Protect your RV with this End-of-Season Checklist
The end of summer usually signals the end of camping season (although some campgrounds in Alberta stay open until mid-October or even year-round).
Even if you have another camping adventure or two in store, it’s not too early to start thinking about the maintenance you must complete when the time comes to retire your RV for the remainder of the year. You can choose to complete the maintenance on your own or hire a professional.
Regardless of where you store your RV in the off-season, these measures will go a long way in preventing:
- Burst pipes
- Water damage
- Damage caused by mice
- Frozen batteries
- Losses caused by insured hazards
By protecting your RV at the end-of-season, you’ll be ready to hit the road next spring!
Drain All Pipes in Your RV
You do not want to leave any fluid in your RV plumbing system as it could freeze in the cold and cause pipes to burst. Standard RV insurance typically does not cover pipes that burst due to freezing.
Flush all your pipes, including any appliances that use water (for example, your hot water tank). Then add RV anti-freeze to the plumbing system to further protect your pipes throughout winter.
Make sure to use RV anti-freeze specifically made for trailers, motorhomes and campers as it is non-toxic. Do not automobile anti-freeze.
Check Sealants Around Your RV
It’s a good idea to check your sealants throughout the year, but you definitely want to do this before storing your RV for the winter—especially if you store your RV outdoors. A good seal will help keep moisture and water out.
Inspect all seals around your RV doors and windows as well as around vents, AC units and skylights on your roof. Repair or replace the sealant if you notice any gaps (for example, if you can see light coming through) damage or leaks.
Remember, general maintenance and wear-and-tear is not covered by RV insurance. This means water damage caused by improper maintenance of sealants will likely not be covered.
Keep Rodents Out of Your RV
There are a few steps you should take to prevent mice or other animals from making themselves at home in your RV over winter.
- Remove all food (even non-perishables).
- Clean and mop the interior of your RV to get rid of any food crumbs.
- Remove all linens and any other fabrics or materials that mice and rodents may use to make a nest (such as newspaper).
- Inspect your RV—including the underside, drawers and cupboards, electrical hatches and plumbing—for any holes and gaps that mice or other critters could squeeze through. You can use steel wool, expanding foam sealant, wire mesh or another filling to close off any holes. Remember, mice can fit through extremely small spaces.
- Use a repellant to deter mice from entering. You can choose from a variety of rodent repellants, including natural options and electronic devices. You may also want to consider using mousetraps when storing your RV.
Save Your RV Battery
Not only will your battery lose a charge when it’s parked for the off-season, there’s also the possibility it will freeze in a cold snap. This will kill your battery and result in the need to buy a new one.
This is why it is recommended that you remove your RV battery and store it in a dry area over the winter. This also makes it easier to check your battery regularly, as you’ll want to charge it anytime it falls to the 80 per cent mark.
Keep Your RV Insurance
While this isn’t necessarily maintenance-related, it’s advisable that you keep your RV insurance while your unit is in storage for the off-season. This will protect you should your RV experience any damage due to theft, vandalism, fire and more.
Learn more about the benefits of keeping your RV insurance during the off-season here.