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Myddrin

Basics to get started

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Hello again, so I finally bought my choice of rv after what seems like a small eternity of looking and I know all the regular stuff like household items and kitchenware but now i'm trying to make a list of things like dump hose, water regulator and stuff and I was wondering if anyone had anything they would consider necessary to start off? Thank you for your time

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Would help us if you would tell us what you got, and what is already there.  

Item #1 - credit card with decent credit limit.

#2 - If your unit doesn't have a built in EMS (Energy Management System with Power Surge) then the appropriate (30 amp or 50 amp) surge protector for the park pedestal.   To go with that you need the appropriate adapters so that you can use both 30 amp and 50 amp sites.  

#3 - Water hoses in 10, 15 and 25 foot lengths.  

#4 - Water filter for incoming water.  Several different types - this one will require you to do some research.  Everyone has their own feelings about this.  To start, get an inline filter from Walmart (cheapest) that will last 30 days or so.  Use this while you research and figure out what you want.

#5 - Sewer hoses in 5, 10 and 20 ft lengths (or something similar).

#6 - Sewer hose elevator to get them up off of the ground - required in some states, 

#7 - Multimeter.  You have two electrical systems, so make sure you can read both 12V DC and 120V AC with the meter.

#8 - Knee pads or foam kneeling garden pads.  We use kneepads - don't leave home without them.

#9 - Nitrile gloves and leather working gloves.  Several of each.

#10 - Teflon tape, electrical tape, duct tape, etc.   And get at least two rolls of each because the one you want will not be in the area you need it.

#11 - A few orange cones to use when parking, etc.  

#12 - Small step ladder for use both inside and outside of rig.  

I'm sure others will add to the list.

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13 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

#4 - Water filter for incoming water.

13 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

#8 - Knee pads or foam kneeling garden pads.  We use kneepads - don't leave home without them.

#9 - Nitrile gloves and leather working gloves.  Several of each.

X2 on BARBARAOK's list.  Concerning #4 #8 & #9, these are things we didn't use at first but I quickly decided we needed them after we got our first camper with water systems.  There is a story to go along with the gloves and filter "light bulb" moments, if you are interested.  :) 

I would add:  Blocks to drive one side of your RV onto.  Of course some RV's are self leveling.  The store bought plastic ones seem lightweight and efficient, but we used an old board from our own picnic table when we didn't need the table anymore.  It was heavy, but it was long enough for both tires on one side of our trailer.  And I had a pickup truck to carry it.  I never really needed two boards.

Some kind of tablets for the fresh water storage system, for taste and odor.  I haven't found one I like so I can't recommend any.

 

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Microfiber cloths--good for cleaning nearly everything and for soaking up spills.

Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid--cleans off grease without messing up your plumbing and works in cold water when you don't want to use energy heating water.

Linda Sand

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Some things depend upon what your RV is and if it has a leveling system? I kept blocks even when I had a leveling system as I always put a block under the footpad of our levelers when there was a chance of it sinking into the ground or even some asphalt pavement. I agree with most of what has been suggested, but we didn't use any kind of product in our potable water tank, only made sure that the water was completely replaced at least monthly. Another thing to not waste your money on is chemicals for the waste tanks. Be generous with the water, especially for the black tank and never empty the black tank unless it is at least 1/2 full. 

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Wheel chocks & rubber mallet, collapsible/expandable utility hose (stores small/easy), Clorox Cleaner w/Bleach for possible water hook-up cleaning before use, tire gauge, and have a look at all the fasteners that your RV uses & carry the appropriate tools to take care of what may come up, and a red & white checkered picnic table cloth with those snappy clips to keep it down :) 

 

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If you have everything that has been suggested here you will have an excellent start. Some hand tools (pliers, adjustable wrench, screwdrivers) will come in handy. Many RV manufacturers use square drive screws, so if yours does you will need one of that type.

You don't say if you are full-timing or not. If you are, everything will stay with you. If not, seriously consider keeping at least some of the hand tools with your RV. Same with small things like can openers, dish cloths, etc.

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If fulltiming you will also need all your important papers (birth and marriage certificates, passports,  insurance documents, etc.) with you kept in a safe place. That safe place may be as easy as a document case buried behind a bunch of other stuff of little value.

Linda Sand

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On 1/8/2018 at 12:18 PM, Barbaraok said:

#6 - Sewer hose elevator to get them up off of the ground - required in some states, 

#7 - Multimeter.  You have two electrical systems, so make sure you can read both 12V DC and 120V AC with the meter.

#8 - Knee pads or foam kneeling garden pads.  We use kneepads - don't leave home without them.

#9 - Nitrile gloves and leather working gloves.  Several of each.

 

This was very helpful and these were some things I hadn't added to the list so a thousand thanks

On 1/8/2018 at 12:55 PM, Sculptor said:

 There is a story to go along with the gloves and filter "light bulb" moments, if you are interested.  :) 

Some kind of tablets for the fresh water storage system, for taste and odor.  I haven't found one I like so I can't recommend any.

 

I would love to hear it and the tablets are a good idea, thanks

On 1/8/2018 at 4:32 PM, Kirk Wood said:

Some things depend upon what your RV is and if it has a leveling system? Another thing to not waste your money on is chemicals for the waste tanks. Be generous with the water, especially for the black tank and never empty the black tank unless it is at least 1/2 full. 

It is a Freedom Elite 23U and it doesn't have a leveling system so I have added leveling blocks to my list, do the chemicals not do anything helpful? noted on emptying thank you

On 1/8/2018 at 5:15 PM, kb0zke said:

You don't say if you are full-timing or not.

I do plan on full-timing in it, happily 

On 1/9/2018 at 7:56 PM, scouserl41 said:

When we started out I wrote a few blof pages about setting up, I think they are still valid they start here and you can follow them from there.

http://banbrv.blogspot.com/2014/11/time-to-roll-what-poop.html

Good luck and have fun

BnB

I started reading your blog and it is very helpful, I think it is well written too, thank you for the link 

 

and thank you everyone else for your replies, I appreciate it!

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1 hour ago, Myddrin said:

do the chemicals not do anything helpful?

Some of them can actually do harm to a septic system while most are just perfumes that attempt to make what is in the tank smell better. There are biological products that enhance the natural process and those can help in hot weather or when the use is very heavy so that you are dumping the black tank frequently. It took me a lot of years to accept the idea that chemicals were not needed but like the majority of fulltimers that I have known, in time I also stopped wasting the money. The most important things are to use generous amounts of water when you flush as an RV toilet by nature uses much less water than a home one. The other thing is to always use a toilet paper that is labeled "septic safe."

What happens in your black tank with no chemicals is the very same as the earliest stage of how septic systems work. The bacteria that is naturally found in human waste will start the breakdown of the solids into liquids in a matter of hours, just as chemicals do. To help prevent any buildup inside of our waste tanks we put a strong mix of laundry detergent and water into each tank, filling it about 1/3 full just before travel about once a quarter. We then dump the tanks as soon as we arrive at our next stop. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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Myddrin, water is known as the Univeral Solvent for a good reason - most biological matter dissolves in it.  Dump vinegar in the bowl once every couple of weeks and let it sit for a couple of hours, if possible.  It will help dissolves any calcium build up on the valve that keeps water in the bowl.  When flushed, it helps regulate pH in the tank.  Need to scrub Attleboro, use some baking soda, just enough grit to help remove particulate matter and again good for your black tank.  Dump some backing soda down each drain into gray tank every couple of weeks.  I also dump at least one dishpan full of dishwater into the toilet every week, but make sure not to dump into toilet with lever down in case a spoon is still in the dishpan 😉.   Also, pour boiling water down kitchen drain every so often to flush grease out of trap.    And beware, Grey tank can smell as bad, if not worse, than black tank at times. 

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On 1/11/2018 at 12:04 PM, Kirk Wood said:

Some of them can actually do harm to a septic system while most are just perfumes that attempt to make what is in the tank smell better. There are biological products that enhance the natural process and those can help in hot weather or when the use is very heavy so that you are dumping the black tank frequently. It took me a lot of years to accept the idea that chemicals were not needed but like the majority of fulltimers that I have known, in time I also stopped wasting the money. The most important things are to use generous amounts of water when you flush as an RV toilet by nature uses much less water than a home one. The other thing is to always use a toilet paper that is labeled "septic safe."

What happens in your black tank with no chemicals is the very same as the earliest stage of how septic systems work. The bacteria that is naturally found in human waste will start the breakdown of the solids into liquids in a matter of hours, just as chemicals do. To help prevent any buildup inside of our waste tanks we put a strong mix of laundry detergent and water into each tank, filling it about 1/3 full just before travel about once a quarter. We then dump the tanks as soon as we arrive at our next stop. 

 

On 1/11/2018 at 1:50 PM, Barbaraok said:

Myddrin, water is known as the Univeral Solvent for a good reason - most biological matter dissolves in it.  Dump vinegar in the bowl once every couple of weeks and let it sit for a couple of hours, if possible.  It will help dissolves any calcium build up on the valve that keeps water in the bowl.  When flushed, it helps regulate pH in the tank.  Need to scrub Attleboro, use some baking soda, just enough grit to help remove particulate matter and again good for your black tank.  Dump some backing soda down each drain into gray tank every couple of weeks.  I also dump at least one dishpan full of dishwater into the toilet every week, but make sure not to dump into toilet with lever down in case a spoon is still in the dishpan 😉.   Also, pour boiling water down kitchen drain every so often to flush grease out of trap.    And beware, Grey tank can smell as bad, if not worse, than black tank at times. 

Thank you both so much for the information 

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I remember some folks saying they dumped ice cubes down toilet right before taking off.  Then an hour or so later dumping.  Supposedly the cubes helped "scrub" the tank and break apart solids.

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1 hour ago, GetNThere said:

I remember some folks saying they dumped ice cubes down toilet right before taking off.  Then an hour or so later dumping.  Supposedly the cubes helped "scrub" the tank and break apart solids.

I'm pretty sure that ice cubes have been disproved . Do a YouTube search .

Think about it : ever try hanging on to an ice cube ? Kinda slippery and how much scrapping/scrubbing do they do when they slip out of your hand ? 

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2 hours ago, Pat & Pete said:

I'm pretty sure that ice cubes have been disproved . Do a YouTube search .

Think about it : ever try hanging on to an ice cube ? Kinda slippery and how much scrapping/scrubbing do they do when they slip out of your hand ? 

I "Think" it was the action of driving around with cubes in tank (before totally melting) that did the work, lots of sloshing around. Then tank was dumped at next stop.  But, yeah, I could be wrong.

Take care :)

Edited to add:

Well I searched Ice Cubes in Black Tank, and same search in You Tube.  Any video offered was all the same.  Several things:  About an inch of "stuff" and about the same of cubes and water.  Roads were very smooth.  The guy seemed to want to slide stuff, not bounce. Didn't see any actual bouncing except when the guy was hopping in back of pickup.  So... the people I remember posting, did it regularly, seems like one (or more) said 1/3 to 1/2 full (wasn't full or almost empty, and already had plenty of liquid), lots of ice (don't know how much), bouncing, bouncing, and they sure weren't driving on new roads and parking lots.  And they always immediately added water to the empty tank. They were full timers, or almost full time, lot of boondockers.  And with two people in RV, they dumped weekly.  Priorities:  (1) fresh water tank (2) dump and then add fresh water to black tank (3) supplies

But, I know, times change, equipment changes, so do people. 

Ok, that's it for me.  Will read some more.  Maybe some old timers can add what I have forgotten. 

Take care :)

Edited by GetNThere

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I never understood the need to clean the black tank. Internal sensors aren't going to work anyway. And how long do you avoid using the tank so as to keep it clean? And why?

Linda Sand

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21 minutes ago, sandsys said:

I never understood the need to clean the black tank. Internal sensors aren't going to work anyway. And how long do you avoid using the tank so as to keep it clean? And why?

Linda Sand

I'm with Linda on this count . We've been full timing for almost 8 years and never once tried to clean a holding tank . 

Maybe I lied , as we dump dish water down the black hole once in a while , but more for the added storage than anything else .

I've never dropped a scope down the hole to make sure the tank was sterile . ;)

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52 minutes ago, Pat & Pete said:

I'm with Linda on this count . We've been full timing for almost 8 years and never once tried to clean a holding tank . 

Maybe I lied , as we dump dish water down the black hole once in a while , but more for the added storage than anything else .

I've never dropped a scope down the hole to make sure the tank was sterile . ;)

I guess you'd put it in the category of routine maintenance, just like changing your oil.

"Sterile"?   Whatever :)

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1 hour ago, GetNThere said:

I guess you'd put it in the category of routine maintenance, just like changing your oil.

"Sterile"?   Whatever :)

You ever clean the sewer lines in your S&B ?

But , do what ever you want . I'd rather fish crawdads . LOL

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I'm not sure I understand where the "sterile" or completely clean out black tank came from in this thread?  The idea of  putting dishwater in, putting in extra water, is to keep everything in solution so that when you dump, there is a big swoosh and it quickly empties everything in the tank, including any late deposits that haven't fully solubilized.    

 

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3 hours ago, sandsys said:

I never understood the need to clean the black tank.

I suppose it all depends on how clean you want it. I started to do as I said earlier after attending a seminar put on by a supposed expert from Thetford at an RV rally. I like to get the big chunks out and prevent any buildup from grease & such in the gray tank and lumpy stuff in the black. I sure never worried about sparkling clean and I don't spend any effort to look into ours. Our current rig has no tank flush as has bee true with all except the one we lived in when fulltime. When I had the flush system, I didn't do the detergent thing. I find the gray tank effluent to smell worse than the black. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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One of the important steps is organize the goodies that has been listed above. Buttt if your like me, buy clear plastic totes to put your things that are frequently needed.

I have one tote for misc repair part and miscellaneous screws will be needed.

A spray can of silicone lubricant is handy

Clay

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How about extension rods to fit into the refrigerator to keep things from falling out when you open the door? 

Also, I use a lot of clear plastic bins in my cabinets to organize small stuff.  Putting stuff in clear plastic makes it easy to find stuff without opening and searching through a container and also helps stuff from falling and rolling around when you drive.

I would also recommend some stick-on velcro strips and maybe a roll of the velcro strapping tape.  They call it one-wrap.  This does NOThave a sticky back, but sticks to itself.  Many uses.

I would also recommend a jar of clear museum putty, aka earthquake gel. It is a kind of clear "silly putty" that you can use to keep stuff on tables from falling off.  I use it to stick a jar of liquid hand soap on my kitchen counter and to keep my bedroom alarm clock from falling off the shelf.  Like silly putty, stuff can by pried up and you can use it again and again.  Can only use on horizontal surfaces, however. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ready-America-Clear-Museum-Gel-4-Oz-33111/202214434?cm_mmc=Shopping|THD|google|D29B+Bath+Vanities&mid=s9JnGEXSz|dc_mtid_8903syd25186_pcrid_41293307497_pkw__pmt__product_202214434_slid_&gclid=CjwKCAiA7ovTBRAQEiwAo8dPcRO_vfP8XSOg4sPr4WyyujdgXAPR7Sb5X4CViuk4Y39aY4O0ZBD6XxoCJsMQAvD_BwE

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