Our Grey Water Mystery Leak

Shortly after we moved in, we started noticing water on the ground under the dump valve for the black tank and one of the gray tanks. Thankfully, the water appeared to be either fresh water or gray water! But it was a concern and needed fixing. Our unit has an all-weather sealed underbelly, so the water leaking could have been coming from any number of places and traveling along the underbelly to the drain valve area. We were really concerned, because water can do a lot of damage when the leaks are not addressed quickly. During the course of troubleshooting, we noticed the leak was the worst when the bathroom gray tank was close to full. I made a small incision in the corrugated plastic liner covering the underbelly to dry it out and get a better look at the problem. I could see the bottom of the gray tank, …

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RV Life for Cats

This post was originally published on The Whisker Shop’s blog with the title Helping Cats Live Large in Small Homes, and we’ve used this philosophy for “cattifying” our RV home, too. If you lack the square footage for elaborate cat furniture, there are plenty of ways to help your cat branch out (and up), and make you feel like he’s got more room than you. Tip #1: Think vertically! This is really the best way to maximize a cat’s space. Adding shelves, or rearranging stuff on existing shelves to make room for cats, is like a cat magnet for most cats. Keep in mind the size and age of your cats: smaller or older cats may need additional shelves or a chair moved so they can get on and off the shelf safely. Make sure the shelves can hold your cats’ weight and the force of their jump, to avoid …

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Determining Towing Capacity

The basic concept of calculating towing capacity isn’t exactly complicated: your vehicle needs to be capable of towing whatever it is you’re trying to tow, and you should never go over that limit because it’s dangerous (and potentially deadly). But actually calculating towing capacity and understanding the details to be sure you’re within safety limits gets a bit complex. It’s important to remember you can never have too much truck, when it comes to towing. Doing the calculations for towing capacity involves math, but it’s straightforward: some addition and subtraction and comparing two numbers. The tricky part is finding the data you need because there’s no single source for all things weight-related, and the only way to be sure you’re under capacity is by visiting a weigh station to have your vehicle and RV weighed separately. Here are the important terms and definitions: Vehicle curb weight, or dry weight: The …

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Insulating the RV for Hot Weather

This summer we are going to be spending an unfortunate amount of time in the famous Phoenix, Arizona heat. In order to make things as tolerable as possible, we learned from the examples set by our neighbors. Last year, before we moved into our RV but when were spending many hot summer days customizing it, we cut pieces of Reflectix foil covered bubble wrap to fit the windows. The added insulation and reflective material made a big difference during the hottest parts of the day, and our electric bill went down about 30%. This year, we wanted to improve on that. Our space is oriented so the bulk of the day’s sun is directed at our two main slides: our bedroom and our main living space (couch and kitchen table/work desk). Slide walls are thinner than the rest of an RV’s walls, so they have less insulation. When the sun …

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Roof Care

Have you thought about your RV’s roof lately? So many things can affect the life of your RV, and having a good roof is one of the most important ways to protect your RV. Our Keystone Laredo travel trailer has a single-membrane rubber roof, and rubber roofs need regular maintenance and protecting. We are currently staying in Arizona, so our roof has to withstand blistering sun, sweltering heat, blowing dust, monsoons, frequent bird visits, and… you get the idea. While we duck inside our RV to escape the sun, our roof is taking the brunt of it, day after day. I try to make regular trips “upstairs” to check for clogged gutters, sticks, leaves, animal nests, and droppings that might break down the membrane material. Thankfully, our unit has a walkable roof, that makes the process much easier. A tip before we begin: if you plan on cleaning your roof, …

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Our Maxxair 7500K Fan Install

The following walk-through and review were not sponsored by any of the manufacturers mentioned. This review is based purely on my research and experiences, in the hopes that it might be interesting or helpful to you. Like most off-the-shelf travel trailers, ours came with a tiny little bathroom exhaust fan. It was fine when we wanted to vent steam from the shower but that is about it. The original fan had a few big drawbacks: the air draw rate was poor for assisting with ventilation, the vent cap needed to be cranked open with a crank that was mounted flush with the ceiling, the vent cap allowed rain to enter when open, and the vent cap could be torn off in a strong wind. The crank-height was a serious ergonomic issue that needed to be rectified soon after we moved into the trailer. I was able to make the crank …

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Hanging Fruit and Vegetable Baskets

Counter space and storage are both premium commodities in an RV. Jen and I are vegan, gluten free, and prefer eating less processed foods, so we buy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Storing fresh food is a real challenge in our small space. We are always looking for ways to improve. We wanted to add a hanging fruit basket over one of the prep counters on the kitchen slide. We found this 3-tier basket with an overhead hook. RV roof slides are typically built from insulating foam board sandwiched between two thin sheets of plywood with a metal frame for stability. The interior surface of our kitchen slide ceiling is only ¼ inch thick panel board with a durable wallpaper covering. Using an anchor for the hook would be a real challenge, and could damage the ceiling. Most in-wall anchors could not hold enough weight, or were unable to …

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Installing an RV Slide Awning

One of the biggest fears that all RV owners have is water making its way into areas of the unit where is shouldn’t be. We did a lot of research on things to watch for and this was top of the list. Being in Arizona, we didn’t have many opportunities to watch for leaks: until monsoon season starts, when the rain comes fast and hard. When the first rains hit, rain water was dripping from the middle of the living/dining room slide. We set up the pots and pans to catch the water and started looking for the cause. It became clear pretty quick that the roof of this slide was sloping in all the wrong ways. Because there was no center support, the slide roof sagged toward the inside and middle. This allowed the rain water to puddle up and eventually overwhelm the multiple layers of seal protection. As …

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