Most RVers need to store their RV for extended periods from time to time. It might be seasonably (too cold/too hot) or due to other reasons that keep them from hitting the road for a while, like the COVID-19 lockdown.
Here are 5 potential RV storage problems that you might encounter while storing your RV at home or at a storage facility and how to mitigate them.
- If freezing weather is expected while your RV is stored, consider removing the batteries and storing them at home in a space unlikely to freeze like a garage.
- Fully charge the batteries before storing the RV, then check the voltage of the batteries every three to six months. If the voltage reads 12.4 volts or lower, you will need to charge the batteries.
- If you store your RV with the house batteries still in the RV, you will need a way to keep the parasitic loads like your LP gas detector, clock radio, indicator lights, etc. from draining your batteries. The easiest way to accomplish this is to disconnect the batteries via a kill switch or removing a lead from the batteries. When disconnecting a battery, remember to always disconnect the negative lead first.
Even if you do have shore power available, be sure your converter charger is a quality 3 or 4 stage charger that won’t overcharge and destroy your batteries. You might also consider using a battery tender.
2. Mold & mildew
Mold forming in your RV can be easily prevented by eliminating excess moisture from the interior of the RV. Consider employing one or more of the following to do so:
- Use desiccant crystals like Dri-Z-Air which absorb moisture from the air. Refill the crystals once the crystals have dissolved for continued protection.
- If you have access to shore power while your RV is stored, use a dehumidifier like an Air-Dryer to “dry up” excess moisture.
- Keep air moving in your RV by encouraging ventilation when stored by leaving a window open a crack and a roof vent slightly ajar. When you cover your RV make sure the cover is made from breathable material. This method is less effective in areas of high humidity.
Rodents can cause a whole host of problems if left unchecked while your RV is stored. The first item of importance is to prevent them from entering your RV by sealing any potential entry points in the belly of your RV with sealant, steel wool, or expanding foam.
If you leave your RV plugged into shore power, make sure the area where the power cord enters the RV has no extra room for a rodent to squeeze through. Secondly, remove any food from your RV and thoroughly clean the interior making sure no crumbs remain as a food source for rodents.
Finally, consider using repellents, traps or poison to keep rodents at bay. If using poison, consider one that won’t harm pets, children or animals in the food chain that feed on rodents. Many RVers find cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil an effective repellent.
4. Environmental elements
Environmental elements can also take their toll on your RV while stored. Here are some things to consider:
- Avoid parking your RV under trees or in tall grass.
- Close all window blinds/shades to prevent damaging UV rays from the sun fading/deteriorating furniture, carpeting, and wall paneling.
- If freezing weather is expected, make sure your RV is properly winterized.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated and cover them to protect from UV rays.
Don’t forget there are two-legged rodents out there that are looking to steal or burglarize RVs in storage.
- To deter theft on motorized and/or towable RVs, consider one or more of the following: wheel boot, hidden ignition kill switch, coupler locks, steering wheel lock, removing the start battery, security/remote camera system if you have shore power available.
- Make your RV less attractive to burglars by removing all valuables from your RV. Consider removing the batteries or invest in a lockable battery box as batteries are the most common item stolen since they can be readily sold as scrap by those looking to make a quick buck.
Finally, for safety purposes, remember to turn the LP supply off at the tank when storing your RV.