Even the most avid RVers need to store their vehicle for at least part of the year. Leaving it in your driveway, backyard, or the street in front of your home may not cost anything; but that isn’t always the best option. If you leave the RV in your driveway or yard, it’s not only inconvenient for you but an eyesore for your neighbors and may be against your HOA restrictions. Unless you use the proper covering, environmental damage caused by the sun, rain, and snow is inevitable.
Building a garage that is specifically designed for your RV can be a good choice if you’re constructing a custom home, but it can affect resale value if and when you try to sell your home. Building codes and HOA restrictions could make it impractical or even impossible to add to an existing garage or build a separate RV-sized structure.
If you want to avoid the hassle that comes with storing your RV at home, your best option is to find a self-storage facility. Many storage facilities provide indoor storage and some even boast climate-controlled storage for your home away from home. If you decide that this is the way to go, read below to understand how to find the right facility and prepare your vehicle for storage.
Check the Self-Storage Facility
Be sure to pick a reputable facility for your recreational vehicle. Convenience is important, but security should be your main concern. Check the following guidelines:
- Visit several facilities before making a commitment.
- Verify the reputation of the facility by checking reviews. Ask about break-ins and vandalism.
- The facility should be clean, well-lit, and well maintained.
- Check that there is 24-hour recorded surveillance with motion sensors.
- Verify that electronic gates are accessible only by security code.
- Look for sturdy perimeter fencing.
- The facility should have regular, posted hours during which time you can enter the premises.
- There should be an on-site manager, and staff should perform regular walk throughs.
- Typically there are three types of RV storage: outdoor, covered, and indoor. Consider your needs and availability before making your final decision.
Outdoor, Uncovered Storage
This is the most affordable option, and it offers the widest range of sizes. Your vehicle will be exposed to the elements; but If weather isn’t a concern and cost is, this could be your best option. These spaces can hold everything from Class A motorhomes to small pop-up campers and tow trailers. If you’re using this type of storage, you should consider a high-quality cover.
Covered storage offers shade and provides some protection from the elements. This storage is also less expensive than indoor, and close to that of outdoor, uncovered. Almost all RV and trailer sizes can fit in these spaces. A good cover helps to shield your vehicle from the weather. Both uncovered and covered storage are the best options for short-term storage.
This is the best solution, especially for long-term storage. Indoor units are more costly, but they provide ultimate protection. Not only will your RV be protected from the weather, but you may find that some facilities offer a climate-controlled option. Security won’t be as much of a concern because along with the conventional storage features available, you’ll have a space with a unit lock.
Prepare Your RV for Storage
- Drain All Tanks – Drain the fresh water holding tanks as well as the black and grey holding tanks.
- Drain the Water Heater – Remove the drain plug and open the pressure relief valve. Caution: Do not drain when the water is hot!
- Remove Food and Supplies – This seems obvious, but even that forgotten bag of unopened chips can attract bugs. In any case, food left for long periods of time will become moldy and/or inedible.
- Disconnect the Refrigerator and Leave the Door Open – Leaving the refrigerator door open prevents stale air and condensation that can ultimately cause mold.
- Use RV-Approved Non-Toxic Antifreeze – To keep your pipes from freezing during frigid weather use RV-approved, non-toxic antifreeze so that you don’t poison your water.
- Pressurize Your System – Start with the faucet closest to the water pump and slowly open the hot and then the cold valves until the antifreeze appears.
- Cover External Vents to Prevent Pests – Don’t let your RV become a home for pests during an extended storage time.
- Check Roof Condition – Repair any holes or damage to your roof.
- Coat Your RV With Wax – If you give your RV a coat of wax prior to storage, it will not only look brighter the next time you’re ready to use it, but you’ll give it an added layer of protection from the weather.
At Universal Storage locations, we have state-of-the-art security features so you won’t have to worry needlessly. Here are some additional tips on doing the best job of getting your RV ready for storage. Enjoy your travels!