Thursday, September 29, 2022


Ask Dave: A few questions about storing an RV at a campground through the winter

Dear Dave,
My RV will be left in a New Hampshire campground for the winter. How about installing a solar trickle charger to keep the battery charged and using an ultrasonic pest repeller to keep mice and insects away, plus roof edge heat tapes to melt the snow? —James, Keystone Montana 3950BR

Dear James,
There are three questions here about storing an RV at a campground, so let’s cover them individually.

Solar trickle charger for batteries

It depends on the type of batteries you have. If they are lead acid you can install a solar maintenance charger. However, I would recommend looking at the BatteryMINDer solar charger, as it sends high-impact waves into the battery to condition and desulfate them. As lead acid batteries draw down, sulfur coats the plates and requires a bulk stage charge of more than 14 volts to break up the sulfation. A typical low-cost solar panel maintenance charge just does a 13.2-volt charge, which means your batteries will not last very long.

Ultrasonic pest repellers

I am not a big fan of these as I am in the Midwest and these have not performed well in any application I have seen such as farm, RV, or a house. Even though I do see the testimonials on the ads, I don’t trust them. I am also not a fan of the dryer sheets or mothballs even though that is what my parents used. I am a fan of baits and have used several different types and pet-friendly traps which you can find in the video here.

Since this video was produced, I have found that Mouse Free has a product that is guaranteed, but I have not used it. It is a mint-based product that mice do not like and it has a proprietary substance that keeps it from dissipating, which I believe is a Teflon-type product.

Another option is Grandpa Gus, which seems to be getting some really great reviews.

Additionally, I just had a reader send me a homemade remedy of mixing cornbread muffin mix (Jiffy) with baking soda, which expands in the stomach and kills the rodents. The problem with these products is it takes a long time to determine if they work.

If anyone else has any suggestions, please leave them for James (and the rest of us) in the comments below.

Roof edge heat tape

The challenge with a roof edge heat tape is that you either need to be plugged into 120-volt power or find a 12-volt product. But that would drain your batteries and not be effective. I do see some products listed on Amazon that are 12-volt wires in a plastic or rubber sleeve. However, there does not seem to be a good way to connect it to the roof edge and keep it secure. My preference would be a cover.

Make sure, when storing an RV at a campground throughout the winter, that it’s fully winterized. You may want to have someone check in on it now and again, too, if nobody is staying in it.

 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

How should I winterize the RV to use it part-time in the winter?

Dear Dave,
We live in Long Island and want to use our motorhome part-time during the winter months. Is there an alternative to going through the winterizing process? —Walt

Read Dave’s response. 

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

Read more from Dave here


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5 days ago

I’d never leave my rig in a hostile climate. I’d be trying to find options. We love our rv.

Jim Johnson
6 days ago

The peppermint oils help. We don’t use it in our RV, we use it in our 1906 home in the Lake Superior region just prior to heading south for the winter to live in our summer-stored RV.

I have done our best to rodent proof our home. But when we aren’t here in late fall when rodents are looking for a better winter home. Since spraying the basement foundation from the inside along the entire top, the basement window frames and the basement door leading directly to the backyard with diluted peppermint oil we have seen no sign of rodent intrusion when we return in the spring.

Why not use this spray while we are in residence? The scent is pretty strong, and fairly long lasting if not subjected to the weather. I mean I love candy canes, but wow! You can purchase this oil ready mixed, but is is less expensive overall to buy the pure oil and dilute it as indicated on the label within a standard mist sprayer.

6 days ago
Reply to  Jim Johnson

Mousetrapmonday tests agree mint oils work! Most “gimmicks” are disproved in these actual tests, but not one single mouse went to the bait with mint oil present! Question would be how strong the smell needs to be, but in the test at close range it worked.

Last edited 6 days ago by Spike
6 days ago

This site and Shawn’s youtube channel are devoted to testing all the various traps, methods, and gimmicks for rodent control. Very interesting to watch.

Ultrasonic seems to work…if they are about 6″ or less from it…so that means it doesn’t really work. He did have some good luck with Grandpa Gus, but not foolproof. One of the funniest was watching mice and rats crawl all over a string of LED lights! Many RVers will swear these fend off rodents because they can’t stand the light….HA!

The only cure for rodents is to be sure your RV has no entrance points and minimize the population external to the RV as much as possible.

Last edited 6 days ago by Spike
Judith Castle
6 days ago

We live in the woods of West Virginia. For several years I have put tea bags in all drawers, cabinets and bins with great success. Last year we had a lone mouse, caught in a trap after leaving his calling cards. I just toss them around throughout, especially near the engine and pedals.

Dave Engstrand
6 days ago

I have used Fresh Cab and ultrasonic repellers for the past several years with great results, no evidence of mice. I don’t know if it’s one or the other or both but it seems to be working as is so I leave well enough alone. I have used BatteryMINDers for the RV and other batteries for many years.

Bob p
6 days ago

I would think living in NH that snow would cover any solar panels making them useless. I have not seen any electronic pest repellent that operate on 12V. I don’t see the advantage to melting snow at the roof edge and leaving it on the roof as this could result in an ice dam that would cause roof leakage for sure. I think I would invest in a cover that will keep snow from sitting on the roof and melting. Of course the obvious answer is don’t leave it in the snow belt, take it to FL! Lol

Brad G
6 days ago

I have used, successfully, a product called FRESH CAB for rodent repellant in my Class C RV. It is mint based and has a pleasant odor. I live in NH, store my covered RV in my driveway and have Woods surrounding my house.

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