Thursday, May 16, 2013

RV Safety Devices. Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Fire Safety. RV Slideout Seal. No Vent Screens. Pressure Regulator. Energy Management System. Fridge Odor. Full-time Domicile? Natural Ant Killer. Cholera In NYC. "Magic" Johnson. Simba and Nala.


For “tRaVersing Thursday”, or RV Day:

RV Safety Devices

“Every RV has them, some RVs have more than others, but all require some level of understanding to be sure you and those who travel with you have a safe and enjoyable excursion every single time you take that RV out. I’m talking about mandated RV safety devices.

Do you know how many you have in your rig? Do you know where all yours are located? Do you know if they all work properly? These are all important questions every RVer and every family member should know the answers to. For answers,  right here.”


“More carbon monoxide detection information
For a little more in-depth information regarding how carbon monoxide detectors operate, check out this on-line article.”


Mac the Fire Guy video

Mac the Fire Guy was recently interviewed by Chuck Woodbury and he reveals some additional information regarding RV fire extinguishers. Don’t miss his keen insight. Click here.

Still more fire safety information
Remember, you can’t be too safe when it comes to fire safety. Here’s an article published by Fleetwood you might find interesting.

34 fire facts that can save your life
The heading says it all; again, thanks to Fleetwood for providing this interesting article.”


Wasted RV Slideout Seal

“Due to deterioration, I need to replace a rubber seal on the perimeter of a slideout on my RV. I do not know the correct name for the seal. And I am in the middle of nowhere TX, working as a gate guard in the oil fields, so my home is also my office, therefore I cannot take it in to get the answers I need. The seal goes along the top and both sides. It is approximately 3-inches wide. I believe it is called a slide sweep. I really need help finding this as I would really like to get this replaced. Thanks!”   Dave W., (Nowhere, TX)

“You are correct David, it's called a wiper seal and it comes in various sizes and designs. Some with one, two, or even no bulbs on it. Bulbs are the round part of the seal that collapses when something contacts it thereby effectuating the seal.

Changing it can be a bit of a pain, but basically you measure the entire length and order that amount plus a little extra as a fudge factor. The old seal will pull off the aluminum extrusion. Then, just snap the new one in place. Make sure all overlapping sections of the wiper are glued and sealed. Use a good weather-stripping adhesive to glue them together. The bulb seal can be purchased from any well-stocked RV dealer or repair center, but RV factory surplus stores up in the Elkhart area also have a great selection. Pelland Enterprises is another source which is sometimes used for such things. They have decent pictures of all the different styles here.   Hope this helps! Chris”  Posted by RV Doctor


No Screens Please

“Do you have a source for mud dauber or wasp screens for the furnace inlet and outlet vent?” Bill, (Broken Arrow, OK)

“Bill, I do not recommend blocking the fresh air inlet tube or the hot exhaust on the RV furnace with any type of screen, as popular as they seem to be. Any air restriction of these components will cause erratic appliance operation and shorten the life of the appliance. I do, however, recommend taping off those openings during winterizing or other periods of storage or non-use to keep the critters out, but during actual RV use you do not want to modify or impair air flow in or out of the unit.

All mud dauber's nests should be checked for and routinely removed during the annual cleaning of the furnace. The photo exemplifies the importance of annual furnace maintenance, but during the actual operation of the furnace, keep those tubes free from any obstructions! Including those screens commonly found in accessory stores.”    Posted by RV Doctor


Which End Goes Where?

“I'm embarrassed to ask, but I bought a brass water pressure regulator from an RV supply store. It came without instructions and I didn't think to ask. How do you use this thing? I think you connect it to the faucet in the RV park or do you connect it to the RV? This one has a big end and a smaller end with arrows that point toward the smaller end.” Helene, (McNeal, AZ)

“Helene, there’s no such thing as an embarrassing question, especially concerning RVs! The water pressure regulator you purchased is equipped with garden hose connections at each end; female and male. Your question about where to install it is actually a good question to ask. I recommend installing it as close to the water supply in the campground as possible. With it installed at the spigot at your campsite you are then protecting the fresh water hose as well as the entire fresh system plumbing in the RV. It is permissible to install it directly to the city water inlet on the side of the coach, but then the hose itself will not be protected. You probably purchased a non-adjustable regulator, like in the photo, which is the simplest to use. It is preset at an inlet pressure safe for all the plumbing in the RV. You just hook it up in-line with the fresh water hose. The arrows should point to the RV.”  Posted by RV Doctor


Rx For EMS

“My question concerns a low AC voltage situation in a Dolphin motorhome equipped with a Smart Model 500 EMS. The voltage is a perfect 120-volts AC until the air conditioner or microwave or coffeemaker is turned on, then the voltage drops by fifteen volts or more. This is tested from a known good 120-volt, 30-amp source. The voltage outside the coach remains steady at 120-volts. The drop is only experienced inside the coach. Any ideas?” Paul, (Hattieville, AR)

“Paul, your diagnosis seems to indicate a problem within the Energy Management System, (EMS), itself since the voltage loss is only experienced inside the coach. The EMS has up to four circuits that are controlled. It is safe to assume that the air conditioner is wired to one of them and I would not be surprised if the microwave and other high current devices like the coffeemaker are as well. Although this type of voltage drop is not a normal failure mode of the EMS, I suspect it in fact, could be the culprit since the voltage outside the coach remains steady and normal and you are experiencing the problem with multiple heavy-load appliances.

With the power to the coach disconnected, open the EMS cover to expose the electrical connections. First make sure all the high voltage wiring is in place and tight. Check the white/neutral and bare/ground wires to make sure they are tightly secured to the neutral and ground bars. Ensure the black/hot leads are secured to the relay terminals and the circuit breakers. Such connections have been known to vibrate loose during travel.

Also, make sure the shore power cord passes through the current sensor loop inside the EMS. Near the top right corner of the board you will notice a fuse, (not shown in drawing). Remove the fuse and inspect it to make sure it is not blown. It is probably a 3A/12V fuse. Near the fuse you will see a multi-pin connector. Unplug the connector and probe pins 1 and 2 (the two uppermost pins) on the harness end and make sure at least 12-volts DC is measured going into the EMS electronics module. If not, check its fuse at the 12-volt DC distribution panel. If the fuse tests fine and you have a healthy 12-volts DC entering the module, it’s probably time to have the complete EMS system tested by a qualified RV service technician. A fifteen volt drop to 105-volts AC is approaching low enough to cause damage in the air conditioner. There is the possibility you may have an internal problem with a relay or the board itself.” Posted by RV Doctor


Crabby Refer Odor

“How do you get odors out of the RV refrigerator/freezer? I recently had to leave my fifth wheel trailer and truck at a storage facility for about ten days and the batteries to the truck and fifth wheel died, therefore not allowing the propane to ignite. Needless to say, I ended up with spoiled food in the refrigerator and freezer and no matter what I have tried, I cannot get the odor out (specifically crabmeat). Please hurry with your answer!”  Christine, (Orlando, FL)

“Christine, for refrigerator and freezer odors some RVers have suggested using open boxes of baking soda and other remedies like placing wadded up black and white newsprint in the freezer and replacing the pieces every day. Or try one or more of these remedies sent to me by readers in the past. (I swear they are all true!)

* wash the freezer using a liquid citrus degreaser

* thoroughly wash the rubber door seal using an anti-mildew solution

* washing the interior with straight bourbon

* unscented kitty litter, changed daily

* cotton balls saturated with vanilla extract to wipe down the interior; leave balls in for a week

* charcoal briquettes placed on paper towels inside the freezer

* spray the interior with rubbing alcohol, let stand and rinse

* four to six ounces of fresh coffee grounds placed in a sock; leave for one week

* peppermint extract placed in an open container

* place a saturated towel of pure Mexican vanilla in the freezer

I'm not sure which is the absolute best cure, but the most often repeated suggestion was using the crumpled up newspaper. Do let me know what works best in your situation. Keep in mind, some odors may indeed permeate the plastic lining of the refrigerator or any rubber component such as the drain tube, door seals, etc. If that is the case either all plastic components will have to be replaced or perhaps a new refrigerator is in your future.” Posted by RV Doctor


How to choose a full-time domicile?

The following article, authored by Kirk, has been published in the Jan./Feb., 2013 issue of Escapee's Magazine.

“For most Americans, there is never a question of residence or domicile because of the lifestyle they lead. If they move their homes they buy or rent a physical house and bring with them all of their daily activities. They shop in local stores, subscribe to the local newspaper, visit local doctors, keep their assets in local financial institutions, and become involved in local activities, leaving little doubt that they have only one physical home, residence, or domicile. It simply is never an issue. But for those who choose to become full-time RV’ers this can be less clear.

One of the advantages of the full-time lifestyle is our ability to choose any place to call home. Many full-timers choose a location more tax friendly than the place where they have lived for their working lives, while others may choose to keep the domicile which they have had for many years. Discussing the issue, we must first understand the difference between residency and domicile, as they are not synonyms.”  More at:



“If you are a traveling RVer, you can choose any state to be your home state. There are several factors you want to consider when deciding, but these are the most important:

1)      Does it have an income tax?

2)      Does it require an annual smog or vehicle inspection?

3)      How easy is it to become a resident?

4)      How much will auto insurance cost.

Based on those questions, the great majority of full-time vandwellers and RVers choose one of these four states for Residency (and as their mail forwarders):

  • Florida (Good Sam Club)
  • Texas (Escapees)
  • South Dakota (too many to list-do a Google search)
  • Nevada (

None of them have a income tax and it is fairly easy to become a resident. Of these four, South Dakota probably has the lowest
insurance rates.

You can make an argument for each state since they all have pluses and minuses, but my advice has always been to make the final decision based on geographical location. I strongly encourage you to make your decision on where you will spend most of your time.”  From:


Natural Ant Killer

“Get rid of ants with this natural ant killer. This homemade ant bait can be prepared quickly and help you get rid of ants around your home or garden for up to a year.

Springtime brings beautiful weather and the arrival of ant season. There are a large variety of ants that invade our homes and yards each year. However, taking care of this problem does not require a lot of harsh chemicals or an expensive pest control bill. For a few dollars, you can get rid of ants yourself.
It is important to understand that an effective ant bait must actually attract the ants. Many commercial preparations are toxic to ants, but the ants will avoid most of these making them a waste of money. Generally speaking, ants are attracted to sugar and/or protein. I have found the following solution to be very effective and only takes a few minutes during each Spring when the ants first appear. 

Gather some small plastic containers with lids.  Poke 4-5 holes spaced evenly around the outside each container about an inch from the top.  It would look something like this:

......X..................... X

CAUTION: Borax is toxic. Do not place the traps in areas where animals (like the family pet) can accidentally open the lid and ingest the poison.”      More at:


On This Day:

New York City establishes hospital for cholera victims, May 16, 1849:

“On this day in 1849, the New York City Board of Health is finally able to establish a hospital to deal with a cholera epidemic that, before it ends, kills more than 5,000 people. The rapidly growing city was ripe for an epidemic of this kind because of poor health conditions and its status as a destination for immigrants from around the world.

On December 1, 1948, the ship New York arrived in New York from France. On board were the bodies of seven passengers who had died from cholera on the journey. Upon arrival, the surviving passengers were quarantined at a Staten Island customs warehouse to contain the outbreak. Within a month, 60 of these passengers had experienced cholera symptoms and 30 had died. Afraid of catching the disease and dying, healthy passengers decided to escape from quarantine. Soon, isolated outbreaks of cholera were turning up around New York, often in the city's dirtiest and poorest areas. At that time, pigs and dogs roamed some streets eating garbage that was dumped in streets and alleys. Among the wealthier citizens of the city, there was a perception that the poor deserved the disease because of the unhygienic conditions in which they lived.

Spring brought a substantial rise in the number of cholera victims. There was no hospital to care for the afflicted and many city residents, fearful of catching the disease, did not want a new hospital for cholera victims built near them. Finally, on May 16, the city's Board of Health started a hospital on the second floor of a building on Orange Street above a tavern. Still, the death toll kept climbing, rising from 35 in May to nearly 800 in June. Soon, public school buildings were drafted into use as hospitals. It is estimated that 40 percent of the epidemic's victims were Irish immigrants, although precise totals are impossible to know because wealthier people were often able to have death certificates altered to avoid the stigma of their loved ones having died of cholera.

Vast numbers of people fled the city that summer as the death toll climbed above 2,500 by the end of July. The disposal of bodies became a serious problem. A mass grave was established on Randall's Island, in the East River east of Manhattan; any person with a horse was expected to assist with the carrying of dead bodies.

New York City's first street-cleaning plan was implemented in the face of the epidemic. Public health initiatives like this and the discovery of antibiotics have since decreased the reach and severity of diseases like cholera in much of the world.”


Magic plays center as a rookie, wins championship, May 16, 1980:

“On May 16, 1980, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Earvin "Magic" Johnson steps in for injured center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and scores 42 points, leading the Lakers to a four games-to-two series win over the Philadelphia 76ers for their first championship since 1972.

No one expected that Magic, at 6 feet 9 inches the tallest point guard in league history, would so easily make the transition to center. Magic rang up 42 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists to lead the Lakers to victory and was named Most Valuable Player of the finals, the first of three such awards in his career. The Lakers went on to dominate the NBA, winning a total of five championships in the 1980s.”



Misty and I had our walk down there when we went to get Jay, as he was going with me for shopping day.

There was no time to go to any thrift shops as we had a lot of places to go, and more than we thought.  It was raining hard as we drove into Conroe, but fortunately by the time we arrived at the place where I wanted to buy the roofing, all the way on the east side of Conroe, it had quit. 

Guest-houseI had hoped to buy more like we had used on the guest house.  They still haven’t finished their building, but he did take my phone number to let me know if there would be any left over.  So I will have to buy it from Lowes which isn’t quite the same.  We couldn’t pick any up at Lowes, as we also had to pick up two cats at Petco.   As we need 12’ long sheets of the translucent white, we would have to drive with the front passenger window open, which wouldn't be very good on a rainy day and as it was very humid, we would have to run the AC for the cat’s, and our comfort. 

We had to get some medicine for Jay’s fish to cure them of ick and fin rot, so that took some time while we waited for the cats.

We made several other stops before it was time to meet the cat’s Mom at 12.30.  She just had the girl cat with her.  She had to leave the boy cat at the vet, as they had to anesthetize him just to get a bit of blood for his FIV/FeLV test.  Oh! Oh! He sounds like trouble.  We followed her all the way back to the east side of Conroe, and we had to wait for the boy cat to be steady enough to travel.   Both cat’s tests were negative.  The lady and her mother obviously loved these two 2-year-old sibling felines, and supplied two very nice carriers,  a three-storey kitty condo, big bag of food, blankies, treats, litter box and litter.  The cats used to sleep with the mother, so it was pretty hard on her.  They told me, that for some reason the two cats don’t even like each other anymore.

The lady and her mother had just sold their house and moved into a fifth wheel in an RV park.   They could take their little dog, but not the two cats also.  So that is why the cats are being fostered with me until they can go in our cat habitat on the first of June.  I had two big cages ready in my grooming room, and the girl cat, “Nala”, came out of her carrier into her cage.  She ate a little bit of food. The big boy cat, Simba, was hissing and snarling, showing big fangs and claws when anyone went near his carrier.  Jay just put the carrier in the cage with the carrier door open, and I took Jay home.

When Ray, next door in my guest house, got home he helped me get the top part of the carrier off the bottom part, without either of us getting mutilated, and the boy cat just sat in there, glaring and wouldn’t touch his food.  Later, I was able to get the bottom part out and a cat bed in there so he would be more comfortable.   He hisses and snarls at anyone who even looks at him.  He tries to claw at you through the cage, so he has to stay in there until he shows better manners.

The girl cat’s cage door was opened so that she could inspect the grooming room, but every time she saw her brother she would start hissing and snarling, too.  Then she would go back in the cage, even though the door was open.   I hope they settle down once they are over the trauma of yesterday.


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