Summer is upon us and as the temperatures rise, it can become difficult to keep your RV at the perfect temperature. Many start thinking that it is time to replace the AC unit because it is not cooling as well. This is not always the case. Before thinking of replacing it, consider these two simple solutions:
AC maintenance and removing the stress on the AC.
AC Maintenance Steps
Clean the Condenser and Evaporator Coils.
Both the condenser and evaporator coils should be cleaned every year. When dust, dirt, and debries blocks the coils, it reduces air flow. When the airflow is restricted, the air conditioner has to work harder to remove the heat. You can do it yourself or hire a qualified RV Technician to do the job. A Certified Technician will also perform additional tests to verify that the AC is working correctly. You can find a Certified Technician at the RV Technician Association of America web page www.RVTAA.org
Air Intake Filters
Air conditioner efficiency is all about the system being able to breath. Your air intake filters must be cleaned regularly, possibly as often as every month or two. Simply remove the air filters, wash them thoroughly, then replace them after they have dried. The filter closest to the stove is often the worst as it picks up grease from the air which then traps dust particles. Rather than buying precut filters for $5 to $7, you can buy a sheet of the filter foam and cut four filters for about the same cost as one precut filter.
Inspect the Roof Unit Shroud
Sunlight can cause the shroud to become brittle and crack. Perform an inspection of the shroud every year to look for cracks or deterioration. If any are found then we recommend replacing the shroud.
Remove the Stress on the Air Conditioner
The direction you park has a huge effect on the inside temperature of your RV. To reduce the temperature, we recommend parking in an area with shade. You should also try to face most of your windows away from the afternoon sun.
Cooking inside can cause heat from your stove or oven to gather inside. You can reduce the buildup of heat by using the exhaust fan but that also takes out your cool air. If you cook outside, the heat will stay where it belongs.
Window Shades and Blinds
If your RV has a sun shade and night shade, use them. Both can be deployed at the same time which will help to naturally lower the temperature of your RV. Having the blinds down on windows that face the sun reduces the amount of heat being allowed in.
Following these six simple tips can help you Keep your Cool and Beat the Heat. If following these steps don’t work to keep your RV at the perfect temperature, contact a Certified RV Technician for help. You can find a tech on the RVTAA locator at www.rvta.org
The summer is upon us and camping season is about to be in full swing. Is your RV ready for that first trip? Lets look at some items to check before you head out for the first trip of the season.
This isn't really a tip or a trick, it is more of a source of annoyance with me. In general, RVers tend to refer to camping without city water, sewer, or electric as boondocking. Some use the term for staying in a parking lot, truck stop or rest area. Some use it when staying in the driveway at the in-laws. Others use it for camping in a campground without hook ups. I prefer to separate these into 4 distinct categories or terms.
The first term I'd like to define is "CAMPING". This term can be used for when you take your RV, tent, trailer, van or whatever to a place that has specific parking spots for you to stay. They could be in the national forest, state park, commercial campground or RV resort. They could have some hookups or none at all. The key here is that there are designated spots to put/park your gear.
LOT-DOCKING is the next one. This is parking your rig in a parking lot or on the street for you to catch a nights sleep while you are traveling. Many people lot-dock in Walmart, Cracker Barrel, or other big box store parking lot overnight to save on money. There are rules and etiquette that go along with lot-docking that I'll cover in another topic.
This leads me to MOOCH-DOCKING. Mooch-docking is mooching off of friends or family, parking in their driveways or yards. Sometimes you will use their power, water and even septic or sewer systems. I am very thankful for our family who have been kind enough to allow us to mooch-dock at their houses. It's nice being able to visit for an extended period yet not invade their homes.
Lastly is BOONDOCKING. Boondocking is done AWAY from others in many different places. You can boondock in the National Forest, BLM Land, State Trust Land, and on private land with permission. While boondocking you are self contained, there are no water, electric, or sewer connections, no paved roads and few if any neighbors. Boondocking is about getting away from the city and getting back to nature. There are still places in this country where you can boondock for a couple of weeks and not see another person, hear little noise, and view billions of stars at night. This is why boondocking is different from the other types of camping.
This is a question that I regularly see in social media posts. I will attempt to help you understand the differences and give some tips on making them both more effective. They both have the function of making your RV move less when parked. Without them or when improperly used, when someone walks or runs around in your RV, it will feel like an earthquake and that full cup of coffee will slosh right out of the cup.
Stabilizers are just what they sound like. They are tools to make your RV a bit more stable when it is parked. To use them, you need to level the RV first. Leveling is done with the front jack(s) and blocking under the tires. Once the RV is level, you extend the stabilizer's to provide additional supports from the frame that are touching the ground. There are many different types of stabilizers, each is pictured with the name they are called. Stabilizers can be manual, or electric. One of the key points with stabilizers is that the further they are extended the less stable they become. You can make them more stable by placing blocking underneath them.
Levelers or leveling jacks are normally hydraulic but can also be electric in rare situations. Levelers eliminate the need to drive onto blocks when getting your RV level in the first place. They have their limitations on just how much they will level your RV. Most Class A Motor Homes have hydraulic levelers that are automatic. Push the button and watch it work! Levelers also do better when they are not fully extended. Stackable blocks will help the levelers to be more stable. Levelers are often rated to lift the entire RV but are not recommended for making a tire change or working under the RV.
Did you know there are 3 electrical systems in a RV? Understanding what each one does and how they tie together is very important to know when troubleshooting your RV. There is the chassis electrical system, which is 12-volt DC, the coach electrical system which is also 12-volt DC and the house electrical system which is 120 volts AC. There are thousands of books that will teach you all about electricity, code, watts law, ohms law, resistance, amperage, and a host of other topics. This brief overview will explain what is powered in your RV by each of the systems.
The first system is the one that people tend to forget. The chassis electrical system is what runs the turn signals, brake lights and other DOT lighting. This is the same on both towables and on motorhomes. On a motorhome, the chassis electrical system does a bunch of extra stuff, all related to the engine, transmission, gauges, and accessories that are used driving down the road. These systems are much the same as the car you drive daily. The chassis system operates mostly independently of the other electrical systems except for charging of batteries in the coach electrical system. There are other ties between the chassis and coach electrical systems, but they are much more in-depth that the purpose of this article.
The heart of the RV is the coach electrical system. If the batteries in this system are dead, little to nothing will work in the rest of the RV. The coach electrical system supplies the power for all the interior lighting, exterior convenience lighting, awning motors, slides, water pump, gauges, water heater controls, air conditioning controls, furnace fan and controls, and much more. Each of the circuits in the system are protected by fuses. Many of the newer fuse panels have a LED indicator light that will illuminate if a fuse is burnt out or removed from the panel. Become familiar with the location of your fuse panel so you know where to start looking if there is a problem.
The last electrical system house or 120-volt AC system. This is where your outlets are connected for your household items to work. Things like a blow-dryer, television, crockpot, microwave, or toaster are powered by the house electrical system. The air conditioning is powered by the house electrical system but is controlled by the coach electrical system. One of the important jobs that the house system has is to charge the coach batteries through a converter. The converter takes 120 Volt AC and converts it to 12 Volt DC power to store in the coach batteries. The house power, 120-volt AC power, comes from a couple of different sources. You get AC power through the shore power cord which plugs the RV into the 30- or 50-amp post in the campground. The second most common source of house power is from the generator. The generator burns fuel in its engine and turns the generator for the 120-volt AC power. The last source of power is from an invertor. An invertor takes 12 Volt DC power from the coach batteries and provides 120-volt AC power. The process to take 12 Volt DC power and get 120-volt AC power takes lots of energy and will drain your batteries quickly.
One of the biggest problems people who are new to RVs experience is being out camping and ending up with dead batteries. You quickly learn to minimize the use of battery power and keep it for essentials, or you invest in upgrading the coach electrical system to lithium batteries and adding solar to keep them charged to the maximum.
As previously stated, this is just a basic overview of the three electrical systems in a RV. It is important to know what each of the systems does so you can understand why the lights work but the microwave will not. As you get to know your RV better you will want to learn more about all of the components and how they interact. Every Inch RV Inspection Services provides new owner education and group seminars on this and other RV related topics. Every Inch RV Inspection Services can be reached at (520) 269-0637 or Scott@EveryInchRV.com
If you have a particular question let us know and we will consider it for future updates
Marana, Arizona, United States
Every Inch RV Inspection Services will be closed from September 1st to November 1st, 2022 while Scott goes back to the NRVTA for more training. Every Inch RV Inspection Services will reopen on November 1st and will also be offering mobile technician services.