Top ten reasons to retire to an RV in Pennsylvania

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Retire to the RV lifestyle

Retirement is the time for a simpler life and the chance to do things you didn’t have time for when working. Living the RV lifestyle in retirement has several advantages. Here are ten of the most thought of…

Ten reasons to retire to an RV;

  1. Live your retirement dreams. Are there places you’ve wanted to visit but never took the time or perhaps didn’t have the money to do so? Now you can travel at your leisure and visit all those places. Whether it’s visiting national parks, following the Oregon Trail, playing at amusement parks or getting your fill of country western music, it’s all there for you
  2. Take your house with you:Instead of having to pack and unpack and hassle with airports or schlepping luggage in and out of motels, everything is there. Some RVs come with air or pillow-top mattresses, or you can add your own. Instead of sleeping on a lumpy mattress or too hard one night, then too soft the next, enjoy your own. Your bathroom is clean and you can relax at night on your comfortable sofa or La-Z-Boy recliner.
  3. Zero yard work and cleaning house is a breeze: With only a couple of hundred square feet to clean, cleaning house takes just a few minutes. There is no lawn to mow or yard to maintain.
  4. Stay active: Most experts agree that staying active prolongs and improves quality of life. Living in an RV provides many ways to stay active physically and mentally. When traveling, you have to stay engaged with life!
  5. Live less expensively: An RV is much less expensive to maintain than a house. Nightly campground fees are normally less than property tax and maintenance expenses on a stick house. Many expenses in the RV lifestyle can be controlled so you can cut back in a budget category when needed.
  6. Meet new people and make new friends:RVers are very friendly people. Opportunities are constant to meet new people. Get involved with an RV club or at an RV resort and find a whole new community. Working or volunteering as you travel is another way to meet people and make friends.
  7.  One house, many views:When you get tired of one view, move on to the next. RVing is the ideal way to snow bird. Go where it is cool in the summer and where it is warm in the winter. Change your ocean view to a mountain view in a matter of a few hours.
  8. No property taxes: Enjoy home ownership (your RV) without property taxes. Rent an RV space for as long as you want, then move.
  9.  Have many new experiences:You can actively have so many new experiences and be part of them rather than experience them vicariously on the boob tube. Stand where Lewis and Clark stood on their Voyage of Discovery. Crew for a hot air balloon at Albuquerque. Kayak among whales in Glacier Bay. Hike part of the Appalachian Trail. Or visit historical monuments; an auto tour at Gettysburg makes you feel like you are part of the Civil War.
  10. Visit friends and relatives: Visiting friends and relatives in an RV makes visiting so much more fun. Even if you are parked in their driveway, you have your own space. Or,stay at a nearby RV park so you are not instant babysitters!

Do you know of any other reasons to retire to the RVing Lifestyle?  If so please post them.

This is an excerpt from a list compiled by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak. Jamie is an RV Lifestyle Expert. She has been RVing since 1992.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Wiring 6 & 12 Volt RV Batteries Properly

In my last post I wanted to offer my readers some insight on RV Batteries.  Specifically 6 volt batteries vs a 12 volt battery.  Here is the follow-up article to that post. If you decided that 6 volt batteries are the way you are going to go on your camper. Here is the way to do it properly;

If you are going to buy new 12 Volt or 6 Volt batteries for your RV, it is important to know how to wire them properly so that you do not damage your RVs electrical system. Although this is an easy concept to understand, many people tend to get this wrong. Basically, there are two ways to wire your batteries: in series or in parallel. In RVs where 6 Volt batteries are used, you may need to use a combination of both these methods to get 12 Volt output and increase the amount of total Amp Hours simultaneously. Let’s discuss this further and provide some examples:

Batteries wired in series:

  • With batteries wired in series, the Voltage increases but the Amperage remains the same.
    • Example:  If you take two 6 Volt batteries that have a capacity rating of 220 Amp Hours each and you wire them in series, you will get a total of 12 Volts of power; however, the total Amp Hours will remain the same at a total of 220 Amp Hours.
  • With batteries wired in series, the positive (+) from one battery is connected to the negative (-) terminal of the other.  The remaining free positive (+) terminal and negative (-) terminal are used to connect to your RV.
  • This is how you create 12 Volts from two 6 Volt batteries.

Following is a graphic that represents two 6 Volt batteries wired in series.

six volt batteries wired in series

Take a look at the diagram above. Here we have two 6 Volt batteries wired in series. With the positive from one battery connected to the negative of the other battery you have in essence created one 12 Volt battery out of two 6 Volt batteries. As I stated before, when you wire batteries in series, the Voltage increases and the Amperage stays the same. That is why in this scenario we have 12 Volts output; however, even though each battery is rated at 220 Amp Hours, we are still only receiving a total of 220 Amp Hours. The only thing that has increased here is the Voltage. If in this scenario each battery was a 12 Volt battery, you would have a total of 24 Volts output (which would not be good for your RV).

Batteries wired in parallel:

  • With batteries wired in parallel, the Voltage remains the same but the amperage increases.
    • Example: If you take two 12 Volt batteries that have a capacity of 210 Amp Hours each and you wire them in parallel, the Voltage will remain the same at 12 Volts; however, the total Amp Hours will increase to 420 Amp Hours.
  • With batteries wired in parallel, the positive terminal connects to the positive terminal of the next battery and the negative terminal connects to the negative terminal of the next battery.
  • This is how you increase the total amount of Amp Hours you can get out of your battery bank.

Following is a graphic that represents two 12 Volt batteries wired in parallel.

two 12 volt batteries wired in parallel

In this scenario we have wired two 12 Volt batteries in parallel. As a result, the Voltage has remained the same (at 12 Volts) however the total Amp Hours increases to 420 Amp Hours, which is the total of the two batteries added together.

In my 5th wheel, I used a combination of series and parallel wiring. By taking six – 6 Volt batteries and wiring pairs of batteries in series, I can basically create three 12 Volt batteries that I can then wire in parallel to increase the amount of total Amp Hours that are available. Let’s take a look at how this works:

2 six volt batteries wired in series with a volmeter attached

Take a look at the diagram above. Since this scenario gets confusing for some people I am going to try to make it as simple as possible. This diagram consists of two 6 Volt batteries wired in series.  If you were to take a digital Voltmeter and measure the Voltage from the combination of these two batteries (holding one probe at the free positive (+) terminal and one at the free negative (-) terminal) you would get a reading of 12 Volts. For all intents and purposes, you can now think of this as one 12 Volt battery.  In this scenario the Voltage has increased but the amperage has remained the same.

Now if I want to ensure that I have more total Amp Hours for all my toys, all I have to do is take several of these 6 Volt battery combinations (that are wired in series to give me 12 Volts) and wire them in parallel. Take a look at the diagram below.

six volt batteries wired in series and paralled

In this scenario we have taken six – 6 Volt batteries and wired them in series and parallel to give us 12 Volts and 660 Amp Hours of battery capacity. How did we end up with 660 Amp hours? Remember that each 6 Volt pair of batteries wired in series gives us 220 Amp hours. We have now wired the three pairs of batteries in parallel and when batteries are wired in parallel, the amperage increases. So since each pair produces 220 Amp Hours x 3 pairs = 660 Amp Hours total.

*Don’t mix batteries. If you are going to install new or improved batteries, make sure they are all of the same type (AGM, gel or flooded) and make sure that they are all purchased at the same time and are of the same age. Mixing older batteries with newer ones will most likely limit the longevity of the newer batteries and cause them to degrade or fail sooner.

*Use true deep cycle batteries. Don’t get sold on marine batteries as they are not a true deep cycle battery and are constructed to be somewhere in between a starting battery and a deep cycle battery.

*Before you connect your batteries to your RV or inverter, use a digital voltmeter to ensure that you have wired your batteries properly to output 12 Volts. The last thing you want to do is pump 24 Volts or more through your RVs 12 Volt electrical system accidentally and ruin all of your electronics.

*When installing or working on your batteries make sure you use insulated tools. There is a lot of power stored in a battery. If you accidentally touch both battery posts with your wrench or touch the RV chassis, you could get shocked, burned or even short the battery out and cause it to explode.

*When working on your batteries use protective clothing, safety glasses, and rubber gloves to protect yourself from shocks.

If you have any questions on how to properly wire your 6 volt battery configuration or would rather allow an RV professional do it for you, give your Central PA RV Service Center a call at 800-722-1236.

The RV Battery Dilemma..

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In this corner, the well-known 12 volt battery. In the opposite corner, the challenger, the 6 volt battery….

I decided to start the new year off with a post about batteries. The things that allow us to switch on that light in the middle of the night to find the bathroom.  I recently came across this excellent article comparing 6 volt batteries to 12 volt batteries.  I have several customers that swear by the 6 volt set up. And after reading this article, I might be moved to agree with them.  Let me know your thoughts after you read it…

When I was deciding what batteries to use for my 5th wheel, the first decision that I had to make was 6 Volt vs. 12 Volt batteries. Based on my research, I found that many avid RVers swore by 6 Volt batteries as being superior to 12 Volt batteries. I know that some people may be a little confused by this as they ask, “Don’t most RVs rely on 12 Volts?” The answer is yes, however, you can use 6 Volt batteries if you wire them properly to output 12 Volts. So the next question that many people ask is, “Why would you use 6 Volt batteries instead of 12 Volt batteries? Why not just use 12 Volt batteries?”  If you do some research on the web, you will find endless debates surrounding this topic. In reality, the most important thing to consider is the total Amp Hours you will receive from the batteries in relation to what you can fit into your RV in terms of weight and space. However, there may be some truth to the idea that 6 Volt batteries are superior.

If for instance you use two Group 27 12-Volt batteries that are rated at 105 amp hours each and you wire them in parallel (we will discuss parallel vs. series wiring below), then you will receive a total of 210 amp hours out of your batteries. However, if you use two 6-Volt batteries that are roughly the same size and weight that are rated at 210 amp hours each and you wire them in series for 12 Volts, you will also receive 210 amp hours out of them. So in both situations you are using two batteries and in both situations you are getting roughly the same amount of Amp Hours. So the question remains why choose the 6 Volt batteries over the 12 Volt? The reason is simple when you consider the batteries construction.

Remember from our discussion earlier that a 12 Volt battery is actually made up of six individual battery cells that each output approximately 2.12-2.15 Volts each. Each one of these cells is made up of a lead plate that is surrounded by an acid solution. Generally speaking, the heavier these plates are, the longer they will last and the better suited they are for deep cycle discharges and recharges. Since 6 Volt batteries only contain three cells per battery as opposed to six cells for a 12 Volt battery and since comparable batteries (in terms of amp hours) are roughly the same size (dimensions and weight will vary), the 6 Volt battery is usually constructed with larger plates and therefore tends to last longer in deep discharge situations. Similarly, you may even find that 6 Volt batteries are slightly cheaper than 12 Volt batteries. As a result of the 6 Volt batteries being constructed better and being slightly cheaper, most avid RVers will choose the 6 Volt batteries if they have the space to mount them. If you do some additional research on the web, you can even find people who have tested 12 Volt and 6 Volt batteries side by side. In all of these tests, the results seem to confirm that 6 Volt batteries are superior.

So what are your thoughts? Your choice in batteries is a person choice, both accomplish the job. Regardless if it is a 6 volt or a 12 volt battery,  the lights will be own at the flip of the switch. If not give PA’s RV service department a call…800-722-1236

Safe travels and Happy RVing in the New Year.

Save $$$ in 2012…Go RVing!

Travelers save when they go RVing!

A study prepared for RVIA by PKF Consulting USA found a family of four that owns an RV can take an RV trip for 23 percent to 59 percent less than other types of vacations. For a couple traveling by RV, savings were 11 percent to 46 percent. Even after accounting for factors such as RV ownership costs and fuel prices, the study confirms that RV vacations offer greater savings than vacations taken by car or airline and requiring hotel/rental stays and restaurant meals.

PKF analyzed vacation costs to nine popular destinations for a family of four and a party of two adults and included different types of RVs and varying vacation durations. It also analyzed how theoretical increases in fuel prices could affect vacation travel costs.

RV vacations proved more economical than the other vacations, regardless of trip duration,  distance, or vacation region,  said PKF vice president Kannan Sankaran. “While fuel costs are a component of the overall vacation cost, they are not significant enough to materially affect the outcome of our analysis.” So fuel costs are not really a factor to most family vacations.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

The perfect gifts for the RVer/Camper in your family.

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Tis' the Season...

Christmas seems to come faster every year. If you are like me, then you probably wait until the last minute to find gifts for your friends and loved ones. It can be hard trying to pick out that special present for those who mean so much to you. If you are looking for the perfect gift for the RV enthusiast that you know, you may not know what to get. There are many great gift ideas to make RVing easier and more fun for RV owners and passengers alike.

One of the things that you have to take into consideration when buying gifts for an RVer is space. RVs may have more room than other vehicles, but in terms of living space, being economical is key. One great gift for the avid reader would be an e-book such as a Kindle, Nook or maybe a new Kindle Fire. These devices will free up a lot of storage space currently being used up by books, many of which are read once and then never touched again. Less flashy things, like portable meal trays, are a great way to open up more room for someone who is living in an RV. One of the best gifts that you could give an RVer is the gift of more living space, so you may want to look for items that will take up little space or allow more space to be used.

Another great part of RVing is being outdoors. Making life better while at a campsite is a great way to make an RVer happy on Christmas morning. Outdoor furniture such as chairs, tables, and even outdoor recliners will make living outdoors a lot easier. Outdoor carpets/area rugs for under the awning are always a hot seller too.  If you are looking to get a gift for the chef in the family, kitchen utensils and appliances are always a hit. Just look for items that will take up minimal space and open up possibilities in the kitchen.

There are many great products and possibilities out there for RV owners, so be sure to start your shopping now, because Christmas is just around the corner. Be sure to visit your Pennsylvania RV dealer for all your RV Christmas needs.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Stay warm on those cold RV nights

With the weather starting to get colder, and the days shorter, you are probably experiencing a bit of a chill at night now. This is also the time of year where you are still RVing in cooler climates before either heading south for the winter or storing your RV until next season. Staying warm and comfortable in your RV is a key to have a great trip this time of year. No one likes sleepless nights shivering the whole time, so how should you stay warm? The easy answer is your RV furnace, but you may be out at a camp site when that breaks down, so what are you back up options?
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The two most popular choices are heating strips and portable heaters. Like all things, there are pros and cons that go with both, and it is more of a preferential choice. Let’s look at portable heaters first. The great thing about these are that they do a good job heating a small space. At night, shut the door to your room and turn one of these on and you will stay warm through out the night. They are also quiet, which is key to falling asleep. The problem with them is that they tend to break down easily over time. If you buy one you can expect to buy another after a few years. Also, there is always to risk of fire with these heaters, due to the exposed heating coils. If you use one, be sure to put it in a safe place out of contact with combustibles.

Another option is a heating strip. A heating strip is installed in the air conditioner and it is a 1500 watt heater. This option is good because it is generally more reliable than the portable heater, and it doesn’t take up any extra space in the RV. The not so great part about them is that you have to run your A/C fan through the night, and it doesn’t heat your rig nearly as well as the portable heater. You won’t freeze to death with one, but you won’t be toasty.

If all else fails, keep extra quilts and blankets in your RV and bundle up for warmth. If you are looking for a new RV ta stay warm in, be sure to come into Lerch RV.

The World’s Most Expensive Motorcoach New on the Market: the eleMMent Palazzo

Austrian company Marchi Mobile has constructed a spaced-age, luxury motor-mansion on wheels, the eleMMent Palazzo. This 2-level aerodynamic design gets 13 miles per gallon, helping to achieve a 20% increase in fuel efficiency of motor-homes. The body was designed by Luigi Colani, a German industrial designer.

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eleMMent Palazzo with ladder lift

This motorcoach is high class all the way with each being custom designed for the owner’s personal wishes, needs and style. Each eleMMent comes with a convenient lift ladder entry, a living room/lounge, a master bedroom, a kitchen and two bathrooms (one located each floor).

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eleMMent Living Room/Lounge area

With a living space of 215 square feet, the living area slide-outs double the size, making it 430 square feet. The bedroom comes with a 40 inch TV and a master bathroom with a rainfall shower and a separate toilet.

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eleMMent Master Bedroom

There is also a working fireplace, hardwood floors, skylights, a programmed central control remote, luxurious decorations, height-adjustable seating, mobile Internet, streaming video surveillance and satellite TV. The eleMMent also has a glow-in-the-dark finish to improve night safety.

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eleMMent Master Bathroom

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Sky Lounge and Bar

The Palazzo comes with a Sky Lounge (20 square meters) that rises from the top of the motor-home with a press of a button. The sky lounge comes with heated floors and a bar.

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eleMMent Exterior with Sky Lounge extended up

The eleMMent Palazzo has a top speed of 93 mph and a 510 bhp engine. Despite being over 40 feet long and having 20 tons (44,000 pounds) of weight, this motorhome gets 13 miles per gallon and reduces fuel consumption of up to 20% because of the aerodynamic design.

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eleMMent Driver's Cab, or should we say 'Cockpit'

This huge motor-coach does need a special driver with a HGV license (heavy-goods vehicle license – required mostly in the UK and Europe). The coach is equipped with a driver’s cab that has a bunk bed in it.

The most luxurious, modernized motor-coach is on sale now for only $1.9 million pounds ($2.9 million), making it the most expensive motor-home on the market in the world right now!

No if only we could afford this peace of luxury. However if you are looking for something to fit your family budget, give Lerch RV a call. We strive to make buying easy!

Safe travels and Happy RVing!