As wonderful as it might sound to RV around the country year-round, the truth is that most RV owners just don't get a lot of use out of their RVs during the cold winter months. Whether it's because you need to save your trips for summer vacation because of the family's school and work schedules or because you're just more comfortable in your own home during the cold, winter may just not be the best time for you to spend in an RV. If you're not going to use your RV during the winter, it's a good idea to properly prepare it for RV storage, so that it's ready in the spring or summer when you want to pack up and take a trip. Check out a few important, but lesser-known tips for preparing your RV for winter storage.
The last thing that you want is to have to buy a new battery before you can start up your RV next summer. You may have to if you fail to store your battery properly. That's because a chemical in the battery plates, known as lead sulfate, can crystallize and harden while your battery is being stored, rendering the plate incapable of holding a charge. You can prevent this crystallization by minimizing how much your battery discharges over the winter.
Disconnect the battery from the RV and clean it to remove any corrosion from the battery and terminals. A paste of baking soda and water will remove corrosion. Charge the battery fully before storing it, and top up the battery fluid if your battery has removable vent caps. If you're going to store the battery longer than 90 days, you should check every 90 days to be sure that the battery is charged more than 75% and recharge it if necessary. You can use a trickle charger to recharge the stored battery, but don't leave it on the charger any longer than two days. Whatever you do, don't allow the battery to freeze – it should be stored in a location that's kept between 32 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The inside of your RV definitely needs to be prepared for storage. If you don't take steps to prevent it, your RV will accumulate a musty scent while in storage, and you'll end up needing to air it out before you spend any time inside of it.
Turn off the main electric breaker as well as the gas supply valve at the LP tank. Defrost the refrigerator and freezer and clean them thoroughly – when an RV develops a smell while in storage, the refrigerator is usually the culprit. Don't close the refrigerator and freezer doors once you're done cleaning. Dry the inside of the appliance and leave the doors open. Lining the refrigerator and freezer compartments with baking soda can also help absorb smells.
Close all of the blinds and shades to reduce the chance of sunlight damaging the interior. Leave interior drawers, doors, and cabinets open to prevent air from being trapped and turning stale. Make sure to clean the air conditioner filter as well.
It may be too cold for you to hang out in an RV for the winter, but to a rat, mouse, or squirrel, your RV can look like a great place to ride out the cold weather. You will certainly want to prevent any rodents from getting into your RV.
Your first defense against rodents should be the space that your RV is stored in. If you've opted for indoor storage, you have a much better chance of keeping any rodents out. Check the storage facility space for any cracks or holes in the wall, keeping in mind that rodents can squeeze through very small spaces. Patching these cracks and holes should ensure a rodent-free RV.
For extra protection, or if your RV is stored outdoors, check the underside of the motorhome for any gaps or holes. You can use silicone expanding foam to fill in any gaps in the underside of the RV to keep the rodents out. Next, check all of the areas where plumbing or wiring enter the RV – these are also common entry points for pests. Silicone foam can also be used to close any gaps in these areas. Make sure that you've also removed all food and crumbs from the RV and from the space the RV is stored in. If possible, it's best to start the engine of the RV once every few weeks to prevent rodents from trying to nest inside the engine.
An RV is an expensive investment, so it just makes good financial sense to protect it while it's being stored. Besides, you never know when you'll want to take an impromptu trip, and you want your RV in great shape so that you don't have to repair or replace anything before firing up the engine and getting out on the road.