As we get into the winter months, more RVers will be storing their vehicles off-site. If you are planning to put your RV in storage for the winter, you will want to be sure that it is secure, and that it is ready to go if you decide to take it out during the cold season.
If you store your RV off-site year round, you will want to monitor it for security in the storage lot and to know if it is ready to go before you start your next trip.
If you are one of those who works full-time and you are on a busy schedule, you no doubt look forward to that precious time that you are able to take to get away from the rest of the world and enjoy your RV. Maybe you are planning to take it out for an extended weekend, or maybe you are going to take it out for a week or two and spend some quality family time over the holidays.
However you plan to use your RV, it is important that you are able to closely monitor everything that is going on with it, so you will know if it is properly prepared to take out for your next trip. As any seasoned RVer can tell you, there are plenty of things to check in your RV before starting a trip; and if these checks can’t be made ahead of time, they can result in surprise delays and headaches that can ruin your schedule and cause you to start your trip on the wrong foot.
A comprehensive monitoring system like RV Whisper can give you peace of mind knowing that your RV is ready to go when you are. Our wireless monitoring system is always on, and it provides remote visibility into the status of your RV so you can Know Before You Go.
Taking your RV Out of Storage
Here are some of the important things that you may want to monitor when your RV is in storage – so you can ensure that you will not encounter delays from these items when you take your vehicle out:
Is Your Propane Full?
You may or may not be using your propane while your RV is in storage. This depends largely on whether or not the storage facility has shore power and other specific factors. For example, you may be using your propane to keep your refrigerator cold when it is not plugged into shore power. Even if your facility does have shore power, power outages are all too common, and in the event that this happens, your propane may be used as a backup to keep the fridge and freezer cold.
The key question when you are storing your RV off-site and plan to take it out is – do you have enough propane to get you through your trip? Because when you are camping out in the middle of nowhere on a cold winter night, the last thing you want is to run out of propane at 2 o’clock in the morning. You will need to closely monitor your propane levels while your RV is in storage so this does not happen to you.
Are Any of Your Tires Low on Air?
When you are on a tight schedule, your whole schedule can be thrown out of whack if you discover a flat tire. Worse yet, a low tire can cause a tire blowout after you hit the road, which jeopardizes the safety of those you are traveling with and others on the roadways..
Stay on schedule and prevent serious tire-related RV accidents by continuously monitoring the pressure on each of the vehicle tires, even when in storage. It is very important to have real-time data that tells you (while driving) if your tire pressure and temperature change from the safe range. It is also very helpful to know if you have a slow leak in one of your tires while in storage.
This level of detailed information helps you better determine how to deal with issues that you may have with your tires. For example, a very slow drop in tire pressure might only require that you fill it up with air before you leave on your trip. However, a faster leak might indicate a more serious problem, which could require that the leak be patched or that the tire be replaced.
Are Your Batteries Fully Charged?
Another frustrating scenario is when you are taking your RV out on a trip and you discover a dead battery. When batteries get drained below a certain point, it can shorten their lifespan, and winter weather can also cause a partially charged battery to freeze faster. Trailer brakes require a charged battery for them to operate safely. Finding out you have to charge and/or replace a battery at the very beginning of a trip is one way to get your trip started on the wrong foot.
If your storage facility has shore power or you have solar panels to keep your RV batteries charged, you will want to know in advance if they are working properly. Did your RV have reliable shore power the whole time that it was in storage? Did your solar system keep your batteries charged up? If so, then your battery will probably be fully charged. But this might not be the case if your shore power was out for a while, or if snow covered your solar panels for a few days. You will want to know before you start your trip so you can deal with any resulting problems with the battery in advance.
Do You Need to Fill Your Fresh Water Tank? Or Empty your Gray and Black Tanks?
When you are getting ready to take your RV out, you need to make sure you have enough water for activities like cooking, bathing and washing dishes. And perhaps you may need to dump your Gray and Black tanks because you weren’t able to do that after your last trip. Some RVers keep their Fresh water tank filled while the vehicle is in storage, while others drain them. However you deal with your water tanks, knowing their status before you start your trip can eliminate unwanted surprises.
Are Your Refrigerator and Freezer Cold?
Do you leave food and/or condiments in the refrigerator and/or freezer when you put your RV in storage? If so, you will want to know if that food is still safe to eat before you start your next trip. In many cases, this will depend on whether the food has remained refrigerated or frozen during the time that has been in storage. In this scenario, it is especially important to have an RV monitoring system that gives you historical data with timestamps that tell you when and for how long your refrigerator/freezer was not working.
Receiving email and text alerts if the RV fridge or freezer temperature operates in the food safety danger zone can keep your family healthy during your RV trip.
Has There Been Any Water Leakage?
When you have an RV that has running water, leaks are always a possibility. This can happen because of pipes freezing, poorly connected pipes, leaky toilets, and similar issues. Water leakage can lead to even bigger problems such as mold and mildew, which is unhealthy and very expensive to clean up.
Keep close tabs on the areas that are prone to leakage (such as under bathroom and kitchen sinks, and under the water heater) and receive alerts as soon as any leaks are detected. A quality monitoring system like RV Whisper can tell you when the leak started and how long it has been going on, so you can act accordingly.
Cold Weather RV Storage & RV Use
When you are storing your RV in cold weather, you will need to decide whether or not it makes sense for you to winterize it. If you are storing your vehicle for the entire winter and not planning to take it out at all, then winterizing probably makes sense – especially if you live in a very cold climate. If, on the other hand, you are planning to take your RV out every other weekend, then winterizing may not be your best option.
Here are some tips for those who are planning to winterize RVs:
- Make sure your water system is completely drained and/or has non-toxic RV antifreeze everywhere. Any water that is left in the plumbing system can freeze and cause cracks in the pipes.
- Monitor your tire pressures. As we talked about earlier, tires may lose pressure during winter storage, so keep a close eye on your tire pressure and inflate them to the proper level before taking the RV out again.
- Protect your battery. Again as discussed earlier, one of the greatest frustrations RVers can face is finding out that their battery died while their vehicle was in storage. Be sure to closely monitor your battery voltage, and if for any reason the charge is getting low, take steps to get the battery fully charged again.
If you are not winterizing your RV and it will be stored or used in weather that can get below freezing, they you need to:
- Monitor Temperature in RV Wet Bay area. Many RVs have a “wet bay” area where the fresh water hose is connected and water valves are located. These are often the first places to freeze because they are likely not heated.
- Monitor Temperature near Water Heater. If the water heater is not working for any reason (turned off, no shore power, no propane) then it can freeze and become an expensive repair problem.
- Monitor Temperature near Water pump. The RV water pump and especially the small filter attached to most pumps is susceptible to freezing and creating a slow leak that can be very damaging if undetected for a long time.
- Monitor Temperature in living area. The indoor plumbing (sinks, shower, toilet) are all subject to freezing damage if they get too cold for too long.
- Monitor shore power, batteries, propane. Your RV may depend on shore power, propane and/or your batteries to keep your water lines from freezing. Knowing if any of these critical items are working properly can prevent expensive water damage and the frustration of plumbing repairs at the beginning of your RV Trip.
RV Security in Storage
Of course, security is extremely important when you put your RV into storage. If you are storing your recreational vehicle away from home, the first thing you want to do is to choose your storage location wisely. Look for a facility that is highly reputable and has good security. For example, your storage location should have a number of different cameras throughout the facility that are monitored regularly, and the facility should restrict entry to other users who have a code.
Finding a secure location in which to store your RV is only half the battle, however. We all know that those who monitor the facility can only do so much to stop a vandal or a thief. To ensure that your RV is fully secure, you will need to have your own monitoring system as well.
RV whisper provides the ideal solution for securing your recreational vehicle while in storage. Our monitoring system has motion sensors and door open/close sensors that can alert you by text or email whenever there is a breach. The alerts come in within just a few seconds of the monitored activity, allowing you to take immediate steps to secure your RV whenever there is any concerning activity occurring.
Know Before You Go
Monitoring your RV while it is in storage brings peace of mind. Knowing the status of your tires, propane tanks, water tanks, batteries, shore power, plumbing temperatures, fridge temperatures and more, helps you start more of your RV trips “on the right foot”. Of course many surprises are fun, but a surprise that delays the start of your next RV trip is not one of them.