Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I don't do RV windows

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We laughed out loud when we read your column about the guy constantly working on his rig. My husband is just the opposite. When he retired he thought it meant he never had to lift a finger again unless it was to push a button on his remote.

To keep him from becoming a total couch potato I do encourage him to work on a few honey-do jobs occasionally. Recently he cleaned all the windows on the fifth-wheel. We are spending a month in Colorado and have a mountain view out our picture window that should be on a calendar. It looked great in the full sun but at sunset we could see all the water spots and streaks as if he had never cleaned them.

He thinks his time was totally wasted and never wants to work on a window again. I am not looking through spotty windows for the rest of my life. It is causing some friction to say the least. Am I asking too much? Is an RV any different than a house? Does everyone with an RV have to look through stained glass?
--Glass Half Dirty in Durango

Dear Dirty:
It can be frustrating when you spend the time to do a job and it comes out looking bad. Cleaning methods can differ from a stationary home to a home on wheels. RV owners are always battling road grime. Your husband did not waste his time. He probably removed the worst layer of dirt and is now down to the tough marks from hard water.

 If you check the internet you will find dozens of window cleaning methods that all work to some extent. In my humble opinion, the best method is steel wool. You need to purchase a package of "four aught" steel wool. Four zero's on the package. This will not scratch your glass unless it has some type of coating. Do a small area to experiment, but in most cases there will be no problem.

Steel wool (0000) will take off bugs, road tar, hard water spots and sap. When you're done with that use any kind of window cleaner to finish up.

Once your husband finds out how easy this method is, and how well it works, he may go into the RV mobile window cleaning business. He may discover those mountains outside your clean windows and watch something besides TV.

When you need the windows cleaned in the future, you will say, "Where four aught thou." Then you will hear, "Thou is here on the couch."
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

RV venting

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We just let a dealer talk us into a vent cover for our automatic roof fan. It sounded like a great idea at first. When we leave for the day we like to leave the roof vent open and the fan on for our cat. It has a rain sensor, which is good and bad. It shuts when the weather turns wet, but then the cat gets less ventilation and that's not good on a hot day.

We figured with the cover it could stay open rain or shine and give Fuzzbutt continuous ventilation. Now that we are five hundred miles down the road we find the vent doesn't open completely under the cover, airflow is significantly restricted and after a hard rain the sensor still actuates the fan.

My husband says, "Live and learn." I, on the other hand, want to call the dealer and give him an earful for misrepresenting the product to us. Am I just creating more stress for myself? Should I call it a bad investment and move on?
--Venting in Virginia City

Dear Venting:
You have learned a great new lesson. In the future, before you make a buying decision, do an online forum search. You will find dozens of people who have already made the purchase and posted their thoughts on the pros and cons of almost every product on the market.

Perhaps the salesman was thinking less ventilation 100% of the time would be better than great ventilation part of the time. Most fans with all the bells and whistles have a manual mode. You should be able to bypass the rain sensor. If not you could easily remove it.

If you decide you really can't live with the purchase, the dealer may offer you a return if you ask. If not, sell it on eBay, recoup some of your loss and move on.

Sometimes it helps to give a product some time. It may work out better than you originally think. The cover should allow the fan lid to open the majority of the way, so the restriction you detect would be in the cover louvers. If it has a screen you may want to remove it since the fan is already screened into your interior.

If you are upset and venting more than the fan cover, you could overheat and blow a gasket. It's not good for you, your husband or Fuzzbutt.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

RV cleaning out the pipes

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I hate to sound paranoid, but recently we put cash in a Forest Service Campground fee pipe and it came up missing. A ranger came around to collect from us and we showed him our receipt. He said there was no matching envelope in the pipe. After convincing him that we had paid, he took our word and honored our receipt.

Now every time I put money in one of those seemingly secure fee pipes I worry about it. Do you think I am being silly? We do this all the time and my husband says, "Get over it!"
--Nervous Nellie in Nevada

Dear Nellie:
Believe it or not, crooks with low aspirations have learned to fish envelopes from fee pipes. If you talk to a few host volunteers you will hear stories of string and gum, coat hanger fishing and super glue tangling.

Fee pipe security is really not your problem. Pay your fee, keep your receipt and leave crime solving to management. I am sure the ranger who talked with you has dealt with this problem in the past and will again in the future.

When dropping cash, check or charge card info into those pipes, you now know they could end up in the wrong hands. If it would help you sleep better, try using checks. Most low-level crooks, trying to support a meth habit, won't deal in checks, they want hard cash. But for security reasons, cash is probably your safest bet. Pipe heists are probably very uncommon, but caution is advised.

We always look the fee pipe over very carefully. Fake fee pipes have been used by crafty crooks. We also eyeball gas pumps for card readers that have been placed in the credit card slot to steal information. Having your card info ripped off is much more of a problem.

It happened to us in North Central Florida this winter. By the time we figured it out, the bad guys had pumped three hundred bucks worth of gas, Simonized their vehicle, ate at McDonald's and then celebrated with a stop at a liquor store.

The card company removed the charges from our account, but we were without a credit card for awhile until they issued us a new one.

There is a difference between paranoid and cautious. Two out of every five people suffer from paranoia. The other three are watching them suspiciously.

--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink