Tuesday, July 23, 2013

a few tips to make living in your RV more pleasant

Having lived full time in our 5th wheel for most of the past year, we found a few products that made things more, ahem, pleasant.

We all know that the rv toilet can be a real beast.  There are definitely some lessons to be learned when it comes to what kind of toilet paper and chemicals you should be putting down there.  (you may not want to admit it, but if you've ever RV'd for any length of time -- you know what I'm talking about!)

When we first started living in our camper, we thought we could get away with using regular household toilet paper.  Bad idea!!!  This may work out ok for some people, but not for us.  The only clog I ever had to deal with was from using too thick tp.  RV systems are not like a regular house...you can't just grab a plunger to solve the problem.  That one incident was enough to put the fear in me, from then on out we only purchased the special RV/boat tp.  That's my first tip to you...buy only RV tp to use in your RV.  The money saved on the regular kind is just NOT worth it (trust me!).

Initially we bought an assortment of chemicals for the black tank (for the grey, too).  I don't even remember all the different ones we tried...there were powders, little drop in packets, and bottles of liquid.  Some were all-natural concoctions, some were the really strong blue chemical stuff (scary!), and some were kinda in between.  They all worked to a degree, but that wasn't good enough.  We realized we had a real problem when the sensors completely quit working because the tank wasn't emptying out as it should.  That's bad.  We didn't want things to go from bad to worse, so we got online and found an excellent solution that works so well...The Geo Method <--just click on those words to go to Charles Bruni's page with well written and easy to follow instructions on how to get started.  We found that the liquid Calgon (from Amazon or Wal-mart in the laundry aisle) and the original scent liquid Gain detergent (found in most dollar stores, Amazon, or Wal-mart) were the best combo.  We tried a cheap laundry detergent in place of the Gain and it didn't work as well, so for us...Gain it is.  We put at least a capful (sometimes two) down the toilet along with two or three bowls full of water after each dumping.  Make sure to always leave your valve closed and only empty the tank when it is full.  On travel days, after making sure your tank is empty, add your Calgon, Gain, and also a half gallon of bleach along with about a half tank of water...then drive.  The sloshing from driving around will scrub out your tank for you!  When we get to our next campsite we do a good flush on the tanks and go back to just the detergent/softener combo until the next travel day (if we are moving every day then obviously we don't do it that often...every couple weeks or so).  The Geo Method has worked great for us.  Since doing this, our sensors have all started working again and we no longer have to buy the scary blue stuff...yay!

Product Details Product Details

***I never thought I'd be blogging about toilets :) hahaha!

The next tip I have for you involves humidity and moisture in the RV.  I had heard people talk about the struggles of keeping the moisture in check when camping in humid places, especially in the winter.  We had planned to buy a full sized electric dehumidifier, but it was never necessary.  As we were leaving the desert and heading over to the California coast, we stopped in Las Vegas at a Camping World to pick up a heated water hose.  While we were in there, I came across some little portable dehumidifier things that seemed like they might work.  Plus they were affordable, small, and didn't require any electricity :).  When we got to the coast, I put one together and set it out.  We hadn't been having any problems with condensation on the inside walls like I had heard could happen so after it had been sitting there for maybe a week I looked closer at it...and it had water in it!  It worked!  All you do is pour the water out and keep using it until the stuff in the bag is all gone, then you throw that bag away and slide a new one in and you're good to go.  I would definitely use them again if the need was there...they are called Moisture Eliminator and they are actually having an Internet Sale on them right now on the Camping World website.

see the water in the bottom?

These tips may be things that you all know about already.  As for me, I didn't know any of this stuff until we were living in our RV and things started happening that needed a solution.  On the chance that I can save some of you the hassle of trial and error on your own, I just had to share :).

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