Winterizing Your Airstream

With the arrival of colder weather, it’s time to winterize your Airstream travel trailer. Winterizing isn’t difficult, and since it helps Airstream owners avoid repair bills and gets the Airstream ready for spring. It’s a good idea to go through these steps every fall.

Perhaps the most important step is the one that protects the Airstream’s water system. The fresh water tank and the hot water heater will both need to be drained. In addition, the gray and black holding tanks will need to be flushed. While the water is draining, open up all of the Airstream’s faucets, not forgetting the valves on the toilet and shower. When all of the water has drained, it’s time to shut down the faucets and replace any caps that have been removed.

A winterizing project is also a great time to clean out the Airstream’s interior. Start by locating any items in the cupboards, cabinets and other hidey holes that might suffer from being left out in the cold. Obviously, any leftover food and beverages should be removed from the refrigerator, but be on the lookout for other items as well. Even things like sunscreen, bug spray and cleaners should be cleared out and stored for the season. Placing these items in some kind of temperature controlled storage will better ensure their effectiveness for next year. Also, don’t leave behind things like towels and napkins. Rodents love to use these items for nesting material. It’s possible to further rodent proof an Airstream by leaving drawers and cabinets open so that there are fewer dark, secluded spots that might attract invaders.

Now that the clutter has been removed, it’s time to do a deep cleaning of the interior. Most Airstream owners who accomplish this task in the fall are very thankful for their foresight when the spring arrives. A dirty toilet does not improve with several months of neglect! A thorough cleaning involves getting behind the seats, scrubbing the floors and making certain that no remnants of food or grease are left behind. A clean interior is one that does not attract infestations of any kind.

It’s just as important to clean the exterior, checking for problems areas and rust along the way. Cleaners that are appropriate for an Airstream can be found at any parts supply store. Don’t forget to clean out the really mucky areas like the wheel wells that can hide all kinds of mud and road grit. The awning should also be cleaned before it’s put away for the season. Again, it’s possible to find the right kind of cleaner at a parts store. Cleaning the awning is an important step to avoid encouraging mildew. Allow the awning to dry thoroughly before storing it. Tire covers may also be advisable, particularly if the Airstream will be stored outdoors.

If any water leaks were discovered while cleaning, now is a good time to deal with it. Very small water leaks can be manageable. However, heavier leaks  require a trip to the dealer. The really important thing is simply to not let the water accumulate over the winter.

Airstream’s that are stored outside can then be covered to protect them from the elements. During the winter, it makes sense to perform periodic checks of the Airstream. A bad storm or curious kids may have interfered with protective measures, and usually only a few minutes are required to set everything to rights so that getting back to camping next year is a snap.

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