RV Storage Checklist: How to Store Your RV for the Winter
Written by Jordan Stokes.
Winter is officially here which means you need to think about your vehicles! Just like you would winterize a boat, you will also need to winterize your RV.
Winterizing and storing your RV for the winter will help prevent damage from the snow and freezing temperatures. From storage units to covers and even a full checklist, here is everything you need to know about storing your RV for the winter.
First thing’s first. You are going to need to inspect your RV. Check everything (and we mean everything!) for holes, cracks, tears, rust, corrosion, loose connections, or anything that can worsen (or invite critters in) while it is in storage, and fix it now! Trust us, you’ll thank us later.
There are a few things you need to consider ahead of time to make sure you are prepared before the snow starts to fall.
- Cost. What is it going to cost you to winterize your RV?
- Time. How long is it going to take you to winterize (clean and prep) your RV? Will you have to store it outside and take the time to care for it (and remove snow) by hand? Or are you storing it inside for the duration of winter?
- Supplies. What supplies are you going to need to get your RV prepped and ready for winter storage?
Three Ways to Store Your RV for the Winter:
- Rent a Storage Unit
You can rent an indoor storage unit to ensure your RV will stay protected during months of freezing temperatures, snow, and high winds. This will allow you to put a roof over your trailer and protect it from these harsh winter conditions that can otherwise be damaging. Storage units (both indoor and outdoor) can be anywhere from $30-$100+ a month.
- Apply a Cover
If you aren’t going with indoor storage, you will definitely need to cover your RV. Apply a cover or tarp that has a breathable material to prevent moisture from getting in and UV radiation from damaging paint etc. Remember, even though your RV is covered, it will not be completely protected from heavy snow, as it tends to pile up out there! Always monitor the amount of snow accumulating on your RV’s roof, as too much snow could potentially dent the roof so make sure you take some time to shovel it off after a dumping. Waterproof covers can cost anywhere from $100-$300+.
- Maintain RV by Hand
If a storage unit or RV cover aren’t really within your budget, you can maintain your RV by hand. This will require more work and closer monitoring of your RV, but the only equipment you’ll need is a few plastic shovels and some helping hands! Your RV will still be exposed to sun and wind, but this is surely a better option than doing nothing. Just remember to close the blinds to prevent the sun from damaging the interior and you should be fine.
RV Winter Storage Checklist: 10 Things You Need to Winterize Your RV
- Find Storage
Where are you storing it? If you are planning on renting an indoor storage unit, you will need to do so in advance. This option can be pricey, but if you are conveniently located near a storage facility with the proper size unit for your RV, then this option is a winner! If you go with one of the other storage options (cover or take care of your beloved RV by hand) make sure you have everything you need.
- Give it a Wash
You should give your RV a nice bath before you put it in storage. Not only does it give you peace of mind knowing you stored it in tip-top condition, but you know it should come out looking that way too. Thoroughly wash the awnings, wheel wells, tires, and check all your seals. Make sure your RV is completely dry before covering it or storing it, otherwise you will be in for a mildew mess in the spring.
- Remove Batteries
Remove all batteries and store them in a cool, dry place. Batteries will likely lose some of their charges when in storage and cool temperatures can slow that process.
- Drain Water Heater System
Turn off any electric heating elements included in your water heater. Empty the water heater and drain it out. You should also pour antifreeze into your drains.
- Remove Propane Tanks
For safety reasons, you should remove your propane tank(s), as freezing temperatures can cause the seals to crack, which can lead to leaks and a whole slew of problems. So, take your propane with you!
- Remove All Food
And we mean ALL of it! Even the non-perishable stuff in the cabinets. You don’t want to get back to your RV after a long winter and be greeted by some furry friends or creepy crawlers. Even things like deodorant, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste, medicines, and more can also invite unwanted guests.
- Defrost Freezer and Refrigerator
Just like you would before any move or remodel, it is important to defrost your fridge and refrigerator if they are not in use. This ensures that these appliances will be working properly next time they are in use.
- Use Fuel Stabilizer
You should use fuel stabilizer for your engine in order to lessen the risk of excessive condensation. Turn the engine on and make sure you are idling when you do so.
- Wipe Everything Down
It’s a good idea to do a thorough cleaning of the inside just like you did the outside to ensure everything will be in the same condition as you left it. Remember, make sure everything is completely dry before saying goodbye.
- Do a Final Inspection
Do a last round of inspections for any holes and cracks to prevent any rodents or further damage. Fill these gaps using silicone or expanding foam.
Keep in mind that moisture can accumulate inside your RV when it’s closed up for months, which can create mold. Try setting out a container or two of DampRid, Dri-Z-Air, or silica gel to get ahead of the problem and prevent any moisture while your RV sits in storage.
You should also consider getting some leveling jacks to boost the tires to prevent them from getting flat spots. Just remember to make sure your RV is secure before you leave it.
Pro Tip: Don’t leave anything of value in your RV. This could invite thieves, and things that don’t weather well could get damaged while they are in there. This is also a good reason to periodically check up on your RV (if you can) throughout the winter to make sure everything is where it should be and working properly.
Remember, once your RV is prepped and ready for winter storage, you will also have to undo the work you did in order to get it ready for your next trip. So be smart, use our checklist and try to make it easy on yourself.
Of course, the first few times you winterize your RV can, and will, be frustrating, but with practice comes perfection, so you will get the hang of it! We hope our tips and checklist helps you get your home on wheels ready for hibernation so you can have another great season of adventures come spring.
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