Winterizing Checklist for PROs

Whether they are out for service in the ice and snow or being stored in your yard for the season, prepping your trucks and equipment for winter is key

Winterizing Checklist for PROs

A Royal Flush skirts the bottom of its restroom trailers with wood to keep heat concentrated under the trailer and to prevent snow and ice buildup underneath. (Photo by Chris Ploof)

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Cold weather is arriving — for many areas of the country, at least. Are you ready? Here’s a list of basic winterizing tips to help you tackle prepping for winter.

Make sure you’re using the correct type of oil in your vacuum trucks and pumps in cold weather.

Get your antifreeze for your radiator ready. Follow directions carefully to get the right antifreeze/water mix that will protect your radiator and your engine block from catastrophic freezing damage due to expansion. 

Check the air pressure in your tires. Also, swap out for snow tires or add chains as necessary when the roads get icy and snow-covered. 

There’s nothing like trying to open a valve to get the job started and it won’t move. If you have heated ball valves and knife gate valves — or will need them — now is the time to get them in place and operational. Before the weather turns on you, make sure these valves are working properly. Don’t forget, and don’t put it off. 

Bench your flushing restrooms if the lines are too small to properly winterize. Once they freeze, the units can be damaged. 

For units that have to stay out year-round, use a salt-water solution in the waste tanks. Freezing is almost impossible to prevent in some northern locations, but this allows service technicians to pump out most of the waste and service the restrooms to the best of their ability. 

For restroom trailers, heat trace all the waterlines. You can also place a heater under the trailer to prevent freezing — just explain to your customers that this heater must stay on 24/7. Another tip is to skirt the bottom of the trailers with wood. This stops the snow and ice from getting under the trailers and cuts down on the wind. It also keeps all the heat contained under the trailer and focused on the waterlines. 

Electric flush or fresh flush systems can be handled in a similar manner. To clarify, this is the system that is used in most office trailers. Everyone calls them something different, but they are generally made up of a low-flush toilet, a pump and holding tanks. You can put pond heaters inside the waste tank and inside the water supply to prevent freezing. 

Basic portable restrooms are easy to store for winter: Just make sure they are pumped out, cleaned and dry. 

For the best winter storage, store hand-wash sinks upside down so they are free of water. 

The process of getting unused restrooms ready for winter storage is also a good time to check units for damage and set aside units that need to be repaired. Making repairs on these restrooms is a good project to keep workers busy during the winter when regular work is slow. 

If you need to store restrooms trailers during the winter months, make sure to clean them first and check for any damage. Check for everything from broken faucets and exterior dings to more serious damage and the structure of the trailer. Don’t waste time having to make these repairs in the spring when you’re getting ready for your first rentals of the season. After cleaning and repairs, make sure the waste tanks are completely clean and dry. Sometimes this requires filling the waste tank with water and pumping them a second time. Any waste that lingers causes odors, and that is bad for business. 

Last, fill the trailers with antifreeze. The most important part of this is to check all the lines so you can see the antifreeze. Run the faucets until only antifreeze comes out. The smallest drop of water can cause a lot of damage, so take your time with this. 


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