Issue 946 • August 2, 2018
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Do you really need to defrost your RV refrigerator?
For many of us “old timers,” a buildup of frost on the fins in the back of the refrigerator compartment signaled time for a “manual defrost.” We wrote about it in an earlier tip. Reader Rob J. points out his refrigerator automatically handles this chore for him. After first being turned on, the control board counts off 60 hours, then turns off the cooling unit to melt off the frost. Cooling unit turns back on, then repeats every 48 hours.
To that end, the manufacturer recommends initializing this process by turning on the unit somewhere between 4 and 10 p.m. What if something happens, and you had to shut off the fridge? Rob says, “Be aware of this and if for some reason you had to restart the cycle in the morning, just cut power for a brief period in the 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. range and you should be back in the cycle you want.” Do you need to defrost your refrigerator? Look at your manual. Don’t have a manual? If you don’t build up frost on the fins, well, sounds like your fridge is looking out for you. Thanks, Rob!
More thrills on RV battery fills
And another take on keeping the cells of your batteries filled, this one from Phil Atterbery: “I’ve modified a spray bottle pump to squirt the distilled water into the cell. The intake tube was lengthened to draw the water from a gallon jug. I added about 18″ of tube to the discharge nozzle which I hold over the cell opening. After pumping about 10 squirts I check the level with a flashlight and mirror. Thanks, Phil, for the “Phil” tip!
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Camco vent insulator keeps you warm…and cool!
Is your RV too hot in the summer? Too cold in the winter? Camco’s vent insulator and skylight cover features a thick layer of foam which helps stop heat transfer, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Installation is easy – simply push the fitted foam into your skylight, reflective side up. The reflective surface blocks sunlight, preventing it from heating your RV in the hot months. The insulator is designed to fit standard 14″x14″ RV vents. Learn more or order here.
Answer to today’s email alert brain teaser: A mirror
MORE QUICK TIPS
Towing? Watch brake laws!
Most U.S. states and Canadian provinces have their own laws on the requirement for brakes on a towed trailer. The word “trailer” also applies to a vehicle being towed behind a motorhome. These laws are normally based on the amount of weight being towed. One problem with this is that it might be legal to tow a 2,000-pound trailer with no brakes in the state where you live, but as soon as you cross the state line of a bordering state it is illegal to tow the same trailer without brakes. Add to this your insurance company may not cover you in the event of an accident involving a trailer with no braking system. Again, the most important reason is for your safety and the safety of others. Tip from Mark Polk, RV Education 101.
Waste bag laundry hampers?
A tip from reader Wendy Wolter: Check out the local home improvement big box store for “pop up yard waste bags.” These fold down when not in use, but the best use I’ve found is for laundry hampers, and to hold trash bags up outside. Thanks Wendy! Order one online here.
Do you have a tip? Send it to Russ (at) rvtravel.com
Make an omelette in seconds!
Tired of making omelettes and dealing with the timely preparation, mess and cleanup? This microwaveable omelette maker saves the day! This handy gadget makes omelettes in just three easy steps: beat eggs and milk, add ingredients, microwave and eat! It promotes healthy eating by cutting out butter, oil and grease. Buy this breakfast-saver here.
WEBSITES OF THE DAY
Top pet-friendly campgrounds
Fido wants to come too! This site, BringFido.com is a great resource for all things dog-related and this list of the best dog-friendly campgrounds is very detailed and informative.
Best smartphone apps for RV living
Before clicking this link, make sure you have some free time because you’re going to want to download all these to your phone right away. They’ll make your life a lot easier.
Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from RVtravel.com.
Heavy duty grill mats master the BBQ!
Been looking for perfect grill mats? Here you go! These mats are the ideal thickness, still allowing that chicken to get those beautiful grill marks, but thick enough to provide durability and heat resistance. Never worry about cleaning your grill again and never worry about veggies falling through those dang cracks. Hassle-free grilling every time. Works with any type of grill or BBQ. Learn more or order here.
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You left out an option for the RV wash. I have my grandsons do it 4 times a year and I inspect their work. I usually then give them $20 each ($40). I have a younger grandson that will take over for the oldest one this next year and then in 2 years a great grandson to start. Should be cover for several years. 🙂
You left out an option, Most times I do it myself, but I purposely get if done professionally at a truck wash. It’s not that expensive and they do a very good job. It saves my backache and once a year I have 2 coats of paste wax, and one coat of vinyl applied over that. I get a deep shine and dead bugs and road grime simply washes away. The only reason I do it myself is to closely examine the exterior for problems…..
Here in smoky Southern Oregon there is only one place in 200 miles that I know of that washes RVs. They want $30 a foot and at 38 feet, yep, I wash it myself. And it is a dark one so it shows every speck of dust. At 80 years old and no ladder on the rig I go to the roof once a year (on my hands and knees) to inspect and rince.
As an afterthought, even though I have the box below checked, the site never does save my name and email adress for the next time I post a comment.
Do you boondock at all, Richard or do you have a solar system that is big enough to run the fridge?
Thank you for reminding the readers of the TOAD brake rules. Too many times I read comments that ignore the basic laws of physics & common sense. Just hope I don’t encounter that person when “Murphy’s Law” or karma reers it’s ugly head.
The clear 45 degree fitting on the sewer outlet is a no brainer for seeing a leaky valve before removing cap! Another great benefit is being able to see when your black tank is properly rinsed.
I have a “trailer” that is as big as most Class A’s and with the right equipment, washing and waxing is not a big deal. I travel with a 10 foot ladder that rides on the rear’s built-on ladder. Couple this with using the “Wash and Wax All” products and I don’t find it terribly difficult to keep my rig looking nice. You can even use it as a waterless system, but I prefer, at a minimum, rinsing off the built up dirt/dust using a mop-like head on a pole with auto wash product before deploying the Wash and Wax All material.
I will assume that most of those who said that they wash their RV all the time are those with “towables”, essentially trailers. Washing Class A and large Class C motor homes is a bigger chore.
On occasion I wash our Class A 40 foot long motor home when we are home in the off season, May through October. When we head to Florida for the winter we get it washed at a Southern State Blue Beacon before settling down at various campgrounds in Florida.
I wash the front, including the windshield, after every drive, even short ones. That can be done when arriving at the campground. Wheels and tires are also washed at the campground as needed.
The price is right at the Blue Beacons around the country. They are used to doing motor homes and you have choices as to waxing, if you want your toad included and other options.
You may be correct in your assumption; however, we spend our summers here on the Oregon Coast at a Class A,C motorhome resort and I think the majority of the motorhome owners (including me) do their own washing. We do have a group of young men who work as park maintenance personal during normal working hours and will (for a fee) wash the owner’s coaches in the off hours….but I’m sure they can’t make a living off of it. I’m 75 and my coach is 44′ and being on the coast with the salt air, I wash it at least once every other month…including roof.
I have used Blue Beacon twice. The first time they used a stiff brush to wash my coach which left swirls that I had to buff out. The second time they flooded the outside vent for the Norcold and shorted the cut-off sensor. Never again!
I use a synthetic brush on a pole to wash and dry with a synthetic shammy clipped to the squeegee (technical term!) I use to clean the windshield. No need for a ladder and it does a swirl free job for me.
Two comments. The frost in the fridge is not a problem but freezer section does require defrosting occasionally. I bought a clip-on fan which quickly melts the frost while freezer items are in the kitchen sink with insulating cover.
And, although I do have the rig professionally washed and waxed annually, in the interim I use some do-it-yourself car washes and bug removal on my own.
The Samsung fridge in my coach is Frost-Free so I never have to worry about defrosting it. I would NOT own another “normal” RV fridge ever. I have a Samsung fridge in my winter home in Florida and a Samsung in my summer home on the road.