Guest Column: Under cover: Why RVs should never be stored in the Florida sun
There’s a reason Florida is called the Sunshine State – we have more of it than nearly every other state.
Sunshine improves our moods and energy, and brings us some much-needed Vitamin D. Clear blue skies also attract tourists, and that keeps our economy churning.
But as anyone who’s been in the sun too long can tell you, there can be too much of a good thing the pain of a sunburn can be brutal.
Humans aren’t the only ones that can be scorched by Florida’s sunshine. Vehicles, boats and RVs also take a beating from the elements, but protecting those assets from the sun isn’t as easy as slapping on some sunblock or putting on a hat.
RVs are especially susceptible to UV and weather-related damage if they’re stored outdoors for extended periods. Some impacts of prolonged exposure include dried out tires and awnings, cracked vinyl and leather, faded or warped paint, mold growth from pooling water and even insect or rodent infestation. Parking under a tree is not a suitable alternative because tree sap can leave sticky spots, fallen leaves can discolor the exterior and birds can leave their droppings, all of which can ruin paint jobs.
Given those impacts and the fact that new Class C RVs generally are sold at $50,000 and above, and premier Class A RVs can top $1 million, some might be surprised that so many RV owners aren’t adequately protecting an asset that easily costs as much as a three-bedroom house.
National data show RV ownership is growing, particularly among Baby Boomers, and manufacturers were expected to ship more than 500,000 new units in 2018, according to the RV Industry Association. The Naples and Fort Myers areas, of course, are seeing an influx of permanent and seasonal residents from that demographic, so it’s no surprise many RV owners are finding “no vacancy” signs at covered storage facilities.
While you’re enjoying your RV on the open highway, there’s no way around sun exposure. The key to extending the life of an RV is preventative maintenance, much like a personal vehicle or home, and proper storage.
RV owners should study seven factors when considering a storage facility:
– Location: Is the facility convenient and easy to access?
– Price: Does the monthly rate fit into your budget and reasonable for the level of services provided?
– Covered or enclosed: Is a covered space acceptable, or do you require a fully enclosed space?
– Security: Does the facility limit access and have 24/7 video surveillance systems?
– Sprinklers: Is the entire facility equipped with a fire sprinkler system for protection?
– Amenities: Will you have access to electrical connections, a sewer pump-out station, wash bay and air stations?
– Management: Does the facility have local, on-site management personally vested in the operation?
While we’re fortunate in Southwest Florida that we don’t have to worry about winterizing our RVs, we have to “summerize” them, which means protecting RVs from the very same climate that brought us here.
Guy Paparella is owner and developer of Elite RV & Boat Storage, a premier storage facility opening March 1 between Naples and Fort Myers. For more information or reservations, visit EliteRVBoatStorage.com or call 239-768-2225.