I guess because I work in the RV Industry and around RVs almost everyday I take some things for granted. One of those things is RV terminology. When you hear these terms everyday you just assume that everybody understands them. For the new RVer terminology may be a bit confusing. To help clear things up, I’d like to offer some common RV terms that you will encounter during your RVing experiences.
Heat Strip - An electric heating element in a roof mounted air conditioner. These are usually used on pop-ups or other trailers that do not have a furnace. A heat strip will take the chill off, but is not designed to actually heat the trailer.
Hitch Receiver- The hitch receiver is mounted to the frame of the tow vehicle. The ball mount slides into the receiver. There are five classes of hitch receivers based on the maximum amount of weight the receiver can handle.
Hitch Weight - Hitch weight or Tongue Weight (TW) is the amount of weight pressing down on the vehicle’s hitch from the coupler of the trailer when the trailer is fully loaded for travel. For trailers that weigh over 2,000 pounds TW should be 10 to 15 percent of the loaded trailer weight. For fifth wheel trailers hitch weight should be 15 to 20 percent of the loaded trailer weight.
Hydraulic Leveling Jacks - Used for leveling an RV, typically a Class A motor home, they are leveling jacks that operate using hydraulics and are controlled by levers or a touch pad normally located near the drivers seat.
Inverter - An electrical device that changes12-volt DC power into 120-volt AC power. It is used to power 120-volt appliances or electronics such as a microwave or TV when you don’t have access to an external 120-volt power source. The amount of power that is available depends on the storage capacity of your battery(s) and the wattage rating for the inverter.
Kilowatts - Power generators are rated in kilowatts. Each kilowatt equals 1,000 watts.
LP Gas - Liquid propane or liquefied petroleum is the gas used for RV appliances. Typically it is used for the range burners, oven, water heater and the LP gas mode of the refrigerator. LP gas is stored in cylinders or bottles on trailers and in tanks mounted to the frame of motor homes.
LP Gas Leak detector - LP gas leak detectors are audible alarms that warn you of a potential gas leak. They are normally located close to the floor level of the RV because LP gas is heavier than air and will settle towards the floor.
MH - Abbreviation for Motor Home.
Monitor Panel - Allows you to check or monitor the fluid levels in the gray, black and fresh water holding tanks. You can also check the condition of the auxiliary battery(s) and on some monitor panels the propane level.
NADA Book - The RV edition of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) book is used by RV dealers to determine used RV values.
This list is not all-inclusive, but if you learn these terms you will soon be understanding RV terminology.
Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101
RV Expert Mark Polk, seen on TV, is the producer & host of America's most highly regarded series of DVD's, videos, books, and e-books. http://www.rveducation101.com/
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