How many AC’s are enough in TX?

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brykmantra, Flikr Creative Commons

I was bragging in the last blog about how great Texas is, singing the whole “Texas Is Bigger And Better” song, and then it got so coastal this week. Hot, humid, rainy, and condensation inside the windows all over town. While I’m grateful the state is getting welcome moisture this year, as well as our spring being an actual season this time instead of just the usual footnote-sized blip of nice weather, today was the day that air conditioning became one of those major priorities.
So I decided I really wanted to do an entire blog article on keeping your cool in the summer heat.  We have a wide selection of AC units in stock on the website and it’s definitely that time of year where we’re subtly changing from Almost Summer to Full-Blown Summer, so if you haven’t had the AC serviced yet or if it’s not keeping your RV, travel trailer, or fifth wheel properly comfortable it may be worthwhile to check with the manufacturer or in the manual to see if your RV is pre-wired for a second AC unit. Many of them are, and in Texas heat that second AC can make a difference between a wonderful RV vacation and one that is simply tolerable.
Of course, RV Nana happens to like the second AC unit for more than just the cool.  When we had our fifth wheel, it was so nice to turn on the AC unit up front above the bed and take a nap or let that fan on the bedroom unit lull you to sleep.  I have even been known to turn on the AC fan in the dead of winter just to have the noise! If you’re like me and you prefer that cool breeze and sleep inducing hum, please swing by the website and we’ll do our best to help make your summer more comfortable!

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Keep Unwanted Critters Out of Your RV

It’s no secret that, if I truly had the choice, I’d spend everyday RVing. But, seeing as how not all of us have the time, or luxury to be full-time RVers, we have to think about and prepare for the days when we aren’t actually using our RVs.  What I’ve come to realize over the years and after hearing a few horror stories along the way, even though we may not be using our RVs, there is the very real possibility that little critters and insects are. That’s right, while your RV was packed away for the Winter, or otherwise not in use, pests were likely using it as shelter. Just thinking about now makes my skin crawl a little.

Now, while you may not be able to keep every tiny little creature out of your RV, there are a few preventative measures you can take to deter many of them from taking up residence in your “home away from home”.  Even though you may think these suggestions are common sense, I hope one of my readers who stumbles across this article learns a new RV life hack for keeping their rig critter free.

Tip #1: A little steel wool keeps the mice out.  Placing a little steel wool around any pipe openings under sinks will keep mice from coming into your RV.  Sounds silly, but since they can’t chew through steel, it makes a very effective barrier to entry!

Tip #2: Fabric Softener Sheets are not just for laundry!  These are an inexpensive way to keep bugs and mice out of your RV and they help keep it smelling fresh too!  Since trying this little hint I have not seen any spiders, ants, roaches, or other insects in the trailer and our 5th wheel smells clothesline fresh!  They last about 2-3 months and when you’re ready to change them, use the old ones to dust the TV screen and fan blades while you’re getting the RV ready in the spring.

Tip #3Dog Flea Collars are not just for Fido anymore!  The flea collar will keep spiders and mud daubers out of the access compartments behind your refrigerator or water heater, as well as your storage compartments. Spiders are great for the ecology, but really bad for my heart. I love the outdoors, but tend to get a little jumpy when I have to stick my hand into a compartment that doubles as an arachnid hotel.

BONUS TIP: Take your noodle and save your noggin!  Sometimes headaches just come with the territory, both figurative and literal. For example, a simple swimming pool noodle can help cushion some of the slide out corners on your RV whereby protecting the heads of those of shorter stature (I happen to be one of those people). But, being the resourceful and thrift person I am, I also found that they can also protect the windshield wipers while my RV isn’t in use. Nothing is worse than realizing in the middle of a deluge that that your wiper blades have virtually disintegrated due to exposure. I know checking your wiper blades should be on your pre-trip checklist, but things get missed sometimes. With a big pink pool noodle covering them, there is no way you’ll forget to check them.

Now those are just a few ways to keep unwanted stowaways out of your RV, can you suggest RV related “life hacks” that you use? Please let us know in the comment section below and tell us about it! We’re always keen to try out a new way to make life a little easier. Come visit us at PPL Motorhomes for all your parts and accessories.

Sway Control for Trailers

At some point in your driving career, you’ve probably been heading down the road and noticed somebody that was pulling a trailer of some kind and it was wiggling. That wiggling is called sway, and it can become very very dangerous. In extreme cases the fishtailing motion of the trailer can become so great that the trailer will move out of line far enough to be side on to the direction of travel and cause the trailer and tow vehicle to flip.

So I thought I’d pass along some pointers, tips, and items that will help prevent this from occurring. The primary cause of trailer sway is poor weight distribution, either from weight being concentrated forward or aft of the axles, an off balance load where weight is concentrated on one side or another, or even the wheel base of the tow vehicle comes into play. Sway can be exacerbated by speed, tire inflation on the trailer, or something as seemingly insignificant as the distance between the trailer hitch and the axles.

To help prevent sway the following must be part of your checklist:

  1. Make sure the weight on the trailer is evenly distributed
  2. Ensure the tow hitch is adjusted properly
  3. Install anti-sway equipment, and make sure it’s working properly
  4. Drive defensively, and that means other traffic AND weather
  5. Be extra vigilant if your trailer is not equipped with brakes

Some of the anti-sway items we supply are:

Reese hitch

Reese hitch

Reese Dual Cam Sway Control

curt-sway-control

Curt Friction Sway Control Kit

friction-sway-control-ez-lift

EAZ Lift Friction Sway Bolt-On System

Here‘s a video demonstrating how anti-sway hitches work.

So we’ve done all we can to ensure that the chances of sway are minimized, but what do you do if sway starts? Gradually slow down, add a little trailer brake (if installed), and don’t accelerate are all good options, but the EASIEST way to eliminate trailer sway is to eliminate the trailer and buy a motorhome from PPL Motorhomes!

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New Year’s Resolutions

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Klesta ▲/Flickr Creative Commons

Can you believe it’s already 2017? This is the time of year when we all try to come up with ways to better ourselves (going to the gym, eating healthy), but I thought I’d take this opportunity to give you some ideas for new year’s resolutions regarding your RV!

1. Clean it out!

Keeping your RV clean from head to toe is a real time saver when you’re on the road. Starting out with a dirty RV mean you have to spend untold hours cleaning and scrubbing when you should be enjoying it with your family. It also keeps dust from collecting and aggravating allergies. No one wants to go on vacation and have allergy problems. Keeping your kitchen clean stops the spread of germs and especially those nasty, gross smells that you can never figure out where they are coming from.

2. Take it somewhere new!

You know that winery tour you’ve been wanting to go on for the last couple of years, but you just weren’t sure how to do it? Now’s the best time to sit down and map out the RV parks and wineries that you want to visit! If you don’t take the time to figure the logistics, then you’ll keep going to the same RV parks and driving down the same roads. Get out of your comfort zone! Being an RV owner means you have a wealth of memorable vacations available to you, you just have to take the time and think outside the lines!

3. Fix that broken appliance!

A busted oven or a microwave that seems to be better at making noise than warming up your dinner is something that you need to get replaced! Don’t work around it! The appliances in your RV are there to make your life easier, and when one of them isn’t functioning properly, then your entire trip is derailed because you haven’t replaced it. A broken generator, a faulty air conditioner, even the smallest item that needs replacing will make you rethink your weekend venture. Now’s the time to get it fixed and hit the road! Don’t let something that simple stop you from seeing the country!

 

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PPL Motorhomes On Owning An RV: RV Storage

So, you’ve finally done it! You’ve bought your first RV! You’ve put vasts amounts of effort into researching, choosing and buying that first RV and now the realities of RV ownership are starting to sink in like: “Where am I gonna keep this thing”?

Parking the vehicle at your residence can be an issue for some. If you do not have extensive garden and driveway space around your home, you may be looking at on-street parking. Something I don’t recommend. Try to avoid parking your RV on side and neighborhood streets as it’s either illegal, dangerous, annoying to neighbors or all of the above.

Consider storage facilities  – these can be both indoor and outdoor. Some RV owners may house their vehicle indoors to avoid any winter damage typically caused by ice, rain and sun. Some RV owners are just fine with an outdoor RV port.  Good storage facilities also usually provide a better level of security such as lock up, video surveillance etc. Some facilities, not only offer storage, but also concierge services, RV Service, wash bays, disposal and much more for very reasonable rates.  The way I look at it is, if I’m going to put as much time as I do into the upkeep of my motorhome, I’m also going to store it during my off season at a place I know will take as good care of it as I would.

HOT TIP: If you are going to buy a RV, then understand that you must also likely service that RV. The habitation area requires certain procedures to be undertaken at regular intervals. Some of this servicing requires expertise that the average owner likely does not have. Likewise, if you bought a motorhome, the engine and mechanical parts require regular servicing from a qualified mechanic.

Look, owning and maintaining an RV isn’t “rocket science”, but it’s also not for the feint of heart. You will have to have answers to questions like, “Where am I gonna’ keep this thing?” answered before you sign on the dotted line. But trust me, when you do buy your first RV, you will always remember that moment as the beginning of an endless adventure.

RV smart…

RV Nana

PPL Motorhomes!

Storage, Space and Too Much “Stuff”

Space is a valuable commodity." Photo Diana Leblanc

Space is a valuable commodity.”
Photo Diana Leblanc

Storage, space and too much “stuff”…

When I bought the Winnebago View I was so excited to have so much living area.  So much more an I had in the Roadtrek.  The big day came and I began the shuffle of stuff  from one RV to the other.  Surprisingly, there was very little that I decided to eliminate in the new RV.  Going from a 42′ 5th wheel to the Roadtrek  a few years ago meant major Downsizing at the time and I have grown accustomed to “less is more.”.  I was  originally the one who had everything we could ever want or need along with enough for all the neighbors.  I packed like I was going to a third world country Where there would be no stores along the way.

The Roadtrek design is the most compact in the industry…every nook and cranny had a storage place.  I was amazed at how prepared I could be in that RV.  As I started loading the View I experienced a bit of panic.  Where was I going to put everything  and how would I arrange it?  I spent the first evening of ownership in the RV until about 2 am arranging and rearranging.  I’m sure any neighbors who were in town, thought I was a but crazy.

From those first few hours, I discovered some good storage ideas I want to share with all of you.

Cutlery storage.  I bought one of the stacking cutlery organizers and it works great.  Everyday needs stored on top and the back up items in the lower compartment.

Foldable storage containers.  The overhead cabinets in the kitchen area were too big and too little.  I could not figure a good way to store glassware, storage containers and stuff.  I found the foldable storage bins made the perfect storage.  Compact and organized and there was little rattle when driving.

Closet organization.  In the Roadtrek I had no closet and now I had one.  It was large, open and I had no idea how to organize this space.  I bought one of the expandable sweater storage hangers, had to cut it off to fit and then ” voila” I created the equivalent storage to a chest of drawers.  I hung a fabric shoe storage in the back wall of the closet and suddenly had a perfect place to organize everything from gloves to pajamas, all easily accessible in full view.

Command strips are the best thing ever.  Of course, I had to hang all of my stuff up, but I refuse to ever use a nail in the paneling. I have seen too many RVs come in to PPL for sale and they had holes everywhere in the paneling?  I love the command strips.  They really work.  Make sure the weight allowance is correct for what you are hanging up.  I use them for everything from keys to hats and art.  They are great.  I also use the command strips on the countertop to secure the coffee pot and some small art items. No sliding”

Teachers putty.  This is that sticky putty teachers use to stick things up in the classroom.  It works great to secure items on a shelf or countertop.

Ziplock bags.  I have every size you could think of and use all of them.  From organizing a junk drawer to keeping medicines and first aid items straight, they are the best.

I know all of you have great storage tips and tricks.  Please share them with me.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Storage Solutions For Every RV

Storage is always an issue for nearly every RVer. We always want to take things “just in case”. After all, it’s better to have too much than not enough, right? I know I’m guilty of that. I pack all of my storage spaces full of gadgets, clothes and other random things I may think I need. Of course, after we get to the RV campsite, and start setting things up, I always wonder “Why did we bring so much?” I’m a big fan of any product that makes more storage available and let’s me bring more on my trip without tripping over everything. Here are a few products that I use in my RV that keep me sane and my RV organized.

Instahanger Fold-Up Clothes Storage

Needless to say, when we first got these in our warehouse, I was the first customer. Everyone knows that women pack too many clothes. Yes, we have to have that 1 sweater during the summer, just in case a polar cold front comes it. Yes, we have to have 20 different outfits. Now I don’t feel so bad, because our closet can handle everything I bring.

 

 

Hatchlift Hydraulic Bedlift Kits

What a great idea! The space under your bed is mostly just wasted space, so why not put stuff in it? These handy hydraulic kits make it easy to lift your mattress platform up, without throwing out your back, so you can easily fill it with necessities. Better to have, than be forced to go buy one when you’re out on a campsite.

 


KwiKee Super Slide II

This is a great addition to any RV with underbody storage units. A sliding storage organizer. It allows you to fill your storage up completely and have access to it, without having to unload and reload everything in it. If you’re looking for something towards the back, just slide it all the way out and there it is! No more backbreaking lifting and moving.

What storage solutions do you use in your RV?

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Just Say No To Slide-out Sag!

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Tadekk/Flickr Creative Commons

Getting a new RV with slide-outs  is great because Slide outs are an awesome addition to trailer life.  You simply press a button and your living space is enlarged and it feels like the Elbow Room Fairy has paid your travel trailer a personal visit. It’s like upgrading from a regular hotel room to a suite with a jacuzzi tub. However as time passes wear, sag, twist, warp, and bind might make that slide-out seem a little harder to use and maintain. Many things can affect the operation of your slide outs:  water leaking past the rubber seals, or perhaps the trailer has been parked for an extended period with the slide-outs fully extended, or the trailer wasn’t leveled properly, or maybe your slide-out contains the entire kitchen with water and gas installed in it and the weight is a lot for that slide out mechanism.

Here are some of the ways to alleviate slide-out sag and extend the life of your slide out mechanism.  Make sure the slide-outs are closed when not in use, ensure everything is lubed properly and regularly, inspect the rubber seals for wear and cracking  and condition them so that rainwater and dew stays where it’s supposed to….outside.  And, finally,  if you find yourself parked in a semi-permanent location give some thought to installing a set of support jacks under the slide-outs.

These inexpensive supports can really help make life a little easier, simply level the trailer, extend the slide-outs and install support jack under the slide-outs. Then, make sure that you verify that the slide out is still level.  The last thing you want to do is over-extend the support and make the slide out higher than the trailer because that can cause rain to come in around the slide.  Now, to better understand how this works, just imagine you’re holding a 10lb dumbell in your hand with your arm extended out full length. It doesn’t take very long for you to feel that weight getting heavier, well that’s what your trailer “feels” when you leave the slide-out extended for a good amount of time. The jacks are simple to install and pay for themselves by reducing the wear to your slide-out tracks and extension/retraction gear whether it’s electric or hydraulic.

Check em out HERE!

 

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Safety First In Your RV

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Mark Holloway/Flickr Creative Commons

Your RV is a place of adventure, experiencing new parts of the world, and creating memories with family and friends. We make plans, spend long weekends, haul it across the country and keep it maintained so it’s in good running order. There’s one thing you have to double check time and time again before you head out on vacation, and that’s your safety features. Your carbon monoxide detector, your smoke detector and your fire extinguisher are quite possibly the most important features in your entire RV, no matter how much you love your 50″ flat screen TV. Your TV won’t save your RV from irreparable damage in case of a fire.

Smoke Detectors

Your smoke detectors are just as important, if not more important as the ones you have in your house. Yes, they may signal when dinner is done, but they serve a very distinct purpose. They alarm you when something is on fire or causing smoke. In your house, that means you can get out, if it’s on fire, or you can find out what it is that causing the smoke and take care of it. In your RV there is a much greater sense of urgency. Your RV is exponentially smaller than your living space, so if your smoke alarm goes off. You have a small amount of time to exit the RV. Hence the reason they are so important. If any part of your RV is causing smoke, you need to get out of it immediately.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

There’s a gas out there that is colorless and odorless and can kill you. Scary, I know. The bad part about it is that most, if not all, of our RVs are equipped for propane, which emits carbon monoxide when burned incompletely. If your appliances aren’t in tip-top shape, you’re at the risk of having a carbon monoxide leak. Always keep a carbon monoxide alarm in your RV.

Fire Extinguisher

As I mentioned earlier, your RV is smaller than your house. That means fire can spread quicker and overtake your entire RV in a matter of minutes. When you’re cooking dinner, a grease fire is the last thing you want to happen. RVs come with fire extinguishers as a standard feature, but they do have a shelf-life on them, always check the dates and replace as necessary. Fire extinguishers can prevent your RV from going up in flames, but only if they work!

As a rule, I always check my detectors using the “Test” button and keep tab on my fire extinguisher’s dates to make sure my family and I are protected from tragedy.

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Cut Out the Clutter in Your RV

All of us at PPL Motorhomes know that nothing makes an RV look smaller than a lot of clutter. You know, when you start accumulating “stuff”. Whether you need it or not, the more things you put in your RV the smaller it is going to feel. Interior space is already at a premium, so anything you can do to reduce the clutter will make your trip that much more enjoyable.

For example, one simple rule to live by is “One In, One Out”. If you bring an item into your RV that you expect will stick around for a while, then just scan around and pick out something that you no longer use. I’m sure you can think of a few things already.

Along the same lines, you should be cleaning out your RV regularly. If you’re a part time RVer, summer and winter are optimum times. If you are a full-timer, then you should be cleaning it out 4 times a year. Eradicate anything which may be a duplicate and donate items that you simply haven’t use during the past 3 months.

Here are a few tips from a professional organizer that will certainly help reduce clutter:

Reclaiming some space from your over-stuffed RV is one of the most rewarding feelings you can have. You’ll be shocked at how much room you’ll be able to get back. I hope this video gave you just a few ideas on how you can save a little space in your RV. If you have any tips, or hints that PPL Motorhomes & RV Nana can share with the rest of our readers, don’t hesitate to share it below in the comments section. Also, remember, if you are looking for a new RV, or looking to put your RV on consignment, give PPL Motorhomes a call.