So, you want to store your RV at home. That’s a nice decision as you will benefit from it, in the long run. But, you have to see both the pros and cons before stepping further.
As there is a lot to know about, we will guide you in making the right decision.
so let’s see how can you store your RV at home.
Why Store Your RV at Home? (Reasons)
First, know the main three reasons which can motivate you further in making the right decision.
Yes, your home can be the next place where you can store the RV safely. You may be wondering why not to store the RV in-vehicle storage facilities where they have the facility to store it safely.
As you will read through in the article you will find there are pros and cons of both home and storage facility, but there is much reason for storing it in your home.
The reasons for storing your RV at home are:
This is the number one reason, for storing it at home. Money is the driving factor for many decisions we make, including where to keep your RV in offseason. To put your RV in a storage facility you have to pay for it.
So, how much you can have to pay. For outdoor facility, you can have to spend between $30 to $100+ per month. The unheated indoor facility will charge more than that, it can charge you between $50 to $125 per month. For heated indoor space, it can cost you anywhere between $100 to $500.
There are other factors which can exceed the paying amount like the size of your RV. So, you could end up saving your hard-earned money by storing RV at your home.
If you store it at your home then you can keep the appliances plugged in. Things like the fridge where you can keep food items safely. If some guests are visiting your home then you can cook, sleep and hang out at RV. You can even use it in your free time where you can rest and relax.
When you store your RV at home that also means you can leave with it for camping very quickly. You could make a quick plan with your family or friends and leave for it. You only need some time to keep the essential things, food, and your pals, and you are ready to leave.
By keeping it in storing facility it will not be possible. Storage facilities often need advanced notice or may only allow access from 9 AM to 9 PM, which can ruin or delay your plans. There are other settings which have to be finished before you can be ready for the trip. Things like bringing it to your home and checking it, whether things are OK for a long trip or not.
3. RV Care & Maintenance
Like any other vehicle, your RV needs the care to serve you for long. It is not easy and economical to store your RV in the storage facility where your RV can just be left out.
It will be left in cold and exposed to snow and rain which can damage the exterior. You can also come to the facility every month to check it out but that’s not so easy, You know it what we are trying to explain here.
When your RV is in front of you, often you will take care of it. You would be doing routine maintenance. You can have a better sleep knowing in what condition your RV is.
Questions You Need to Ask Before Storing Your RV at Home
Before you plan to cancel your storage at the local facility and store the RV at home you have to ask certain questions to yourself. Sadly, storing RV at home is not for everyone.
1. Do you have space to store your RV at home?
This is the first question which an RV owner should ask. Only you can know, is there any place where you can store it safely at your home. Use this guideline if you have problem estimating it.
If you are a Class A motorhome owner and have a single-story house without any additional space then chances are you probably cannot store it. If you have Class B or Class C then you could make out space for it.
A Class B Motorhome is anywhere between 16 to 22 feet whereas, a Class C Motorhome is 21 to 35 feet long.
2. Where you can keep your RV at home?
Next, you have to decide where you should keep your RV, commonplace for them are the driveway, backyard or the garage.
So, if you have few cars at your home then you may not use the driveway as it will be blocked by the RV. If your garage is big enough to store an RV then it’s a piece of good news. You may have to clear the space in the garage for the RV as it might take up the whole place.
3. Is it legal to store your RV at home?
It depends on the country or state where you live in. Many countries have laws defining the above question.
Like for instance if you are affiliated with a homeowners association you may not be allowed to park your RV at home. If you get a green signal from the homeowners association then you may have to check it with your local municipality.
Be sure to check the law or you could be fined and in the worst case, your RV can even be towed away.
4. Will your RV be safe and protected at home?
Safety and maintenance are the points where you agreed to an RV at your home, but what’s the point if it stands on the driveway exposed to rain, sunlight, snow, and theft.
It is no better than standing in an outdoor storage facility. If it is not in garage then you have to find a safe spot for it or make it safe.
5. Can it annoy your family, neighbors or even spouse?
Your family has enjoyed the summers in RV but will they be happy to see it in your garage or driveway all winter.
What about your neighbors, if it is not standing on your property then they can complain against you. You have to sort it out with your family and neighbors before planning to store the RV at home.
6. Do you save money in the long run?
Maybe you have to upgrade the garage for your RV, then the cost will subtract the amount you save. Keeping your RV at garage may also ask for a renovation such as extending the space to keep the RV.
You have to make sure you are saving money by keeping it at your home. If it is a onetime investment then it’s ok because after that you may not have to spend any money on the garage.
Where You Can Store Your RV at Home? (Pros & Cons)
It’s time to store the RV but where you should keep it. Let see what different place at your home are suitable for storing an RV and what pros and cons they have.
- Quick access
- Saves money
- Less likely to get vandalized
- Upset family and neighbors
- HOA Rules
- Managing your RV in the Driveway
This is one of the commonplace to park a camper if asked by owners. You can see many houses where the camper is parked in the driveway but it has pros and cons. Let’s see them one by one.
It is a safer place than most of the storage facilities you have in your nearby local area. Why, because It will be in front of you, and can be taken care of much often. The RV has a less chance of getting vandalized in the driveway than the facility as you can install security cameras or can keep a tight watch on it.
There are also cons related to keeping RV in the driveway as your HOA (homeowner’s association) or the landlord may have a rule that can stop you. You also have to check with your local municipality for laws regarding it. Check them first!
Space is also a problem as you could end up hitting another vehicle in the driveway. You have to check that the spot is big enough to park the RV without taking space of other cars or vehicles. This can annoy your neighbors very soon.
Safety of the RV is also must as there can be gear and other valuable items such as generators and fridge which can easily become a target. You know your area very well which will help in making a decision.
2. Backyard or Side-yard
- Saves money
- Quick access
- Fewer chances of getting vandalized
- Maintenance of RV
- HOA Rules
- Exposed to nature
- Upset Neighbors
Backyard is also a space where you can think of storing your RV. It is not possible for every owner but can be a perfect location. Other than saving money it will also be convenient for you to keep regular maintenance of the RV.
Because it is in your backyard there are fewer chances of getting vandalized.
But, backyard storage has its cons too.
Like for instance it will be out and is vulnerable to theft. You have to keep an eye on it or install security cameras. It is also open for elements of nature for the damage so, try to cover it and regularly take a quick view of it.
The rain, snow and direct sunlight are not good for the paint. The UV rays from the sun can deteriorate your seals and fade your paint.
Your neighbors or neighborhood association may not be pleased with you. If you live in a large home then it is not a problem but for a small house owner, it can be a problem.
- Saves money
- Least chance of getting vandalized
- Least chance of theft
- The best protection from nature
- Quick access
- Large RV may not fit
- You may have to keep other items somewhere else
Your garage is the best place to keep your RV safely if space permits. In order to fit your RV inside the garage, you may have to invest money. But, it is a one-time investment after that you save.
A standard size garage will be able to fit most of the Class B and some Class C camper, but anything bigger than 35 feet and taller than 9 feet is less likely to fit.
Your garage can provide an excellent storage space for the RV from the burglars, vandals and weather extremities. You can save a lot of money on repairs and lost.
It will also be very convenient for you to leave for a trip in an hour or on short notice. This point is best.
But, there are some cons of storing an RV in the garage. Like for example, you might have many things which are kept in your garage, things like car, tools, bikes, etc. Shifting them to another location can be tricky, especially if you have less space in your home.
Shifting them out can mean your RV will have a new shelter!
4. RV Garage
- Saves money in the long run
- Quick Access
- Protection from snow, rain, and sunlight
- Less likely to get vandalized
- Can cost you much
- HOA Rules
- Building Permits
If you do not have any place to store your RV, then you can even build an RV garage or shop. This will require space on your property and will be costly.
But, this will create a designated storage place for your RV which will be least prone to theft, vandals and extreme weather. If you make a covered space then it could be equivalent to five to six years of the storage facility cost.
You have to be dead sure that you need a separate storage place for your RV in your property before moving on. Once you have it you can have a good sleep because you know your RV is in the safest possible place.
Preparing Your RV or Travel Trailer For Winter Storage
After storing the RV in a secured place, it’s time to prepare it for storage. Preparing your RV for the storage or winter months is important as it will be ready to drive for the spring.
The following few steps may not apply for all types of RV, but most of them will.
1. Wash the RV
This will be the first and basic step to follow. After all that journey the RV has accumulated dust and mud, so to get rid of them, wash it with gentle soap or shampoo.
Special attention is needed for the wheels, wheel wall, undercarriage, and the rooftop. Wash thoroughly so that you remove soil from every part especially metal part’s, or they can rust.
You also have to use a foaming scrub, with it you can clean it better.
2. Water Tank, Faucets, Drains and Pumps
- After washing the RV body the next thing is the water system. The water system in an RV consists of drains, pumps, tanks, and faucets. First clean and sanitize the fresh water tank before you store the RV. For this drain all the water from the tank and fill it with fresh water approximately 75%. Now, pour a small cup of bleach and stir the water with some rod or so, that will make the bleach to mix with the water. After 30 minutes drain the water and wash the tank with freshwater until there is no smell of bleach left. Before storing make sure to drain out the tank and let it dry or you can also leave the dump open.
- For the black water tank and grey water tank, you have to use an enzyme cleaner. Enzyme cleaner works well to clean the tank from any built-up solid waste as well as from bacterial growth. Always, make sure to dump the black water tank first before grey water tank as the greywater can flush out the sewer hose.
- After cleaning the tanks, you can leave them empty during storage or can also fill them with antifreeze. The problem with anti-freeze is that you have to clean the tank before you can use it. Second, storing water in the tank is not a good idea when you won’t use it for some month. The best is to leave the tank empty.
- For the pump, first, pressurize it and make sure that the water pump is on. Now, flip on both the cold and hot water valves of the faucets.
- If you want to reduce the pressure on the faucet and water pump then you have to change out the water inlet screen. For this, you have to power down the water pump and see whether the faucet is open. After this, the pressure would be enough to move out of the faucet through the city water inlet. If the inlet screen is not coming out then use a tool such as a screwdriver to move the valve over the city water inlet screen. Now you are all set to change it with a new one.
- You have to seal off every faucet across your RV, places like kitchen and bathroom are common but search if your RV have any other place for faucet.
- If you use anti-freeze then pour it in every drain, it will keep all the drain pipes from freezing in the winter.
3. Heating System
- Many types of insects and small animals can get attracted to the smell of natural gas. You have to deter them away from your RVs heating system. To do this cover all the vents and intakes of the heating system possibly by a porous cover, like one recommended here.
- Turn off or unplug any electrical heating elements that you have installed in your water heater. You can even use it in the winters so that you don’t need a separate one and the electrical appliance will also remain in a working condition.
- Turn off or unplug the water heater so that you can empty it. If it was on for some time then wait for the water to cool down otherwise you could burn your hands. Find the pressure relief of the water heater once the water cools down to drain all the water from it.
4. Seal your RV
- This is really important stuff to do. Be sure to check the RV underneath, windows, and doors for any vents or exhausts that may let enter insects, rats and other unwanted guests to spend the winter in your RV. You can use expanding foam which seals all these and prevent penetration. Check here to see the recommended Expanding Foam Sealant.
- Look for any cracks, holes or sign of any damage in the windows and doors. This is a small investment to prevent bigger issues such a water leakage. Look in the owner manual to find which kind of sealant you can use or you can use a high-quality sealant recommended here. Also, make sure to seal the roof vent.
5. Electrical System & Battery Storage Preparation
Why it is so important to store RV battery for the winter. If you leave it in RV, then chances are high that the battery will freeze. So, next time when you come back to the RV you will not able to use fridge, lights or anything that runs on electricity.
- First of all, there are some interior preparations that you have to make before RV storage. Remove the fuse from your fuse box and also remember to turn off batteries at the cutoff switch. Remove all the electrical appliances from the RV if you can and store them inside your house. It is also important that you remove batteries from small things such as flashlight, clocks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, radio, etc.
- Take all the appliances and clean them thoroughly, if possible then from inside too. This will remove any possibilities of moisture and mold to damage the thing.
- Take out the RV battery and clean the outer surface. Now keeping it in a safe place is important. Find a place which is away from children, mild temperature and not humid. Charge the battery to 75 to 80% and then keep it on some plywood or wooden base.
6. Interior & Plumbing
- Take out any removable furniture such as a table, chairs etc from the RV. Do not leave any clothes, blankets, hats or any such garments.
- Clean the drawer, cabinet or any shelf you have in your kitchen or anywhere. Take out everything from utensils to canned food, clean everything, even the trashcan.
- Check the AC for any plumbing vents for leaks or any signs of damage. It is better to fix them now for the next time you are in your RV.
- Clean the fridge and oven and keep baking soda for odors.
- If you have propane gas cylinder, then take it out and keep it in the garage or in the house safely away from children.
- Take out the TV, gaming system or any other expensive item from the RV and keep it in your house.
- Now clean the interior, so that no place is left. Clean the floor, walls, door and windows glass.
7. Tire Storage
- If you are going to park the RV without removing the tires then make sure to check the tire pressure in all tires and inflate and deflate according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. It is also recommended that you periodically move the RV so that tires do not develop a flat spot.
- If you are parking it in your driveway or backyard then cover the tires to protect them from the sun.
- You can even consider getting leveling jacks to give additional support to tires. This also prevents flat spots. Remember that your RV will be slightly off the ground so make sure to secure it. If you are storing the RV outside then cover the tires with the tire covers, like one recommended here, it will protect the tires from sun damage.
8. Engine and Fuel
- The engine is the heart of your RV, so take care of it. You have to fill the tank with fuel and use fuel stabilizer on the engine this will decrease the risk associated with excessive condensation. Keep the engine on for 10 to 15 minutes so that the heat of the engine dispels the fuel stabilizer on it completely.
- Add antifreeze to the windshield washer solution so that it won’t freeze. When water freezes, its volume increases and due to this it can make a crack.
- Once in a month try to start the engine for at least 1 or 2 hours, it will make sure that it remains in the working condition. If you have a generator then it is applicable for it too.
- Read the owner’s manual for further instructions.
- If your RV has any slideouts then lubricate the seals and the mechanical hardware. It will keep then perfect for the next time.
It is important to seal off your RV as insects can enter from the tiniest hole and lay eggs. It can be anywhere your garage, driveway, and backyard for sure.
First, do not leave any food or the smell of it in your RV. This will prevent some of them but not all. Critters like rats, mice, bats, and even raccoons love inhabited left places. Rats and mice can make lots of damage to the RV electric system and even to the furniture.
That’s why use pest control and regularly check the RV for any signs of the uninvited.
11. Covering Your RV
Cover your RV whether it is parked in driveway, backyard or garage. This is one of the best ways to keep it clean especially if it is outside. Dust, sun and bad weather will damage and fade it, day by day.
You won’t notice it because you see it every day. But, in a few months, there will be a huge difference between earlier parked RV and the damaged one.
It will also insulate the RV to some extent. You can even spray some pest and critter repellent on it to deter small animals and insects.
12. Security Measures
If your RV is standing in the driveway then there is a high chance of theft and it remains even if your RV is in the garage. But, you cannot take chance wherever it is.
You may have to install security cameras for it. (Security cameras are a good choice even if you don’t have an RV at your home) Other security feature can cost you up to thousands of dollars if you want to tighten the RV security.
The driveway is important as it is also open for vandals who won’t spare anything just because of their nature. But you cannot leave your RV for any damage so take appropriate measures for its security.
Also, invest in good quality locks as it adds ups to security. Gate of good thickness and of metal are better.
Further Reading: Security System For RV- The Ultimate Guide [13 Tips To Keep RV Safe]
13. Insurance of the RV
Your RV must have some kind of insurance which may cover accidents as well as roadside assistance.
But, do the insurance policy covers the damage done in the situation under storage or theft. Do it covers damage done by animals, vandals, and weather. If it doesn’t then check your policy to update it. You cannot skip this step if you want 100% assurance of peace in mind.
Other Option- Renting Your RV
This might not sound good to you at first by think again, renting the RV has many benefits. First, you will not have to do what the above point says, easy. Second, it will keep the RV is a possibly good and running condition. Third, you will make some money which you can invest in the RV itself to add more Features and luxury or on whatever you want.
We know it is not an easy decision if you have never done it. If you are thinking about how to search for a customer then companies like Outdoorsy can help you out.
You do not have to do anything, they will do the necessary things needed for it such as posting your RV for rent in your local area. There are many who will want to rent, just give it a try. Update your RVs insurance policy as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I live in an RV in my backyard?
There are no federal laws which can prohibit you from parking and living in your RV in your backyard, but you have to check with the HOA and other local authorities before doing it.
Can you live in an RV in the backyard, it not simple to provide an answer to this question. There are various factors such as state laws and local laws may or may not permit. If you own the land and want to live in the RV on that land then also it may break some laws.
There are some countries which may permit their citizen to live in RV for full time.
Whereas, in many countries, laws made by the government, does not classify RVs as a permanent dwelling.
Like in the USA, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development RV is only a medium of travel, recreation, and camping, whereas manufactured housing is a permanent residence.
This is the reason why living in the RV is still illegal, even if you have electricity, plumbing, and other necessities which meet the standard manufactured housing.
But, if you still want to live in it, then try a rural place where law enforcement is not strict in an urban place. You can also check out the Mobile Home Parks where you can buy a plot of land for this purpose.
2. Do you need to cover your RV in the winter?
Yes, you need to cover your RV in the winter, even if it is on driveway, backyard or even your garage. It prevents snow accumulation and ice build-up and it will also keep out the meltwater from creeping into the seams between the panels of your RV.
The cover also protects it from rain which can also enter the RV through cracks or holes. A cover also protects it from sunlight, which can cause the paint to fade away. UV rays from the sun are known to be bad for paint, rubber (tires) and even metals. So, in the long term, it will harm and if it gets enough time then it can damage many things.
The RV cover protects it from dust which can trap moisture and rust the parts. Generally, it is a good idea to cover the RV as it is not so, expensive as an RV is. You know what we mean!
3. Should you store your RV with the slides in or out?
No, you should not store your RV with the slides out. And, here are the reasons.
- If your RV parked outside and it is snowing, in case of heavy snowfall, if enough snow accumulates on the slideout roof then it could possibly damage the slideout mechanism.
- Many slideouts have slide topper awning on them, which can get damaged due to snow.
- In the extreme cold, the weather seals on the slideouts can crack and get damaged. Outside moisture can enter your RV and can cause damage to its contents.
It is not a good idea to keep slideouts open when not in use.
4. Do RV covers cause damage? Or Is it good to cover your RV?
No, RV covers do not cause any damage but it prevents it. Bad weather such as rain, snow, sleet, and harmful ultraviolet rays can cause lots of damage to the RV.
You can use RV cover to protect it from harmful things. If you are worried about the cover to cause any damage then do not worry. RV covers are made for protecting it.
Yes if you go to local hardware and bring a tarp for it then it could stick to it, especially in summers. Tarp of extremely low quality can strain the light color RV. So, buy an RV cover which is made for RV’s only.
5. How long do RV covers last?
It depends on which part of the world you are and how much care you take of it. Generally, 2 to 3 years but some people can use it for much longer.
Actually it takes time to cover it and then you have to take it out when moving. So, it is pretty time consuming, most of the owners don’t even care about covering it, especially when their RV becomes old. But, it works and protects the RV, so, it is best to use it if you are not using your camper for a long time.
Generally, new RV owners take care of the RV more because it is brand new and shining. But, after that, it can sit over for months without any care.
It solely depends upon the owner to use it or not.
6. What’s the best RV cover?
Here is the list of five best RV cover:
- Classic Accessories OverDrive PermaPro Heavy Duty Cover for 27′ to 30′ Travel Trailers
- ADCO 52245 Designer Series SFS Aqua Shed Travel Trailer RV Cover – 28’7″ – 31’6″, Gray
- Camco 45744 30′ ULTRAGuard Class C/Travel Trailer Cover (108″H x 102″W)
- iiSPORT Extra Thick 4-Ply Top Panel Travel Trailer Cover
- Classic Accessories OverDrive PolyPro 3 Deluxe Class C RV Cover, Fits 29′ – 32′ RVs
7. How do I protect my RV from the sun?
The part which is exposed to the sun for most of the time is the roof. Sun’s UV rays can degrade it if you do not take appropriate steps to protect it. Here are some steps which will help you to protect your RV for the sun.
- Clean the roof periodically to remove any soil, as the soil can also contain acid which will damage the rubberized material.
- To clean the roof use mild soap and a long brush with soft bristles.
- While walking on the roof keep out from the plastic skylights.
- When the roof dries up, apply silicone-based floor cleaner. Higher the silicon content in the cleaner the higher chance of protection from the UV rays.
- Keeping the RV roof clean and using a seal will make it last longer.
8. Storing RV on Grass
If you have stored or parked your RV on grass for a long period then what? The condition of the RV would depend upon the care and maintenance you take time to time.
It is OK if your RV is parked for the winters, but eventually, you will move it after that. Most of the time, the grass underneath the RV die due to less sunlight and some grass nature is, not to grow under something. You might have seen empty patches of land under a tree where grass does not grow.
Then also you must check whether the grass under the RV is growing or not. If it does then take necessary steps to remove it, as it can build moisture on the undercarriage and create rust. The grass will evaporate water and Undercarriage will trap it.
You can also take a big plastic sheet and keep it on the area where you want to park your RV, it will kill most of the grass and will keep your RV safe. But, you will find an empty spot without grass in the backyard when you move the RV and it will take time to grow back.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to decide and inform you about the different aspect of storing an RV at home. There are many challenges that you may face in storing your RV at home, but challenges are everywhere and in everything.
Once you keep it at your home, things will become easier and easier, year after year. You will know many tricks which you haven’t previously.
The first time is always difficult, things get easing up after that.
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