Lesson 1: Before you do anything! 15 step guide to a safe start.
Read this before you do anything with your RV!
A lot of people – even experienced people – don’t fully exercise and check out their new RV when they get it home. This list will guide you through what you SHOULD do when you first get home – to make sure everything is working, that you’re familiar with it, and not cause the damage that is SO common among RV owners!
Make sure you download our first checklist that will help you make sure you have what you need when you first pick up your RV! See the links below.
Here is my 15 point list that is recommended to ensure you get off to a GREAT start with your RV!
Get the adapters and supplies you need from your dealer BEFORE you go home the first day!
Park and level your coach.
Turn on the propane. Check for obvious leaks or odor. Yes, this would have been done at the dealership, but we want to test it after having bounced down the road a bit.
Make sure to CLOSE the gray and black tank valves, and make sure you don’t have a SECOND gray tank to close!
Close all water drains: fresh water drain/capped, low point drains off/capped, water heater plug inserted/tightened. DO NOT TURN ON THE WATER HEATER YET!
Exercise all DC (battery) powered components:
If you have one, ensure the ‘battery disconnect’ is set to allow power.
Lights, inside and out.
Slides – all the way in, all the way out! It’s normal to hear clicking, clanking, or the motor ‘wind down’ at the end.
If you have a gas/electric fridge, put it in gas mode – it won’t get cold fast, but you should be able to tell it’s working.
Ceiling fans/bathroom fans/vent fans
Partially fill the freshwater tank. Look for obvious external leaks. Don’t hook up to “city water” yet! (We want to test the system in a situation where we can quickly turn off the water with the pump, so we don’t want “constant pressure” water yet!
Test water components using the water pump (and all COLD faucets for now):
Turn on the water pump. You should hear it kick on and then stop after a few moments (longer at first while it’s pushing air through the system).
Check for any leaks, inside and out. Check around and under sinks, faucets, tub, and toilet.
Open a cold water faucet and wait for air to purge… water should flow after 20 seconds or so, while spitting a little air occasionally (at first).
Repeat for all faucets, shower, and flush toilet.
Now repeat, but use the HOT WATER faucets this time. Once the air is purged and cold water is running out of the hot faucet, you know your water heater is full (we’re assuming the bypass valves are NOT engaged, and that water is being ‘allowed’ into the system).
Turn on the water heater using the ‘gas’ mode.
GO OUTSIDE and look at the flame. Make sure it’s healthy and you can identify it. Healthy meaning it’s clean, burning strong (you’ll hear a “blow torch” type sound), and that the heat is routing properly through exhaust.)
You should have warm/hot water in about 10 to 15 minutes.
Plug in the shore power.
You may need an adapter (a “dog bone”) to plug into your house.
Make sure you use your surge protector!
Exercise AC power systems (now that we have AC power):
Air conditioner (you can turn on with a 20 amp circuit, however most houses are 15 amp circuits. If that’s the case, you may or may not be able to start the air conditioner without blowing a fuse somewhere.).
Outlets – ALL OF THEM, INSIDE AND OUT!
Turn on the electric switch for the water heater (turning the gas switch off – but yes, you can run them both at the same time).
Check for proper tire inflation.
Walk the roof. Check all the seals. Check caulking throughout entire RV. THIS IS THE ONE THING THAT IS RARELY EVER COVERED AND WILL CAUSE THE MOST DAMAGE THE QUICKEST: WATER IN THE COACH. EVEN IF A LEAK IS COVERED, WHAT IS DAMAGED BECAUSE OF THE LEAK MAY NOT BE COVERED. Just assume that leaks are ALWAYS your responsibility!
Most important step: Get some popcorn and a blanket and SLEEP IN IT! Camp out in the driveway!
Those are the first 15 things to do to ensure the RV is working properly, you don’t have any leaks, and will help you determine if there is any warranty work that needs to be done right away.
**Note: The contents of this video are the same whether you have a trailer, a 5th wheel, Class C, or Class A!
Both of these downloads are available in the ZIP file that was available in the first lesson of this series, so if you downloaded that you already have these lists!
Download your Required Starter Kit checklists here: Download File