Should Your RV Be Stored Level?Anthony Day
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Depending on who you talk to, you must store your RV in a level attitude, or it is better to keep it at an angle.
Storing and RV can be a contentious issue, which depends on your home facilities, how gracious your neighbor is, and the HOA rules. Amongst all of these variables, you need to find a suitable position and decide whether it needs to be level or not.
The ideal position to store your RV is undercover, on a level surface. It will ensure the fridge stays working and that the automatic defrosting function works optimally and doesn't result in pools of water on the RV floor. If the RV is left outside, consider ensuring it is NOT level.
In an ideal world, the answer to the question about storing an RV in a level attitude would be a resounding yes, "Store It Level." Situations are not always that clear-cut, and if you cannot store your RV in a secure place where it is protected from the elements, it may be better to keep it at a slight angle.
With more than 40 years of traveling with campers of various types, I would like to provide some balance on how to store a trailer.
How Level Should An RV Be?
While an RV does not need to be stored in a precisely level attitude, it is a good idea to keep it as level a position as possible.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of storing an RV in a level attitude.
Pro’s – Reasons Why You Should Store The RV Level
The reasons why it is better to store the RV on a level surface are.
From a technical perspective, the only reason you need to store an RV in a level attitude is the refrigerator. If the fridge is not going to be left on, there is no need to keep the RV level.
However, if the fridge will be left on while the RV is stored, the RV must be level.
Before deciding that it is not going to be left on, consider that you will want to cool it down for a few days before you leave on vacation – it needs to be level for this period.
The first reason to keep a fridge level is that fridges work by pumping refrigerant from the compressor through the refrigerator, absorbing the heat.
The system is reversed at the back of the fridge, and the hot air is released into the atmosphere. If the refrigerator is not level at the front, back, left, or rear right, the coolant will pool in the condenser pipes and reduce the fridge's efficiency or stop it from cooling at all.
To compensate for this, the fridge’s compressor will run for longer periods, the refrigerator less efficient, and it will cause the refrigerator to consume more energy than it needs to.
The second reason fridges should be kept level is because the fridge drains system must continue to operate.
Some fridges have a system that automatically heats the interior refrigerator coils at predefined intervals.
This useful feature prevents frost from building up and therefore the refrigerator or freezer can cool effectively.
These processes generate a lot of condensation. Manufacturers build effective drainage systems into their fridges to ensure that all that water can flow away easily.
The drainage system needs to be clear, and the fridge system must be level for the defrosted condensate to be removed.
If the drainage system is compromised, it may cause water to pool on the RV floor.
The third reason is to stop foodstuff from falling out. One of the worst RV experiences is getting to the campsite and finding the fridge has burst open, and that sticky mayonnaise bottle has fallen out and mixed with your favorite chilies and gherkins with a little milk added for effect!
The same is true when you store the RV; if the RV is not level, the fridge's contents may come sliding out if you open the door.
A level RV will prevent this.
It Makes It Easier To Work In The RV
If you plan on doing any work on the RV for the period it is stored, it is much easier working on level surfaces than when you always have to fight gravity when it is not level.
If you want to extend the slide out(s), it is easier to operate the machine when the RV is level.
Cons Of Keeping An RV Level When You Store It
Surprisingly there are two reasons not to store the RV in a level attitude.
It Enables Water To Rain
If you cannot store your RV under a protective shelter that will protect it from the elements, it is a good idea to park the RV in a non-level attitude.
While not ideal, this makes it difficult for standing water to collect and thus prevent damp spots and damage to the wooden frame. It will prevent mold from forming.
The enemy of all RVs is continuous exposure to the elements where rain, ice, and snow will slowly penetrate the seals and get into the wooden structure.
Before you say that it's not a problem as your RV has a steel/aluminum structure, please note that water is just as harmful, particularly in humid and salty climes.
While the ideal is always to store the RV under a protective cover, where this is not possible, consider leaving it slightly out of level to help the rainwater to flow off.
There Is A Security Consideration
It only applies to certain RVs, in particular 5th wheel trailers.
If you leave the front in a very high angled attitude, the time it takes the thieves to lower it may make it too risky a proposition and direct their attention elsewhere.
It is not guaranteed, but it's worthwhile exploring anything you can do to safeguard your property.
How Do You Level An RV?
Whether you are setting the RV up at the campsite or leveling it at home, the hints below will make it easier.
Use A Spirit Level
Place a spirit level (or an app on your phone) on the inside floor next to the doorway.
It allows you to check it without having to move too far frequently.
It Must Be Level Both Ways
You must level the RV longitudinally (lengthwise) and latitudinally (width-wise).
Always start with the width and raise the side opposite the RVs entrance first. Hopefully, it will prevent the door from being significantly higher than the ground, so stop you from having to do Olympian-type stretches to go inside!
It will be easier to set up the awning.
Try Not To Use The Stabilizers
Unless your RV is fitted with automatic leveling devices, try, as far as possible, not to use the stabilizers positioned on each corner to raise or lower the RV.
As the name implies, these devices are used to stabilize rather than raise or lower the RV.
An electric jack is an ideal and hassle-free way to lift the RV to the required angles. Fifth Wheels are particularly difficult to stabilize without the aid of an electric jack.
Carrying around a few wheel chocks around is good practice. You can level the RV by deciding which side must rise, place the chock behind that wheel and reverse the RV onto it until the level is achieved.
You then place a counter shim so that the tire does not roll back.