Learning to Operate RV Systems

Learning to operate RV Systems

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Learning to operate RV Systems

When you get your new RV home there are going to be some things you will want to do,--- other than just stand back and admire it. VBG

Once it is at home you have time to learn to operate the leveling jacks, slides, refrigerator, water heater, heater, stove & oven, the water pump. You can also use this time at home to assure that all these appliances and systems are working.

RV Tires:

One of the first things to check would be tires unless they are really new. Don't rely on them *looking good* because "OLD" RV tires will look good when you absolutely have to replace them. RV's typically do not get enough mileage put on them before the tires have to be replaced because of age. You will want to know how OLD your RV's tires are ( before the tires blow out). RV tires have to be replaced when they become 6 to 7 years old. Some people change them at 5-years. If you don't you are just asking for Murphy to strike with a vengeance. If you don't know how to read the tires manufacture date from the conglomeration of numbers on the tire take it to a tire dealer and have them tell you how old they are. Or you could Google and find out how to read the manufacture date. RV-tires will not, --- like automobile tires wear out from being driven, they dry rot. An old tire (think 5 to 7-years) is a blow out waiting to happen yet it will look almost new. Let me tell you one thing, you don't want to deal with a blow out. First it is going to be expensive, it is going to take a lot of time, and more than likely it will cause some damage to your RV, plus it will occur where you would least want to experience a blow out.

I repeat, don't travel with old tires. You will not have that blow out in a convenient location.

Make sure your RV is adequately insured, and that includes roadside service.

Propane Tank:

Make sure that the propane tank is full. Some older TT's & 5th wheels may have propane tanks that will need to be fitted with a new valve. You will find that out at the propane dealer. It is best to get that taken care of before you need the propane filled while you are out in the woods and find out on Saturday afternoon that the tank needs to be upgraded. No propane all weekend will not make the campers happy if you get my drift.

RV Refrigerator operation:

Refrigerators need to be relatively level to work properly. Learn to level your RV and test out the refrigerator. Make sure that your refrigerator works well on both propane and 110-volts. You will need to let the refrigerator run over night. It takes a while for RV-refrigerators cool down, overnight is not unreasonable. Like I said earlier make sure that your refrigerator is working properly on both propane and 110-volts. It will take several days for you to check this out. Put some water in the freezer as well as the refrigerator.

Learn to operate your RV's slides:

Learn how to operate your slides. Make sure that your RV is level before operating the slides and make sure there aren't any trees in the way. Take time to read the instructions about how to retract those slides in case there is an electrical or hydraulic problem. You do not want to be in the woods somewhere and realize that you do not have instructions with you on how to retract that extended slide. That is the wrong time to determine that you are clueless and do not even have an instruction book to help you. I hope you are getting my drift.

RV Electricity:

Connect your new RV to electricity, if you are at home it will probably be a 15-amp connection. Check the house battery voltage and assure that the converter is functioning properly. If it is functioning properly there should be be approximately 13-volts present on your house 12-volt system. If you only have 12-volts your converter (battery charger) is not functioning properly.

RV Furnace:

Start the furnace set the thermostat at an appropriate level and leave it running until the temperature comes up to normal. Make sure that the thermostat is functioning properly.

RV Fresh Water Tank:

Fill the water tank, make sure the pump works OK. You may want to fill the fresh water tank then drain it. Some people even like to add some bleach to the fresh water tank to *kill* any gross things that may be growing in the tank. There probably aren't any of those bad things growing in your fresh water tank but people generally want to "make sure". Of course if you put bleach in your fresh water tank you will need to drain the tank and refill it with fresh water before you actually start using it. If you are going to disinfect your fresh water tank don't forget to run that bleach water in each of the water lines in your RV (hot water at kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and shower--cold water at kitchen sink, bathroom sink & shower). If you are worried about those *gross* things that may be growing in your fresh water tank you will probably be concerned about them growing in your water heater. If that is the case you need to drain the water out of your water heater and fill the water tank with some of that bleach water.

RV Water Heater:

It will be a good idea to drain your water heater and inspect the anode. You should assure that your anode is in good shape. If it is not then replace it.

Turn on the water heater and leave it on at least overnight. Is your water heater a propane heater or a combination propane & 110-volt heater? You need to determine the system that you have. Make sure the propane side of the water heater is functioning properly, then shut off the propane and assure that the 110-volt heater system is heating water properly. In other words make sure that both power sources are working properly.

The time to understand these systems is before you need them. The time to KNOW they are functioning properly is before you head out on your first trip.

RV stove and oven

Propane stoves usually just keep on plugging along, however the oven is another matter. Operate the oven and assure it is working properly, assure the thermometer is operating in the oven. Operate each of the eyes on the stove so that you know how they work and that they work.

House Batteries:

Next you will need to determine the condition of your house batteries. Once the RV has been connected to 110-volts for a day or more your house batteries should be fully charged. Locate those batteries and make sure they are full of distilled water. If you do not own distilled water go to the grocery store and get some. You will need it to keep your batteries topped off.

Now it is time to check the condition of your house batteries. Disconnect your RV from 110-volts. Wait for a few hours then check your house battery voltage. It should be above 12-volts ideally 12.7 volts and if your RV is connected to shore power they should read 13.5volts when not under load. By not being under load I mean not supplying power for the lights, refrigerator and other things -- in other words resting. See how many hours it takes for your batteries to draw down to 12.3volts. If they last for 12 or more hours without discharging below 12.3-volts then they are probably pretty good. If on the other hand they fall to 12-volts or below they are weak and will cause you problems. Pull them and have them checked.

After a few hours (try 4-hours) turn on some of your 12 volt lights and TV. Turn on your furnace and assure it works properly when operating on the 12-volts supplied by your house batteries. Is your refrigerator functioning properly? Remember these are some of the things you will be operating off your house batteries when you go camping unless you have campground supplied electricity.

You can download many repair and maintenance manuals from the internet. Download the ones you might need, now while you have a good internet connection.

Keep a little notebook with brand names and model numbers and anything tricky about operation of items on your RV.

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