NH53/Flickr Creative Commons
Sorry if this blog is old news for you long-time RV’rs but there are so many new owners of RV’s out there I thought maybe they would find these tips useful. It’s Full Summer out there people, so today we’re going to discuss different common sense ways to help keep the RV cool during this hot weather.
I once saw an old man holding hands with what I assumed was his granddaughter in a Randall’s parking lot here in Houston, Texas. the little girl was asking him why he parked so far from the store when there were empty spots closer, and the grandfather said, “Because our spot is in the shade.” If you folks are new to Texas, or new to summer RV’ing, you should do your absolute best to park that sucker in the shade every time. Just that slight reduction in direct sunlight can make a huge difference, ESPECIALLY if your RV is painted in darker colors.
This may seem too simple to be true, but if you’re in an exposed parking spot try to park the RV with the awning on the west side. Then run it out and it will block a large chunk of afternoon sun from shining in the windows. While you’re at it, keep the rest of the window shades drawn to keep the sun from being as effective at warming the ambient air inside the RV.
Remember your grandmother’s house before they put in the window unit air conditioners? Or maybe your great-grandmother’s house? Or if you’re too young, perhaps you’ve been to the state capitol up in Austin? You might have noticed lot of the doors in those pre-AC days were built with transoms above them to help the house have good airflow through it. You can do the same in your RV using the vents to prevent a lot of heat from building up inside the RV while you’re out running errands or having that summer fun.
Swing by our website and have a look through our climate control, AC gear, vents, and awnings and we’d be glad to help you get that RV cooler!
Terry Presley/Flickr Creative Commons
I can’t remember if we’ve ever talked about hail. Of so, it’s been a long, long, long time and we might as well hit it again. So here we are mid-spring, the weather has been mostly wonderful. Central Texas, and North Texas too, have had some pretty powerful weather over the course of the spring and that belt of the state from north of Austin to the Red River gets strong storms pretty regularly. I still remember when Jarrell got wiped out by a tornado back in the 90’s. So what do you do when those storms are coming and they’re bringing hail and damaging winds with them?
Now it’s almost a cliche about RVs and travel trailers being beaten up by bad weather, but there is nothing more important than the well being of yourself and your loved ones. If weather is headed your way, and you don’t have time to get moving out of it’s path, your absolute best option is to seek shelter. That applies whether it’s straight-line winds, severe lightning, floods, hail, etc etc etc. Find yourself a sturdy, permanent structure if possible and get inside. Then keep away from windows and wait it out.
So you’ve made it through the storm and you’re looking your RV over immediately afterwards and it has taken a beating. We here at PPL can help you get it back to looking it’s best with replacement for all that damaged stuff up on top. I’m talking about replacements for refrigerator vent covers, vent lids, A/C shrouds, plumbing vent caps, and if you have punctures we even have self-adhesive rubber roof repair kits. Chances are if you have antennas mounted up top, they’ve taken a beating too. It’s amazing the amount of stuff we have up there that kind of gets forgotten about. So if you’ve gone through some severe weather, survey your RV or trailer, than call us and let us know how we can help you get back on the road!
Your alarm goes off, the sun is just peeking up over the horizon and your windows are beginning to brighten up. You stumble out of bed, brrrrrrr it’s chilly this morning. First things first, let’s get that coffee maker percolating. You accidentally spill some coffee grounds on the counter while you’re filling the machine, but you finally get that delicious red light lit and coffee cooking. You reach under the counter for a paper towel, because nobody replaced the roll on the counter, and when you raise up you bonk your head on a partially open drawer. Yep, it’s gonna be that kind of morning isn’t it? You didn’t want to wake up early, leave your warm bed, spill coffee, and bonk your head did you? Might as well hit the shower while the coffee percolates. You strip down, turn on the water and YIKES!! Oh my GOODNESS that’s cold!! Yep, your water heater has crapped out on you.
Which brings me to the problem solving device of today’s blog. A friend of mine has a tankless water heater and I’m here to tell you that thing is amazing. Especially on mornings described above, a tankless water heater would do more than just be a space saving, energy efficient appliance…it would be a morale boosting, confidence inspiring, let’s-get-out-there-and-conquer-the-day kind of necessity! We offer a tankless water heater by Suburban that will fill this role nicely.
It is specifically designed and sized to replace your existing water tank whether it’s a 6, 10, 12, or 16 gallon tank. They can either be operated through a standard on/off switch, or if you prefer, a control center may be installed in your coach that will allow you to set an exact temperature so you can have consistent bliss when you turn the tap in the shower. If you’re interested in learning more about these awesome set ups, click right HERE and treat yourself to a better than average Monday.
Well folks, that “winter” here in Southeast Texas wasn’t much of a thing now was it? Don’t get me wrong, we had a few days below freezing and one or two of those rainy, chilly gray days (like you see in England during the summer, haaaa!), but it seems to me like the majority of this last winter we could have spent in shorts and wearing a light jacket. So, unless you just planted a garden and your little green shoots are starting to pop up, most of us reckon there won’t be another freeze before December. With that said, shall we declare Victory over winter and just go ahead and move on to spring?
Spring. Man I love it. Spring is a great time to pull the covers off the RV, and get her all spiffed for driving season. Might be a good time to go back and read a few of our blogs from weeks past and map out some great destinations too. And I know y’all have a checklist of things to do to get the RV or camper all ready to go, but I was wondering if I could make a suggestion? It’s one of those things that tend to get ignored a little bit because…well…they’re just not pleasant.
I’ll put it to you like this: Have you ever seen somebody at a waste station at a park or campground and their sewer hose is just thrashed? Like Randy Quaid in Christmas Vacation dumping his sewer into the storm drain with his hose leaking and covered in duct tap “patches”? Well, that is one of my pet peeves. Seeing somebody with a beat up sewer hose that may be leaking that black water where all the rest of us might accidentally track through it. Not only is it disgusting, but that sort of laziness poses a health risk not only to the user, but to the rest of us as well. They aren’t expensive, we have them in stock, click right HERE to replace your beat up nasty old hose will you? Please? ALL of us out here thank you!
Well y’all we’ve been talking about a whole series of problem solving products these last few week, and I thought of another one this morning. How many times have you needed to get something out of the little baggage cubbies underneath your slideouts and had those baggage compartment cubbie doors come down and bang your head? Always seems to happen when you have your hands full, or it’s dark, or when it’s raining. There you are with your flashlight trying to find whatever it was that you went down there looking for and hoping you spot it before it gets all wet.
You know what would solve that whole problem? Some of those little hydraulic spring thingies that hold the doors open so you can fetch what you need helmet-free. We offer complete retrofitted kits by Hatchlift that will accomplish that very task. They’re great and you can set them to hold the door open at 90 degrees, which is perfect for under slideouts, or you can set them for 140 degrees which is perfect for those doors mounted with nothing above them. That 140 degree hold open will keep the door up and out of the way while you rummage, pack, or unpack.
These kits are pretty inexpensive and come with one hydraulic spring, so if you have longer doors that need this problem solved, you’ll probably have to get two springs…depending on the door’s weight. They’re super easy to install, and believe me once you’ve got them attached you (and your poor head) will wonder why you didn’t put them on years ago. If you’re curious to know more, or wonder what different sizes they come in, click right HERE and you’ll be whisked away in internet comfort to our website where you can find out all about them. And don’t forget folks, with the driving season rapidly approaching, hit our website before you hit the trail for all those parts and accessories that keep you happily rolling in this RV lifestyle.
bjoern/Flicker Creative Commons
It’s almost time! One of my favorite events is about to kick off on February 28th, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. This is one fantastic month of awesome rodeo action complete with trail rides, chili cook-offs, parades, FFA (Future Farmers of America) shows, concerts and much, much more. The Houston Livestock Show is one of the largest in the country and it is all manned by wonderful volunteers. My family and I have been going every year, as my grandchildren actually participate in a few of the FFA events and I thought it might be a good idea to do a little blast on the rodeo and livestock show.
Now if you’ve never been, and you live in or around the Houston area, you must attend. There is quite literally something for everyone. You don’t have to be a farmer, a rancher or even a cowboy/cowgirl to have loads of fun. I’m talking, non-stop action, for folks from all walks of life. From events like barrel racing and calf roping, to the best artists in Country Music today and a whole host of farm animals that are certain to bring a smile to the faces of even the biggest kids.
Aside from all that is happening with the event itself, it will not escape your attention, the massive collection of RVs that are present at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I truly believe there are no less than 1000 RVs in and around the NRG stadium complex during the 3 weeks event. This is a great opportunity for RVers to walk among and check out RVs of all shapes, sizes and ages. You’ll see them all, motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth-wheels both new and road worn. It’s a virtual cornucopia of RVs and is sure to give a few of you that “New RV”, or “Go Rving” bug. Seriously, you won’t be able to miss them.
Like I said, the Rodeo has been a part of my memories throughout my lifetime and I can’t express to you how excited I am to have two of my grandchildren active in FFA. This year, they are showing goats and bunnies at shows in the area. To make this year even more special, we have several PPL Motohomes employees who work full time here at PPL and then donate hours to the livestock show committees. It takes thousands of volunteers and I am so very proud of my team for their participation. We all appreciate how important this event is to both Houston and our local farmers and ranchers.
Make plans to go this year. Trust me, it could be one of the most enjoyable family events you’ll have this year. For mor information about the show, just click here!
Amy Meredith/Flickr Creative Commons
Have you seen those almost improbable sounding commercials on TV where the proud father and beautiful young daughter are standing side by side beaming at the camera and talking about their special family tradition of changing the batteries in the smoke detector on her birthday? First time I saw that commercial I rolled my eyes to myself at the sheer cheesiness of it, but the fact of the matter is… it’s very important to change the batteries in your smoke detector annually and it very much helps to remind you to do it on an important day that you actually remember. We change ours during the Thanksgiving holidays, and to my knowledge we’ve only forgotten once!
When it comes to these sort of safety features and RVs, there are a couple things other than smoke we should be concerned with detecting. Carbon Monoxide is the silent killer for sure, and our engines in the RVs produce it. Having a Carbon Monoxide detector in the cab of the RV somewhere is a very very good idea, especially with the older models where the seals and exhaust system might not be in the best condition. LP gas leaks should also be detected as early as possible.
We actually have a combination Carbon Monoxide/LP gas detector in our RV and it works great. It’s made by Safe-T-Alert, and mounts flush to the wall and powered by the 12V system which means we don’t have to worry about changing the batteries in these detectors! It’s incredibly simple to use and test too. Best thing is if the alarm goes off and you mute it…it will still operate normally in muted mode and if the conditions do not improve the alarm will re-sound. It’s a pretty handy gadget, and offers some peace of mind so you’re not worrying about what you can’t see! If you’d like to know more about these detectors, click right HERE.
Is it spring? If I ask that question will there be 6 more weeks of Winterpocalypse 2016? I don’t know, but this winter been a bit… um… nonexistent here in southeast Texas, I can tell you that. I remember when I was a kid, my grandparents would get the garden chopped in around Valentine’s Day because there would probably be one more freeze and that would be it for winter, but I’ve got to tell you in all honesty, I have no idea what’s going on with the weather anymore. It’s been so mild I feel like I should have gotten the garden in before Christmas!!
But thinking of spring and gardening and getting the RV cleaned up and ready for the road after it’s “long winter’s nap”, reminds me of a product we have here at PPL that is one of those frustration-reducing life savers. Have you ever gone out to the RV to hose it down and somehow your garden hose has gotten itself all twisted up and tied in knots? I mean, you haven’t used it since probably October (here in Texas anyway) and you know you stowed it away carefully, but as soon as you drag it out to the shed or driveway, there it is looking like a green rubber version of the Largest Ball Of Twine up in Kansas.
Well we have a solution for that problem, have you ever tried Neverkink Hoses? They’re great! You roll them up, and then…tah DAH! They unroll. Simple as that. They don’t get pinched and shut off water flow, you won’t spend hours untying your huge mess of a knot, they just stow simply, cleanly, and effectively. If you’re interested, we’ve got them, and they are NOT expensive, so come by the website and pick up one or two. Man they’re nice!
Have you ever pulled up into your spot, gotten the power and water and sewer all connected, and you’re ready to relax after a long day’s drive? For those of y’all that have satellite TV antennas, what happens next? Yep, you’ve gotta find that signal then get the antenna pointed just right so you can couch it for a little bit before bedtime and just relax. Sometimes it seems like the signal meter just flat lies to you doesn’t it? Well, I have a solution to that particular problem! Install an automatic aiming antenna!
Here’s all you need to do after you have one installed: turn the antenna on, hit the scan button, and in a couple minutes the antenna will have completed a full three hundred and sixty degree scan and determined signal strength of broadcast towers and determined an optimal position for the antenna to receive the greatest number of channels. With one push of a button! While it’s scanning you can be running out the slide-outs and getting a bowl of popcorn cooking in the microwave!
This means no more arguing over where to point the antenna, or fighting over which channels you want to try and receive, no more cranking the dish out, all you have to do at the end of a long day’s drive is just relax and enjoy yourselves while watching free digital TV! Where can you get one of these beauties? On our website of course. We carry the Winegard Rayzor auto tracking HD antenna in both white or black, and they come with mounting hardware, power supply, and coax cables; everything you need to get that relaxation going quickly. As you can see from the photos, the housings are pretty sleek, low, and quite stout so no reason to worry about wind resistance, heavy rain, or even hail beating them up. And if you’re interested, please swing by the website and say howdy, we’ll be glad to set y’all up with one!
Lauren Mitchell, Flickr Creative Commons
I got to thinking the other day about this RV Lifestyle and wondered about a few things and so before I knew it, I’d spent about half a day wandering around the internet mining for facts and statistics. I found some pretty interesting stuff that I thought I’d share with y’all. Thought I could do my own state of the union, except about RV’s and RV’ers! Some of these figures come from the RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) some of them came from different state associations, but they’re all fascinating.
Did you know that the average age of an RV owner is only 49? That kind of flies in the face of the stereotype that implies that “only retirees are out there in their campers driving slow and leaving their left blinkers on across several states” doesn’t it? The average is 49, so there are just as many people under 49 as over who own these awesome machines! According to one study in Michigan, more RVs are owned by the age group of 35-54 than any other demographic. My interpretation of that number is that even with the huge increase in RV ownership among the babyboomer generation, the generation behind them is outbuying them when it comes to RVs. Granted the 54 year-olds could still be boomers, but they are on the ragged edge of that scale.
The current estimate is that 1 in 12 households own an RV. That’s over 8 million!! Can you imagine? Did you ever think we would see such numbers? There are over 12,000 RV-related businesses in the US with an estimated combined revenue of 37.5 BILLion per year. Those businesses are estimated to employ over a quarter million people here in the US with an estimated payroll of almost 5 billion per year. Holy mackerel folks, this is one big industry and I’m so proud to be a part of it! Thanks to all of you who count on us for your parts, accessories, and our help selling your old RV for you as well! Come by the website and say hi won’t you?