RV Hacks

Using a Timer When Flushing

Don't think that an overflowing RV toilet won't happen.  It does.  Especially when you are flushing tanks.  And as you age, we become more forgetful. 


But let's start at the beginning.  One of the tasks we hate the most--let's be honest.  It IS the task we hate the most--is dumping our black tanks.  And dumping alone doesn't really get them clean.  And clean is important, especially when you live full-time in an RV.  So we flush the tanks until they run clean.  This involves several steps, but the final ones are filling the tanks (we have two black tanks) to the top and then opening the valves to empty them.  We do this several times until they run perfectly clear.

Now, here's the problem.  When you are filling these tanks you often get sidetracked.  You forget you are filling the tanks, not just flushing them with the valves open.  

The solution?  A timer.  We have examined our filling process and know how long it takes to get the water to the top--without overflowing.  We set a timer.  When the timer goes off, we pull the valves and empty the tanks.  Then we reset the timer and fill the tanks again.  Repeat, repeat...

No flooded bathroom floors.


Dating Your Water Filter

Here's a tip that might keep you from looking like a fool.

Last month we waited and waited at one of only two spigots at a campground--waiting for our fresh water tank to fill up.  There were no other hookups in the campground.  We waited and waited.

A kind, but nosey, camper walked over and asked us what kind of problem might we be having.  We told him that after 45 minutes our tanks were only one-third full.

He looked at us and said, "Is your water filter clogged?  When did you last change it?"  

Lightbulb!!!  We now date our water filter and change them every three months or less--depending on fill time.

Don't make our mistake.

How to Survive the Camping Oven

After one month of using our tiny RV oven, I have learned a few things about creative cooking.  You can’t cook much in a 15x14x8.5 oven, and what you do cook will either be burned on the bottom or take twice as long to heat up.


And, yes, I know I can use my convection/microwave oven to prepare meals, but I’m partial to ovens.


So, I went out and bought three things: an oven thermometer, a pizza stone, and a butane lighter for the oven pilot light.


They don’t share the glamorous news when you buy an RV that you’re going to have to get down on your hands and knees and stick your head in the oven in order to light it.  It’s even more uncomfortable if the pilot goes out because you ran out of propane while cooking.  You then have to change a propane tank before sticking your arm to the back of a hot oven to relight the pilot.  At least with the long butane lighter (the longer the better!), you'll minimize the scar tissue. 

And note to oven manufacturers: why not put the pilot light at the FRONT of the oven if you're not giving us an electronic spark like on the stove top?

So, buy the lighter (under $2).


Next, you’ll need the pizza stone to prevent everything from burning on the bottom.  I found one that fit, 15 inches by 12 inches.  I slide it in on the bottom shelf and cook on the top shelf.  So far, so good.  John tried cooking without it and burned the bottom of French bread.  I’m not a fan of burnt bread.  What does a pizza stone do?  It holds, radiates, and evens out the heat.


So, buy a pizza stone ($26).


Finally, if you want to know what temperature you really are achieving, get an oven thermometer.  You can set these ovens on 350 degrees, but it’s not necessarily cooking at that temperature.   Our oven cooks 75 degrees lower than the dial indicates.  And it won’t get any higher than 350 degrees.  That’s limiting.  And, yes, the next time the RV goes into the shop, the oven will be on the checklist.


But in the meantime, we bought a thermometer.


So, you might want a thermometer too (under $5).