Helpful Hints

What every camper owner should know.

Electrical

Did you know your RV has three different electrical systems?

  1. 12 Volt Chassis Battery
    • This is a regular automobile battery
      • SLI (Starter, Lights and Ignition)
    • On a towable unit, this is the battery in the towing vehicle
      • it is going to supply power to the brakes on the coach
      • it is also gong to supply power for the DOT lights on the coach.
    • On  a motorhome, it is going to supply power to the components of the dashboard
      • dash lights and fans
  2. 12 Volt (DC) Deep Cycle Coach Battery
    • it is vital to your coach that this system be maintained properly for several reasons:
      • if your towable unit breaks away during transport, it is this electrical system that will allow the brake system on the coach to engage.
      • the majority of the lights on and in your coach are 12 volt
      • the control boards of all of the following items are operated by the coach 12 volt system
        • refrigerator (unless it is a residential)
        • air conditioner/s
        • water heater
        • furnace
      • the motors to operate slides, awning and steps are operated by the coach12 volt system
      • How does the 12 Volt Deep Cycle Coach battery get charged?
        • the charger/inverter will charge the battery or batteries when plugged into shore power or running the onboard generator if present.
        • it is not recommended to remove the battery from the equation.
          • the charger/inverter will still send 12 volt power to the items needed, but it will overwork the converter/inverter, leading to an early demise.
  3. 120 Volt (AC) Alternating Current Voltage "House Voltage" or "Shore Power"
    • Understanding the amount of power you have coming into your coach can help you prevent overloading the circuits and causing loss of power.
    • 2 Types of Amp Hook up.
      • 30 Amp
        • provides 3600 watts
          • the typical air conditioner uses 2400 watts when the compressor is running
          • this leaves only 1200 watts available for the other components 
            • many times you would need to turn the air conditioner off to use items such as the microwave or a hair dryer.
      • 50 Amp
        • provides 12,000 watts.....What!!!!    Yes over 3xs more!!
        • this is because you actually have 2 50 Amp legs coming in which provide 100 total amps....  How about that?
        • you can almost run everything and have no issues.
Planning to have your coach plugged up at home?  Very important information about that.....
  • You must have a 30 amp or 50 amp breaker designated specifically for this.
    • please make sure the electrician installing understands that this hook-up is not a 220 hook up for a stove or dryer.
    • Do not run a drop cord to the coach and try to run the air conditioner.  This will eventually cause damage to the compressor of the air conditioner.  (it pulls too many amps)
    • try to have the outlet with in a reasonable distance to the coach so that no type of extension is needed.  The farther the power has to travel, the more the amps increase.
Consider yourself pretty handy and you are going to do it yourself.... STOP!
  • This is not a house.  You cannot mix the neutral and ground wires together.  This will create what is called "Hot Skin".  Unlike a house, the coach is not grounded.  If the ground is blended with the neutral, it can cause electrical readings on places in the coach where they should not be and can lead to shock, electrocution or death.
  • Rule of thumb, put the wires back like they were.

Plumbing Matters

Things to know about your water systems

How to avoid black tank issues
  • DO - keep your black tank release valves closed at all times.  (Open only to empty) 
    • leaving the black tank release valve open will allow the liquid waste to flow out, leaving the solid waste to pile up.  This leaves what we call the "Poop Pyramid".  You do not want this.
  • DO -  use plenty of water when flushing (your tank loves water) 
  • DO -  flush your black tank (Flushing it with water help to eliminate solid waste left behind after emptying and helped decrease odor)
  • DO -  treat tank after every dump (Happy Camper or other black water tank treatments will help eliminate odors)
  • DON'T - flush anything down the toilet other than rv/marine safe toilet paper (this toilet paper is designed to dissolve)

Other helpful tips

  • You can leave the gray water valves open, but we recommend to close them the day before dumping to use this water to flush the sewer hoses with.  
  • you empty the black and follow with the grey.  Only open one valve at a time to prevent back flow of black into the grey.
How to avoid pipes freezing in the winter
  • Winterize your coach - this is the process of draining the water from the water heater, bypassing it and pumping RV SAFE/NON-TOXIC anti-freeze through the plumbing. (Some choose to blow out the system with air)
  • Coach in use during the winter 
    • use a heated water hose
    • wrap the hose with extra insulation
    • on extremely cold nights, fill fresh water tank with water to use and completely disconnect from city hook up.
    • if coach isn't occupied, keep the heater running and set thermostat at around 50 and open cabinetry.
    • if you plan to camp in the winter, make sure you purchase a coach that has the all season package.  It is better insulated and more capable of protecting from freezing.
High water pressure can lead to damaged plumbing
  • your coach can only handle 40-45 psi.
  • some campgrounds will tell you if you need a water regulator.  If in doubt, use it.
  • having one on hand and using is best practice to prevent damage to you plumbing.
Not enough hot water
  • if your hot water is both gas and electric, you can operate both at the same time.  
  • try leaving the electric side on all the time, this will provide hot water needed for washing hands throughout the day.
  • 10-15 minutes prior to washing dishes or showering, turn the gas side on and this will help produce a longer supply of hot water.  Turn it off when done.
Don't forget regular maintenance of your water heater


Other helpful information

Awnings
  • the awning is not an umbrella, it's purpose is to provide shade from the sun.
  • many people will do some of the following things to prevent them from having to close it during high wind or rain (Please note that VLRV does not recommend any of these, but understands the hassle of closing the awning anytime the wind blows)
    • tilting the awning during rain fall
    • tethering the awning
  • Water inside the coach
    • water is every coaches worst enemy.  
  • if you see that you have water inside your coach, the most important thing is to prevent more water getting into the coach.
  • if it is a plumbing issue, immediately turn the water off at its source to the coach locate and fix the problem
  • get a dehumidifier running inside the coach.  this will help pull water out of the coach, decreasing damage.

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