Wellington and Me

Wellington and Me
My rolling home!

Monday, June 29, 2015

How to Exercise your RV

So you have an RV.   It has some combination of heater/furnace, air conditioning, generator, engine, transmission.  Those system are used in different combinations, different times of the year, or sometimes not at all depending on your RV use. But no matter what, you want to make sure those systems stay in good working order even when not being used regularly.

To keep these systems humming along and ready to work when you need them, you should maintain them with regular exercise, and with standard maintenance.

Exercise your RV? 

Yep, think about it.  If you have a motor home and it's parked most of the time, the engine, its oil, its fuel, they're just sitting there idle, potentially breaking down over time.  If you have a generator but typically are connected to "shore power", it's not being used. Same as above... it has fuel and oil contained inside that needs to be regularly burned, moved, and used so it stays in good working order.  Your propane furnace, your hot water heater, your air conditioning units... they all need to be exercised periodically to maintain their seals and systems.

So a simple thing to do is mark your calendar for the 1st of every month as RV maintenance day! Start up your engine. Start up your generator.  Run your furnace.  Run your hot water. Run your AC... let them all run 30 - 60 minutes (60 recommended for gas/diesel systems to flush old fuel out of the lines).  This will help things stay lubricated, flushed and working well.

Maintain your systems

The other thing of course is to have things regularly maintained by an expert.  Camping World offers a yearly preventative maintenance package, but other RV shops likely have something similar they can recommend.  Check all vital systems, seals, change the oil on engines, clean/replace filters and more.  Check the roof status and seals, the slide-outs... Having this type of service done once a year should keep you putting right down the road, or enjoying your rolling home all year long!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Beating the Heat in an RV

I was told, or maybe read, when I first considered RV living, that one of the things that can be a constant battle, is HEAT.  No problem in the cooler months, but when it's warm outside, its generally HOT inside.

Thankfully most modern RV's have air conditioning units on top to help keep things comfortable inside, but they do take quite a bit of power to run, require 110 power, so if you're not connected to shore power that means running your generator, and can be rather noisy.  It's a somewhat soothing white noise hum and whoosh type of sound, but if you want to watch a movie at the same time... well you get the idea.

Some things can help with the heat to reduce how often or how much you need to run those units:

1) Shade - if possible, ask for a space at the rv park or campground that is shaded by trees.  This helps a great deal, obviously.

2) Awnings - use your large awning to shade a large portion of one side of your rv.  If you have window shades that can help enormously too.  If you don't have window awnings, you can look into adding them.  They run into the hundreds of dollars... but if you are in hot sunny conditions often, they can be very worth it.

3) Window covers - The front window of your RV (if a motor home), if hit by the sun, is like a giant greenhouse.  Sure, you can use the curtains or shades your RV has on the inside, but the sun will still get in, and heat up the air between the window and the shades.  So you still end up with an enormous amount of heat inside that your AC units then have to battle.  Consider getting a sun blocking fabric shade that attaches outside the window with snaps.  I got a do it yourself kit from wayfair.com that allowed me to cut it to size, add the attachment snaps with peal and stick tape all for about $60.  I've also read that companies that make awnings for homes and businesses can make one for you to fit your RV for much cheaper than ones specifically designed for your model.  It can be a life saver.

As for your other windows... the same as above holds true.  Shading them from the direct sun, especially on the outside before the sun gets IN, will help keep the temp down.  You can get fabric covers as mentioned above, but I've also gone to a home supply store such as Home Depot and bought rolled silver bubble insulation, cut it to measure and attached it to the side out to cover the windows with some spring clamps.  Its very affordable and does the job well for those really hot periods.

4) Maintain your roof and exterior paint - Remember that your roof gets beat on by the sun all the time.  It must be maintained.  Keeping it clean, free of dirt, and protected with a UV protectant is a very good idea.  The cleaner and better condition it is in, the most it can reflect heat generating sun. Same is true for your RV exterior.  If it's clean and has a decent wax on the paint and/or decals, the better it can reflect the heat generating rays.

5) Watch the external temp - when the temp outside drops down below your inside temp, turn off the AC units, open the windows, door and vents and turn on those vent fans.  It will push air out the top (heat) and pull in the cooler air from the inside.  If your vents don't have those awesome Fantastic Fans, consider getting them!  They really help not only with heat but also pulling out moisture from showers, dishes, cooking, etc.  

6) As a last heat beating weapon, remember evaporation - Evaporation reduces the temperature of things but 10-20 degrees!  If you really have a heat issue, you can consider spraying some water on the grounds around your rv.  Spray some on the rv itself.  Install a mister to your awning or get a portable standing unit. This can be a great help to enjoying the outside area in high temps too.

Enjoy the sun in your rv!  And always remember... sunscreen.  :)