We get a lot of people asking us if there’s anything they need to do differently with their van in the winter and the answer is yes- there most definitely are! Our van experts at TOURIG have shared some important tips and useful information to help you take care of your van properly through the winter.
Whether you plan on storing your rig for the winter season or using it year round, it’s important to “winterize” your van, or prepare it for colder temperatures that can cause damage to your vehicle’s systems. As the temperature starts to drop in the Fall, it’s time to think about preparing your van for the winter season. Read on to learn when and how you need to winterize your van and then follow the steps below and in just a few hours you can properly prepare your Sprinter or Transit van for winter.
When do I need to winterize my van?
The time to winterize your vehicle will depend on where you live. Any time the temperature drops below 40 degrees fahrenheit your fittings (faucet, shower sprayer, water filters, well water strainers, water pump prefilter, water pump and other ends of the lines can freeze). In many regions like here in Colorado, it’s safe to say that you should winterize your van from Labor Day to Memorial Day. (The last thing you want is to leave it sitting for a week and come home to find out the weather’s dropped and freezing occurred).
Why do I need to winterize my van?
The most important reason to winterize your van is to prevent any parts and components from freezing. This can cause broken lines, loose fittings/connections, filters and other damage to the water system in your van.
STEPS TO WINTERIZE YOUR VAN
▢ Turn off water pumps
▢ Empty your fresh water tank
▢ Run the water pump until the system is spitting
▢ Remove your water filter (if applicable). If you remove water out of the tank but you don’t remove water out of the filter or pump, those areas collect water and freeze so you want to get that out first.
Tip: Water filters are also best to replace in the Fall. If you take out the water filter you have to leave it submerged in water or else it will grow mold (which you can’t see). So the best thing to do is just remove it at the end of the season and replace it in the Spring.
▢ Remove all accessory hoses, the faucet and the sprayer out the back
▢ If a blow out valve is installed (this is a Schrader valve that has a one way valve for pushing air into the system), blow out the system. (See notes below for blowing out the system).
▢ If you don’t have a blow out system, drain the water, turn on the pump and try to pump the water out of the system and remove water from the filters and leave the faucets and drain valve open.
▢ If you have a hot water storage tank that has a drain: release the drain and let the water drain. If you have a hot water storage tank that does not have a drain, pump it out. (Note: We use hydronic hot water heaters which do not have a storage tank).
▢ Empty grey water tank and then add a splash of antifreeze to the tank to keep any remaining water in it from freezing
▢ Leave all valves open (faucets, drain valves) so that any remaining water can work its way out of the system.
▢ Also to note: remove any other water source from the van: water from a toilet, spray hoses, filling hoses, on demand hot water hoses, solar showers, and drain all hoses
Tips for blowing out the water system:
Get the water out of the tank by opening the drain. Then set your compressor to 35-50 psi (if you put too much pressure in the system you could blow a fitting off the water line). Make sure all valves are closed and only open up one fitting at a time to ensure you have enough pressure to blow out each line. Then, open the faucet and blow the air through there until it stops spitting. Turn it to the hot side and cold side and just go back and forth. Shut off your air and move to the next fitting (your rear fitting, shower fitting, etc.) Repeat this process until all fittings have been blown out. For good measure, we recommend blowing out all fittings a second time. In the end, leave all the fixtures open so that if there’s any water trapped it’s not going to expand and break something.
As a reminder, if you’re planning on storing your van for the winter, it’s important to blow it out before it’s stored for the winter. If you do plan on using your van throughout the winter, it’s important to blow it out every time after it’s used. Keep this checklist on hand so you can easily run through all the proper steps to winterize your vehicle, whether you intend on winterizing it once and then storing it for the season or winterizing it for use throughout the colder months.