Storing Your RV for the Winter
As RV season ends, you need to start thinking about where to store your RV or camper. Learn about all the options and preliminary steps in this guide.
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RV season seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. As the leaves start to fall and signal the approach of winter, it’s time to make plans for storing your RV. We compiled the best options for winter camper storage and the necessary steps to take beforehand.
Why Store an RV?
The main reason to store an RV or camper for winter is to protect it from the elements. Rain, snow, freezing temperatures and even sunlight’s amplified reflection off the snow can cause a great deal of damage to your precious RV.
Properly winterize your RV water heater to prevent serious problems that could include broken water lines, frozen water heaters, trashed tires and a dilapidated roof.
The RV Winterization Process
Winterizing your RV means preparing your plumbing system to avoid busted pipes and frozen tanks as well as modifying a few other components. A basic RV winterizing checklist:
Drain the plumbing lines and add antifreeze;
Install RV tire covers to protect the sidewalls from UV rays and jack up the whole rig to reduce the static pressure on the tires, which can create bald spots;
Disconnect the battery, bring it indoors and hook it up to a battery maintainer to keep it charged throughout winter. (RV batteries can lose their charge and possibly suffer permanent damage if left it unused for long periods);
Identify and repair any roof leaks;
Identify and repair damaged any window and door seals.
This process is relatively quick and easy, and shouldn’t take you any more than a couple of hours. The most labor-intensive and time-consuming part is the plumbing work, but even that shouldn’t take you any longer than an hour.
Consider also covering your coach with a large tarp, winter RV cover or carport, too, depending on the kind of vehicle storage you choose.
Where To Store Your RV
Once your RV is prepped, it’s time to start considering storage options. You essentially have two choices: a private residence or a storage facility. There are pros and cons to each.
A private residence: Whether it’s yours or that of a family or friend, it is the simplest, most convenient option. Not only is it free, but it eliminates the hassle of transporting your RV to a storage facility.
Storing your RV in your garage, backyard or driveway are all viable options, depending on the size of your RV and the available space. That said, it may not be possible, depending on city, county or HOA regulations. Plus, you may not want a giant vehicle hogging space on your property.
An RV storage facility: This is a fine solution, especially if you’d prefer extra security or a private residence isn’t an option. You can choose between outdoor (covered or uncovered) or indoor storage that offers varying levels of protection from theft and weather damage.
Some storage facilities include extras, such as indoor heating and RV maintenance/de-winterizing. Of course, this option will cost you. Expect to pay $30 to $100 or more per month for outdoor RV storage, depending on your RV’s size and whether or not the space is covered, or up to $500 for an all-frills-included indoor space.
De-winterizing Your RV
This process is basically reversing the winterizing steps you performed prior to storage, including:
Drain the antifreeze from the plumbing system and sanitize the freshwater lines;
Check your tires to ensure they have the proper pressure and weren’t damaged over the winter;
Charge and reinstall your battery;
Inspect the interior and exterior (including roof and windows) for water damage and critters;
Give it a thorough cleaning, inside and out.
The de-winterizing process should only take a couple of hours, depending on the extent of the cleaning and repairs needed. Once you’re done, you’re ready to hit the open road and make new memories in your RV.