The Monkey Story

September 30, 2010

by John Imler
John is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassador and author of It’s Never Too Late

As I considered the importance of my thoughts at the beginning of each new day, monkeysI realized that the thoughts that occupy my mind during the rest of the day are also important because they will affect my attitude and actions.

I remembered from my youth the story of the three wise monkeys: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Do No Evil. In research I found that there was sometimes a fourth monkey: Say No Evil.

I realized that this would take a lot of self-control as I thought of all the ways Satan provides for us to see and hear evil. Galatians 5:22 encourages us to use self-control. The first of the verse gives the clue of how to do this otherwise impossible task: “But the fruit of the Spirit is…self control.” Only as we strive to walk within the power of the Holy Spirit are we able to See No Evil and Hear No Evil (Galatians 5:16 and 5:25).

The key to this is “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). This is the method Jesus himself used in dealing with the devil’s temptation (Luke 4: 1-13). God has promised that His Spirit will remind us of the words necessary in our battle to See No Evil and Hear No Evil (John 14:25).

We will need the same assistance to live up to the other two: Do No Evil and Say No Evil. We are admonished in numerous scriptures to do just that (Psalms 19:14; Prov. 13:3; Col 3:8; and Rom. 12:7).

James admonishes us with these words: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

So both as we start our day and as we continue through it, let’s remember the goal: Today with the assistance of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16), I will See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Do No Evil, and Say No Evil. Today and every day, I will strive to keep myself from being polluted by the world in which I live.

John welcomes your comments either below or email him directly at [email protected]

RV Winterizing

September 28, 2010

by Mark Polk
Mark is a regular contributing author

It’s always sad to come to the realization that another camping season is winding down. polk_small Part of this realization is preparing the RV for winter storage, so it will be ready to go camping again next spring.  My guess is that most RV owners, especially those in cold climate regions, refer to this winter storage preparation as winterizing your RV.

When you hear the term “winterizing” the first thought that comes to mind is to protect the RV water system from potential damage caused by exposure to freezing temperatures. Frozen and damaged water lines are in fact the most common problem related to not winterizing your RV, or not properly winterizing your RV; but there is more to winterizing your RV than just protecting the water system from freezing.

The English dictionary definition for “winterize” is to prepare something, especially a house or an automobile, to withstand cold winter conditions. What I find interesting about this definition is that your RV is essentially a house and automobile combined. With that said, winterizing your RV would entail more than just preparing the water system for cold winter conditions.  We would need to be concerned with preparing the RV’s interior, exterior, chassis, and plumbing from the harsh winter months.

Today I will discuss some tips for preparing the RV interior, exterior and the chassis for cold winter storage, and next week I will discuss preparing the plumbing system for the cold winter storage.

RV Interior

When RVs are stored for the winter it’s not uncommon for mice and squirrels to make their winter home in the RV. These animals are notorious for chewing through vehicle wiring, plastic and rubber components, resulting in extensive damage to the RV. If it’s a motorized RV start the engine periodically to keep any chewing squirrels out of the engine compartment area.

Possibly, the most important step is to try and prevent mice and other rodents from being able to access your RV. This can be difficult because they can enter the RV through some very small openings. Start by inspecting the underside of your RV for any gaps or holes. Fill these gaps using silicone or expanding foam. A word of caution, if you never used expanding foam before, you should experiment with it on something other than your RV first. When it dries it can expand a great deal more than you expect. Next, open drawers and cabinet doors inside your RV. Look in all of the corners and crevices, especially where plumbing and wiring enter the RV. If you can see any daylight mice can get in. Fill these areas with silicone or foam.

Remove all food from the RV when it’s being stored and thoroughly clean the RV to remove any remnants of food that might attract mice and other rodents. Some people say mothballs help deter mice from making their home in your RV, and others say an alternative to mothballs is dryer sheets, like Bounce. I have talked to people who swear they work and the smell is much more pleasant. If you are close to where your RV is being stored you may want to use conventional mouse traps and check for mice every week or so.

Next you should defrost the freezer compartment and clean the refrigerator. Leave the doors open and place baking soda in the compartments to absorb any odors. If the RV is in long-term storage, and won’t be plugged in to electricity, it’s a good idea to turn off the main breaker in the distribution panel. Turn the LP gas supply valve off at the cylinder(s) or tank. Close the window blinds to avoid sun exposure to the carpet, drapes and upholstery. Leave doors drawers and cabinets open. Clean the A/C filter(s).  If you have vent covers installed on the overhead vents, that prevent rain from getting inside, leave them cracked open to allow for some ventilation. Remove any dry cell batteries from devices like smoke alarms, clocks etc.

RV Exterior

When you store your RV outside for extended periods the exterior begins to show signs of wear, caused by the constant exposure to the elements. Ozone in the air and ultraviolet, (UV) rays from the sun start to take their toll. Ozone causes the paint to fade and makes products like rubber and vinyl dry out, crack, and start to deteriorate. The UV rays from the sun make this aging process happen quicker. Before you store your RV you need to give the exterior a thorough cleaning.  Whenever I’m washing or cleaning anything, whether it’s an automobile or the RV, I start from the top and work my way down. It’s a good idea to clean the RV roof before putting the RV in storage too. The type of roof your RV has will determine the cleaner you will need to use. Wash the exterior and if you’re really motivated wax it, using a quality wax formulated for the type of exterior surface your RV has. A good coat of wax protects your RV finish the same as it does an automobile. When you are cleaning the RV exterior inspect all roof seams, body seams and window sealant for any cracks and openings that would allow water to get in. Consult your RV dealer for sealants compatible with these materials and re-seal as required.

Don’t forget to clean the awning fabric, and let it dry completely before storing it. If you have a pop-up or hybrid trailer make sure all of the tenting material is clean and dry before storage.

Ideally you should try to store your RV under a covered area and on a solid surface like concrete. If this isn’t possible avoid parking under trees and in tall grass, fields or wooded areas. If the RV won’t be parked under some type of covered shelter you may want to invest in a cover. Covering your RV can be a logical and cost effective way to help protect your investment.  If you decide to use a cover make sure it is made of a breathable material.

Service all locks with a spray lubricant and lubricate all hinges. Insects are attracted to the odorant added to LP gas. You may want to cover LP gas appliance vents to prevent insects from making their winter home inside these vents. If you do cover the vents, remember to remove the cover next spring.

RV Chassis

Just like the exterior of the RV, the tires on your RV can be damaged by the harmful UV rays from the sun. Inflate the tires to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure and cover the tires with covers that will block out the sunlight. Place something like a piece of wood between the ground and the tires. Frozen ground and petroleum based surfaces, like asphalt, can damage tires over time. Make sure that whatever you use to block the tires is larger than the footprint of the tire. No portion of the tire should hang over the edge of the tire block; this can cause internal damage to the tire. For trailers, chock the wheels front and rear. If you are storing a pop-up outdoors angle the tongue downward to assist in snow and water run-off.

Battery maintenance is an important part of winter storage preparation. If you plan to start the unit while in storage, and to periodically plug the unit into shore power leave the batteries in the unit. Plugging it into shore power once a month for about eight hours will help keep the coach batteries topped off.  At a minimum you should check and adjust the water levels in all batteries and make sure the batteries are fully charged. A discharged battery will freeze much quicker than a fully charged battery. If the RV is in long-term storage it’s better to remove the batteries and store them where they will not freeze. In either case keep the batteries fully charged when they are in storage.

Note: If your converter charger doesn’t have a three stage charging system (or storage maintenance mode) don’t leave the unit plugged in constantly. This could overcharge the batteries and deplete the electrolyte levels.

If it’s a motorized RV you should fill the fuel tank prior to storage and add a fuel stabilizer. Run the engine and the generator long enough for the stabilizer to get through the entire fuel system. Change the oil and oil filter on the engine and the generator prior to storage. Acids accumulate in used oil and can corrode engine bearings, especially while sitting for long periods of time. If possible exercise the generator for at least two hours every month with a minimum of a ½ rated load on it. Consult your generator owner’s manual for load ratings.

Next week I will discuss how to prepare the RV plumbing system for the cold winter months.

If you would like to learn more about winterizing & storing your RV check out our Winterizing & Storing your RV DVD.

You can also continue on to Part II by clicking here.

Happy Camping,

Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University

The Rock And The Hard Place

September 21, 2010

by John Imler
John is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassador and author of It’s Never Too Late

Have you ever used the expression when facing a difficult circumstance: rockI feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place? If so, I have news for you. You are not alone, as most of us have been there. At such a time, we feel that we are being crushed by our circumstances and we can’t see any relief.

We must learn to focus on our Rock instead of the hard place in which we find ourselves. “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge” (2 Samuel 22:2, 3). This is not always easy to do. It is easier to focus on the storms and the difficulties in which we find ourselves. The disciples did it (Matt.8:23-27). Peter did it (Matt. 14:29).

However, if we have trusted in Christ as our Savior, we have a Rock that is beside us when we are going through those storms. He is available to everyone who has believed in Him as their Lord and Savior, but all have not believed (Romans 10:14). Paul explains that from the beginning of time our Rock has been Christ (1 Cor. 20:2-4). As we struggle with life’s many storms and trials, our challenge is to fix and keep our focus on the Rock of our hope and not on the hard places we encounter.

Paul behooves us to “fix our eyes on what is not seen” (2 Cor. 4:18). This is often God’s yet unrevealed solution to our circumstances. In Hebrews 12:2 we are encouraged to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

So, if you feel you are between a rock and a hard place, let Jesus Christ become the Rock of your salvation, the cornerstone of your faith (Eph. 2:19-22). Let us together learn to lean on Him and to focus on the Rock. The hymn invites us to “lean upon the arms of Jesus.”

John welcomes your comments either below or email him directly at [email protected]

Urban Campers Call Wal-Mart ‘Home’

September 17, 2010

as appeared in Woodall’s Campground Management

It’s perhaps the forgotten sector of Prince Edward Island’s summer tourism industry.

In Summerside, as is the case across Canada and the U.S., owners of recreational vehicles can often be found bunking down for a night or two in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, the Summerside Journal Pioneer reported.

The Wal-Mart camping experience isn’t for those who prefer roughing it in the wilderness.

Still, it’s not uncommon to see several RVs parked at any given time in the lot of the large international box store.

“I’ve done it several times, not on a regular basis,” said Shirley Aldrich while sitting on the front steps of her rig.

“When you’re on the road it’s a neat place to pull in and stop for the night. You can always get your groceries and everything you need at Wal-Mart. It’s one-stop shopping.”

Aldrich and her travelling companions are from Nashville, Tenn., and are visitng the island during a seven-week trip.

Although they weren’t overnighting at Wal-Mart during this visit, Aldrich has enjoyed the experience and its particular charms several times in the past – RV trips of four, even nine months in a row may push some owners into getting creative with their cost-cutting.

Which brings us to the most obvious attraction of spending the night out on the asphalt:

“The price,” says Aldrich.

Yes, Wal-Mart RVing is free of charge.

As some of the other campers explain, that’s been a contentious issue at other Wal-Marts they’ve encountered in North America.

“We’ve run into a couple stores, and it wasn’t the store’s decision, it was a local community decision,” said Bert Moore of Edmonton, vacationing at Summerside’s Wal-Mart with his wife, Lil.

“The store staff said it’s usually because people may be campground owners.”

Aldrich, meanwhile, said stores in Florida stopped the practice simply due to space restrictions – the stores were so busy that Rvs were cutting down on parking spaces.

But if campground owners on the island have concerns with free RVing, it hasn’t been a significant issue in Summerside.

Moore even thinks Wal-Mart parking lots are more clean and safe than some RV parks.

“We find the campgrounds are well-used and not as clean as this is,” he said. “On rainy days, the campgrounds are just a quagmire. We’ve run into a few of them on this trip that we just wished we’d never pulled into.”

As for the economics, many of the campers at Wal-Mart seem to be serving the local economy well. The Moores found a dumping station and fuel at the nearby Esso and breakfast across the parking lot at Maid Marian’s, while also seeking out local coin-operated laundries.

Even better, both Aldrich and Moore said they’ve travelled across most of the island seeing the sights — and spending money.

“We meet a lot of new people in the parking lot,” said Moore. “We all exchange bits of information about where we’ve been and good things to see.”

So the parking lots may not be as serviceable as regular campgounds, Aldrich is willing to sacrifice some awkward moments for the benefits Wal-Mart offers.

“One morning I got up and used the outside shower with my bathing suit on and washed my hair,” she said. “(Wal-Mart) doesn’t have too many amenities — there’s no water, no electricity and no sewer. But you don’t need those things every day.”

Discovering Your Cave

September 15, 2010

by John Imler
John is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassador and author of It’s Never Too Late

As I have been thinking about the cave where I was hiding, discover-caveI made a discovery. The cave had always been present within me. As a member of the human race—a descendent of Adam—I was born with it, and so were you.

Although that may come as a surprise, it is true. The cave may be called by many names, but it is known to most of us. It is the place where, just like Elijah, many occasionally go to hide. A place where we think no one, not even God, can find us. It is “self-centeredness” and described by Webster as being “concerned solely with one’s own desires, needs, or interests.”

You may perceive this definition as unfair or even cruel. Maybe you are one of the fortunate who can always look on the bright side of life’s happenings. However, this trait is part of our fallen nature.

Throughout the Bible we see instance after instance of mankind’s efforts to seek his own way, will, and interests. Efforts to disregard God and consider only those things that seem to benefit himself and to serve his own purpose. Jeremiah 17:9 declares “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”

Jesus’ most scathing words were reserved for the most outwardly religious. In Matthew 23 He describes them as hypocrites because of their self-centeredness. He describes them as “full of greed and self-indulgence” (Matt. 23:25).

But there is hope. Remember that after Job had been faithful to his God, God vindicated him and restored him to even greater stature (Job 42). After Elijah came out of his cave and self pity party, God again used him to anoint Elisha as his successor.

So if you have been saying woe is me, if you are hiding in a cave of self-centeredness and feeling sorry for yourself, look out of that cave and into God’s faithfulness and promises. God is asking you the same question He asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:13)

John welcomes your comments either below or email him directly at [email protected]

Faith Scholars: Stephen Hawking ‘Missing the Point’

September 14, 2010

By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter

Physicist Stephen Hawking made headlines this past
(Photo: AP Photo: / PA Wire, David Parry) In this April 29, 2010, file photo, Stephen Hawking watches the first preview of his new show for the Discovery Channel, Stephen Hawking's Universe.

(Photo: AP Photo: / PA Wire, David Parry) In this April 29, 2010, file photo, Stephen Hawking watches the first preview of his new show for the Discovery Channel, Stephen Hawking's Universe.

week for taking on arguably the most influential scientist in human history, Sir Isaac Newton.

Newton, who left enduring legacies in mathematics and the natural sciences, had centuries ago warned against using the law of gravity – which he discovered – to view the universe as a mere machine, like a great clock.

“Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done,” the 17th century scientist and non-Trinitarian Anglican stated.

“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being,” he added.

Hawking, however, says “the universe can and will create itself from nothing” because there is a law such as gravity.

“Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” he writes in his soon-to-be-released book, The Grand Design. “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper (fuse) and set the universe going.”

While Hawking has long been known to be a deist – believing in the existence of an impersonal god on the evidence of reason and nature only – his denial of a personal god was notably more explicit in the excerpts from his latest work.

In The Grand Design, Hawking refers to the 1992 observation of a planet orbiting a star other than the sun and says it “makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions – the single sun, the lucky combination of Earth-sun distance and solar mass – far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings.”

Not surprising, Hawking’s comments sparked a number of responses from Christian apologists and theologians of different faiths.

In the United Kingdom, where Hawking resides, Denis Alexander, director of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, said Hawking was “missing the point.”

“Science provides us with a wonderful narrative as to how [existence] may happen, but theology addresses the meaning of the narrative,” he said, according to CNN.

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, similarly, accused Hawking of making a “misinterpretation” – one that he said “is damaging to religion and science in equal measure.”

“Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation,” he wrote in the U.K.-based Times, which first printed excerpts from The Grand Design on Thursday.

“Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean. They are different intellectual enterprises,” Sacks added.

Meanwhile, in the United States, scholars at the ministry Reasons To Believe have argued against the idea that God is not necessary because laws such as gravity exist and said even with the laws there is the requirement for something that transcends the universe to bring it into being.

Hawking, said RTB research scholar Dr. Jeffrey Zweerink, “is putting the laws of physics or the mathematics on that basis of … this transcendent entity … that is ultimately responsible for the cause of the beginning of the universe.”

“It’s a transcendent impersonal entity but nonetheless it’s a transcendent entity,” he added.

Furthermore, RTB President and Founder Dr. Hugh Ross said there a “fundamental flaw” in Hawking’s reasoning.

“A fundamental flaw in this Hawking idea is that God is no longer personal, and yet we human beings are personal,” he said in his ministry’s podcast Friday. “We have a mind, we have a spirit, and you’re attributing the development of the human mind, the human spirit, the minds for that matter we see in the higher animals, the personalities that we see in all of us from completely impersonal soul-less and spirit-less laws of physics. How can the lesser produce the greater?”

Like Hawking, RTB scholars agree that God is “the Grand Mathematician” but go further by saying He is more than that.

And, they say, the laws of physics in nature “are a reflection of God’s intimate sustaining care for the universe.”

“From a naturalist perspective, there need not be any laws of physics,” said Zweerink. “But from a Christian perspective, we expect to see these laws of physics given God’s character and what He’s revealed to us.”

With only excerpts of the book having been released, the discussion is expected to continue and expand with the release of Hawking’s upcoming book.

The book, co-authored by physicist Leonard Mlodinow, is scheduled to be published by Bantam Dell on Sept. 9.

The Grand Design is Hawking’s first major work in nearly a decade.

Rosh Hashannah – Make Your New Year Sweeter With Camping

September 8, 2010

by RA Manseau
for Woodall’s Family Camping Blog September 7, 2010


Happy New Year, to all our Jewish brothers and sisters! As we look forward to the New Year with joy and expectation of a sweet year, we also start to plan ways to keep our families strong and well grounded.

Some of the best memories I have of growing up were made while camping with my family and friends. Our families would camp together on most of the major holidays. (But then, I grew up in Southern California so, camping on Thanksgiving is totally comfortable.)

Whether we were pitching a tent in the rain, sleeping under a lean-to or roughing it in the RV, we always had a great time camping together. Now that I am the parent I try to relive all those great adventures with my children. Getting away from the city, our house, and all the distractions that come with home life has helped to keep our family close. I can honestly say that hanging out with my daughters is like hanging out with my friends, only better.

As we plan a camping trip with friends for October I can not iStock_000013300714XSmall-300x199help but wonder why more families don’t camp. Why is it that we often feel we have to spend a small fortune to show our kids a good time? Getting back to the simple things in life (like roasted marshmallows) builds better and longer lasting memories then a two minute ride on a rollercoaster.  And really how much conversation can you have while screaming?

Happy New Year! Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim, “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”

Have a Sweet New Year! And take the family camping as often as you can.

originally printed at Woodall’s Family Camping Blog

7 Tips to Maximize RV Frig Efficiency

September 8, 2010

by Mark Polk
Mark is a regular contributing author


I receive a lot of e-mails with questions about how to make your motorhome’s refrigerator work more efficiently. RV refrigerators, for the most part, are efficient. In many cases it is something the owner does that makes the refrigerator less efficient.

Before we talk about how to improve your RV refrigerator’s efficiency, we need to have a basic understanding of how an RV refrigerator works.

For starters, keep in mind that your motorhome’s refrigerator is different from the one in your house. Your RV refrigerator doesn’t use a compressor, or any moving parts, for that matter. It works off of the principle of absorption. Instead of applying cold directly, the heat is drawn out, or absorbed. The theory is, when there is an absence of heat, there is cold.

Basically, your RV refrigerator uses heat, either from an electric heating element or an LP-gas flame. The heat starts a chemical reaction, and evaporation and condensation causes the refrigerator to cool.

There are several things we can do to help the refrigerator do its job more efficiently.

1. First and foremost, the RV must be fairly level for the refrigerator to operate properly. Older RV refrigerators required more precise leveling, but even the newer models need to be close to level for optimum performance. Over time, a cooling unit operated out of level will be permanently damaged.

Traveling with the refrigerator on will not cause problems because the liquids and gases in the cooling unit are constantly moving around. They don’t collect and stay in areas of the cooling unit like they can in a stationary, out of level refrigerator.

2. The initial cool-down process can take four to six hours. You should turn the refrigerator on the day before you plan to leave, and before you put any food in it. When you do load the refrigerator the food you put in should already be cold, and the food put in the freezer should already be frozen. Putting cold food in the refrigerator, rather than adding warm food, lets the refrigerator work less to cool down.

One common mistake is to over pack the refrigerator. There has to be space between the foods to allow for air to circulate throughout the compartment. In most situations you will have access to a store where you can buy food. A two- to three-day supply should be enough.

3. To assist with air circulation you can purchase an inexpensive, battery-operated refrigerator fan. Put the batteries in and place the fan in the front of the refrigerator compartment blowing up. Cold air drops and warm air rises. The fan will improve the efficiency by circulating the air and it will reduce the initial cool-down time by 50 percent.

4. The heat created by the cooling process is vented behind the refrigerator. Air enters through the outside lower refrigerator vent and helps to draft the hot air out through the roof vent. Periodically, inspect the back of the refrigerator and the roof vent for any obstructions like bird nests, leaves or other debris that might prevent the excess heat from escaping.

5. To keep the refrigerator operating efficiently in the LP-gas mode, there is some routine maintenance you can perform. Remove the outside lower vent cover to access the back of the refrigerator. With the refrigerator turned off, ensure that all connections are clean and tight.

Turn the refrigerator on in the LP-gas mode and a look at the flame. If the flame is burning poorly, if you see a yellow flame, or if the refrigerator isn’t operating properly in the gas mode it’s possible that the baffle inside the flue is covered with soot. Soot, rust and other debris can fall down and obstruct the burner assembly. When this happens it will be necessary to clean the flue and the burner assembly.

Turn the refrigerator off again and locate the burner. Directly above the burner is the flue. The baffle is inside the flue. Wear a pair of safety glasses and use an air compressor to blow air up into the flue. After the flue is clean, use the compressed air to remove any debris from the outside refrigerator compartment.

Now, turn the refrigerator on in the LP-gas mode to make sure it is working properly. Look for the bright blue flame. For a thorough cleaning of the flue and baffle it will be necessary to have your RV dealer do it for you. While there, have them to do an LP-gas pressure test, too.

6. Another good idea is to install a 12-volt, thermostatically controlled refrigerator vent fan at the back of the refrigerator, or at the top of the roof vent, to assist with drafting the hot air away from the refrigerator. If you are mechanically inclined, these fans are fairly easy to install, or you can have your RV dealer install one for you. Either way it’s worth it. The fan removes the heat built up behind the refrigerator, improving the refrigerators performance by up to 40 percent.

7. The outside temperature also affects the operation and efficiency of your motorhome’s refrigerator. When it’s cold out you can lower the temperature setting. When it’s hot out you can raise the setting. Some refrigerators’ temperatures are preset by the manufacturer.

Extremely hot weather will directly affect the refrigerator’s efficiency. When it’s really hot outside, try parking your RV with the side the refrigerator is on in the shade.

On occasion, inspect and clean the refrigerator door gaskets. Check them for a good seal. Place a dollar bill behind the seal and close the door. It should stay there and not drop. When you try to pull it out there should be some resistance felt. Do this in several different places and have any damaged seals replaced.

Last but not least, you should always have a thermostat in the food compartment. Food will begin to spoil at temperatures above 40 degrees.

RV absorption refrigerators do a great job for RVers. They will do an even better job, and last longer, if we apply these simple tips to make their job easier and less demanding.

Happy Camping,

Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University

House Power

September 6, 2010

as appeared in Good Sam Insider September 6, 2010

RV electrical systems may seem complex to an RV owner but
Courtesy of Good Sam Insider

Photo Courtesy of Good Sam Insider

understanding the basics can help you monitor electrical functions in your RV and diagnose basic problems. Unlike a house, RVs have three separate electrical systems, described in terms of voltage levels:

1. A 12-volt DC (direct current) automotive system for a motorhome chassis or tow vehicle.
2. A separate 12-volt DC system for a trailer, camper or the “house” portion of a motorhome.
3. A 120-volt AC (alternating current) “house” power system commonly described with the outdated term, “110-volt.”

In an RV park, the RV’s heavy-duty power cord is connected to a source of 30- or 50-amp 120-volt AC power, often referred to as shorepower, bringing in AC power for house appliances such as an air conditioner, microwave, TV/DVD and anything plugged into wall outlets. The combination of these electrical systems provides amazing flexibility that enables the RV to be a mobile condo — fully functional.

Precautions for 120-Volt AC Systems
RVs can be self-contained for several days, but park hookups make life easier. There are few concerns about performance of 120-volt AC systems, but it’s important to include a few precautionary checkpoints in your routine when hooking up to shorepower.

Tip 1: Upon arrival at an RV park, insert a circuit tester (available at RV supply stores) into the park’s 15-amp electrical outlet; you can also use an adapter and check the 30- or 50-amp receptacle. It will signal any problems with polarity or ground connection. If any warning signals are shown, a situation exists that could result in electrical shock in event of a malfunctioning RV appliance. Check with park management and consider moving to a different site. Next, plug the checker into a wall outlet inside your RV. If it shows a fault, the problem is in your RV — not in the park outlet.

Tip 2: Check voltage in the 120-volt AC system. It may fluctuate. Use a voltage monitor — available in most camping supply stores — that can be plugged into any wall outlet in the RV. A monitor may be included in the electrical control panel of your RV. The voltage level should be about 120 under light load (air conditioner not running) while operating either on outside power or an AC generator. If it drops to 110, it’s time for concern. At 105, it’s too low. Turn off your AC and inquire about the problem with park management.

Fortunately, there are few problems with the 120-volt AC systems in RVs, and these simple procedures can help you be aware if a problem occurs. What if there is a problem that you cannot fix? If you experience a mechanical breakdown, the Good Sam Extended Service Plan will handle the expense so that you don’t have to. Get protected today and receive the service you have come to expect as a Good Sam member.

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