Owning a camper opens up a world of adventures and possibilities, but with it comes the responsibility of proper maintenance, especially during storage.
One of the most common issues camper owners face is mold growth inside their recreational vehicles while they are in storage. Mold not only causes unpleasant odors but can also damage the interior and pose health risks.
In this article, we will explore effective strategies to keep mold at bay and ensure your camper remains mold-free during storage.
The Impact of Mold in Campers
Mold can have several adverse effects on both the camper itself and its occupants.
1. Health Risks
Exposure to mold can lead to various health issues, especially for those with allergies, asthma, or respiratory conditions.
Mold spores can be inhaled, causing respiratory symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and congestion. Prolonged exposure may trigger more severe reactions, such as asthma attacks and other respiratory complications.
2. Structural Damage
Mold can cause significant damage to the structure of a camper. As it grows, mold secretes enzymes that break down the materials it feeds on, such as wood, drywall, and fabric. Over time, this can weaken the structural integrity of the camper, leading to costly repairs.
3. Stains and Odors
Mold growth often leaves behind unsightly stains and produces a musty odor that can be challenging to eliminate. These stains and odors can ruin the aesthetics of the camper’s interior and make it less enjoyable for occupants.
4. Degradation of Upholstery and Fabrics
Mold thrives in damp conditions, which means it can quickly spread and grow on upholstery, curtains, and bedding inside the camper. Mold not only stains these materials but also weakens them, shortening their lifespan and necessitating replacements.
5. Compromised Air Quality
Mold releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, affecting indoor air quality. High levels of mold and VOCs can lead to respiratory problems, headaches, and other health issues for those inside the camper.
6. Negative Impact on Resale Value
Mold-infested campers lose their appeal and value on the resale market. Potential buyers are unlikely to invest in a camper that has a history of mold issues, even if the problem has been resolved.
How To Keep Mold Out Of Camper During Storage?
Now, we will explore effective strategies to prevent mold growth in your camper during storage.
Inspect Your RV Thoroughly Before Storage
Before stowing away your camper for the off-season, conduct a thorough inspection of both the interior and exterior. Check for any existing issues or sources of moisture, such as leaks or cracks. Address and repair these issues promptly to prevent mold growth.
Use a Dehumidifier to Remove Excess Moisture
Moisture is the primary cause of mold growth, especially in enclosed spaces like campers. Prior to storing your RV, run a dehumidifier inside to extract excess moisture from the air.
A dehumidifier will collect the moisture in a container that you can easily empty. Consider running the dehumidifier for several hours or even a few days before storing the camper to ensure optimal results.
Consider Renting an Indoor Storage Unit
For maximum protection against mold and other environmental factors, consider renting an indoor storage unit for your camper. Indoor units shield your RV from rain, dew, fog, and everyday condensation, reducing the risk of mold growth significantly.
Although indoor storage may be costlier than outdoor options, the long-term benefits of mold prevention and preserving your camper’s condition make it a worthwhile investment.
Blow Out Freshwater Lines
Before storing your RV, it is crucial to drain and blow out all freshwater lines and tanks. Ensuring that there is no water left in the plumbing system helps eliminate potential sources of moisture within the camper, reducing the likelihood of mold development.
Utilize Desiccants to Absorb Moisture
Desiccants are effective in absorbing moisture from the surrounding environment inside your camper. These materials come in various forms, such as crystal packets, chemical packets, or clay desiccants.
Choose desiccants specifically designed for campers, and place them strategically throughout your RV to capture any residual moisture during storage.
Cover Your RV With a Specialized RV Cover Tarp
If indoor storage is not feasible, protect your camper from the elements by using a specialized RV cover tarp. Ensure that the cover is waterproof and capable of venting water vapor from the interior.
Additionally, opt for a cover that provides protection against harmful UV rays to prevent damage to seals around windows and doors.
Remove Fabrics Before Storage
Fabrics tend to retain moisture, making them potential hotspots for mold growth. Before storing your camper, remove all fabrics, including blankets, sheets, towels, clothes, and fabric curtains. Consider removing couch cushions and mattresses as well if space permits.
Open Closets, Cupboards, Windows, and Roof Vents
Proper ventilation is vital in preventing mold growth during storage. Before locking up your camper, open closets, cupboards, windows, and roof vents to promote air circulation and prevent trapped moisture.
Thoroughly Wipe Down All Surfaces
Even the slightest amount of moisture can encourage mold growth. Before storage, thoroughly wipe down all surfaces in your camper to remove any remaining moisture or condensation.
Pay particular attention to areas prone to dampness, such as the bathroom, kitchen, sink, and countertops.
Inspect Your RV for Leaks or Exterior Cracks
Inspect your camper meticulously for any signs of leaks or exterior cracks that could potentially allow moisture to seep in.
Check vents, windows, doors, and the roof for bubbling, cracks, rust spots, or discoloration. Promptly address any issues or consider professional inspection and repairs.
Run a Heater to Evaporate Condensation
Using a heater before storing your RV can help evaporate any lingering condensation or humidity. Running the heater for a few hours will aid in drying up the interior, reducing the chances of mold growth.
Utilize a Fan for Airflow
After running the dehumidifier and heater, use a fan to further facilitate air circulation and ensure complete drying of your camper’s interior. If your storage area has an electrical hookup, consider keeping a small fan running to maintain airflow throughout the RV.
Inspect Your Camper Regularly During Storage
Do not neglect your camper during the storage period. Regularly inspect it at least once a month to check for any signs of mold or mildew growth.
Smell the air inside your RV and use moisture packets if necessary. Additionally, consider running a dehumidifier, heater, or fan for a few hours during these inspections.
Be Mold Conscious While Using Your RV
Preventing mold growth begins during your camping trips. Be mindful of mold prevention tactics while using your RV, such as using a dehumidifier, promoting airflow, wiping down surfaces daily, and avoiding activities that generate excessive moisture, such as prolonged cooking or showering.
Keeping mold out of your camper during storage is crucial for maintaining its condition and ensuring a healthy environment for future travels.
By following the outlined steps, such as cleaning and drying thoroughly, using moisture absorbers, and practicing regular inspections, you can protect your camper from mold-related issues effectively.
Remember to take natural preventive measures and seek professional assistance for severe mold problems. With the right approach, your camper will remain mold-free and ready for your next adventure!