-gas technician to correct any leak problems.

I. Electrical System

Check for short circuit between positive and negative battery cables with circuit tester or ohmmeter. If no short circuit is detected then reconnect all batteries and reset any electronic clocks/items etc.

J. Roof Vent Seals

Look for signs of deterioration and reseal and caulk when needed with sealing compound (also check the caulk around the windows.)
Note: Do Not walk on roof without proper support to distribute weight.

"Winterizing" - Chapter 12 - Woodall's RV Owner's Handbook
"Preparing Your RV for Storage" - Hans J. Gugger - Trailer Life magazine.
"RV Repair & Maintenance Manual" - Trailer Life - Edited by Bob Livingston
"Putting Your Wheels on Ice" - Michael Packard - Trailer Life - Dec. 1995

     Why store your RV or Boat hours away from where you camp and boat. This wastes gas, money and usually time. Store your RV, boat or other recreational vehicle in the middle of your recreation spot. Drive here in the comfort of your economical car. Pick up your recreational vehicle and drive 30 - 45 minutes to the best RV, Boating, and
recreational areas in Southern California.  Just look at our location.

        And if this is not enough take a look at our rates. Our rates are much much lower than the real estate you pay for RV or boat storage in Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, Orange County or San Diego County.


 Los Angeles I10 East

From the I10 East take the
S Hargrave Street Exit.

Turn Right on S Hargrave
Street for 0.2 Mile. Then turn
Left on East Lincoln Street for
0.3 Mile. On Right Side.

    Overview Map     Palm Springs I10 West   

From the I10 West take the
S Hargrave St/Idyllwild Exit.

Turn Left on S Hargrave Street
for 0.2 Mile. Then turn Left on
East Lincoln Street for 0.3 Mile.
On Right Side.

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