Fiberglass propane cylinders lighter, more durable…
If you ever thought that in the world of propane cylinders, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” think again. How about an LP cylinder made, not from steel or aluminum, but from plastic and fiberglass? Sound a bit wild? Hang on, there’s a company that sells them, and you might just want to consider them.
The Lite Cylinder Company is happily turning out fiberglass/plastic composite LP gas cylinders, and yes, first off, they are government DOT approved for use on RVs. What makes these little tanks different from their typical steel cousins?
First, they’re a wee bit lighter–about 30% lighter than conventional steel cylinders. This translates into about four pounds lighter for a standard 20-pound (five gallon) cylinder. The next size up? Lite Cylinder offers a 25-pound (six-gallon plus) cylinder that scales in at just about 19 pounds. While it holds a gallon less than the steel standard, it does weigh six-pounds less.
But the weight of these LP containments isn’t the only consideration. The actual gas containment vessel is made of spun fiberglass and plastic. The resulting vessel is translucent–you’ll never need to guess how much (or better still–how little) fuel is left in the cylinder–you can see the level with you own eyes. The actual “tank” if you will, is contained in a strong plastic shell that provides a carrying handle, a flat base to sit on, and stackability–you can toss these guys one on top of another.
The materials used in construction of Lite’s cylinders are also completely impervious to rust. No more “painting” your tanks; they won’t scratch and look ugly.
Ah, but what about price? The 20-pound cylinders retail on Lite’s website for $99, while the largest vertical cylinder, the 25-pounder, retails for $120.00. That’s a bit higher than your average camping store $99 retail price for a 30-pounder, but take into consideration you don’t need any “accessories” like a gauge system to determine how much LP is left, and no $11.00 “tank foot” to keep your cylinder from falling over while transporting.
The government gives a 15-year life estimate to these fiberglass cylinders. They are subject to the usual fire code regulations for periodic recertification. Get more information, locate a dealer, or order directly at the Lite Cylinder web site.
It is time to replace the flooring in your RV? If it is, you’ve got an important decision to make: laminate or carpet floors? There are ups and downs to both, and in the end, you’ve got to choose whichever option works best for you.
Carpet makes for a good insulator no matter the season and will help reduce energy use by keeping the hot and cold air from radiating up-ward. Carpet also helps reduce noise by cutting down echo and absorbing sounds. Not to mention, it also feels great on your bare feet. On the downside, carpet attracts dirt, dust and more. It’s definitely harder to clean and keep clean especially if you are traveling with pets and children.
Laminate on the other hand is fairly simple to maintain. It’s also cheaper to purchase and install. There are plenty of different styles to choose from all of which will last you a long time. RVs consist of mainly high traffic areas making laminate an excellent choice. But you’ll have to trade the insulation from the carpet. Laminate doesn’t absorb heat, cold or sound. Another disadvantage is the potential of warping and loosening.
As I said before, there is no one right choice. It’s really all up to you, Pennsylvania RV owners. If you need some help with the decision, you know where to find us.
Safe Travels and Happy RVing!
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.
Last week I posted some tips on how to best clean the interior of your RV, now we’re here to give you some tips on the best way to clean and care for the exterior of your camper. Taking the time to clean the exterior of your RV on a regular basis will allow you to notice any potential issues, such as leaks or siding damage. Use the time while making your unit shine to perform some preventative maintenance. Which will allow you to extend the life of your camper, while possibly easing the burden on your family budget. RV problems can be expensive to fix, if left go too long.
First, we recommend that you clean it often and thoroughly to keep it looking shiny and new. The longer dirt and residue sits on the exterior of your RV, the more potential damage it can cause. Some elements that can be highly damaging to your RV’s exterior if not washed off are road salt, road tar, bugs, bird droppings, tree sap, acid rain and UV exposure. These can cause corrosion, staining and chemical spotting. Be sure to always wash your RV soon after it is exposed to any of these elements. An added bonus is if you regularly wax your RV which will help protect the exterior. We don’t recommend taking your RV through automatic car washes, doing it by hand, while time-consuming, is the best way to clean the exterior of your RV. Even if you allow your camper to be parked on a permanent site, regular cleaning will allow you to enjoy your RV for years to come.
To clean the exterior of your RV, we suggest parking it in a place not in direct sunlight. First, spray it with water to remove dust. Next, using an abundant amount of clean water and a car-washing mitt/sponge and an RV washing brush, wash your RV from top to bottom. You can also use a mild car-washing soap. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with a soft cloth. Using extremely hot water and pressure can cause damage to the RV. Be sure to use caution and keep a pressure sprayer nozzle about 16 inches or more away from the RV. Also, use caution if you use a pressure sprayer around all attachments of the RV (doors, windows, appliance vents, etc.) When washing around glass with a pressure sprayer, hold the nozzle at right angles to the glass surface. A pressure sprayer used in properly can damage your RV, as well as force water into places where water should not be.
We recommend that you wax your RV at the very least once a year, two times a year would be great. To wax, apply a small amount of wax to a soft cloth and rub gently onto the exterior of your RV. Do not wax your RV in direct sunlight and do it after surfaces have cooled. This will avoid the wax drying out quickly. Do not use waxes that contain high-abrasive compounds. These waxes will remove rust and stains but they are also harmful to the luster of the surface since they may scrape off the coating. Do not use gasoline or paint thinners to remove road tar or other contamination to the painted surface. Use only approved cleaners to remove stubborn stains or marks.
In order to make your job easier when it comes to cleaning your new RV, consider having an exterior protection package, such as the Trident Exterior Protection System, applied to your RV before it even leaves the dealership. This will prolong the life of that ‘new’ look as well as protect your exterior from many of the items listed above. Best of all most applications, such as Trident, are warranted for several years. So why not help yourself protect your investment.
There you have it, some tips on keeping the exterior of your RV nice and clean. If you have questions about cleaning the exterior of your RV, be sure to contact your local central Pennsylvania dealer or your manufacturer’s customer service department.
Your refrigerator is your most important appliance when it comes to your RV. Some of the advantages to having a refrigerator is not having to haul coolers around. Which means no more refilling the ice, emptying out water from melted ice, and lugging it place to place. These are the advantages to remember when it comes to keeping your fridge working and not loosing its cool.
There can be several reasons that refrigerators will fail to work correctly. With these various reasons, it is in the best interest of RV owners to know when to repair vs. replace. Typically, there are two brands of refrigerators located inside of RVs, Norcold or Dometic. Those brands run with the same concept. They operate by heating a closed cooling element with a gas flame or electric heating element. The cooling consists of ammonia-based liquid that is contained within a series of tubes. When the heat is added, the ammonia-based liquid will circulate through the closed cooling unit by releasing the heat out of the refrigerator.
When the fridge stops cooling as well as it should this means that the circulation of fluid is not working properly. One advantage to RV refrigerators is that there are no moving parts other than the heating liquid, making it easier to find the problem. Some common troubleshooting refrigerator Q & As are contained within this video.
Frequently the problem with RV refrigerators is time combined with lack of use. As the units age, the liquid will create a sediment that will settle at the bottom of the cooling unit. As this sediment builds up, the ability for your fridge to be cooled properly will decrease because the circulation will be hindered. When comparing a fridge that is used once or twice a year in a time frame of 5+ years, and a fridge that is in continual use, the fridge in continual use will be less likely to plug up. Any sediment build up that could occur will be delayed with the more frequent fluid movement.
The tall-tale of removing your RV refrigerator and turning it upside down for a time period to have it work again is questionable. The theory behind this is only somewhat explainable. When sediment occurs, it is possible to dislodge it for some time, but when it sits back in place again the sediment will settle and plug up the tubes once more.
Rebuilt cooling units are available for purchase but they are expensive and when added with the labor costs, it can be a pricey project that could have easily been spent on a brand new refrigerator.
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.
Caring for your RV is very important. I always stress how a small amount of preventative maintenance goes a long way. However keep in mind that your RV awning fabric is equally important. Here are some tips to keep your RV’s awning looking new for a long time.
One of the best ways to keep the fabric looking good and to delay the need for deep or vigorous cleaning is to hose fabrics off on a monthly basis with clear water. This practice will help prevent dirt from becoming deeply imbedded in the fabric. In most environments, a thorough cleaning will be needed every two to three years.
When it’s time for a thorough cleaning, the fabric can be cleaned while still on an awning frame. For vinyl fabric – Use a soft brush and warm water with soap. For acrylic fabric, use a stiff brush and warm water with soap.
When cleaning the fabric, it is important to observe the following:
Caution: Do not use oil based cleaners or any caustic, granulated, or abrasive type cleaners on your RV awning.
Always use a natural soap, never detergent.
Water should be cold to lukewarm, never more than 100°F.
Never apply heat to the fabric.
Always allow the fabric to dry thoroughly before rolling up the awning to avoid mildew. Vinyl-coated polyester fabrics are mildew resistant because of a chemical biocide in their coating. Under ordinary conditions, mildew will not appear. However, in areas where high temperature and humidity are common, mildew can be a problem and may require the material to be washed more frequently than in cooler, drier climates. To clean mildew from a unit’s awning, thoroughly rinse the fabric with clean water and allow to air dry completely before rolling it up.
An additional way to helping to protect and pro-long the life of your RV awning fabric, is to have the Trident Awning Protection System applied to your awning. This protection treatment helps prevent mildew stains, mold growth, UV fading, chipping, and cracking of your RV awning. For more information on the Trident Protection System or care of your RV awning, please contact Pennsylvania’s largest travel trailer RV dealership.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A brand new perspective in camping. Vantage from Keystone combines timeless beauty with modern technology to create a new travel trailer unlike anything on the market today. By utilizing curved,laminated fiberglass side walls and an arched roof, Vantage delivers wide-body livability and comfort in a look that clearly stands apart. And the Vantage interior is also extraordinary, tastefully incorporating contemporary-glazed maple cabinets, two-tone fascia, and an open spaciousness that is uncommon and pleasing. Available in three distinct floor-plans including a quad bunk model.
The Big AdVANTAGEs
Classic, timeless shape that will look good many years from now.
Clean, uncluttered exterior.
Cool tone high gloss gray exterior with black accents(bumper, wheel-well, windows).
Low slung chassis with a shorter overall height (to top of A/C).
Curved side walls, exterior and interior, creating a 101” wide body
Uniform window line (all windows same height and distance off floor), clean appearance.
Large (7″) radius transition from side wall to roof.
Slide-outs that conform to wall curvature – inside and out!
Full front and rear caps. No boxy edges.
Window awning on front cap conceals window, provides exterior storage location.
Recessed LED exterior lighting throughout. Even in bunk area.
Classic round tail lights recessed into cap.
Center stop lamp.
Separate high impact ABS rear bumper with hair-cell finish.
Exterior convenience center on ODS.
Vaulted ceiling with 7’interior height.
Low center of gravity allows for smoother towing.
Contact Pennsylvania’s first Keystone Vantage Dealer today for more information on this remarkable camper. You can reach us at 800-722-1236.