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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

25 Must-Have RV Accessories for the Kitchen


In some of our recent blog posts, we covered some ground on the most important camper accessories that you really need to bring along with you when you go on a trip. These articles are helpful, but there’s just one small problem - they don’t deal in one specific area of living.

Naturally, you need toilet paper and holding tank treatment, but for very different reasons from those that necessitate a TPMS or a water pressure regulator or even a water softener. The reasons that you need any of these, likewise, are different from those making a leveling system valuable.

In this article, we’re going to focus on some of the essential RV accessories for your camper kitchen that will make your life a lot more comfortable, on the road or in camp! 

1.    A foldable tray or lap table

Whether it’s for those nights when it’s you and one other person or just for a quick snack that you make yourself in camp before getting out and about, a foldable tray or a little lap table can solve a whole bunch of problems. When you don’t have somewhere else to eat or the table is covered or stowed, a lap table will make up for it.

2.    A cutlery organizer

Yes, you may have a drawer where you keep all of your knives, spoons, forks, and other cutlery, hopefully not including your cooking utensils. However, you need a cutlery organizer, and for the same reason that you need some of the other RV accessories on this list.

When you’re driving out on the road, the RV, and everything else in it, is shifting and moving around. You can discover later that your cutlery drawer has become a Gordian knot, or you can get a cutlery organizer from our collection of kitchen accessories and be done with it!

3.    Shatterproof drinkware

Shatterproof drinkware, whether it be tumblers, pilsner glasses, wine glasses, or anything else, is a near necessity in an RV. Sure, you can get away with real glass glasses, but if you do you’re going to have shards in your cards at some point or other.

Or, you can just get some shatterproof drinkware and you don’t need to be overly concerned about bumps and spills! It’s easier to clean up a little spilled milk than bits of glass, anyway.

4.    Shatterproof serving ware

Hopefully, we don’t need to elaborate excessively on this item, since the reasoning behind it is effectively the same as the reason given above for shatterproof drinkware. Basically, invest in shatterproof serving ware, including plates and bowls, one time, and free yourself from the inevitable breakage that would otherwise follow.

5.    Cutting mats - preferably foldable!

If you cook in camp - and who doesn’t - then you’re going to need a cutting board of some sort or other. While you might prefer bamboo or some other wood or even a heavy plastic, they’re not conducive to life on the road and take up too much space. They also require a lot of maintenance. Your kitchen may need a cutting board, but if it folds up you’ll thank yourself later for the space saved.

6.    Sponge holders - if you have a sponge!

Similarly, if you cook, then your camp kitchen needs a place to clean up and places for all of those accessories to be stored. If you use a sponge when you’re cleaning; actually, even if you use a rag - a sponge holder may be very practical. It will give you a place to rest your cleaning implements when you’re not using them, and most importantly, it will keep them out of the way when you’re drying them out.

7.    Countertop extensions or sink covers to give you more space

As you are no doubt aware, the kitchen space in most RV kitchens is unbelievably limited. Just like all other aspects of RV living space comes at a serious premium. Any way you can extend your countertop space is helpful for food prep. There are dedicated countertop extensions but there are also covers you can place over your sink or stove to give yourself more room; all are useful.

8.    At least one good piece of cast iron cookware 


Even though cast iron flies in the face of “lighter is better” and “foldable is better” the quality and value of cast iron is not something to be understated. With a little bit of know-how you can do almost all (if not all) of your camp cooking with a cast iron pot or skillet. Even if your RV is kitchen-less you can dig a pit outside and do your cooking with the cast iron over the flame. They’re heavy and inconvenient, but they work, and they work forever. Just remember - no soap!

9.    Stove covers

As mentioned above, you can extend your counter space with the inclusion of stove covers, but that’s not the only reason to get them. Covering your stove is safer and it also gives you a lot more space for entertainment and general utility. Plus, it will keep your burners clean and dust-free and will give you a ton of extra space. Whether you need a bar or an impromptu workbench, you can pull it off with a stove cover.

10.  Fridge bars

This is a theme that’s going to come up over and over again in this article. It’s already been presented with our suggestion to get shatterproof drinkware and serving ware. Everything in an RV is subject to shifting around during travel, and the stuff in your fridges is no exception.

Installing RV fridge bars is a quick, convenient, and affordable solution for a whole lot of dropped foods and broken condiment bottles. They won’t prevent these issues entirely, but they’ll give you a fighting chance.

11.  Cupboard bars

See the above section for some clarification here. While you’re on the road, everything in your cabinets and cupboards is vulnerable to shifting around. Luckily, by this point in this article, you’ve hopefully made the choice to switch over to shatterproof drinkware and serving ware.

Even so, installed cupboard bars will help you stop them from clattering all over the floor!

12.  Wall mount trash cans

Despite the fact that you won’t have a lot of space in your RV kitchen, you will still create at least a little trash. It’s always best to have a designated receptacle for good hygiene and sanitation, and if you don’t have room for a freestanding trash can, there are plenty of wall-mounted options out there that will save you space!

13.  Dish drainers

Similarly, you will need a place to leave dishes to dry after you have washed them, but RV kitchens, as we have stated so many times, do not have a lot of space. Therefore, any help you can get is worth taking!

There are plenty of dish draining boards out there sized appropriately for RV kitchens, and there are some that are foldable, too. That way, when you aren’t using them, you can stash them somewhere out of the way.

14.  Odor killers

Just like how RVs are prone to the ravages of chronically high moisture levels, RV fridges, which are small and sometimes are not cleaned as fastidiously as they should be, are prone to picking up odors.

Luckily, for a small price, you can pick up odor eliminators or absorbers that will help you contend with this problem, especially in between cleanings.

15.  Ice makers or ice trays

During the hotter months of the year, there’s nothing like the refreshment of a cool drink like iced water or iced tea or iced lemonade, or an iced mixed drink.

The common factor here is ice, and not all RVs come with icemakers. However, most of them come with a fridge and a freezer. In that event, you can use simple ice trays for your refreshments. If not, for just a little more you can pick up a convenient and easy to use ice maker.

16.  Grease bins

Grease can be real trouble for your holding tanks to sort out and if you let it get out of hand it can create ugly blockages that are expensive and time-consuming to remove. Even if you pour it hot down the sink, it will eventually cool and gum up the lines or the tank.

Prevent this from occurring by limiting the amount of grease you allow into the plumbing system in the first place. Grease bins, which are enormously affordable and also usually fold up for out of the way storage, are your golden ticket for this.

17.  Soap dispensers

Soap dispensers are not an absolute necessity in an RV kitchen, but soap is, and soap dispensers give you a neat and convenient place to store them. Keep one handy by the sink and it will pay for itself within a few days.

18.  Collapsible strainers or colanders

We’ve already covered how most people enjoy cooking in camp. That’s part of the fun of being out there on the road. Whether you need to strain pasta or wash off fresh fruits and vegetables, a strainer or a colander will become very valuable, especially if you have a lot going on. Get one that’s collapsible and save yourself some space with it all.

19.  Storage bowls - preferably collapsible

Collapsibility has become a theme in this article, and the importance of storage bowls is another one worthy of note. Storage bowls are great because you can eat out of them, use them for meal prep, and much more. You can also obviously store food in them. If they’re collapsible, you’ll have a lot more space in your RV!

20.  Folding camping tables

Folding camping tables are more of an “outdoors” RV accessory, but depending on the kitchen space your RV offers, they might be a serviceable kitchen accessory as well. If it’s raining outdoors and you still need a place to seat people, a folding table is highly valuable when the kitchen table won’t suffice.

21.  A coffee maker, french press, or tea infusers

Americans run on caffeine, although preferences will vary slightly between coffee and tea. Whatever your brewing method of choice happens to be, it’s worthwhile to keep the RV kitchen capable. Stock up on tea infusers, a french press, or get yourself a coffee maker for the RV right here in our online store.

22.  Cooking utensils

Naturally, you can’t cook at all without the help of cooking utensils, even though we included so many other necessities on this list for the kitchen. We’ll let you be the final judge of what you need and don’t need, but you’ll want spatulas, forks and serving spoons, labels, cooking spoons, and more!

23.  Eating utensils!

You can’t set the table without eating utensils like knives, forks, and spoons, and not everyone in your camp is going to want to eat with nothing more than a hobo tool!

24.  Perhaps a portable dishwasher

This isn’t on the list of “absolutely mission-critical RV accessories,” especially when you consider that many RVers probably just wash their dishes and silverware in the RV kitchen sink. Still, there are some really cool, relatively space-effective models out there.

25.  Fire extinguishers - of course!

Finally, and although we have previously featured the fire extinguisher on our other lists of critical RV accessories, it has to be mentioned here once more. All kitchens need some form of disaster preparedness and a fire extinguisher is often the first line of defense. Don’t leave home without one.

This list is not completely hashed out, and there are many other useful RV accessories - including new accessories -  that you should keep in your camper kitchen. If you’re reading this and think we forgot something obvious, give us a call and let us know so we can update the posting with your feedback!

Or you could just call us to ask our advice before you head out on the road. We know a thing or two about the camping experience and we want our customers to have the best possible time when out on the road. That means we know what you need to bring along as well as what you might be able to get away with leaving behind. Give us a call at 866-332-7881 and let us know what your questions are!

Monday, December 21, 2020

What an RV Leveling System Does for Your RV

 

Before you hit the road with your camper, don’t forget to remember the most important camping essentials. Don’t forget to bring along spare batteries and flashlights, spare fuses for your RV, cleaning and cooking essentials, holding tank care, water softener essentials, and all the rest of them.

There are a lot, and our purpose in this article isn’t to painstakingly remind you of each and every one of them. You can consult our blog for that instead. What we’re here for today is to remind you of a different, but still critical, accessory, or system, if you will, for camping: an RV leveling system.

Some RVs come with their own leveling systems, whereas others do not. Why some would and others wouldn’t is up for you to debate. What isn’t up for you to debate is the necessity of them. Keeping your RV level, all the time, and not just in camp, is not a matter to be taken lightly.

If you’ve ever gone camping before at all then you are familiar with how not all ground is level. That is a fact to be reckoned with and managed than attempted to correct since nothing can be done to level the ground. Instead, you level your RV. Here are some of the reasons you need to make sure you use an RV leveling system and use it properly.

-       To prevent damage to your RV fridge - If you operate your absorption fridge off-level, you’re going to damage it. You might even destroy it, actually. There’s no way to sugar coat that, and by off-level, we’re only talking a couple of degrees. In short, if you run your RV fridge when it isn’t leveled you’re likely to cause irreparable damage.

This is because when it operates off level, liquid ammonia will pool and accumulate in sections of the evaporation chamber or tubing, which can block circulation and the fridge will stop working. If this goes on for too long, it will ruin the fridge. Basically, keep your RV level.

-       To prevent damage to the frame and structure of your RV - When you are in camp, but off-level, your vehicle’s frame, chassis, and other components are also off level, which will result in a lot of structural stress. Think about how a boat can be damaged by being suspended over the trough between two waves. It’s the same basic thing here; the RV is designed to support its own weight on a level surface, not on a slanted one.

-       To prevent things from rolling around, falling over, or otherwise being misplaced - It might be a minor annoyance to you, but if you open up your cabinets and spill out all the plates, breaking them, you might think otherwise. Keeping your RV level will avoid this unfortunate happenstance.

-       To ensure the comfort of your fellow campers - Finally, keeping everything level will make everything much more comfortable and enjoyable in camp. Ignoring it during the day is one thing, but sleeping on a slanted bed is quite another. Keeping things level will result in more comfort, in addition to protecting your RV’s fridge, frame, and other components.

All of those things will require you to use a leveling system when you go camping unless you are camping on very level ground, to begin with, which is rare in its own right. If your RV already came with a leveling system, then you can use what your RV provides. Otherwise, you’ll need to invest in a separate leveling system, which, if you haven’t gleaned from this article so far, is necessary.

Luckily, we provide RV leveling systems of all natures here at RV Upgrades, so all you need to do is pick out the model that fits your budget, and most importantly, your RV.

One thing we’d like you to know here is the important difference between stabilizer jacks and a leveling system, which uses leveling jacks. Stabilizer jacks are used to prevent side to side and back and forth movement of your RV when you’re setting up camp and then in camp. These increase comfort, but they are not intended to fully support the weight of your RV. Levelers are for that. If you have any questions, make sure you get in touch with us and we’ll clear the matter up.

Actually, give us a call anyway and we’d be more than glad to help you solve the problem of finding the right leveling system for your RV. All of the different levelers on our website have their own strengths and weaknesses and some are more suitable in given situations than others. Given our collective pool of experience with the RV lifestyle, we’ll answer the questions you might not even think to ask.

Call us up at 866-332-7881 if you want to learn more - we’re waiting to hear from you!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

You Need These Motorhome Accessories


Here at RV Upgrades, we’ve already covered some of the most important motorhome accessories and other camper supplies that you could need before you head out on the road. Some of them you’re going to see again in this list, and if you look through all of our blog’s entries you’ll start to get a better impression of the types of equipment and you can and cannot go without. You’ll also get a better impression of what RV supplies you need and which ones are extras for making life more comfortable but are not necessarily critical.

This list serves as a complement to those other entries. You’ll want to bring along some of these camper accessories for more than just comfort. Some of them will improve your safety on the road whereas others will protect your RV itself.

These are some more of the most critical RV accessories we could come up with. These are highly recommended, so there’s no chaff on this list. Add these to your list of essentials and if you have any questions. Don’t feel as though you need to answer them on your own. Get in touch with us and we’ll clear up any that remain!

1.    Drinking water hoses - more than one

Fastidious freshwater management when you are in an RV is not just a matter of comfort, it is a matter of safety. You will need to be managing your use of potable water as well as your creation of wastewater and the disposal of it, and you can never use the same hoses interchangeably.

Therefore you need a good supply of clean drinking water hoses, and we suggest you have a few spares on hand. Just in case you ever use the hose for the wrong thing, having a spare in reserve could be a game-changer for a camping trip.

These freshwater hoses, by the way, are not the only important freshwater management supplies that we suggest you take along. Check out our collection of freshwater supplies and get in touch with us if you have any questions.

2.    Sewer hoses

You shouldn’t be too surprised to see this item making its presence known in this list. As we mentioned right here in this article, gray and blackwater (different grades of wastewater) management are just as important as potable water management. In fact, they are even subject to regulations that you need to follow in order to comply with the law.

Now, some portable holding tanks come with sewer hoses built into them, along with connectors that make them easier to drain out at disposal sites, so theoretically you might not absolutely need to bring along a sewer hose on a camping trip. You just need to be very familiar with your wastewater management supplies to be sure.

Also, that doesn’t mean bringing along a spare is a bad idea, as long as it’s compatible with your holding tank. Take a look through our collection of sewer hoses if you decide that a spare is a good idea. Otherwise, you need one if your tank doesn’t have one.

3.    Holding tank treatment (and toilet paper and other toiletries)

There’s more than one type of holding tank treatment in our collection of sanitation supplies, but using some form of holding tank treatment is practically a must. Even if you only consider their value for the comfort they will provide while you are camping they are worth it.

Each holding tank treatment has its own mechanism of action but they all perform basically the same function. They break down the wastes in your holding tank, which makes managing the tank much easier, and easier to clean. The added side effect is that they help cut back on odors that would otherwise quickly make an impact on your camping trip.

Check out our collection, and if you’re looking for any specific recommendations, reach out to a member of our team for some guidance.

4.    Surge protectors

If you hook up your RV to shore power when you are in a campsite, and a lot of people do, there is a good chance you’re going to face the risk of a power surge or dip at some point. Power surges can be damaging to the appliances in your RV as well as to your RV’s electrical infrastructure.

If your RV is ever exposed to a serious spike, it can necessitate costly repairs, not to mention incapacitating your RV’s electrical system for the time being. You can learn more about the need for surge protection in our recent blog post, but for now, take our word for it and keep yourself covered. Check out our collection of surge protectors and other electrical equipment and call us if you want to learn more or have other questions.

5.    Shore power connectors

Unless you want to remain electrically autonomous, the use of shore power is a must. You could theoretically run off of solar power, and some people do, especially away from campgrounds. However, shore power is an economical and relatively easy way to secure power for you and your fellow campers where it is available.

Most shore power supplies for RVs are rated to either 30 to 50 amp service, so you’ll need a shore power connector that is rated accordingly. We offer a lot of different shore power connectors here at RV Upgrades, but pick a high-quality, heavy-duty model with added bonus features, like secure grips or handles for attaching or removing the cable.

6.    Spare fuses

Check out your RV’s fuse box and then perform this simple trick that will save your camping trip one day. Get a replacement (at least one, preferably more) for each of the fuses in the fuse box.

If you blow a fuse to a portion of the circuit inside your RV, then all of the appliances (or anything else) that draws power from that portion of the circuit will be inoperable until the fuse is replaced. It’s one of the quickest and easier electrical fixes anyone can make, but unless you make it, you won’t be able to close the circuit.

Doing this will save you a lot of comfort and peace of mind down the line because if you blow a fuse way out in the country and aren’t near any help, you’ll wish you could just pop a new fuse in.

7.    Jack pads, chocks, or leveling blocks - just in case

This one comes with a slight caveat. Theoretically, some RVs might not have a distinct need for jack pads, chocks, or leveling blocks, but there’s a good chance you should bring some along as a backup.

For example, if you ever need to use a jack on soft ground, then you really should put down jack pads so that you don’t sink into the earth. You might not need them if your RV is self-propelled and not towed, but they’re helpful to have on hand anyway.

Chocks are good to have around if you ever want to add stability to your RV, and as for leveling blocks, some RVs have their own leveling systems and so don’t need them. Still, they can be useful as a backup, as RVs should be kept level all the time.

8.    Pressure regulator

There are a couple of reasons that water pressure regulators for your RV are important, but we’re just going to address what is arguably the most important one here. When you hook up your RV to an external water source, your RV’s plumbing, and any appliances that draw water are at the mercy of the pressure of the source.

If the pressure in the source surges for any reason, it could damage your appliances, even bursting your pipes. If that happens, you’re going to be up against some costly repairs, not to mention a ruined camping trip. The safe thing to do is to hook up a water pressure regulator whenever you take water from an external source.

9.    Fire extinguisher

Whether or not your RV came with a fire extinguisher, you should have a spare. There shouldn’t be too much of a reason to elaborate more fully on this as it is a fundamental matter of safety. Houses and other occupied buildings and places of business are largely required by law to have them. Whether you actually have to or not, you should invest in this security measure that may someday enable you to effectively respond to a fire. You can find them in our collection of RV kitchen accessories.

10.  Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS)

Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems are extremely valuable to those who operate recreational vehicles. They can improve your gas mileage, extend the life of your tires, and improve your braking and handling. These alone are reasons enough to justify the investment in one.

However, that only scratches the surface of their value. A TPMS can also give you valuable, real-time information on the temperature and pressure of your RV tires. Some of them even do so individually. Having real-time access to this information can be crucial to preventing a blowout, which is an extremely dangerous situation.

You can learn more about why you need a TPMS in our recent blog. Otherwise, check out what we offer in the way of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems here in our store.

11.  A dehumidifier

There is a small chance you don’t need a dehumidifier, especially if you don’t go anywhere in the country that has high levels of humidity. Unfortunately, almost all of the country is routinely plagued by high levels of humidity with the notable exception of the Southwest. Check out our recent blog on signs of high humidity to see if your RV actually does have problems with high moisture levels.

If it does, shop through our collection of dehumidifiers to keep your RV dry inside and stave off problems associated with moisture like mold and mildew.

12.  Hard water treatments

Just like most areas of the country have high humidity a majority of the time, most areas of the country have fairly hard water as well. If you take your RV there and draw from local water sources, you’re going to eventually have a problem with scale.

Excessive exposure to hard water can damage your plumbing and your appliances, which is both annoying and expensive to fix. We recently published a blog on the benefits of water softeners that also gives you some pointers on what to look out for to see if you have problems with hard water.

If so, take a look through our collection of water softeners for your RV; we offer a lot of different types that can help soften your water efficiently.

This is not an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most important motorhome accessories that you should not leave home port without. While you’re going to see other lists containing additional entries like instant pots and other RV kitchen accessories, we’ll leave that up to you and your own experiences, but these are some of the most basic essentials.

If you want to learn more about some of the other critical RV and other motorhome accessories that you should bring along with you on the road, make sure you read our blog. We’ve included links in this article to some of our other relevant blogs, but take a look through and you might surprise yourself with what else you find.

Otherwise, experience is the best teacher, and sometimes you really learn about what you need to bring along just by getting out there, doing, and then reflecting.

You could also get in touch with our customer service department. We don’t just have one of the best selections of camping accessories at great prices. We also have a pool of many years of experience in camping and RVing that we can put to use for you.

Send us a message via the live chat feature on our website or give us a call at 866-332-7881 if you want to get some more insight into what other essential accessories you could need, or why you should bring these. We’re always happy to hear from our customers and we’d love to help you out.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Do You Need a Water Softener for Your RV?


Of all the things you might need for your RV, it’s a little bit too easy to lose sight of something like a water softener for your RV. To understand what they do and why you might need one, you first need to understand the difference between hard and soft water.

Water is considered ‘hard’ when it contains high levels of dissolved minerals. Specifically, the two minerals that are taken into account as indicators of water hardness are calcium and magnesium, but there are almost always other minerals dissolved alongside them.

Water is considered soft when it does not contain a high concentration of dissolved mineral ions (specifically calcium and magnesium) in its solution. Water may either be naturally soft or it can be softened with a water softener, but most water in the United States is fairly hard. 

What a Water Softener Does 

The short answer to this question is that a water softener removes the dissolved calcium and magnesium ions from the water, making it categorically ‘soft.’

There is more than one type of water softener, but many of them trap and remove the magnesium and calcium ions, replacing them with sodium, which does not have the same harmful household effects as the former.

This is the reason that many water softeners must be ‘recharged’ from time to time to ensure that they continue to function as intended. 

How to Tell if You Need a Water Softener for Your RV 

Now you need to know what signs to look out for to determine if you need to install a water softener for your RV. Here are a few of the things to look out for to determine if you need a water softener, without conducting any formal tests.

-       Your skin or hair feels off (or dry) after a shower or prolonged contact with the water - The calcium and magnesium ions in hard water will dry your skin out, and soap has a hard time removing them

-       There are stains or scale on your appliances or in your sinks or tub - Hard water causes scale to build up on your appliances and in your sink, or stains to form. These typically look like white stains on appliances and on fixtures, but the colors can vary.

-       You constantly need to replace pipes in your RV due to scale buildup - Scale can build up in your recreational vehicle’s plumbing, causing high flow rates and pressure which can damage your plumbing.

These are some of the most common ways to tell if your water is too hard and needs a softener to bring it down to reasonable levels, but the most sure fire way is to get a professional to test your water or to use test strips to determine the hardness. This can be tough with an RV, though, because they are constantly moving around the country.

When in doubt, get a water softener for your RV. They’re effective, practical, convenient, and easy to operate, and many of them are cost effective. Here’s what can happen if you don’t install a water softener. 

What If You Don’t Get One? 

If you don’t install a water softener and you subject your RV to consistently hard water levels, here are a few of the problems you might encounter, which can be unsightly at best and expensive to repair, at worst.

-       Hard water will damage your clothes or fade them - Hard water can make your laundry fade and feel itchy or brittle, damaging it over time.

-       Hard water can make your glassware more brittle - Hard water can cause stains on your glassware, but it will also make them more prone to breakage as well.

-       Hard water causes staining and scale buildup on your appliances - Scale buildup on your sinks and appliances is unsightly, looks dirty, and is expensive to fix. It also can negatively impact the value of your RV.

-       It will damage your plumbing system and stress the pipes - Hard water will also damage your pipes over time. It will build up on the inside of pipes, increasing the pressure of the water flow and causing issues that will need to be addressed with a replacement that will become costly in short order.

None of that sounds particularly enticing, and some of those problems can only be repaired at great expense to the owner of the RV. Save yourself the trouble and install a water softener system so you never have to worry about these problems in the first place.

You’re in the Right Place to Learn More! 

If you want to learn more about hard water and water softeners, read our blog where you’ll find plenty of interesting information about your RV and how to care for it. You can also get in touch with us at 866-332-7881 for more information!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Benefits of an RV Dehumidifier (and How to Tell if You Need One)


RV owners are tasked with a lot of responsibility. They have the responsibility to take care of their camper, which means they need to know a lot about, well, a lot of different things. There is an entire niche industry devoted to the care of campers and of camper related accessories, and it’s a lot to learn.

Owners of such recreational vehicles will have to take the time to get to learn more about the uses of a water softener and why they are valuable; they’ll have to learn more about the different types of hitches and more about towing; they’ll have to learn, among other things, that some RV fridges must be operated on a level surface in order to prevent damage to them.

This is a very small cross-sectional sample of the world of information that lays before an RV owner, but it barely scratches the surface of what you’ll need to know if you own one. As we stated, there’s a lot to learn.

Luckily, here at RV Upgrades, we have a lot of experience to fall back on, so when you need to learn a lot about something new like an RV dehumidifier, you can come right to us to get the low down.

Without getting into the science of how different dehumidifiers work, all you need to know is that they remove excess moisture from the air. Here are some of the best benefits that you can enjoy from the proper use of an RV dehumidifier. 

1.    Reduce the risk of mold

Mold is a dangerous fungus that can make structures uninhabitable because it poses a threat to the health of humans and animals. Mold, especially the dreaded black mold, can also only survive in locations that have adequate moisture.

If you have never dealt with mold as a homeowner or an RV owner, you’re lucky, but that’s no reason to roll the dice. Any dark location that is typically over 50% relative humidity is at risk of developing mold, but a dehumidifier is a great way to keep it at bay.

Let’s put it this way. A dehumidifier is a much more cost-effective solution for preventing mold than a mold removal and remediation project would cost. If your RV has wet air, invest in a dehumidifier ahead of time.

2.    Control the growth of bacteria and other pests

Mold is not the only nefarious denizen of humid locations. Mildew, dust mites, and other pests, along with other microorganisms are all right at home where the moisture level is high. Take the moisture out of the equation, and away they go.

They’re not just an unpleasant sight (in the case of mildew) or a cause of sickness (in the case of bacteria or mites), they also can diminish the value of your camper and make it much less comfortable, not to mention less sightly, to occupy - but more on that later.

For the present time, know this - you can keep all of these pests at bay and prevent mildew from forming just by keeping a handle on the moisture levels in the interior of your RV.

3.    Control allergies

So you can keep mold, mildew, mites and pests and bacteria, and other microorganisms away with the help of an RV dehumidifier. Luckily, doing so can help to keep a handle on allergies and related symptoms as well.

People who have common allergies associated with all of these factors, or have conditions such as asthma that can be easily aggravated, will not do well in excessively humid environments. Now, granted, that is not a blanket statement, as many respiratory issues can be exacerbated by overly dry air as well. The problem is simply that most areas of the country deal more with high humidity than with low humidity.

The solution is not to make the air too dry, but rather to maintain it within the healthy range of 30-50% and not to exceed it on the upper range. That will keep most people happy, healthy, and allergy-complication-free.

4.    Protect your skin

See, as we mentioned above, low humidity can cause issues for your health, and it can impact your eyes, skin, and hair as well, but high humidity can be just as bad. If you or someone you know has a skin condition that is aggravated by excessively high moisture in the air, then a dehumidifier may be able to help.

Low humidity can cause redness and irritation, but high humidity makes it easier to develop infections and rashes, and therefore as mentioned the best thing to do is to stay within the healthy range. Keep your humidity down and your skin will thank you!

5.    Help to alleviate potential respiratory problems

Besides the allergies mentioned above, other respiratory problems can be complicated and aggravated by high moisture content in the air. Conditions such as asthma, sinusitis, or even something as simple as a sore throat can be caused or exacerbated by excessively humid air. Spending too much time around a humid location with any of these conditions is almost sure to result in more discomfort.

Again, the simple solution is no harder than keeping the air at a comfortable level of humidity, which can easily be accomplished with the help of a dehumidifier for removing moisture from the air.

6.    Protect your RV and its furnishings

Too much water vapor in the air of a small space is sure to make you uncomfortable, and it might even allow mold to develop, but it can damage your RV’s interior and furnishings as well, with or without the pernicious influence of mold.

Naturally, rot (see below) is one of the worst influences associated with excess moisture, and there’s more than one thing in your RV that can be damaged by it. Upholstery and drywall can both be damaged by extra humidity and so can appliances. If you allow the moisture level in your RV to remain high for too long, you might be in for some costly repairs to the interior. Speaking of costly repairs, see our next point.

7.    Prevent wood rot

If there’s one good thing about the modern construction that makes up an RV, it’s the fact that they’re mostly made from metals and composites and these are typically not too pointedly affected by moisture. 

However, any exposed woodwork or wood furniture in your RV will suffer the ill effects of high humidity. First, they will absorb moisture and swell, which can cause two things to happen. On one hand, it will decrease the usable lifespan of the furniture. It may also cause enough damage that the furniture can no longer be used.

Also, though it takes a much longer period of high humidity to cause this, wood rot can occur with too much dampness. There is no way to reverse the damage done due to wood rot; it can only be prevented. 

8.    Energy savings potential

If you need a few more reasons to keep the influence of humidity in your RV under control, consider the fact that preventing damage to your RV is not the only way to save money with an RV dehumidifier. A dehumidifier also has the potential to bring you energy savings.

Never mind the fact that some dehumidifiers don’t even need the power to run; if your RV has an air conditioner, it will take a lot less power for the AC to bring down the temperature of the air without the need to remove all of the moisture first. So think of it that way; a dehumidifier is great for the maintenance of your RV in many ways. 

9.    Improve comfort

Finally, there’s just the simple, plain old fact that the more humid air is, the less comfortable it becomes. Now, there is a degree of personal preference wrapped up in the matter, but maybe you are someone who can commiserate. For some people, humid air is unpleasant regardless of the temperature, and when it gets hot out, it’s even worse. Hot, humid air is a recipe for discomfort and property damage, not to mention some of the problems already mentioned above in this article. If for no other reason, you might want to invest in a dehumidifier simply to keep your RV more comfortable.

How to Tell if You Need One 

That’s all great, and it’s quite a list of safeguards that an RV dehumidifier can help protect for you, but how can you tell if you really need one? As it turns out, excessively dry air is not good for your respiratory system or your skin either, so not every single situation requires the use of a dehumidifier, so we put together a list of conditions that might suggest it’s high time for you to get one for your RV. 

1.    Water stains on the walls or furnishings

You know what water stains look like, right? Usually, they form indoors as a type of weird discoloration on the ceiling or less commonly on the walls, wherever there is a leak or has been moisture intrusion.

If you start to see stains like that anywhere inside of your RV, it means that that surface has been absorbing excess moisture for long enough for it to leave a mark. Also, if it’s occurring in the absence of a known leak, it’s probably due to high humidity.

2.    The air feels wet or close

Here’s a dead giveaway. If you walk into your RV and it feels stuffy, close, or wet, the humidity is too high. There’s no magic in this one; if you know what humid air feels like, and your RV’s interior feels like that, then the humidity is too high - it’s simple.

3.    The windows have condensation on them, even if there isn’t a big difference in temperature between the outside and inside

Another nearly dead giveaway that the humidity inside your RV is too high is if your windows constantly have moisture on them, especially when there is no one cooking or showering inside. This is also a big red flag if there isn’t a huge temperature difference between the inside and outside of the RV. If there’s always condensation on the windows, it’s too wet in the RV.


4.   
You have problems with mold or mildew

If you have already had problems with mold or mildew, then you have a humidity problem, considering the fact that both of them need a moist environment to survive and thrive. That’s one of the signs that you need to take some steps to diminish the humidity inside of the RV, as mold and mildew will both damage your RV and cost you money in the long run, either in restoration or with repairs.

5.    You notice a persistent musty smell

Another way to tell if your RV is too humid inside is from the smell. Some people are better than others at gauging the feel of wet air, but if you aren’t, you might be able to tell from the way it smells when you walk in. If there is a persistent musty odor, it is probably due to damage caused by high levels of humidity. It’s also another sign that you need to do something about the levels of moisture in the air because if it smells that way it’s only a matter of time before real damage occurs.

 Where to Get One

Once you’ve decided to pursue some options in an RV dehumidifier, you’ll be pleased by the number of choices that you’ll find here on our site. You’ll love the passive models with quiet operation here on our website - they keep noise levels down because they don’t make any noise!

On the note of energy consumption, they don’t require any, which is the ultimate statement for an energy-efficient dehumidifier. Just keep them charged with their crystals and replace them when they are waterlogged.

Additionally, if you have any questions about dehumidifiers, how to use them, where to use them, or why, contact our customer service team. You can get to us by texting or calling us at 866-332-7881 - and we’d be happy to help!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Do You Need a Surge Protector for Your RV?

With all of the items that you need to remember to bring along on your average camping trip, or just to keep in the garage for maintenance when you’re in home port, it might seem like a surge protector for your RV is just another extra.

Well, to make very short of a long topic, there is a chance that it might be. However, there are some situations in which you really would not want to go without a surge protector. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what surge protectors do and how they can be valuable for you when you are out in camp.

How a Surge Protector Works 

You’re most likely already familiar with surge protectors as they are commonly used in domestic, household settings. They frequently take the form of a long power strip with a thick wire and a switch that you plug into an outlet, giving you the ability to plug in more than one device.

They don’t just allow you the convenience of “extra outlets,” though. A surge protector is also instrumental in protecting your electronic devices from surges in power, which can destroy them past repair.

All electronic devices are rated to operate safely within a specific range of electrical potential. In the United States, 120 volts is standard for most household appliances. If the electrical potential fed to the circuit exceeds 120 volts, then the circuit is experiencing a surge. Surges heat electronics, damage their circuitry, and in extreme cases can cause fires.

As for surge protectors themselves, there are quite a few different types of surge protectors available to consumers. Without getting into the physics of how they work, think of them as a switch that stands between the power source and your electronics. If the power source suddenly surges, the surge protector will cut off the supply to the electronic devices, thus sparing them damage. 

What Does a Surge Protector Provide for Your RV? 

As you may know, RVs contain their own electrical systems, and the real value of a surge protector for your RV comes when your RV is hooked up to a shore power supply at an RV park. Some camps provide you with electrical hookups for shore power so that you can draw power from the campsite without having to drain your RV’s battery or tax its onboard electrical system.

A surge protector for your RV does the same thing for your entire rig that a surge protector connected to an outlet does for your electronics. In this case, think of the outlet in the wall as the shore power connection, and your RV as the “big electronic device.”

Only in this case, the RV is a large electronic device that is not only much more valuable than domestic appliances but also a lot more susceptible to damage from a surge. If your RV experiences a surge from a shore power connection, it can damage or destroy many of the electrical components of your RV. Very bad surges can even start fires, putting you at greater risk.

An RV surge protector does the same thing described above. If the potential supplied to the RV spikes or even goes too low, the surge protector will shut off the power, sparing the RV’s electrical systems and components. Many RVs have either 30 amp or 50 amp service, so, to keep things simple, you’ll want to get a surge protector rated accordingly to your RV.

Surge protectors are not the only solution you can find out there to afford you a high level of protection against electrical surges, but they are the simplest to implement. You might also be interested in an Energy Management System or EMS for your RV, that will do much more than just protect your RV against high voltages. You can find some of these in our collection of surge protectors above, among user-friendly options with LCD displays and much more. If you have questions on the different types of surge protectors we offer and their differences from energy management systems, reach out to us! 

Get in Touch with Us 

If you’re looking for a surge protector to help safeguard your RV against electricity issues like surges, spikes, and dips in voltage, then take a look at our collection via the link above. We offer a lot of quality models that offer a high degree of electrical protection, and if you make a habit of hooking up to shore power, then it’s a good idea to use a surge protector.

If you’ve come here to learn more but want to know more than what we have provided in this article, don’t be shy about getting in touch with our team. We pride ourselves on customer service and that’s why we provide a number of different ways for you to get in touch with us at your convenience. You can reach us via a live chat while you are on our website. If it’s easier for you or you want to speak with a person, you can give us a call at 866-332-7881 anytime you need to learn more - give us a call, our team is always ready to help!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Patio Mats, Water Softeners and More: Useful Accessories and Tools for Your RV

There are so many different types of accessories and tools that you might want to consider bringing along on the road that there is no way to neatly summarize them. Look up “camper supplies” on Google and you’re going to come across lists that come close to housing a hundred entries. Some of them probably have more.

That’s partly because an RV, like a home, needs a lot of tools and accessories to keep everything running smoothly. The difference is that an RV is often out on the road where supplies can’t easily be replenished, and therefore there are some things that should be brought along as a safeguard.

Then again, not everything on this list is a tool or meant to be kept as a redundant safety measure. Some of them will maintain your RV over time, whereas others will simply allow you to more fully enjoy your time on the road. Check out some of these accessories that you would do well to bring on the road with you, and if you have any questions, you can always get in touch with us. 

Patio Mats and Awning Mats 

Awning and patio mats are great for bringing along on your trips for a number of great reasons. Not only will they simplify keeping things clean and enhance your comfort by keeping you off of the ground, but they will spruce up a space as well.

However, some of the greatest advantages of RV patio mats and awning mats come from their utility and not their aesthetics. Consider models like the Faulkner Reversible RV Patio Mats and Camco Reversible Awning Leisure Mats. Among these models, you can enjoy a suite of features that make them tough, comfortable as well as great at keeping dirt out from the inside of your RV.

Both of these mats and others have woven designs that allow snow and rain to drain right through them, helping to keep you off of the ground as well. They’re also very light and mold and mildew resistant. They can be folded up tightly and stored out of the way until they are needed.

Even though they are resistant to mold and mildew, cleaning them is easy; both of them can be cleaned with soap and water and allowed to dry before storing; and they dry quickly. They also have grommets that make it easy to stake down the mats in areas where they might be pulled up or blown away. Many of them even have reversible sides and are treated specially so as to afford a measure of UV protection to prevent sun damage.

One more thing to keep in mind is that some mats don’t just help you by keeping dirt out of the RV by clearing it off of the bottoms of your shoes. Some of them allow dirt, sand, grass, and debris to filter through one way but not come up through the bottom. This streamlines maintenance while enhancing your comfort as well. 

Generators and Solar Panels 

Think about your time out on the road in your RV. There are a lot of appliances in your RV that require power to use, and while you can disconnect from power from time to time and simply enjoy the great outdoors, there is still a lot in a motorhome that requires power to operate.

Some RVs can connect to a power supply in camp, for which purpose they would need to be well equipped with a heavy-duty power cable so that you could connect to power when you were parked in camp. With one of these, you can enjoy all of the creature comforts that your RV was intended to provide you with even when you were away from home.

However, for those times when you really go off the grid, even if you are in a formal “campsite” without power, there are still some occasions when you would like the peace of mind to produce some. There are a few ways to go about this, and two of the best are with the help of solar panels or with generators.

It’s not all about convenience, though. It’s a good idea to keep one of these systems around just in the event of an emergency. You might not actively have a need to use power, but knowing that you have the option should you need it will give you the ability to rest easy, even when you are out in the woods.

Water Softeners

Water softeners are systems that really can be worth a lot to a camper, although, depending on where you live, they can be worth a lot in your home as well. For example, it’s fairly well known that a water softening system in a home with hard water can improve the taste, smell, look, and even feel of the water. Those who have showered with hard water will know that particularly hard water will leave their skin and hair feeling odd, for lack of a better term.

However, there is more to the value of a water softener than removing an undesirable smell or taste. A water softening system to remove minerals from the water will preserve your appliances, fixtures, and plumbing and even can prevent costly repairs.

Because RVs are constantly on the move and much of the country is plagued by hard water, it can be tough to predict just when and where an RV will hook up to a hard water source. Over time, hard water will cause scale buildup in your fixtures that will diminish the flow rate, cause ugly streaks on your appliances, and can cause damage too.

Meanwhile, you could just invest in an affordable water softening system for your RV in order to easily, conveniently, and passively prevent all of this. Many of them are easy and simple to hook up and need to be resupplied with resin only infrequently. 

LED Lights 

We’re not going to get into the specifics of what lights you can and can’t replace in your RV with LEDs, or how exactly you can do it. There are some retrofit LED light kits out there that make it possible for you to switch out incandescent and halogen fixtures for LEDs, but that is neither here nor there. This is simply about the value of light, and based on the fact that we have included flashlights in lists of critical RV accessories in the past, you accept that light is important.

On that note, then, the value of LED lights is that they are reliable, last for a very long time, and also draw almost no power. Let’s break this down a little further; if you are able to incorporate LED lights into your RV, you should do it.

LEDs significantly outlast all other forms of lighting, even forms of lighting like fluorescent lights that are renowned for their long lifespans. LEDs are also tough, resistant to changes in moisture and temperature, and light up instantly. Finally, as if you needed another bonus, LED lights draw very little power compared to any other light source, and will not tax an electrical system.

Check out our collection of LED lights via the link above to learn more about some product specifics, and if you have any questions, give our team a call.  

Leveling Blocks

Leveling blocks are also pretty important RV accessories that you should probably have on hand, especially if your RV does not have a leveling system. Leveling blocks are designed to give you a steady, level surface, even on uneven ground.

This is another thing that has more to do with function than it has to do with comfort. Sure, you’ll enjoy your trip more if your RV isn’t slanted up a slope, but there’s more going on here.

If your RV is slanted for any extended length of time, it will put a huge amount of strain on the frame on the structure and it can also negatively impact the tires. In addition, if your RV has an absorption refrigerator, it is imperative that you only operate it on a level surface. If you don’t it will suffer irreparable damage and you will need to replace the refrigeration unit.

Leveling blocks are only one way you can level your RV, but there are a lot of situations in which they can come in handy. Check out our collection and call us if you have questions on use or product features. 

Dish Cleaning Essentials 

Most if not all RVs have a kitchen, and most if not all people enjoy at least one nice meal a day, even when on the road or in camp. The thing is, if you do cook, there’s going to be clean up, and clean up does not perform itself.

That means you will need to be prepared with rags and soap and preferably a place to keep drying dishes as well as a trash can for all of the waste. At the same time, it can be useful to have a pop up trashcan of sorts so that you have a place for trash you create when you’re on the go, especially if you are outside of your camper and in a camp kitchen.

It’s not that these types of things are specialty items, but be sure you are prepared with them before you hit the road since you might not be able to come by them on your way.

A Grill 

We don’t care whether you love gas or charcoal, speaking of cooking, you’ll want the chance to get outside from time to time, weather permitting. A grill will give you the chance to do some cooking out there in camp without the need to rely on your camper kitchen. Check out some of our models in our store and pick out one that works for you, even if it's just a little portable model. 

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Another system that doesn’t get a lot of press time is a tire pressure monitoring system, but it’s one that you need to have. There are different types of TPMS units and sensors, but the point is that one is critical not only to the performance of your RV but to your safety as well.

We don’t have a lot of space in this article to go over the specifics of a given unit, and pages could be written on how they work and why they are important. What you need to know is that a TPMS will protect you against blowouts, alert you to high or low pressure in your tires, improve the handling and braking of your RV, and improve your gas mileage.

If you need more specific information, consult our blog on the importance of a TPMS, or read up on the products themselves; they are worth every penny.

Jump Starter 

Another thing you should carry with you in your RV (and really in any vehicle) is a set of jumper cables that are adequate to jump your vehicle. Even more useful than a set of cables is a jump starter itself. Some models can be used to charge batteries and some are powerful enough to jump an engine even when the battery is dead. This will, of course, vary by the power and capacity of a given jump starter, but if you’re ever in the woods with a dead battery, you’ll be glad you brought it.

Tools

We’re not going to tell you what specific tools you need to bring with you, but if you can spare a little space for a toolset or a tool chest or a toolbox (you can) then you should carve out the room and add one in. There’s no telling what will come up during any given trip, and without the right tools to address it, you’ll be on your own. Any tools are better than none, so let experience dictate your selection.

As you will notice if you spend more than two minutes investigating our collection of goods online, there are tons and tons of RV essentials here in our online store. This is just a small jumping-off point, and there are plenty of other accessories you’ll want to bring on the road with you. Read our blog for more suggestions, and if you want to talk to a human about it, give us a call at 866-332-7881.