A 30 Amp to 50 Amp Adapter – A Good Idea?

There is often confusion about what happens when you try to use a 30 amp to 50 amp adapter (sometimes called a “dogbone”) at a campground pedestal. Actually, there is confusion when any adapter is used to adjust the electricity provided to an RV. But in this article we will discuss whether or not you should use a 30 amp to 50 amp adapter. And we will explain what happens when you do.

A 50 Amp RV Electrical Service – What Does It Mean?

If you have an RV with a 50 amp electrical service it means that you have a thick and heavy electrical cord. And at the end of that cord you have a 4 prong 50 amp plug. So what does all those prongs do? And why is the cord so heavy?

A 50 amp RV electrical service comes with 2 wires that are rated to supply 50 amps of power to the RV. Then there is also a neutral wire and a ground wire. That makes up all four prongs on the plug. And because wires that are rated to carry 50 amps are large, the cord becomes very heavy.

Essentially, you have 2 legs of 50 amp electrical service going into the RV. That is a lot of power. And if you multiply the amps by the total volts, you get the total power available to you in watts. In other words, the wattage figure that you get tells you how much power can be consumed at one time safely. So two legs of 120 volts equals 240 volts. If we multiply that by 50 amps that each leg can carry, that leaves us with 12,000 watts. This means that a 50 amp RV electrical service can run devices that total up to 12,000 watts of power simultaneously. And in the real world that means that you can run a lot of devices and appliances without overloading the service.

30 Amps To 50 Amps – What Happens?

So when you plug your 4 prong 50 amp power cord into a 3 prong 30 amp service, what happens? Well obviously, one leg of power has been taken away. This is because all electrical services need a neutral and a ground wire. And the positive wire has been stepped down to using only 30 amps at the pedestal.

A comparison of the 4 prong 50 amp plug and the 3 prong 30 amp plug

So does this create any problems for your 50 amp RV electrical service? Not at all. This is because the adapter adjusts the power going into your RV to use only 30 amps. And since 30 amps is lower than 50 amps, nothing will be overloaded. This is because the wiring used for 50 amps is much larger than what is used for 30 amps. If someone tried to run 50 amps through 30 amp wires, that could be a problem! But not the other way around.

30 Amps To 50 Amps – What’s The Difference?

So it is safe to use 30 amps of power going into an RV that has a 50 amp electrical service. But what does that mean in power usage? Well, now you only have one leg of 30 amp power times 120 volts. And that means that your total usable power at one time is only 3600 watts. What a drop in simultaneous usable power.

So for an RV that has a 50 amp service, you probably have a lot of power hungry appliances. You may have 2 or more air conditioners, a microwave, a washer/dryer setup, and more. If you now only have less than a third of the usable power going into the RV, adjustments must be made. This means that you probably can only safely run one air conditioner at a time. And you may have to limit how many other power hungry devices you use simultaneously. In most cases you can still use them, just not all at once.

It may take a little fiddling around with to determine what can be used and when, but you will eventually get it. Every RV is a little different, so you will learn where the limits are for your particular rig. Obviously if the main power fuse is tripped, you have gone too far. So it’s best to try to stay on the conservative side to prevent that from happening in the first place.

I hope this has cleared up some of the confusion about RV amp ratings in the RV and at the pedestal. Have safe and happy travels my friends!

Your RV Water Heater Anode Rod – DIY!

If you have an RV water heater anode rod, then you have a Suburban water heater. There are two main brand names of RV water heaters. One is made by Suburban and the other is made by Atwood. Both are fine water heaters and last a long time with regular maintenance.

But a Suburban water heater has a porcelain lined steel tank. This kind of water heater tank is very similar to the kind used in your home water heater. The only problem with this kind of tank is that it can corrode inside over a long period of time if it is not maintained properly. But to make the tank last a long time an anode rod is inserted into the tank. This anode rod attracts the corrosive elements in the water and sacrifices itself to protect the tank lining. So every so often you need to replace the corroded anode rod with a new one.

Annual RV Water Heater Maintenance

It’s generally accepted that you should inspect your Suburban water heater once a year. This involves draining all of the water out, flushing it thoroughly, and replacing the anode rod if needed. It may sound like a lot to do but the truth is that it is fairly simple and most RV owners can do it themselves.

As you get started, be sure to turn off the water heater itself. It often has a power button on the tank side, so just turn it off. But I always recommend to also turn off all of the power to the RV at the same time. This is just a precaution. Then turn off the LP gas at the tank too. Finally, turn off the water source to the RV. If you are connected to a city water connection, turn off the faucet. If you are using water from your fresh water tank, turn off the water pump. Then let the water in the heater tank lower in temperature until it’s comfortable. This may take a while so I often turn off the water heater hours before I inspect it.

Inspecting Your Suburban Water Heater

Pull the pressure relief valve straight out to release water from the tank

With all of the preparation done, open the pressure relief valve at the top of the water heater. Just pull it straight out. Let the water that escapes drip out until there is no more coming out of the tank. Now you can begin to remove the RV water heater drain plug that has the anode rod attached to it. You will need a 1- 1/16 socket with an extension and attach it to either a socket wrench or a breaker bar. I prefer the breaker bar because sometimes the drain plug can get really tight. This is where the breaker bar helps provide more force to remove the plug.

Remove the drain plug at the bottom of the water heater to see the condition of the anode rod

Once the plug is removed you should be able to see what kind of condition the anode rod is in. If it is lightly corroded, you can use it again. But if it is heavily corroded, be sure to have a spare RV water heater anode rod handy for replacement.

The next step is to thoroughly flush the water heater tank with an RV water heater flush wand. These can fit right on the end of a garden hose and you insert it into the tank for flushing. Once the tip is inside the tank move the water stream around in all directions. But pay particular attention to stirring up any sediment that may have fallen on the bottom of the tank. By doing this the sediment is blown up into the water that is escaping at the drain plug. Make sure that you flush the tank thoroughly for a while!

Replacing The Water Heater Anode Rod

After the tank is completely flushed, you can re-insert the old anode rod if it is not badly corroded. If it is in bad shape, just replace it with a new one. And be sure to use plumbers tape on the threads of the new anode rod. How tight should the anode rod be? Just snug, don’t over-tighten it!

At this point you can turn on the water to the RV again. But be sure to leave the pressure relief valve open as the water goes into the tank. That way the air has somewhere to go as the water fills up in the tank. When the water starts coming out of the pressure relief valve, you can close it. At this point the RV water heater tank is full.

Now you turn on the faucets inside the RV to remove trapped air on the hot water side. After that is done, you can turn on the LP gas at the tank again. And then finally the power to the RV can be restored. At this point you should be able to turn on the water heater again and in about 20 – 30 minutes you will have nice hot water in your RV. And your annual RV water heater maintenance is done!

I hope you enjoyed this article on Suburban water heater anode rod inspection and replacement. Have happy and safe travels my friends!

RV Stripes And Graphics – Easy Removal

RV stripes and graphics can make a plain RV look fabulous. And if they are painted on the RV you just have to maintain the painted RV surface. But if the RV stripes and graphics are made from vinyl material they will eventually wear out. This is because the sun’s UV rays dry out and crack the vinyl exposing the adhesive underneath.

old rv stripes and graphics
An example of old RV stripes and graphics that are peeling away and leaving the adhesive behind

So how do you remove old RV stripes without investing a ton of time and energy? Well I am going to show you 2 methods of RV stripe removal that will make the job much easier.

Remove Old Stripes With Heat

If you try to remove old vinyl stripe material without heat, you are in for a difficult project. But if you use a heat gun like the ones often used to remove wallpaper, it gets much easier. And it doesn’t have to be an expensive heat gun either. Even a cheap model will produce enough heat for the job at hand.

But when you remove the stripe with heat, most likely it’s going to leave the old adhesive behind. And this is where the going gets really tough. Many RVers use all sorts of products to remove the adhesive. Everything from mineral spirits to lacquer thinner. But the professionals use products that work much better than those chemicals. And are easier on the RV surface.

For several years I have used a product called “Rapid Remover” by RapidTac. It is not made to remove the vinyl stripe, just the adhesive it leaves behind. And it does an outstanding job of that. Just spray it on, wait a few minutes for it to soak in. Then remove the adhesive with a plastic squeegee and a paper towel. You can also use plastic blades but you have to be very careful if you do. It will still take some effort but nowhere near the poor results of other methods. Click on the image below for information about Rapid Remover.

Rapid Remover rv stripe and graphic remover

Remove RV Stripes With A Decal Eraser Wheel

Another professional method for removing old RV stripes and graphics is to use a decal eraser wheel. These have been in use for several years now and they can make a difficult job much easier. They will not only remove the vinyl decal but the wheel will also take off the adhesive at the same time. This makes it a real time saver!

The decal eraser wheel simply attaches to any household drill and uses the power of the drill to do its work. You can’t use it on plastic surfaces or painted aluminum, but it’s safe to use on most other painted metal surfaces. Just test on an inconspicuous painted area first, just to be sure.

This product alone can turn days of drudgery into a much smaller project in no time. If any adhesive residue is left over, the Rapid Remover product listed above can take care of that easily too. Click on the image below to learn more about a using a decal eraser wheel.

Whizzy wheel rv stripe and decal eraser wheel

When To Remove Old RV Stripes And Decals

Unfortunately, I have seen many RVers wait until their old stripes and decals are heavily cracked and faded before doing anything. That is a big mistake! When vinyl stripe material starts to crack and fade, the sooner you get it off the better. This is because as time goes on the vinyl cracks become worse and the pieces of material become smaller. Then it takes much more effort to remove them no matter what method you use.

However, if you want to make your RV stripes and decals to last as long as possible, I recommend using 303 Aerospace Protectant on a regular basis. This product is an exceptional UV inhibitor. So it prevents the sun’s UV rays from doing much of its damage if you use it often enough. I recommend applying the product at least once a month on vinyl RV stripes and graphics. If you do, you can extend the life of your RV decals considerably. Learn more about this exceptional product by clicking on the image below.

303 Aerospace Protectant UV inhibitor

I hope you learned something valuable from this discussion of how to remove RV stripes and graphics that are old and peeling. Have safe and happy travels my friends!

RV Wash And Wax In Under An Hour

All RVs get dirty! They are usually outside where the sun and elements can do a lot of harm to the RV exterior. And it doesn’t happen quickly, but over time dirt and contaminants can do a lot of damage. So how do you make sure that you keep a clean RV? How do you add RV paint protection that will last? And how can you perform an RV wash and wax simply and easily in under an hour? Let me show you how!

Waterless RV Wash And Wax

In recent years a lot of advancements have been made in automotive cleaning products. That’s good because in the old days RV cleaning was a chore. You needed a bucket of soap, a soft brush or wash mitt, a ladder, and a water source. Oftentimes the water source was a pressure washer and that had its own set of hazards for your RV exterior.

So for hours, it was up and down the ladder, washing and rinsing the RV. After that you had to dry the excess water on the rig to prevent water spots. And then waxing your RV probably meant applying a wax by hand or machine. And that job could take several hours on its own. No wonder a lot of RVers have procrastinated RV washing and waxing. It’s just such a huge investment in time and energy!

But now, modern products allow RV owners to wash and wax their rig at the same time. And it can even be done without water! This may sound very strange to some, but these products contain special ingredients that make it possible. These ingredients s encapsulate dirt and grime on the RV and lift it off the exterior surface. Then you can use high-quality microfiber towels or mops to remove the contaminants without scratching the RV. Many professional auto detailers are using these kind of products in their business now. And they are very happy with the results!

Also, keep in mind that many RV campgrounds do not want you to use their water to wash your RV. So if you are a full-time RVer, this makes it very hard to clean your own rig the old-fashioned way. But these new RV cleaning products make it easy to complete an RV wash and wax job in just minutes!

Click on the image below to find out how these new RV detailing products work and then read the thousands of positive reviews.

Wash Wax All Waterless RV Wash And Wax

RV Detailing Without Ladders

One of the most tiring aspects of RV detailing has always been going up and down a ladder so much. This is because RVs tends to be very tall, some well over 10 feet high. So cleaning the top of the rig could be a real pain!

But the newer RV detailing products mentioned above can relieve a lot of that extra effort and pain. That is because there is an RV wash system that allows you to wash and wax the RV entirely from the ground. It’s a pole system that is made by the Aero Cosmetics company. It has been used in the airplane industry for years to clean dirty planes from the ground.

In fact, all of their products have been used to clean airplanes for years, even on Air Force One according to the manufacturer. And it has been necessary for their products to meet the requirements of the aviation industry. So they are far beyond what is usually used for detailing RVs and cars. And the pole system makes using these products super simple and easy!

Click on the image below to find out more about the pole system from Aero Cosmetics. It is one of the main ingredients that lets you wash and wax an RV in under an hour! And check out the 5 star reviews too.

Aero Cosmetics Waterless RV Aircraft Boat Wash And Wax Mop Kit with Bug Scrubber

RV Paint Protection that Lasts

RV wash and wax products keep our motorhome looking great.
I use this RV wash and wax method on my own motorhome. It always looks great!

I use all of the products listed above on my own RV and it always looks great. It also is well protected from the elements. But if you want to take RV paint protection to the next level, try applying a synthetic wax as well.

Once again, applying the synthetic wax is very easy if you use the right product. The one I use is a spray-on sealant that is made by Meguiar’s. If you use the pole system and the microfiber mops from Aero Cosmetics, it’s a breeze. It will only take about 45 minutes or less to apply to a clean rig with that system.

This product also advertises that it will protect your paint up to a year. Of course, that depends on how you care for it in between applications. And because you are using the Wash Wax All product, it really can last that long. This because Wash Wax All just layers additional wax protection on the synthetic wax instead of stripping it off with chemicals. So your rig will be constantly protected from the elements. And it will have a slick shine that you can feel!

Click the image below to find out more about the synthetic wax treatment from Meguiar’s.

Meguiar's Ultimate Fast Finish synthetic RV wax
Duane demonstrates how to use the Aero Cosmetics pole system
Duane introduces the Meguiar’s Ultimate Fast Finish synthetic RV wax

Please comment below and tell us how you wash and wax your RV. We would love to hear from you!

3 Ways To Make your RV Tires Last Longer

There is so much to be learned about RV tires when you first begin RVing. Things like – What tire weight rating do I need? How much air pressure should I keep in my tires? What RV tire brands seem to be the best? What RV tire inflator should I use?

The list seems endless. But one of the most important things you should know about your RV tires is how to make them last. This is because RV tires will need to be replaced on a regular basis. It’s one of those items that you just have to plan on replacing every so often. Most likely every 5 – 7 years. So if you can make the tires you have last longer, there are clear advantages to be had.

For one, you will be even more safe as you ride down the highway. But if you can extend the life of your tires, you can also save money on their replacement. And who doesn’t want to do that? So here are 3 easy ways you can make your RV tires last longer.

UV Protection For Your RV Tires

The first tip is to use a high quality ultraviolet (UV) inhibitor on the tire sidewalls. One of the worst enemies of RV tires is UV rays from the sun. Over time, they dry out and crack the sidewalls which can lead to tire failure.

In fact, these kind of tires do not usually wear out like car and truck tires. Instead, they usually just age out. And anything that dries out the moisture in the tire sidewalls will make it age faster. So if you want to extend the life of your tires, be sure to use a good UV inhibitor.

One of the best products that I know of for this application is 303 Aerospace Protectant. It is well known for it’s UV protection properties. Just spray it on a clean tire sidewall about once a month and let it soak in for a while. Then you just wipe off the excess. It will only take minutes, but what a difference it can make in the life of your tires.

Just click on the image below to learn more about 303 Aerospace Protectant:

Use 303 Aerospace Protectant on your RV tires

Use RV Tire Covers

If you want to take your tire protection to a whole new level, consider RV tire covers. Whenever your rig is sitting for any extended length of time, it’s a good practice to install tire covers. It only takes a few minutes to do and it’s not a difficult task. And the big advantage of tire covers is that you completely block the sun’s UV rays. Especially if they are high-quality RV wheel covers.

But one word of caution, heat is also another enemy of tire sidewalls. So try to avoid using black tire covers that enhance the heat on summer days. Instead, a lighter color will help reflect some of the heat away from your tires. And that is a good thing!

There many RV tire covers for sale on the internet. Many of them will not last very long. So I am going to share with you the motorhome tire covers that I use. They also come in many sizes and different colors that will fit almost any rig. For my money, they are some of the best RV tire covers available. Just click on the image below to learn more about them.

ADCO 3967 Designer Series RV Tire Covers

Use RV Tire Pads

One more way to help make your tires last longer is to make it a habit to use RV tire pads. Of course, this is not as vital as the other two steps mentioned above, but it does help. That is because tires can sometimes leach the moisture out of the tire into the ground. And this is especially so if the RV sits for an extended period of time. So if you use a tire pad for each tire, it makes that possibility much less likely.

The best RV tire pads are thick and flexible so they can adjust to various surfaces under the tires. You can make your own tire pads very inexpensively by using a horse stall mat as the pad material. Then just cut down the material to whatever sizes will fit your RV tires. I cut mine down to size with just a regular utility knife.

Here is a link to horse stall mats that can be used for this purpose (I personally used the 3/8 thick mat):

RV tire pads
Duane explains 3 ways to help make your RV tires last longer

Please comment below and tell us about what you do to make your tires last longer