An RV checklist for everyone…

If you’re like us, you can’t wait to get your camper opened up for the camping season! (If you have not already done so.) In fact, we’re so eager we’ve compiled a checklist of items for you that will help you have a smooth, hassle-free camping season this year. Everyone who RVs should utilize a check list, like the one below. An RV checklist will help you open up the camper for the coming camping season, as well as when you put the camper away for the year.  The list below should be done while you are at home, doing so will allow you to enjoy a trouble-free camping trip.

 

RV START-UP CHECKLIST

  • Inspect and work all interior and exterior latches and locks (lube if necessary).
  • Make sure the batteries are fully charged and installed correctly. A bad battery can make for a bad camping trip.
  • Inspect the power cord and carefully clean the contacts if necessary. Plug in the power cord to an appropriate power source.
  • Turn on the interior lights and check outlets for polarity. If needed, replace any blown fuses. Check the circuit breakers and test the GFCI.
  • Inspect and test all safety detectors. If needed, replace any drained or discharged batteries. If you have a defective or damaged safety detector, replace it immediately.
  • Inspect and turn on the propane system. If you have any questions, contact your dealer or a qualified propane service representative for assistance.
  • If the propane system is functioning properly, test the pilot lights on range, refrigerator, furnace and water heater (if so equipped).
  • Inspect the leveling jacks (if so equipped) for operation. If needed, perform maintenance as specified by the leveling jack manufacturer.
  • Test all exterior and interior lights. Replace any bulbs if they are burnt out.
  • Inspect the tires for wear, cracks and inflation pressure.
  • Wash the exterior of the RV.
  • Do a sealant inspection and repair as necessary.
  • De-winterize and sanitize the fresh water system.
  • Connect your tow vehicle to the RV and test all connections and lights. This should be done every time you hook up to tow.

Some of the above items should be looked over a couple of times a year. We recommend having your RV thoroughly checked when you have your required state inspection completed.  Preventative RV maintenance will allow you to enjoy a trouble-free camper for many years to come.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Pink is our favorite color…RV Winterizing

 

RV winterizing with RV antifreeze

Got to think pink!

It is that time of year once more. Time to prepare to winterize your beloved camper.

As much as we don’t like having to think about putting our RV away for the winter, it’s inevitable if you live in colder climates. That’s why we’re here with ways to properly prepare your RV for colder weather or storage, which is very important in most states and Canada. If an RV is not properly prepared for the winter months, it may cause water supply lines and the water heater to freeze. This article will give you some great tips on how to best winterize your RV.

First off, your RV should be winterized at the end of the camping season or when the RV will be exposed to temperatures that will fall at or below 32°F (0°C).

 Depending on the type of RV you own, there are two methods of winterizing. Also, as always, we ask that you read, understand the instructions before beginning and follow the instructions as you go. If you are not sure if you should be winterizing your coach yourself, please visit your local RV dealership for help.  Many dealerships, such as Lerch RV, will provide you with assistance or show you how to properly and safely winterize your camper yourself.  Here are the two ways to winterize your RV depending on the type you have.

Air pressure

This method will utilize an air hose to blow excess water from the water lines.

1. Make sure all holding tanks are empty and drain valves OPEN.

2. Run the water pump until it is dry, this will take approximately 15-20 seconds.

3. OPEN all faucets and drains, and the toilet.

4. Using an air hose and adapter (customer supplied), blow air through the city water connection. Any remaining water will blow out in five to ten minutes.

5. Pour one cup of non-toxic RV antifreeze into all drain P-traps.

Demand or power plumbing system (the most popular way to winterize your RV)

It may be easier to winterize the RV with another person to assist you.

1. Level the RV and drain the fresh water plumbing system.

2. Replace the water filter cartridge with the clear plastic bypass hose (if so equipped).

3. Make sure the water heater 12-volt and 120-volt interior control switches are OFF.

4. Turn the water heater bypass valves to the BYPASS position. Your RV valves may also be labeled  “Sanitize/Winterize Lines” position.

5. Make sure the “fresh tank drain” and “low point drains” are closed.  For most RVs, the low point drains must be closed for the antifreeze to siphon through the lines.

6. Insert the garden hose into a container of RV antifreeze solution (this quantity should be enough to winterize the RV); attach the other end to the City Water Fill.

7. Turn the water pump ON.

8. Open the hot water line on all the faucets (kitchen, lavatory, shower and outside shower) until RV antifreeze begins to flow continuously.

9. Close the faucet hot water lines and repeat with the cold water lines on all the faucets. Do not forget to run RV antifreeze through the toilet.

When you are done adding RV antifreeze

10. Remove the garden hose from the container of RV antifreeze.

11. To prevent staining, wipe the RV antifreeze out of the sinks, shower (or tub) and toilet using a soft, dry cloth.

As always, if you need assistance, please contact your local RV dealer.

WARNING…Please note that repairs due to freezing are not always covered under the terms of your manufacturer warranty.  When in doubt, please consult your warranty and/or the dealership that you purchased your RV. Also,automotive antifreeze (ethylene glycol) and windshield washer antifreeze (methanol) are poisonous. Never use these products in your fresh water system. These products are harmful and may be fatal if swallowed. Please use approved non toxic RV anti-freeze in your camper.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

 

The new Helium way to keep your cool Pennsylvania RV owners

Atwood Heliem RV Refrigerator at Pennsylvania RV dealer

Atwood’s new helium-charged gas-absorption refrigerator

I recently saw my first Atwood ‘He’ RV Refrigerator in a new Keystone Passport.  It is a very sharp-looking RV refrigerator. The doors easily open and close, and the lay out of the shelving is nice.  With this being a brand new refrigerator technology that will be available in newer unit, I wanted to share with you this article from RV Business that I read a month ago or so.  The new Helium technology is quite interesting and should provide a stable product for many years to come.

The basic design of gas-absorption refrigerators — the type most often used in RV applications — hasn’t changed all that much since they first went into commercial use almost 90 years ago. Sure, they’ve been frequently upgraded with features that make them nearly the equivalent of compressor-driven residential units, and they’ve been restyled to today’s standards.

Operationally, however, they still employ the same original concept, using the same basic components — ammonia, hydrogen gas and water — in a closed system to create a chemical reaction that cools by way of evaporation.

That will change — to an extent — in August when Atwood Mobile Products plans a controlled roll-out of its new RV refrigerator because the new Atwood reefer incorporates helium instead of hydrogen.

According to Kip Ellis, vice president of sales and marketing for the Elkhart, Ind.-based supplier, the company wanted to focus on the technological side of it and what could be done to advance the refrigeration product that’s used in the RV segment today.

Helium, as Ellis explained, is a product that has been used for quite a long time in cooling — in hotel minibars, for example — and it has, from a cooling and gas-absorption standpoint, several similar properties to hydrogen.

“The challenge has been in how to adapt that technology effectively to the RV market,” he added. “The refrigerators are bigger units and they are subject to temperature swings and vibrations. Also, helium is a different element than hydrogen, so we had to reconfigure the system to accommodate the distinctions in helium versus hydrogen.”

Additionally, Atwood’s new reefer incorporates a state-of-the-art “anti-tilt system” built into the unit that shows the consumer on a lighted panel if the refrigerator is level. If it’s not level, it allows them to work to get to the point where it is. If they continue to operate it in an out-of-level position over the life of the unit, it has a counter built into it that will prevent the unit from getting to the point where it could fracture.

“If it’s used over and over in a manner that induces some sort of trauma to the system it will go into a lockout mode that requires the consumer to take it to a dealer for service work,” Ellis said.

Other aesthetic and functional features include two-way power system (AC and LP-gas), LED lighting, a door-ajar alarm, modern digital display and “cool crisper bins” that, Ellis noted, “use blue-hued light to further enhance the cooling aspect of the refrigerator in terms of a look and appearance for the consumer.”

Atwood is currently showing the refrigerator to RV OEMs — it will also be ultimately available as an aftermarket replacement — and plans are in the works to debut the unit with a “managed rollout” in mid-August. At least initially, the new reefer will be available in 6- and 8-cubic-foot models.

What will you haul in your Keystone Fuzion?

Pennsylvania Fuzion Toy Haulers, Lerch RV, PA RV Sales, Service.

With the Keystone Fuzion and its cargo space standards, the options are nearly endless when it comes to what you can haul.  It features a large 8′ hinged spring-assist door/ramp that has a 3,000 lb. capacity and a wide ramp door opening that has eliminated the problem of scraping the chassis or exhaust of your beloved bike. The Fuzion cargo area also has an anti-slip, non-skid flooring on the ramp door to help you load your toys with ease. Fuzion will easily transport your prized cargo with ease. The waffle pattern steel frame garage floor offers an incredible amount of strength and durability.  Tandem axle models offer a 10″ I-Beam while triple axle models offer a 12″ I-Beam. Using a 1″ seamless Dyna-span floor mounted to the steel waffle pattern design easily offers up to 2,500 lbs. of capacity in all garages. In conjunction with this structure, Fuzion welds multiple 2,500 lbs. capacity anchors points directly onto the steel frame for incredible security for your gear when tied down.  Dual fuel tanks allow you to have separate fuel for your generator while reserving the ‘high octane, good stuff’ available for your toys.  The retractable screen wall also comes in handy when you want to relax in the cargo area and enjoy the outdoors without the bugs. And with 81’ – 144’ square feet (dependent upon the floor-plan) you have plenty of space to haul your passions. Heading out to ride the Dragon on your bike? Camp in the Smoky Mountains, and ride the bike in some beautiful country. Going 4-wheeling for the weekend? No problem! The Fuzion can handle it. Traveling to a flea market to sell your crafts? It’s perfect for storage and transportation. Looking to kayak down the river? Just put your kayak in the back of the Fuzion and hit the road. We could keep going because with the Keystone Fuzion, you can reinvent your space. What would you haul in your Fuzion?

Cleaning your RV, the ‘inside’ scoop.

I have posted about keeping your RV clean before, but usually focus on the outside.  However if you are like me and like to keep a clean house inside, below are some tips for the interior of your travel trailer or fifth wheel.  Keeping your Recreational vehicle or camper clean will help extend the life of your unit, plus a regular cleaning will enable you to become familiar with areas of your RV, and acts a great preventative maintenance visual check. You could discover a small problem before it becomes a major one.

So here with some helpful hints on cleaning the inside of your RV. First, it’s important to use the proper cleaning supplies and techniques to avoid damages that may happen to the interior surfaces of your RV. It’s always important to check with your manufacturer’s information for the recommended cleaning agents.  Clean only as recommended. If you’re ever in doubt about a cleaning product and what it might do to your RV, be sure to first test a small area out of sight. And please, don’t ever use flammable liquids or sprays to clean your RV.

So, now that the basics are out-of-the-way, we’ll break it down into areas of your RV interior.

Furniture Upholstery: if your furniture is covered in fabric or suede and it becomes stained or dirty, it is recommended that the fabric be professionally cleaned. You can refer to the specific manufacturer’s instructions for more care options.  For all vinyl covered furniture, water based cleaners are recommended, but not solvents as they may have an adverse reaction. Blot up the spot rather than rubbing to avoid saturating the area.

Décor items: Occasionally use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to dust things such as window treatments, curtains, blinds and shares. To help prevent mildew or mold on the shower curtain, clean it frequently. Décor glass can be cleaned with a glass cleaner to remove smudges. Be sure to take care around any etching that might exist on the glass.

Hardware & Sink or Shower Fixtures: Use a mild dish soap and water to clean these fixtures. Avoid harsh chemicals or sprays. For hard water spots, a mild solution of vinegar and water works well.

Paneling: Use a mild solution of soap and luke warm water with a soft sponge or cloth. Avoid abrasive cleaners as they could cause damage such as scratching or dullness. All-purpose spray cleaner works well for those stubborn dirt and grease spots. Harsh cleaners and organic solvents are not recommended because they can attack the vinyl.

Cabinetry & Tables: Simply dust with a soft cloth dampened with cleaning polish or mild detergent solution to keep hardwood doors, cabinet fronts and tables looking like new. Ammonia based products or silicone oils may cause damage if used over a long period of time so avoid using those types of products. Promptly wipe up spills to avoid potential problems.

Counter-tops: Avoid harsh chemicals such as drain cleaners, oven cleaners, etc. and do not let cleaners with bleach set on the top. Wipe those off immediately. For laminate counter-tops stubborn stains can be removed with a general-purpose spray cleaner. For solid surface counter tops soapy water, ammonia based cleaners or commercially available solid surface cleaners will remove most dirt and residue from all types of finishes. A damp cloth followed by a dry towel will remove watermarks.

Flooring: For carpet, be sure to vacuum regularly to avoid stains. If you have tough and deep stains, have them professionally steam cleaned. Spot removers can be used for minor spills. Always test the carpet for color fastness in an inconspicuous area before using any product. For vinyl flooring, it is good to periodically vacuum or sweep. Spills are easier to clean if wiped up before they set. Blotting with a paper towel should work. To clean more deeply, use a damp mop with water and a mild cleaner. Do not soak the flooring. Use care to avoid wetting the carpet edges. Also, don’t use cleaners that contain oil based solvents to avoid yellowing linoleum.

There you have it, some basic cleaning guidelines for the inside of your RV. As always, if you have questions, please contact your central Pennsylvania RV Dealer or your trailer’s manufacturer.

Pennsylvania does your RV stink?

Have you ever walked into a stale RV and wondered where the smell is coming from? Or are you trying to remove a smell in your RV after a long winter storage? The various smells and odors that form in RVs can be removed and taken care of. Here are 8 tips to removing bad odors from your RV.

1. Sewer Smell in the Bathroom
There are tons of chemicals that eliminate RV toilet odor on the market, each catering to the different ways your tank is dumped. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t help at all! Good ventilation for the black water tank is a must. The tank is vented out the roof of an RV. When traveling down the road, the wind can push wind down through that ventalation pipe, pushing the smell back into the RV instead of drawing out the odor. So…what do you do? You can install a special sewer vent that is designed to suck the odor out of the black tank with only a small breeze. See your local dealership to find out if they carry these special sewer vents.

2. Kitchen and Bathroom Drain Odors
When your trailer is not in use, water trapped in the P-traps under every sink and the shower can grow bacteria, spreading the smell throughout your RV. To keep the smell from forming, mix a cup of baking soda with a gallon of water. Pour the mixture down every drain and then dump what’s left into the kitchen sink so the mixture will go into the gray water tank too.

3. Rodent Odors in your RV
Dead rodents can be one of the worst smells in your RV. To remove the odor, find the dead rodent and remove it. Then scrub the area well, making sure to remove the odor and the bacteria/diseases that might have been left.

4. Bad Smelling Potable RV Water
When your water from your fresh water tank starts to smell or taste bad, it’s time to clean out the water system. The only way to get the fresh water tank system clean is to sanitize your RV water system with a diluted mixture of household bleach and water (make sure to rinse out the bleach mixture completely from your fresh water tank before use). If you keep having bad water issues in your fresh water tank system, consider installing a water filtration system.

5. Smelly RV Carpet and Pet Odors
The best way to remove smelly or pet stained carpets in your RV is to tear it out and replace it with laminate flooring. If you can’t afford to replace your carpet, another option is to get your carpet professionally cleaned. Invest in throw rugs to help keep your carpets clean and fresh as long as possible. You can also get your upholstery professionally cleaned, helping to eliminate any odors on your furniture too.

6. RV Refrigerator & Freezer Odors
To avoid a mildew or stale smell in your refrigerator and freezer, wipe down the inside with soap and water after every trip. Then leave the refrigerator and freezer doors left ajar to allow all moisture to evaporate. Leave either a shallow bowl or a box of baking soda in both the fridge and freezer will also help absorb any odors that may develop.

7. Stale RV Smells from Non-Use
If your RV has sat around for a while without regular use, a stale smell will start to appear. It’s usually smells, on top of smells, on top of smells! All in all…your RV needs to breath! Installing vent covers over the existing roof vents allows you to leave the roof vents open slightly, letting the hot stale air escape. Solar powered vents can also help you draw out the air more efficiently too. Removing the entire stale odor from your RV also involves doing steps 1 thru 6 and cleaning every surface in your RV. There are products on the market that claim they deodorized storage and mildew odors, but cleaning with regular household products work just as well.

8. Propane and Ammonia Odors
These two odors can mean big problems! If you start to smell a strong ammonia odor, the source will be the cooling unit of your refrigerator. The ammonia odor will be strong enough to bring tears to your eyes. There is really nothing you can do to fix it on your own. You’ll need to see the Service Department at your local Dealership, and be prepared for it to be expensive.

Propane odor can come from many areas and sources in and around your RV. Like the propane tanks, stove, oven, refrigerator, water heater, furnace, etc and the all lines that connect these appliances to the tanks as well. In order to detect a leak around the fittings, use a small brush and soapy water. Make sure to have adequate ventilation before you go looking for a propane problem. If you’re ever in doubt, call the Service Department at your local Central PA RV Dealership.

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Watch “How to Control Moisture and Musty Smells in an RV” from Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor.

 

RV Odors: How to get rid of RV odors by the RV Doctor

**These tips for how to remove odors in your RV came from “RV Odor Problems: How to Remove 10 Different Odors from your RV” written by Curtis in the RV Section on the thefuntimesguide.com website.

Condensation in Pennsylvania RVs

Condensation in RVs is common and, over the years, I have had lots of questions regarding condensation,so we’re here to explain what it is and how to minimize it in your RV.

RV condensation, RV window condensation, how to prevent RV condensation

Condensation is defined in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as: a chemical reaction involving union between molecules often with elimination of a simple molecule (as water) to form a new more complex compound of often greater molecular weight.

Condensation happens when the surface the condensation has gathered on is cooler than the temperature of the water vapor that created the condensation. Where there is a high level of humidity from normal day activities, such as cooking or showering, condensation will form when this humid air comes in contact with colder surfaces, which causes dampness on surfaces.

While most RV manufactures can’t guarantee an elimination of all condensation, I would like to provide you some tips to lessen the condensation that happens inside your RV. When you’re cooking or showering, be sure that you’re using the roof vent fans. The fan will pull the moisture out of the unit, reducing the chance for it to collect on the windows and the walls. Using an extra fan to help move the air around inside of the RV can also help. Another idea to reduce the chances for condensation to form is to use the microwave to heat up water, rather than the stove, to contain the moisture and limit the amount that is allowed into the air. If no microwave is available, opening a small window while heating water on the stove will allow the moisture to escape. In addition, using a small de-humidifier inside of your RV will help with removing the moisture from the air.

The more you allow the moisture building inside of your RV to escape and move the air around so it has less of a chance to settle, the less condensation you’ll find in your unit. If you use these tips and adapt them to other purposes, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of condensation that forms on your walls and windows inside your unit.

If you need additional roof vent fans installed or your existing ones fixed, please contact your central Pennsylvania RV dealer, Lerch RV at 800-722-1236. Our RV service department will gladly help you out.

Camping Season Tips

Spring has arrived! And I have camping fever. As many of my friends and relatives do.  As the camping season begins, there is a lot to think about and plan for your upcoming camping adventures so we created a list of tips that can help your camping season run smoothly.

  • De-winterize and clean your RV a couple of weeks before your first camping trip.
  • Give your appliances and major components a look over. Make sure everything is in good, safe working order before you first trip. If you need any help call your central Pennsylvania RV dealer.
  • Pack your camper ahead of time with all the nonperishable items you’ll take with you on your camping trip. It’s helpful to pack things that can stay in your RV all season long so you don’t have to unpack and repack everything each trip. (i.e. blankets, pillows, dishware, games, etc.)
  • Book your campsites for the whole season as early as possible. With the popularity of camping, many campgrounds have been experiencing packed weekends.
  • Plan your meals ahead. Don’t wait till the last-minute to decide on the food you want to take.
  • Use recipes that call for the same ingredients to avoid taking along a bunch of different ingredients.
  • Be sure to do all the necessary maintenance checks before hitting the road to help avoid any mishaps while you’re on your camping excursion. No-one likes surprises.

These are just a few helpful tips to hopefully make your camping season go off without a hitch.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Pennsylvania RVers, how do you keep your clothes clean?

When taking weekend trips, it is easy to pack enough clean clothing to last throughout the experience. Week or month-long forays into the wilderness or over the roads are a different story. Many RV fans simply stop at a laundry mat or dry cleaner along the way, but this will not work if you want to spend a few weeks camping without heading back to town. It is even harder to rely on laundry mats when you are boondocking. Here are three simple ways to keep your clothes clean during an extended stay in your new RV Pennsylvania.

"Keystone RV" "Lerch RV" RV "PA RV Dealer" camper camping campers "tag along" "tow behind" "bunk model" "bunk house camper" "RV lifestyle" glamping caravan "Go RVing" RVing "new camper sale" "camper dealer" "new camper" "RV dealer" "PA RV Dealership" towing "used campers" "weekend fun" "family fun" "recreational vehicle" recreation "summer fun" "keystone rv company" "glamping" "fith wheel" "5th wheel camper" "travel trailer" "Open Range RV"

Photo courtesy of Vince Fonseca

1. Washing By Hand

Before electric washing machines and automatic dryers were invented, all clothing had to be washed by hand. You can use your RV’s bathtub, kitchen sink or a washtub for this process. A bathtub lets you wash a larger load at once than a small tub, and will drain and fill quickly. Purchase a hand agitator, a small tool that resembles a vented plunger, from a non-electric supply company. Some laundry detergent, hot water and a little pumping with the agitator and you have a clean batch of clothes.

clothes washing by hand, rv clothes washing, RV laundry, RV sales, new rvs, used rvs, Pennsylvania RV Dealer

2. Campground Facilities

If you choose to camp in RV parks or well-established state campgrounds, you may have laundry facilities available. Keep in mind the etiquette common to a laundry mat when using these facilities. Don’t leave a load of clothes in the washer all day while you hike or swim, even if there are multiple machines available. This also speeds up drying over hand washing, where you must hang clothes on a line and hope for a few days without rain.

campgrounds laundrymat, campground clothes washing, campground laundry, rv clothes washing, RVing, RV Sales, new RVs, used RVs, clothes washing

3. Small Washing Machines

The growing popularity of RV living has led to the development of small washing machines that fit on the counter of your new home. Crank washers are round containers that hold just a few articles of clothing. You pour in the right amount of water and detergent, and crank the handle. Your clothing takes just a few minutes to get clean. Electric washers and dual-purpose devices that also dry can fit into large coaches. Be sure to look for units designed to run off a 110 volt outlet, and consider the drain on your batteries.

Splendide combo washing machine, RV Washer, Pennsylvania RV sales, washer/dyer, RV washer/dryer, marine wash/dryer, RVing, RV sales and service, new RV, used RVs

If your current RV is too small to fit a washing machine or tub into, visit  Lerch RV. We are Pennsylvania’s largest travel trailer dealer.

Pennsylvania RV owners keep your RV properly sealed.

On your RV regardless if you own a tow-able unit or a motorized one, sealants perform a very important function by keeping water from getting into places it should not get into. When manufacturers build RVs,  they incorporate many different types of sealants, including butyl/putty, black butyl-encapsulated foam, silicone (clear and colored), roof sealant and foam to the places that need it. However, over time, these sealants may become damaged by ultraviolet exposure, air pollution, freezing temperatures and exposure to other elements. That is why it is important to inspect, maintain or reseal your RV. Failure to properly maintain or re-seal your RV may result in serious water damage to the roof and other parts of the RV. For most RV owners, failure to maintain proper seals disqualifies your unit from coverage under the most Limited Warranties.

To ensure that you are properly maintaining and re-sealing your unit, here are a few things you or your dealer’s service team should do:

Visually inspect all seals and sealants, a minimum of every six months. Make sure to check the roof and all four sides of the RV including all moldings, doors, vents and exterior attachments. A quick walk around the RV before leaving may help prevent potential problems during trips and vacations. A little preventative maintenance goes a long way, especially when compared to the high cost of repairs. Another great time to have your RV looked over is during your annual state vehicle inspection(if your state requires your RV to be annually inspected).

  1. Have the sealant replaced if you notice any cracks, peeling, voids, gaps, breaks, looseness or any sign of physical deterioration. Re-seal at least one time each year as preventative maintenance.
  2. Always use the same type of sealant that was removed. Your dealer service or parts manager can help you obtain the correct sealant(s).

If you do find water inside of your RV, be sure to immediately have your local central Pennsylvania dealer check for the source of the leak. If the leak is not fixed, it may result in serious damage to your RV, which may not be warrant-able.

A small amount of time now, can save you a large expensive headache later!