Ahh- a month of Top Ten lists… To kick off my lists, the Top Ten maintenance items that are easy ‘do it yourself’ items, yet somehow don’t get done.
Some of them we all know need doing- some are pretty much always forgotten, but all of them are easy to do, and will ultimately save you money.
#10 Clean the spark arrestor in your generator muffler.
RV gensets are required to have spark arrestor installed, and usually have them integrated in to the muffler in the form of a screen, or as an add on in the tail pipe. The trouble is that this screen will become clogged, leading to a loss of power. Onan calls for cleaning it every 50 hours on most models.
Cleaning them is a very simple process – either remove the section of tail pipe with the screen and clean it, or if it is integrated in to the muffler, there will be a plug or plugs which you remove and run the genset under load for a few minutes
(! always do this over a non combustible surface- not over dry grass !)
For extra credit, you can buy a can of Onan 4C cleaner, which is great at removing carbon deposits, and run that through at the same time.
#9 Check the water in the house battery
Today’s converter and inverter/charger systems are far better than those of even 10 years ago at maintaining your battery- but they still require maintenance. Remember to follow standard safety practices (safety glasses, remove jewelry, etc.) and use distilled water only. Take the time to inspect the battery connections while you’re at it- including the ground connection.
#8 Test and/or change the smoke detector battery
We all remember to change the batteries in our household smoke detectors regularly, but we forget the RV detector until it starts to beep in the middle of the night!
#7 Lubricate power steps
Kwikee calls for monthly lubrication of their steps- probably 85% of the problems I see with these are due to lack of lubrication. Using the correct product to lubricate the step is as important as lubrication is- while there are many products that will do an adequate job, Kwiklube by Kwikee really works quite well- it goes on thin to penetrate , but gels to a heavy grease consistency, and a can will last a long time.
#6 Lubricate the slideout mechanism
While they don’t typically operate as much as the steps- keeping the slideout mechanism lubricated is really a good idea- less stress on the parts and motor, better operation, less battery draw, etc. Spraying the slide seals with a good preservative will also keep them in shape. There are several products for both of these tasks, from companies like Protect All and Thetford.
#5 Drain and flush the water heater tank
The water heater tends to be “out of site, out of mind”, until the tank starts leaking. Atwood and Suburban both recommend at least yearly drain and flush. The Suburban models use an anode rod, which is a consumable item, and should be replaced when it is 75% gone. Atwood uses a plastic plug- do yourself a favor and buy a pack of these to keep in the rig. Replace them at least every other time you drain.
#4 Clean the air conditioner coils and filters
I know right now most of us are not thinking about air conditioning, but the heat will return soon enough! The filters should be cleaned weekly in hot weather when the A/C is running all the time- or as needed in cooler weather. If you keep the filters clean, you won’t have to clean the inside coils as often.
#3 See the end… 😕
#2 Inspect the roof sealants
If you do decide to clean the coils, as I talked about in my blog post Tune up your roof A/C, it’s a great time to carefully inspect all of the seams and sealants on the roof- this should be done at least yearly.
#1 Clean the refrigerator burner
The number one cause of gas electric refrigerators not working on LP gas is a dirty clogged burner. While many will not want to get in to dealing with taking the burner apart to clean it, a lot can be done with a shop vac or air hose- just vacuum or blow out the burner area and flue regularly (of course- don’t hit it with 130 psi air- just enough to get the rust and dirt out). Learn what the flame should look like, and keep it burning well. Your refrigerator and food will thank you for it!
And now- finally, the long awaited…. (drum roll, please)…
#3 Check you fire extinguishers
In addition to checking the gauge and date- if your fire extinguishers are dry chemical type, remove them, turn them upside-down, and bang on them a bit. This will break up the powder which tends to settle and clump (especially in a vehicle).
I hope this gives some ideas about cheap inexpensive things that you can do- and need to be done-
What are your top ten maintenance items that you forget or put off?