Living in an RV full-time is not so different from living in an apartment, until you get to the chores. Most of the chores only take a few minutes to complete or can be hired out to your local RV Repairman. Weekly chores are basically the same as anyplace you live. You have to do some cleaning every now and then. Our 39 ft RV takes my wife about 30-45 minutes to clean front to back, including running the vacuum. If we wipe down the wood work, it might take an hour. So daily cleaning is a lot less work than an apartment or house.
Chores start to change however, once we move to the weekly to monthly chores. Instead of cutting the grass or shoveling snow, spreading fertilizer, raking leaves, cleaning out the gutters etc, in the RV we have to dump and flush the storage tanks, sanitize the water holding tank, level the trailer, check tire pressure, wash and wax the rig, change the burned out lamps, and put up or take down the sun room.
Starting with the weekly chores, the most common chore will be dumping the holding tanks. Now some people will tell you that as full timers you can leave the holding tanks open all the time. I have heard this from many people, but when you ask the ‘experts’ they all tell you the same thing, these tanks are designed to hold the liquid waste and then dump it once it becomes ¾ to full. This process flushes out all the wastes. The thinking is if you leave the tanks open all the time, only the liquid waste will flow out to the drain. Solid waste will build up in the holding tanks and eventually need to be cleaned out. I kind of compromise, during the spring, summer and fall we leave our tanks open and perform a good flushing and cleaning of them once a month or so. During the winter we keep the tanks closed. Why only in the winter? Freezing! When the temperature drops the liquid waste begins to freeze in the drain pipes. Over the period of several days it can totally clog the pipe and you are stuck with at the least a clogged pipe until it warms up or it could actually crack and break, leaking liquid waste into and around your camper. Let’s just say we learned this from experience.
Now the process of dumping the tanks and flushing them is very easy. I would recommend that you do purchase a product called Flush King which provides a central shut off valve and a hose connection. Once this is attached to the sewer connection of the RV you can flush the individual tanks whenever you want without much effort. You simply shut the valves to the tanks you do not want to clean, attach the water hose to the King Flush and close the King Flush valve. Turn on the water and let it flow back into the open tank until ¾ full or so. Shut off the King Flush Water and open the King Flush Valve. Your tank will empty, tanking with it the solid wastes. Sometimes I do this 3 or 4 times if the tank is really dirty. The whole process may tank an hour. Whatever you do, do not try to multi-task when flushing the tanks! You can easily over fill the tanks and it WILL flood into the trailer. By the way, during the winter, I do not flush the tanks. But again if you read the reasons why to keep the valve closed you probably understand why it isn’t needed.
Of all the chores, the dumping and flushing the tanks are probably the worst chore. For me it was kind of like cutting and raking the yard when we had the house. It has to be done, but no one said you had to like it.
I was going to talk about the semi-annual chores here; I am running out of room. So look for my other articles on RV living. Please remember to leave comments if you liked this article. Also if there is a subject you want to know more about dealing with RV living, please let me know.
Ray and his wife Daisy live full time in a fifth wheel recreational vehicle. Ray is the General Manager for Camping Embroidery and Daisy is a legal secretary. They have four children and 13 grandchildren. Camping is still a big part of their lives and they do so in popup whenever they can.