RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 862

RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 862

Issue 862 • March 8, 2018
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RVing Tip of the Day

Electric power:  You pay for it – learn to read the meter 
 
By Russ and Tiña De Maris 
Spend any amount of time at all in a commercial RV park and you’re apt to get a power bill. Since power is expensive anywhere, it’s a bitter pill for RVers when they’re likely to be presented with a bill for rates higher than the locals pay. We’ve all heard the “cost of reading the meter,” “administrative overhead,” and “Huh?” excuses.
 
How do you know if you’re actually being billed for what you’ve used? In many parks, old-style clock-type electric meters are used, and many folks just don’t have a clue as to how to “read” them. Digital meters are a lot easier, but not nearly as common.
 
Here’s how to read a clock-type meter:
Remember that each of the hands represents a single digit of the present reading. It’s helpful to recall that some hands turn clockwise, others counterclockwise. When the hand is between numbers, that hand is always read to the lower number.
 
In the picture, the reading on the meter is 08604. It may be difficult to discern that the first zero (or the first hand reading from left to right) is really a zero. Why difficult to discern? When the pointer is close to being directly on a number, you have to determine whether it has actually reached the number yet or not.
 
The giveaway is simple: If the hand to the right of the one in question is past the zero, then the hand in question is to be read as higher. In this case, the second hand is between the eight and nine – it has yet to reach the zero mark. Now looking at the third dial from the left – is it a six? Yep, as you’ve noted that the fourth dial (to the immediate right) is PAST the zero mark. And remember: When meters are read they are NOT reset to zero.
 
So when you “check in” to your RV site, read the meter and write down the figures. To practice, you might read it every day to get the hang of it, and to see how little power RVers use – unless, of course, you’re running the air conditioner! To know how much power or kilowatts you’ve used, simply subtract the earlier reading from the present reading. Knowledge, as they say, is power.
 

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The First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Aerosol Spray is easier to use and discharges 4 times longer than traditional fire extinguishers. With an aerosol nozzle and portable size, it’s suited for the kitchen, car, garage, boat or RV. The formula wipes away with a damp cloth & is biodegradable. Available at 50% off the last we looked. Learn more or order.


QUICK TIPS

Electrical circuit not working?
Got an electrical circuit in your RV that stubbornly refuses to work? You’ve checked the circuit breaker and it’s fine, but still “no juice”? Check in the bathroom and verify that the ground fault interrupter doesn’t need to be reset. (Don’t ask how we know about this one.)

Don’t change your smoke detector battery for ten years!
With electricity expert, Mike Sokol
In many states, you’ll soon be required to update any of your RV (and home) smoke detectors that use replaceable 9-volt batteries with a new version that uses a non-replaceable lithium battery that lasts up to 10 years. But this is really a good thing since most fire-related deaths are due to non-operational smoke alarms due to dead batteries. While you’re at it, you should consider upgrading your smoke detectors to include a CO (carbon monoxide) alarm as well. Even if you already have a CO alarm (and all modern RVs will already have them), any extra warning can save precious seconds. You can find these at any big box store such or Lowe’s or Home Depot, or on Amazon here. 
 
Is buying a “deer whistle” worth it?
Worried about your RV being clobbered by a deer? Before you pump good money into “deer whistles,” do a little research. There’s little evidence that they work, and plenty of evidence that they just don’t work. Have you had experience one way or another with a deer whistle? Let us know by commenting below.
 
HOT TOPIC AT RV TRAVEL.COM
Manufacturers can make getting RV parts difficult.

WEBSITES OF THE DAY 

RVTravel.com Facebook
Have you “liked” and “followed” us on Facebook yet? We post lots of our own stories, but helpful articles and photos from other websites too. 

RV Road Laws.
Learn the laws relating to RVs in every state of the USA.

Gas Price Watch.
The best site for finding current gas prices in the USA.

Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from RVtravel.com.


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VIDEO OF THE DAY

How to handle a tire blowout in your RV
Please, please, please watch this. If you blow a front tire, you could end up in a very bad way, even dead, if you react improperly. We post this video often to teach our readers the correct way to react. The knowledge could be a lifesaver for you or your family.

CLICK THE VIDEO TO SEE THE TIP.
See all of our videos on our YouTube Channel.

MORE QUICK TIPS

Safely plugging into shore power
Just a reminder that when you’re plugging your RV into the power pedestal at an RV park (or anywhere), make sure the breaker switch is in the “off” position. Switch it on after you have plugged in.

Must-have safety equipment
Prepare for a breakdown or flat on the roadside – carry a set of warning triangles like commercial truckers use. Folding ones don’t take much space, but their reflectors help out at night. Be sure to place them well behind your rig to give traffic plenty of warning of your presence. Thanks to George Bliss for the tip! (Editor: Here are some at Amazon.com.)
 
Do you have a tip? Send it to diane (at) rvtravel.com .

Batteries last a long time!
Motion detection nightlights can last a year on a set of batteries
When you need a nightlight when without hookups, these are great: they light only when they sense motion, shutting off after 30 seconds of no movement. They use no wires & install in less than 5 minutes. Use outdoors, too. Lights come in a 3-pack. Can last up to a year! Watch the short video for a demonstration or learn more (or order at a great price) at Amazon.com.


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LEAVE HERE WITH A LAUGH
A funeral service is held for a woman. As the pallbearers carry the casket out, they accidentally bump into a wall. They hear a faint moan. They open the casket and find that the woman is actually alive. She lives for 10 more years and then dies. They have another funeral for her. At the end of the service, the pallbearers carry out the casket. As they are walking the husband cries out, “Watch out for the wall!”

Best-selling RV products and Accessories at Amazon.com. UPDATED HOURLY.
Today’s Daily Deals at Amazon.com


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RV Daily Tips Staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Deanna Tolliver, Mike Sokol, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.

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Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

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Related

21 thoughts on “RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 862

  1. Eric Meslin

    We listen to local radio stations more in the travel trailer (especially if TV reception is poor) than we do in the tow vehicle. While traveling we always listen to books from our library or purchased from Audible.

  2. Dave

    I have deer whistles on all my vehicles and have seen them work numerous times when riding my motorcycle. Also saw a couple dogs react and turn and run away. I don’t rely on them 100% but for a few dollars I will continue using.

  3. Mark Elliott

    I’m really surprised to see that almost half of the poll respondents rarely or never listen to local radio while driving. I listen to music while I’m transiting between destinations but when I get within 30-60 minutes of my next stop I always turn on the locals to see if there is news such as road alerts or special events etc. that I would want to know about while I’m in the area. I also usually listen to the locals when I leave camp for a joy ride/supply run in case interesting tidbits turn up on the local dial. So I’m curious what the rarely/never crowd do while they’re driving other than listening to the song of the road…or do they engage in non-stop chatter???

    1. Peggy

      Satellite radio

      1. Rory

        Spotify using bluetooth or Satellite Radio, I check online for traffic and weather…

  4. Marilyn R.

    Re: meter reading. I’d suggest that people take a picture of their meter prior to even hooking up. That way you can prove your usage!

    1. Wolfe

      I haven’t been charged for power directly (per KW) beyond a “powered site” fee, but I have an $8 6-way digital meter on my shore power. V/A/W/Wh/Frequency/Power Factor. This is to protect me from brownouts (V) and melting my cords (A) or popping the generator (W), but it would be useful for dishonest power meters as well since you can directly read the Wh since whenever you reset it..

      As Merilyn just mentioned, if you EXPECT to fight your meter, just take a photo on arrival so you can prove your starting point against the current reading.

  5. Gene Bjerke

    We only listen to the radio when near home, where we have a favorite station. Since you shortly run out of range driving cross-country, we plug in an iPod loaded with our favorite songs and listen to it. No running out of range, and it works in tunnels.

  6. Wolfe

    Re: blowouts – Among many areas of safety, I teach safe driving, and it’s surprising how often the correct response to an emergency is “doing as little as possible”… More accurately, no radical braking or steering when on ice or following an explosive blowout, etc. Steer down the road despite what the car is trying to do, and let it coast to a stop at a reasonably safe place. This includes not regaining control and then giving it up again by diving into a soft shoulder.

    All of that good wisdom aside, you might want to have your heart pills handy in your ashtray. I had an explosive blowout last year causing my 10,000lb trailer to heel 20* or so at highway speed. Happily, all the cars around me parted like the red sea to give me maneuvering room. OK, I didn’t give them much choice since I was throwing chunks of tire for a 75′ radius, but I’ll still be grateful. Even knowing what to do COLD, it’s more excitement than I really wanted. And then I found out someone had removed my spare tire, but that’s a topic for another day…

  7. Rusty

    Think the deer in my neck of the woods are hearing impaired to these useless contraptions.

  8. Wolfe

    Re: Deer Whistles:

    I have apple trees and ponds; my neighbor across the road has a massive cornfield. Between us, deer have a fairly quiet paradise, and some weeks of the year it’s hard NOT to see deer everyday. In other words, I have a really good population for testing deer behavior and response to whistles.

    First off, installation. None of the deer whistles I’ve tested are completely silent. Try your whistles out – before installation, blow through them – you CAN hear them at close range when they’re working! If yours are silent, it’s probably because you installed them on the bumper near the headlights (per instructions!), without realizing that modern cars are so aerodynamic they will get almost no airflow in that location. Manufacturers know this and warn you the whistles only work over 40mph. Maybe not even then. Where do I install mine? I stick them underneath the “ears” of the side mirrors or on the roof of the truck right IN the airstream. They “come on” at about 15mph now. There are electronic whistles that work at all speeds – but need to be wired in, and I think that’s excessive complication.

    Second, and what people asked about, is the deer’s response. They aren’t going to be automatically scared and disperse a mile ahead of you like you hope. Unless you were traumatized in gym class, you don’t panic and run from a sports whistle either. Deer don’t attend public schools or join the army, and a whistle is just a curiosity to them – when they hear it, they look up at you. If I blow my whistle near my apple trees, they pause eating my Macintoshes, cock their heads at me, and then go back to eating. Getting their attention is about it for now. When driving, I generally see reflected eyes before the rest of the deer, and *I* can avoid *them.* Win! If you’re a big scary semi truck or RV, they will generally move once they hear/see you, usually away from the road if they have relaxed time. Win! If you’re too close when they first see you, or their herd /buck/yearling is on the other side of the road from them, they may be startled into jumping INTO the road in front of you. Lose!

    So where’s the balance? Most people, installing them ineffectively, say they don’t do anything. If you drive a roaring larger vehicle or creaking RV, the deer probably already hear you coming fine. I seldom see deer while I’m towing. If, like my Dad, you drive a dead-silent electric/hybrid car – you can drive right up to the deer and push them with your bumper before they’ll hear you coming. If your car is too quiet, whistles ABSOLUTELY help avoid collisions. If you’re in the middle (like most cars) and install them so they give the maximum warning distance, your results will scale somewhere in the middle. You can gauge for yourself by how often you see deer at all, how often they look up at you and saunter off, or freak out at the last second. I think for most people, whistles are helpful and I have them installed on all my vehicles and trailers. For a couple bucks each, they’re really cheap insurance – you just may just need an adjustment of what you realistically expect them to do for you.

    Finally, just slow the heck down in heavy deer areas. Give deer time to react. People do 65 across my driveway, and a few years back a 3500 pickup exploded a deer into 5lb pieces, and the truck wasn’t so happy either.

    Stay safe!

    -Wolfe

    If this media was helpful to you, consider buying me a cup of coffee at:
    https://www.patreon.com/GyroGearloose

  9. Birdie

    The video on ‘rapid air loss’ is an annual must review, IMHO. When I had my blow out in a heavily, fast traveled road construction area, even though I barely had room to get off the highway, I knew exactly what to do! Believe me, had I not watched that video every year, I would not have known what to do. Saved my butter! Thanks for posting that clip here! Got my 2018 refresher course completed.

  10. Gerilynne

    I have deer whistles on my truck and drive along a 110 mile long stretch of deer infested State Highway 61 fairly often. When deer see me coming, they turn and run back into the woods. I don’t know if it is the deer whistles or the looks of my truck and horse trailer, but I’ll leave them on!

  11. Doug Rizzo

    I live in Western New York State. I have installed Deer Whistles on almost every vehicle I have ever owned. The only vehicles hit by deer or I hit deer with did not have deer whistles installed on them. I can drive down a road and see every deer in a field look up and directly at my vehicle. I believe in them 100%.

  12. Bob Pulliam

    I moved to AL in 1985, in Dec. I hit a deer. In Feb. 1986 I hit another deer within a mile of other accident. After repairs I got a pair of deer alerts and haven’t had another deer accident. One word of caution about installing, read the directions, there is a right way and wrong way for installation.

  13. Barry

    Mike,
    Isn’t an RV propane detector and other devices such as smoke and CO detectors required to meet UL 1484 standards.

  14. Eldon Rhodes

    I have read in the past that due to the harsher environment that exists in an RV, never use a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector designed for residential use. Use only those designed for use in an RV. I see in Mike Sokol’s article on the new lithium ion battery powered smoke detector that some states will require updating the current 9 volt battery powered units with the new ones. So is it OK to use non-RV units in an RV? Thanks for clarifying this.

  15. KHart

    Installed deer whistle on our tow vehicle. Completely in effective – save your money.

  16. Tommy Molnar

    When I was still truckin’ I ran through a very wooded, deer laden area of Northern CA and OR. It was not uncommon to clobber several deer a year. A couple of my co-workers bought “deer whistles” – and didn’t see ANY reduction in deer hits. So, I would save my money and pass . . .

  17. Bob Godfrey

    I’m sorry to report that the app mentioned in today’s article called “Gas Price Watch” is not very helpful nor accurate. It only works in large cities and I’ve never been able to find local information using it. There are other, better apps out there such as MapQuest or Gas Buddy which are much better.

  18. Larry Copeland

    Deer whistles are useless . I have them and was hit broadside in NY and head on in TX by deer in the last 12 months.

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