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  • Writer's pictureOakley Executive RV & Boat Storage

How to Successfully Prep and Insulate Your Camper for Winter Use

A man applies an insulating window cover on an RV

As the leaves turn amber and the air brings a crisp hint of winter, it's time to begin preparing your recreational vehicles for the colder months ahead. For RV owners, that means it's time to think about insulation.

Whether you're planning to cozy up in your camper while you travel or store it away until spring, insulating your RV is essential. Here’s everything you need to know about how to insulate your camper for winter use as well as a few quick winter storage tips.

Choosing to store your vehicle during the off-season instead of travel? Oakley Executive RV & Boat Storage offers covered RV storage near Concord.

Understanding RV Insulation

RV insulation is the material that keeps the inside of your camper warm in winter and cool in summer. It’s a barrier that slows the heat from leaving or entering your RV. Good insulation means your heater doesn't have to work as hard in the cold, which can save you fuel and money.

Insulating your RV is key for a couple of reasons. First, it makes living or spending time in your RV more comfortable in colder weather. Second, it helps protect the interior from damage that extreme temperatures can cause. Freezing temps can cause pipes to burst or damage walls from moisture.

Types of Insulation

When it comes to insulation, there are different materials you can use including:

  • Foam Board Insulation: This rigid panel is great for floors, ceiling, and walls. It’s easy to cut and fit into different spaces.

  • Fiberglass Insulation: While this type is common in home construction, it can also be used in RV walls. Keep in mind that due to its tiny glass particles, it does require proper handling.

  • Reflective Insulation: This shiny material reflects heat and is often used in RVs for its light weight and ease of insulation.

  • Spray Foam Insulation: This type expands to fill gaps and is excellent for sealing leaks. But, it’s more permanent and harder to apply.

How to Choose the Right Insulation

The best insulation for your RV depends on how you use your vehicle and your overall budget. Foam board and reflective insulation are good for most people because they're easy to work with. If you're planning to stay in very cold places, however, you might want more heavy-duty options like spray foam.

How to Insulate a Camper for Winter Use

Insulating your RV for winter can provide both comfort and protection for your vehicle. When the temperature drops, a well-insulated RV can be the difference between a cozy retreat and a chilly one. How’s how to keep the warmth in when the cold weather hits:

Seal the Gaps

Start by checking all windows, doors, and any areas where different materials meet. Use caulking or foam sealant to fill in any cracks or gaps. Weather stripping can also be applied to door frames and window edges to ensure a tight seal.

Insulate Windows

Windows are a major source of heat loss. Use insulated curtains or make DIY insulating covers with reflective bubble wrap. Simply cut the wrap to the size of the window and press it against the glass. Then watch the air bubbles trap heat.

Protect Your Pipes

As mentioned, freezing temps can cause frozen pipes to burst and create serious damage. Insulate your pipes with foam pipe covers and consider adding heat tape for extra protection if you’ll be in extremely cold environments.

Upgrade Your RV Skirting

Skirting is the material that goes around the base of your RV. It blocks the wind and keeps the underbelly insulated. You can use commercial RV skirting or DIY with thick, insulated fabric or foam boards.

Focus on the Floor

Cold floors can make the whole RV feel colder. Add rugs or carpet and consider laying down foam insulation boards beneath them if you’re dealing with extreme cold.

Check the Roof and Ceiling

Heat rises, so insulating the roof and ceiling is incredibly important. You can add insulation panels above your headliner or use reflective insulation to prevent heat from escaping.

Inspect the Exterior

Check the exterior for any signs of damage or areas where cold air can enter. Repair any issues and consider adding a coat of RV-specific sealant to provide an additional layer of insulation.

Use Vent Covers

Your roof vents can let out a lot of heat. Insulated vent covers are an easy fix and can be installed when you’re not using the vents.

Maintain Your Heating System

A well-maintained heater is more efficient. Be sure to clean the filters, check the ducts for leaks, and ensure it’s in good working order before the cold sets in.

When It’s Time to Store

If you don’t plan to travel during the colder months, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your RV for the off-season. Proper preparation before placing your vehicle in storage can help to maintain its condition while it’s not in use. While we’ve discussed five important maintenance tips for long-term RV storage, here are a few tips that are specific to winterizing your RV:

  • Clean Thoroughly

    • Start by giving your RV a good cleaning, both inside and out. Remove any food and perishables to prevent pests. Wash the exterior and apply a coat of wax to protect the paint.

  • Drain and Protect Pipes

    • Drain all water tanks and pipes to prevent freezing and bursting. Add antifreeze to the plumbing system to protect it in case of any residual water.

  • Disconnect Batteries

    • Remove batteries to prevent them from draining. Store them in a cool, dry place and check their charge periodically.

  • Cover Vents and Openings

    • Cover all vents and external openings to keep insects and rodents out. Use breathable covers to prevent moisture buildup.

  • Block Pests

    • Inspect for any gaps or holes where pests could enter and seal them. Consider using deterrents like mothballs or peppermint oil in and around the RV.

  • Protect Tires

    • Inflate tires to the recommended pressure and cover them to protect them from sun and weather damage. For long-term storage, consider using tire supports to prevent flat spots.

  • Consider Interior Storage Solutions

  • Secure and Cover Your RV

    • Lock all doors and close all blinds to prevent sun damage to the interior. Use an RV cover for protection against the elements as well.

Quick Winter Storage Checklist

Winterizing and storing your vehicle might seem daunting, but with the right plan, it can be simple and easy. We’ve created a quick checklist for you to use as your step-by-step guide to preparing, storing, and protecting your RV during winter:

Step 1: Clean Inside and Out

Remove all food and perishable items.

Thoroughly clean interior surfaces and vacuum floors.

Wash the exterior and apply a coat of wax.

Step 2: Drain Water Systems

Empty and clean all water tanks.

Drain water lines and add RV antifreeze to the system.

Step 3: Disconnect and Store Batteries

Fully charge and disconnect batteries.

Store in a cool, dry place and periodically check the charge.

Step 4: Seal Gaps and Openings

Check for cracks and crevices around windows, doors, and the roof.

Seal off potential entry points for pests.

Step 5: Cover Vents and Windows

Use breathable covers for vents.

Close all blinds and curtains to protect the interior from UV rays.

Step 6: Protect Tires

Inflate tires to the recommended pressure.

Use tire covers or move the RV periodically to prevent flat spots.

Step 7: Prepare the Engine

Change the oil and top off all fluids.

Add fuel stabilizer to prevent the gas from deteriorating.

Step 8: Secure and Cover Your RV

Lock all doors, windows, and compartments.

Use a breathable, weather-resistant cover.

Make sure the cover fits snugly and is secured against the wind.

Choose Safe, Covered and Convenient Storage for Your RV This Winter

Remember that a little effort now can go a long way in protecting your home away from home. If you’re looking for a reliable place to store your RV during the off-season, consider reserving a spot at our facility. Oakley Executive RV & Boat Storage offers secure, accessible storage options that are designed to give you peace of mind until your next adventure. Click to view pricing and reserve your space today.

Click to reserve a covered RV or Boat storage space today.


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