The fall and early winter is a wonderful time of the year. It also means different things for the wide range of RV owners. Some folks are finishing their traveling time and preparing to put the RV in hibernation for part of the year. Others will shortly be resurrecting the RV from storage to migrate south for for warmer weather until the spring. Most vehicle's mechanical systems and building materials prefer be used or move around regularly. Sitting in one spot for an extended period of time can occasionally create some issues with these systems or components. As RV owners, we often ask the RV to take a long winters nap, this is the nature of these wonderful homes on wheels. As the primary caretaker of this unique vehicle, we need to make sure an put them to bed with care so they run smoothly when its time to wake up and hit the road.

Each system in the RV needs a little tender love and care and different care may be needed depending on the climate where the RV will be stored. Colder climates mean that the surrounding temperature is frigid for extended periods of time, so protecting components from freeze damage needs to be considered. Other climates are humid for extended periods of time, which creates the potential for moisture damage. Consideration for managing materials and components from water damage is important for this area of the country.

Here is a beginning procedure for preparing the RV for extended storage. Use this list and add to it as needed for your specific RV and situation.

  • Turn off the service valves on all the propane containers.
  • Service and lubricate the chassis, door hinges, and locks.
  • For motorized vehicles make sure the coolant/antifreeze is full and sufficient for the lowest temperatures for the climate.
  • Make sure the batteries are charged. Consider a trickle charger. There are solar chargers if electricity is not available at the storage location. If not connected to a charger then one might consider disconnecting the battery(ies) and storing in a more protected location. (Wet cell batteries need to be kept at about 80% charge to keep from freezing or sulfinating)
  • Wash the exterior.
  • Inspect all seams, caulk, and seals around doors, windows, vents, or other items which create openings in the side or roof of the RV. Repair as needed.
  • Close all openings (windows, vents, appliance exhausts, etc) to protect from critters that may want to find a warm place to take up residence.
  • Clean the interior especially stains which may have occurred during travel.
  • Turn off and defrost the refrigerator/freezer and clean the inside. Place an open box of baking soda to help absorb odors or moisture and leave the door propped open for circulation to prevent stale odors.
  • Turn furnace and Air Conditioner off.
  • Drain all water tanks - heater, fresh water tank and holding tanks (gray) wastewater and (black) sewage water).
  • To rinse the holding tanks properly fill to at least 1/3 full. Drain at an appropriate waste disposal or dump station. Draing sewage (black) tank first followed by the wastewater (gray) tank. This order allows any solids from the sewage tank to be removed from the outlet hose.
  • Close the dump valves to prevent rusting and replace the outlet cap to keep critters from entering the tanks.

If the RV will be stored in cold weather where freezing may occur, the water system on the RV needs to be winterized or prepared so the risk from freeze damage will be greatly reduced. Winterizing the RV Water System (to be added shortly) provides a procedure for getting the water system ready for frigid temperatures.

Finally, after a few months, the RV will need to awake from its long nap. Removing the RV from Storage (to be added shortly) gives some general steps to get the RV ready to explore the beauty of creation and to spend unforgettable times with family and friends.