RV Parts Supplier Blog

Generator Fuel Types: Which is Best For You

551684-2There are various Generators worth considering. However, each fuel source has advantages and disadvantages. The most common fuel options are gasoline, diesel, bio-diesel, emulsified diesel, propane, and natural gas.

Gasoline Generator

Gasoline is easy to obtain. It is mostly used with smaller generators for increased portability. Gasoline, however, is very flammable. Also, it must be used within 12 months. Storing gasoline is possible, but it must be handled with care because the fuel is hazardous. Although gasoline is used by many mobile home owners, it usually is not available during power outages. The cost of gas also varies. In some areas, the price of gasoline is expensive.

Diesel Generator

Diesel is not very flammable, and obtaining it is also very easy. During a disaster, diesel is available because it is required for trucking industries, farming operations, and the military. Family benefit from using diesel because it doesn’t cost a lot of money to operate. When compared to gasoline, diesel has a longer shelf life at 18-24 months. Diesel is also tough to obtain during a power outage. Also, it generates a loud engine noise. Because of this, when a diesel generator is used, it helps to use an enclosure and a sound attenuation system.

Bio-Diesel Generator

Bio-Diesel offers that same benefits of standard diesel. It also has similar disadvantages. Bio-Diesel is made using natural renewable sources, such as animal fats and vegetable oils. It is used in compression-ignition engines.

Emulsified Diesel Generator

Emulsified Diesel is another kind of diesel. It is mixed with a small amount of water and an agent. The agent keeps the diesel and water mixed. The water in the diesel lowers the amount of emission that are generated when the fuel is burned.

Propane Generator

Propane has a long shelf life, and it can be stored in large tanks or 5-10 gallon cylinders. One of the biggest benefits to using propane is that it is easy to obtain during a power outage. There are also various companies that delivery the fuel to consumers’ homes. Propane also has a quiet noise level, and the emissions are not a big issue. However, propane is a somewhat pricey fuel. If the lines are damaged, propane can be very dangerous. Also, propane costs a lot to operate. It generates three times the fuel consumption when compared to diesel.

Natural Gas Generator

Natural gas is an unlimited source of fuel. During a power outage, it is usually available. It is a very convenient fuel. Natural gas has many of the same disadvantages as propane. It may not be available in some areas.

What You Need to Know About RV Solar Kits and Systems

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If you own an RV, you already know how difficult and expensive it is to keep the RV’s battery fully charged. Even if the RV is not in use, you will find the battery dead after it sits for prolonged periods of time. This is called trickle energy loss, as your energy just seems to trickle away! If the battery remains dead for an extended period of time, then you are looking at having to completely replace the battery because permanent damage has likely taken hold. However, you do not have to be a victim to trickle energy loss thanks to RV solar kits and systems. Here are a few things you should know about RV solar kits.

How much power can you get from an RV solar system?

There are actually a number of factors that play a role in figuring out just how much power you can get from your RV Solar System. This includes weather conditions, how many solar panels you have on your RV and where your solar panels are located. In general, you can expect to get around 100 watts per square foot of solar panel surface. The best place to put solar panels on your RV is on the roof. Here, you have a lot of unused space that has direct access to sunlight. Sometimes 100 watts of power is all you will need. This should be enough to charge your battery and run features such as the lights and TV. However, some RV owners who want to get more out of their solar systems, can produce upwards of 800 watts by installing multiple solar panels. Remember to also buy a mounting system to hold your solar panels in place when they are on top of your RV. Most good mounting systems come with the ability to adjust the angle.

How to fight trickle energy loss with solar panels?

If you are an RV owner, you have probably experienced trickle energy loss. Even when your RV is not in use, it tends to draw small amounts of power. In some cases, if you leave it sitting too long, you will return to a dead RV battery. Thankfully, there is a way to fight this small amount of energy loss using solar panels. All you need to avoid this problem is an RV solar trickle charger. These are just small solar chargers that are usually no bigger than 1 foot. However, they are able to bring in enough power to fight trickle energy loss and actually keep your battery fully charged for the next time you need it. These kinds of solar panels are easy to set up, and they do not cost much. They definitely cost less than what it takes to replace a dead RV battery.

Due to the rising cost of park rates and fuel, solar panels are an investment that can pay for themselves in no time. Instead of having to pay for a premium camp spot so that you can hook up your RV to power, you can simply use the sun as your own personal charger! Depending on how often you go camping or use your RV, you will be saving yourself money in no time!

How to Winterize Your Motorhome

We hope you enjoyed the camping, fishing, hunting, travelling, sight-seeing, vacationing, snow-birding months of the year: but winter is now upon us. To wisely protect the investment you have made in your motor home so as to have it ready for another season’s activities next spring; Winterization is not an option, but a must. But how do you winterize your RV, and what items will you need to obtain to do the job?

 
To winterize your RV, you must do three things: drain out all the water, air out all the water lines and fill up all the lines with pink antifreeze (the non-toxic kind used for plumbing- not automotive antifreeze!).

 
First of all, open the drainage valve (called a “petcock”) on the fresh water tank. When all of the water has drained out of it, drain out the black and the grey water tanks as well. Take a hose and spray off any residue in the tanks (a liquid cleaning product and/or a cleaning “wand” can be used if desired).

 
Next: open the shower faucets, the sink faucets and the toilet flush valve. The idea is to let ALL of the water out. However, if you want to use several fewer gallons of antifreeze and thus save money; do not empty the hot water heater until the lines are already filled with antifreeze. To avoid filling the water heater with antifreeze you will need to use a bi-pass valve (temporary and permanent varieties can be had).

 
To air out the now empty lines (the faucets, etc. still open to allow air to escape) you will need two things: an ordinary air compressor and a compressed air adapter (aka a “blowout plug”). The blowout plug will be found at RV supply stores. Apply 30 psi of pressure until the drying is done.

 
Now cap all drains, close all faucets, and close the petcock so that the antifreeze will not leak out. Disconnect the water pump from the fresh water tank. You can now install a bypass valve if you do not already have one and will not be filling the water heater with antifreeze. Put the loose water line in a gallon of antifreeze and turn on the pump. It should take two or three gallons to fill the lines. There may yet still be water in the system, so you must go through the RV from highest to lowest point (see your RV manual for details) removing the last of the water. When you come to a faucet or shower head, run it till it runs pink; when you come to the toilet flush it till it flushes pink. Also put a few cups of antifreeze in each drain and in the toilet bowl.

 
Now you can clean the mobile home, put it on blocks to relieve pressure on the tires and throw a cover over it made of material that will breathe well.
RV Parts Supplier is well-stocked with all of the RV winterization products you may need.

Games for Kids While Camping Outdoors

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The great outdoors allows your children to take a break from technology and get in tune with nature. Because many Games can be played with the items Mother Nature has laying around, you don’t need to purchase any special materials or equipment.

Obstacle Course

An obstacle course is a great way for children to expend extra energy. By implementing the items that you have within your own campsite, you’ll find the game to be ideal for children of any age. You can incorporate items such as firewood, camp chairs, picnic tables, tents, trees and rocks. Set the pieces up, so you have to jump, hop, run and crawl under, around and to the side of the various obstacles. To make the game educational, you can add trivia along the way. The individual can only proceed to the next station by answering a trivia question correctly. You can have prizes for the winners at the end that includes cookies, fruit, candy or a book.

Campfire Stories

Everyone loves a good story and enlisting the help of your children to use their imagination can make your campfire a fun and exciting experience. The adult can get the story off and running. It’s then up to the rest of the children to take turns and continue to add on to it. Depending on your audience, you can make the story funny, heartwarming or scary.

Scavenger Hunt

Mother Nature has a host of natural ideas that can be used to form a scavenger hunt. You can make the list either short or long and include items that you would find by hiking along a trail. To ensure their safety, you can keep the children close to the campsite or assign each group of kids to an adult. Fun items on your list can include a feather, cattail, pinecone, acorn, flower, rock, fish and sand.

Rainy Day Games

The weather can be unpredictable, so you need to be prepared with some Games for your children in case of rain or cool temperatures. Card games are a fun way for your children to pass the time. You can also bring along their favorite board games or play a round of Pictionary or charades. The game of Alphabet and Telephone are other forms of entertainment that can make your children laugh uncontrollably.

Fort Building

A great escape for children during a camping trip is to build their own fort. This can be easily constructed by picking the ideal setting such as a big tree, rock or fence. Your children can then gather materials around the campsite such as branches, old pieces of timber and leaves. You can also implement items that you brought from home that includes an unused tarp for the floor, blankets and rope to bind everything together.

Gift Ideas For the Camper In Your Life

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Consider yourself lucky if you have someone on your gift list who enjoys camping. There’s an amazing number of gifts ideas for you to make your selection from. The good thing is that camping related gifts exist in abundance for those who like the luxury of an RV and for those who like the feeling of being close to nature that sleeping in a tent provides.

For the camper who wants the comfort of an RV, you might consider creating a gift basket for them. Multi-use straps, all purpose hooks, cup hooks and velcro cinch straps are just a few of the items you can include in the basket. Items that help objects remain securely in place or closed would be good for someone camping in an RV. Kitchen items and bedding accessories are wonderful gift ideas for someone traveling in an RV. A sewing kit that they can keep in the RV would also be a useful gift.

Anyone who travels should have an Emergency Kit and a First Aid Kit with them, campers are no exception. If the person you are buying the gift for travels with their dog, you might want to includes some items such as quick bath pet wipes and spill-proof pet bowls.

If the person on your gift list camps in a tent, there are many items that would make ideal gifts for them. A sleeping bag, blankets and tent stakes are a few options. Cast iron cookware, a portable grill and some dishes would be great gifts. A fully stocked picnic basket, a cooler, coffee pot and cups, a really nice flashlight and Swiss army knife are also excellent gift ideas.

Campers might appreciate some thermal clothing, gloves, socks and hats to keep them warm in winter. If the camper you are shopping for is also a hiker, binoculars, a backpack or a hiking staff would be an appropriate gift. If you know that the person on your gift list is more likely to be found lounging than hiking, you might want to give them a hammock that they can relax in.

Foil cooking and camping are a perfect match. A Cookbook featuring foil cooking recipes would probably please anyone who enjoys camping. Some nostalgic or traditional items to consider giving as gifts are a popcorn popper for use over a campfire and utensils for cooking hotdogs and roasting marshmallows.

Whether you choose to create a gift basket filled with an assortment of camping related items or purchase one impressive camping-related gift, the camper on your list will be delighted that you chose a gift that relates to the leisure-time activity they enjoy. You will be happy that you had so many options to choose from.

A Guide to Campfire Cooking

Keep Water Buckets Nearby

Cooking your meals over a campfire gives food a delicious flavor that is difficult to duplicate indoors. While it is possible to build a rugged campfire outside with only wooden logs, most campers prefer to use modern equipment that makes it easier and safer. Preparing meals over an open flame is definitely more dangerous than cooking with a traditional or microwave oven. Thinking about safety precautions first is vital to prevent out of control fires that lead to property damage or burn injuries. Before preparing a fire outside, choose a safe location away from trees and structures. Fill buckets with water to keep nearby in case it is necessary to douse a fire quickly.

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Tripod Grills are an Excellent Investment

Specialized equipment and tools can also assist with having a great experience cooking outside over an open campfire. When purchasing equipment, consider its size and weight to make it easier to pack or carry to cook sites. There is a wide assortment of cooking tools and equipment available from different manufacturers and in various price ranges. Choosing quality equipment is the best plan to prepare great tasting meals while remaining safe from sparks. There are many devices available but a tripod grill is one of the best investments you can make. A Tripod Grill is simple to store, set up and clean, making it a necessary piece of equipment for an outdoor cook.

Using a Cooking Pot

In addition to grilling food outside, there are other preparation methods such as boiling or frying food in a Dutch oven. Most Dutch ovens are sturdy devices made of heavy-duty cast-iron that lasts for many years. Many cast-iron cooking pots are designed with tight fitting lids and metal handles that offer an opportunity to prepare meals with a variety of methods. The handle makes it possible to hang the container over a fire to boil or fry foods. This makes it possible to use the same cooking vessel to make stew or fried fish at different meals. Alternatively, a Dutch oven can also bake foods such as bread or cake by setting it directly on hot fuel including wood or charcoal.

Roasting Sticks

Roasting food over an open campfire is extremely popular and easy with long metal sticks or baskets that hold items such as hot dogs, marshmallows or hamburgers. Long metal roasting sticks are the safest method for roasting near an open flame. While getting near a fire, it is important to use precautions including rolling up shirtsleeves and tying back long hair to prevent dangerous situations. Maintaining a close watch of children and family pets is also necessary to avoid accidental burns.

Tips For Preparing An Emergency Kit

Taking your vacation on the road is always fun, but if an accident can happen chances are it probably will. That is why it is so important to always bring a kit for emergencies. This means packing an emergency supply kit that contains items other than band aids and a roll of duck tape. While both of these items are good to have with you, chances are you are going to encounter situations that require a few other necessary items.

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What You Really Need:
When packing your family’s RV or travel trailer, chances are space is in short supply, so packing a small emergency kit is key. To have an effective kit, it does not have to include an extra of every item you believe is necessary for survival, but it should contain the basic emergency gear.

 

  1. Band aids in assorted sizes. This standard Emergency Kit staple always comes in handy. Not only does it cover smaller cuts, it can be used to cover small leaks in rubber hoses for short distances. Being able to plug a small leak in your radiator hose can come in handy on occasion.
  2. A blanket. Whether it is due to severe weather, or engine failure, having an extra blanket to stay warm with if you become stranded is an important item to include.
  3. Duct tape. You can never go wrong with duct tape. The old adage that duct tape can fix anything, at times seems true. Almost any traveler will tell you that at least once in their travels they wished that they had a roll of duct tape.
  4. Flashlight and spare batteries. Even in our modern age, there are still roads that are not lighted. Even on a lit road, at night an alternative light source is needed when trying to see into a vehicle’s engine. Spare batteries are needed since batteries will inevitably fail when you are using them. With spare batteries, you never have to worry about being left in the dark.
  5. Jumper cables. Even when a passerby stops to offer help, the is always a chance that they do not have jumper cables with them. With your own set, you are prepared for anything. For storing jumper cables, placed in the wheel well of your spare tire next to the tire jack is a safe place to store them.

These are just a few essential items recommended for any emergency kit. While other items are usually included in these kits, with these few items you can survive almost any minor road emergency.

Tips for Preparing a First-Aid Kit

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Whether commuting to work daily through rush hour traffic or shuttling the kids to soccer games, the potential for unexpected injury and illness abounds with today’s bustling lifestyle. Be prepared for these contingencies by stocking emergency first-aid kits to store in the car, in the home and to tote along on outdoor recreational adventures.

By opting out of purchasing pre-stocked first-aid kits, you will have the advantage of stocking your own kits with the items that you and your family need. First-aid kits for the car and home should be in the form of waterproof containers to prevent damage to the contents when flooding from hurricanes, blizzards and other storms occurs. Likewise, keep supplies organized and dry by grouping them into zippered plastic storage bags.

Common first-aid supplies that should be included in every kit include the following:

  • Sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • Rolls of sterile bandaging material in various sizes
  • Adhesive bandaging tape
  • Triangular bandages
  • Bite/Sting Lotion
  • Bandage scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Tweezers
  • Sterile alcohol swabs
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Antiseptic liquid soap
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Tongue depressors
  • Latex or rubber gloves
  • Triple antibiotic topical ointment
  • Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Eye wash
  • Instant ice pack
  • Ace bandage
  • Thermometer

The following common remedies should also be included to address signs of illness when they strike, from a mild allergic reaction to a bee sting to a headache to a bout of gastrointestinal upset.

  • Aspirin
  • Non-aspirin, anti-inflammatory pain reliever
  • Antidiarrheal medication
  • Antihistamine
  • Antacid

Stock any medications to address specific health conditions of family members. For example, if your child requires medication for asthma or anaphylactic reactions, these drugs should accompany the first aid supplies in your kits. Diabetics may benefit from boxed juices and granola bars to help combat unexpected dips in blood sugar levels.

Those who venture outdoors on hiking, fishing and camping expeditions should carry a first-aid kit along in a backpack. In addition to the aforementioned items, these kits should also contain sunscreen and insect repellent.

Every first-aid kit should contain a list of telephone numbers for the Poison Control Center and for each physician that your family sees. Include a list that cites all known medical conditions and required medications for each family member. Households with pets that frequently tag along on recreational outings should also include the number for their veterinarian, vaccination certificates and health records for each pet. All lists and documents should be stored in an airtight storage bag. A basic reference book on first-aid treatments will be beneficial in each kit as well. When a severe weather storm is predicted, add enough prescription medications needed for one week to each kit in case of temporary displacement.

By putting together first-aid kits for your family home and automobiles, you will be proactive in ensuring that prompt attention can be given when accidents and injuries occur. Being prepared in advance will enable swift action to treat and stabilize the injury and to take control of the situation.

RV Covers: Which Type is Right for You?

As cold weather approaches, the RV season is starting to wind down. The winterizing season is now upon us, and it’s never too early to start thinking about having the best possible RV cover to keep your home on wheels in top shape during the winter months. There are a number of different RV covers available for all sizes and models, with each having their advantages and disadvantages.

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A number of Class A covers are available, for RV’s ranging from 20-40 feet long. Prices for these covers usually range from $225-$375, and come in a variety of styles and strengths. Some covers, such as the SFS AquaShed, are good for high moisture climates. Providing three times the protection of standard covers, they virtually eliminate mold and mildew. The top panel, which is triple layered, makes water bead up on contact to protect your vehicle against rainfall and UV rays.

Class B covers are made for conversion vans, and can provide protection against the harshest of conditions. Also good in high moisture climates, they guard against mold and mildew while protecting against the sun’s harmful rays. The biggest drawback to this cover is it’s a special order item, and is a bit hard to come by. For owners who need this cover, it’s a good idea to plan ahead of time so you can have it when it’s time to winterize.

For those who want to add a bit of flair to winterizing their RV’s, there are plenty of designer covers available for all types of RV’s. These covers, ranging in price from $335-$500, are priced higher than standard covers. However, they do come with a number of benefits that the standard ones don’t have. For example, they offer complete protection for your RV by being designed with strategically-placed vents that reduce billowing in windy conditions. Doors come with zipper-entries to make it easier to get in and out, while the side-panel designs add a touch of class to your cover. Three-layer panels are designed to extend the life of the cover, while reducing wear and tear around awnings. Made for easy installation, they come with weighted buckles and straps.

No matter what type of RV you have, there is a cover designed to give it maximum protection during winterization. Since an RV requires a significant investment of time and money to purchase and properly maintain, investing in a well-made cover is a small price to pay to keep your home on the road in the best possible condition.

RV Campfires: Proper Techniques

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Many RV enthusiasts look forward to the fall, and the highlight of a trip at this time of year is often a gathering around a campfire to toast marshmallows while swapping stories with family and friends. However, building a campfire has to be done correctly to keep everybody safe, and to ensure that a good time is enjoyed by all.

Safety first

Observing simple protocols will help to prevent a cozy campfire from becoming an out of control inferno. Four feet of space around the fire should be cleared of leaves, brushwood and other debris. Chairs should also maintain this safety distance. The fire should only be approached for cooking, and then only with great care. Clothing that burns easily, such as nylon, should not be worn, and sagging or draping garments should be avoided. Running and playing around the fire can also lead to an accident. Keeping a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies is a prudent step.

Building the fire

Gathering wood can be a fun activity for the family. Wood should be dry and free of sap, which can explode in the fire. Two types of wood should be collected. Small pieces are used as kindling and tinder, and larger pieces provide fuel for the fire. Once collected, the wood should be sorted into piles according to size. The frame is made by arranging two larger pieces of wood in a V shape and then placing a third on top to form a letter A. The third piece, or crossbar, should face the wind. Kindling should then be placed into the top of the letter A.

Lighting the fire

Crumpled newspaper should be avoided as it can easily blow away and start a fire elsewhere. Flimsy matchbooks should also be eschewed in favor of longer, and more robust, wooden matches. The match should be struck and held at the bottom of the pile of kindling until the fire catches. Fire sticks or fire bricks can help get a fire started. It can then be dropped into the fire. Once lit, the fire should be tended using a solid stick at least three feet long. Floating embers should be watched to prevent accidents, and debris that falls from the fire can be brushed aside using the stick. Additional wood should be added carefully to the bottom of the fire when needed.

Dousing and cleanup

We have all seen public service announcements about campfires causing forest blazes, and making sure that a campfire is completely extinguished is vitally important. Throwing a bucket of water on a fire can be dangerous as it causes a plume of thick smoke. Instead, the fire should first be flattened as much as possible with a long stick. Water should then be slowly poured over the entire area until no heat can be felt when a hand is placed an inch or so over the remains.

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