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Category: RV Maintenance

Mark My Words – Q & A with Mark Nemeth – April 2014: Mildew, Water Pressure, Screeching Inverters, Nitrogen, and Toilet Tanks

April 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Hi, folks. This month we’ll talk about mildew, water pressure, screeching inverters, nitrogen, and toilet tanks. Remember, you can submit your RVing questions to Happy Trails! —————————————————– Hi, Mark, Our 2005 Carriage Cameo 5th wheel is stored outside in an RV-storage area for the winter.  We go out to check on it about every 7 to 10 days.  We store it with all three ceiling vents open and cabinet doors open.  Yesterday when we entered it, we noticed a distinct musty smell for the first time, much like many house basements have.  We did find what appeared to be dark bacteria or mildew cultures in the RV antifreeze left in the stool during winterizing.  I cleaned that all out and rinsed the stool with Clorox.  Are there other measures we could or should take? Thanks. John Hi, John, Mildew and mold need two things to thrive: moisture and a source of... [Read more...]

6 Case Studies in Preventing RV Fires

April 2, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

6 Case Studies in Preventing RV Fires

With an average of 3,100 RV fires each year, there is no shortage of news stories across the U.S. and Canada about devastating losses due to recreational vehicle fires. An portable heater left unattended was the cause of a fire that burned this Winnebago. (Credit: Bill Beezley/East Jefferson Fire-Rescue) These fires caused seven deaths, 62 injuries, and approximately $41 million in damages each year. These numbers reflect how important fire safety and fire prevention are to the RV lifestyle. Keep in mind a few safety precautions whenever you leave an RV for any amount of time. Make sure that space heaters are turned off at night and when leaving the RV. Do not leave cooking unattended for even the shortest period of time. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and replace batteries yearly. Following are recent reports on six RVs destroyed by fires that were caused by human carelessness. Washington: Heater Cause of RV Fire reports that an old portable heater... [Read more...]

Space Heaters a Potential Cause of RV Fires

March 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Space Heaters a Potential Cause of RV Fires

Fire safety is essential when camping in your recreational vehicle. In earlier posts I reported on space heater fires that destroyed RVs and caused the death of its occupants—both human and canine. Following are recent reports on four RVs destroyed by fires that were caused by human carelessness. Ohio: Space Heater Cause of Camper Fire reports that a camper was destroyed in a fire caused by an electric space heater. A family of four was displaced after a fire consumed their Charles Mill Lake camper. Mark and Amy Snyder and their two children, Savannah, 10, and Taylor, 13, had been living in the camper for the past year. “We lost everything (in the fire),” Mark Snyder said. “But everybody made it out alive, and that’s all that matters.” The family’s two cats and a pet rabbit were killed in the fire, Mark said. The family dog survived. Ashland County’s Mifflin Township Fire Department responded to the camper fire just after midnight, chief JJ Bittinger... [Read more...]

Power of Preventative Maintenance: Tools and Resources for Your RV

February 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Power of Preventative Maintenance: Tools and Resources for Your RV

Your RV is your home, your vehicle, and a valuable investment; however, it can be very costly to repair if it is not properly maintained. Preventative maintenance can be the difference between arriving safely at your destination and a costly roadside problem. Pictured below is the beauty of Valley of Fire at Atatl Rock Campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved This is why preventive maintenance is so vital to the long-term health of your RV and to your overall ownership experience. There are two basic types of maintenance for your RV: preventive maintenance and scheduled maintenance. Often these two terms are used interchangeably. Preventive maintenance is maintenance you perform on your RV before a problem exists and consists of cleaning, inspecting, lubricating, adjusting, and servicing your RV. Preventive maintenance is really nothing more than common sense maintenance. It could be the difference between a safe and enjoyable trip and a costly disastrous one. Scheduled Maintenance or... [Read more...]

A Holding Tank Primer

January 21, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

The following is an excerpt of an article that appeared in CyberSam, the Good Sam Club’s e-newsletter. One of the most common mistakes new RVers make when visiting an RV park with full hook-ups is to connect the sewer hose, and then open the black and gray tanks. Bad idea–at least for the black tank. When you use the toilet, the liquids will drain away down the sewer hose, but solids and tissue will be left behind. In the short term, this creates odiferous build-up, but in the long term it can create deposits that can be difficult to remove, and may even require tank replacement. Instead, keep the black tank valve closed, and watch the monitor panel like you would when dry camping. When the tank is 1/2-3/4 full, go out and pull the handle—now there’s sufficient force to flush the tank clean. Since the gray tank primarily handles soapy water, you can leave it open without fear of problems. One of the most frequent letters or e-mails we receive are on the subject of tank monitors—more... [Read more...]

Mark, My Words: Q & A with Mark Nemeth – January 2014

January 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Hi, everyone! I hope your New Year is progressing well! We’ll be putting our RVs back on the road soon, and since batteries really suffer in storage, I thought some battery-related questions would be appropriate this month. Keep those questions coming! Just send your email to —————————————————————- Hi, Mark, I have a Holiday Rambler Vacationer, which I purchased used 4 1/2 yr. ago. I am on my third set of house batteries. I add water frequently, but they won’t last. I make sure everything is off before leaving the MH. My current set is about 18 mo. old, and they are shot. Shouldn’t they last longer than that? Also, can I shut down the battery switch in winter without hurting the batteries? A friend told me that the batteries might freeze. Thanks, Don. Hi, Don, Your house batteries should last longer than that! How often do you have... [Read more...]

Shreveport, LA – full of good clean fun!

January 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Shreveport, LA – full of good clean fun!

We just finished up a visit to Shreveport, Louisiana.  While we have been through Louisiana several times, we have always taken I-10 and never really stopped and explored.  This is the first time that we have ventured north, and we sure are glad we did! During our 3 days in Shreveport, we found all sorts of fun things to do, so whether you are a snowbird, or a family on vacation, here are a couple of our favorite local picks… One of our very favorite destinations was Holiday Lanes – a fun, clean, smoke-free bowling alley in Bossier City (NE Shreveport)!  Not your typical RV destination to be sure, but definitely added a fun and memorable aspect to our Shreveport visit!  We loved Holiday Lanes! The lanes were very well maintained, and even the settee area was classy and comfy with leather couches!  The alley has an enclosed adult lounge complete with large screen tv and pool table, and a pro shop.  The alley is both adult, and family friendly! We were impressed by how... [Read more...]

North Dakota Indoor RV Park Keeps Oilfield Workers Out of the Cold

December 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

North Dakota Indoor RV Park Keeps Oilfield Workers Out of the Cold

About seven months ago I reported that a group of Minnesota partners were planning an indoor RV park to house North Dakota oilfield workers five miles south of Watford City, North Dakota. North Dakota Indoor RV Park Keeps Oilfield Workers Out of the Cold When initially proposed, the idea prompted mixed reactions. “So many people thought we were crazy,” Louis Bonneville of Carlton, Minnesota, one of the park’s owners, told the Forum News Service. But for workers like John Coffer, who spent North Dakota winter months in his RV and once got stuck inside when the door froze, the option to move his camper indoors was a pleasant change. “It’s nice to step out of your RV and not step into a pile of snow,” said Coffer, a natural gas plant operator. The North Dakota Indoor RV Park recently expanded and the owners have turned down offers to replicate the concept elsewhere, said Bonneville, the park’s managing partner. The park consists of 10 insulated and climate-controlled buildings... [Read more...]

Why Purchase an RV Extended Service Plan?

December 15, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal recently about Mechanical-Breakdown Insurance (MBI). The gist of the article was do you purchase one of these policies, or do you skip it? If you are not familiar with mechanical-breakdown insurance it is insurance designed to protect you from costly vehicle repair bills after any factory warranties expire. The article I read was based on MBI for your automobile, but similar type plans are offered to protect RV owners. These plans are usually referred to as Extended Service Plans (ESP) or Extended Service Contracts. From an RV industry insider’s viewpoint I was interested in what the article had to say. I have always recommended that RV owners purchase a reputable extended service plan, considering a typical repair to an RV, say the refrigerator, can easily exceed $1,000. An important point mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article was that MBI and ESP’s are similar in terms of what they are intended to do, but there are differences the... [Read more...]

Mark, My Words: Q & A with Mark Nemeth – December 2013

December 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Hi, all: I hope you have a merry Christmas and are looking forward to a New Year of RVing! This month, we’ll talk about leaks, refrigerators, and towing. Keep those questions coming! ————————————- Hi, Mark, We have a 1964 Silver Streak Sabre 22 travel trailer.  We love our trailer. We use one of those standard inline pressure regulators, without a gauge, when connecting to a campsite water source.  Most of the time, we’re okay, no leaks, but other times our plumbing leaks.  I have a suspicion the pressure regulator only steps the pressure down by a specific amount and not to a specific pressure.  For example, if the hose bib pressure is 120, the pressure regular steps it down by, say, 40 pounds, leaving 80 pounds of pressure.  It would be great if the pressure regulator would take whatever input pressure and step it down to say 45 pounds.  Is there such a device?  Or should I insert two... [Read more...]

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