Thursday, May 19, 2016

How's Your RV Affected at High Altitude?

"Where did we vanish to?" 

It's a question we've received from concerned readers who've noted an absence of posts here on the blog site. Our apologies. Life got the better of us, and life in this old system isn't always kind. Between health and other obligations, we've had ours turned upside down for a few months.

Happily, things are settling down in the areas that have caused us the most trouble, and we're turning our attention back to matters at hand – and getting back to an on-track cycle of weekly blog posts. Since the summer travel season is just about ready to break out (and for some of you, it already has) we thought we'd focus this week's attention on a travel question that puzzles some – what about traveling at high altitude?

A new RVer studying his rig’s appliance manuals came across statements that suggest his LP appliances might not work at higher elevations. How big a concern is “at elevation” operation?

Traveling in high places with your rig can mean a few changes, but the drama of “no shower, no cold beer” may be a bit overblown. Both from personal experience of our own, and “as told by” RVers around the country, heading for the hills in the RV isn’t a huge problem.

Water heaters seem to be the appliance that has some of the greatest trouble in the high county. They sometimes balk when attempting to light, but here’s a trick that can help: Open the outside door, allowing more of air to get inside to the burner. That often is enough to stop problems in itself.

We’ve only found one instance of an RVer who said they had problems with their refrigerator not wanting to work at high altitude. At first they though something had physically gone wrong with the unit, but once they came down below 7,000 feet, the ‘frige worked fine. No others reported any problems. If you do take your rig high up and can’t get the cooler to stay cool, then switch away from gas to shore power.

Other gas appliances at altitude? Seems like stoves and ovens work just fine; you will have to make the adjustments called for in cooking time, since water boils at a lower temperature, and leavening tends to gas more–causing baked stuff to expand quicker. Read your recipe and food prep details closely.

One common complaint about high level travel: Electrical generators often don’t run as they should, if they run at all. Happily, most RVers reported that such wasn’t a big problem, as it seems many use the generator largely for running air conditioners, and at higher elevations they generally didn’t need the cooling units.

See you next week.

Photo: nan palmero on

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