Spring is here, and what does that mean? Time for dewinterization.
Dewinterizing is an important part of your Spring home maintenance checklist, and whether you’ve winterized and dewinterized a home or vehicle before, this is your ultimate guide to ensure you don’t miss any important steps.
So before you head outside to enjoy the longer days and warmer weather, read on to learn everything there is to know about dewinterization — what it is, why it’s so important, and how to do it for your home, RV, boat, car, and more.
What is Dewinterizing?
Winterizing is the process of getting something (usually a building or vehicle) ready to spend winter vacant or unused.
Dewinterizing is the exact opposite of that — it means undoing all your winterizing and getting a building or vehicle ready to be regularly occupied or used once again.
Why it’s Important to Dewinterize
After a winterized home or vehicle has been sitting unused for weeks or months, it’s important to take the right steps to dewinterize it so you can make sure it’s still in good working shape and won’t be damaged by being immediately used.
For example, a winterized home might have had antifreeze added to its pipes to prevent them from freezing. Before occupying and using the home, it’s important to flush the antifreeze from the pipes before drinking or using the water.
For another example, a winterized car may have lost tire pressure from months of sitting unused in cold weather. Part of dewinterizing is filling the tires with air, making the car safe to drive again.
Spring Dewinterizing Guide
Ready to start dewinterizing? Read on for guides to all the common things that might need to be dewinterized in the spring.
Dewinterizing your home
Not everyone will have winterized their home. But if you own a cabin, vacation home, lakehouse, or other home that gets left vacant over the winter, it should have been winterized and will now need to be dewinterized.
The most important part of dewinterizing a home is taking care of the pipes, which should have been winterized to prevent freezing while the house was vacant in cold weather.
When a home is winterized, often it will have its water shut off, pipes drained, and traps added to sinks, faucets, and drains. Occasionally, antifreeze will be added to pipes as an extra safeguard against freezing in the winter that could damage them, so it’s important to winterize pipes and irrigation in the fall.
When dewinterizing pipes, it’s important to not just turn the water right back on. There are some steps that need to come first, such as:
- Removing aerators from drains and faucets.
- Making sure water is shut off to all sinks, tubs, washing machines, and toilets.
- Turning the home’s power off.
- Opening the water supply valves and water heater valve.
- Slowly turning on the main water supply line.
- Letting the water heater completely fill before turning power back on.
- Slowly turning water supply back on to sinks, tubs, and toilets.
- Carefully inspecting the entire home for leaks.
When turning the water supply back on to a winterized home, many experts say you should only give the valve a quarter turn every 10-15 seconds. This avoids “shocking” the pipes, which can damage seals and cause leaks.
As you turn water back on to different parts of the home, make sure to do so slowly and check for leaks as you go. Seals that have dried out may have shrunk, and pipes that haven’t been used recently are more likely to burst. This means that even if you do everything right while dewinterizing, leaks can still happen. If you see water leaking, turn it back off and call a plumber or inspector for help.
Other home dewinterizing tips
The other main part of dewinterizing a home may include tasks that fall under your Spring cleaning checklist. If the home has been sitting vacant for any time, it’s likely dusty, and could use a good airing out, so start there. Then, follow these steps to finish dewinterizing your home:
- Change air, HVAC, and furnace filters.
- Clean and test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Clean the gutters and downspouts.
- Schedule any needed inspections, like your yearly septic tank inspection, if you have one. If your water heater is more than five years old, it’s a good idea to have it inspected, especially after not using it for a while.
How to dewinterize an RV or camper
Before you can hit the road for your first summer adventure, you’ll need to reverse the winterizing process you did for your RV or camper in the fall.
To dewinterize an RV or camper, start with these steps:
- Check the tires and refill them or replace them if needed.
- Inspect the exterior for water damage, structural damage, or seals that need to be replaced.
- Test, charge and reinstall all batteries.
- Flush and sanitize the entire water system.
- Check for leaks in the water system.
- Replace propane tanks.
- Test all appliances.
- Check the engine.
- Check the generator.
- Change filters.
- Inspect windows and air vents and opening them to air out the interior.
- Check safety devices like smoke alarm, fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, and LP detector, and replace batteries or service devices as needed.
- Restock emergency and first aid supplies.
- Update registration and insurance if needed.
- Spring clean the exterior and interior of the RV or camper.
LEARN MORE: A complete guide on how to winterize a camper or trailer in the Fall.
How to dewinterize a boat
When it’s time to take your boat out of storage, there’s plenty that needs to be done before it’s ready to hit the water.
To dewinterize a boat, follow these steps:
- Take off the tarp and check for dirt, grime, or any pests that might have used your boat as a home or nest over the winter.
- Check the engine, including changing the oil and inspecting the outdrive.
- Refill the cooling system and check it for leaks.
- Check the water pumps and thermostats.
- Check cables and hoses, looking for leaks or cracks, and making sure they’re all tightly connected.
- Check your battery with a voltage tester.
- Clean the distributor and ensure all connections are tightly hooked up.
- Check the fuel system, looking for cracks or leaks and changing the fuel filter.
- Check the belts for wear and replace any that need it.
- Inspect the bilge pump.
- Check the exterior, and sand and paint the bottom of the boat with anti-fouling paint.
- Check your trailer for rust or damage.
- Inspect all your safety equipment and restock if needed.
- Clean the inside and outside of the boat.
LEARN MORE: 5 easy steps on how to winterize a boat in the Fall.
How to dewinterize a car
Even if you’ve been driving your car all winter, there are some steps you should take to help maintain it after harsh winter driving conditions, and get it ready for long trips in warmer weather.
Follow these steps to dewinterize a car:
- Check the tire pressure. During cold winter weather, you likely added air, but now that it’s warming up, your tire pressure will naturally rise and you may need to let some out.
- Check your tires. Check the tread and look for cracks, damage, punctures, or slow leaks.
- Change your oil.
- Get an alignment and wheel balance, since winter driving may have thrown off your car’s weight.
- Thoroughly wash and wax your car, especially if you live somewhere where roads are salted to prevent ice. That salt can cause serious damage to your car, especially its undercarriage.
- Check your wiper blades, and replace them if needed.
LEARN MORE: A complete guide on how to winterize a car in the Fall.
How to dewinterize a jet ski
Before putting your jet ski on the water for the first ride of the season, you’ll need to make sure it’s properly dewinterized — that all the winterizing you did in the fall before putting it into storage has been correctly reversed.
To dewinterize a jet ski, follow these steps:
- Charge and replace the battery.
- Drain and refill all fluids, especially fuel and motor oil.
- Grease and seal the bearings to keep contaminants like salt and sand out of your engine.
- Tighten all cables and wires.
- Inspect belts for wear and replacing any as needed.
- Switch out the spark plugs.
How to dewinterize a motorcycle, ATV, or other vehicle
Spring is an exciting time for owners of motorsports toys — it’s time to ride again! But first — you guessed it — you need to dewinterize.
To dewinterize motorcycles, ATVs, and other motorsports equipment, follow these steps:
- Thoroughly visually inspect the entire vehicle. Look for rust, pest infestations, leaks, or anything else that might be amiss.
- Change the oil and, if needed, transmission fluid.
- Check the battery.
- Check all other fluid levels and refill as needed.
- Check the tires.
- Inspect all rubber components for wear, cracks, and damage.
- Start the engine and let it idle to slowly warm up.
Dewinteriz to protect your home and vehicles for the upcoming season
By dewinterizing your home, car, boat, and other vehicles in spring, you ensure they’re ready to be used safely for the entire summer season to come. But more than that, dewinterization protects your belongings, keeps them in good shape, and extends their life, so you can use and love them for many summer seasons to come.