How does a motor home work?

Written by juliet myfanwy johnson
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A motorhome functions in the same way that a car or truck functions. It is drivable, and has an engine, a fuel tank and exhaust system, and an electrical system. Unlike a car, it has a full-sized living area where passengers can stand up, walk around, eat, sleep and use the bathroom. There are water tanks for maintaining sinks and the bathroom, and a propane system for powering the stove, refrigerator and heater.
The motorhome is like a mini-home with a kitchen, dining and sleeping areas. The kitchen has a sink with running water, a propane-powered stove, and a refrigerator with a freezer. A fancy motorhome will have a microwave, TV, oven, dishwasher, and even a washer and dryer. For sleeping, most motorhomes have a bed over the cab section, chairs that fold into beds, bunk beds or a dining table that converts into a bed.

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Bathroom and Water

The motorhome has three tanks for water--a black water tank for sewage, a grey water tank for shower and sink runoff, and a fresh water tank for use in the shower, sink and toilet. The black water and grey water tanks need to be emptied at sewage facilities or campgrounds when they reach 3/4 full. The fresh water tank needs to be refilled when it runs low. The shower, sinks and toilet are hooked up to the fresh water tank to allow for shower, sinks and toilet function. The used/dirty water is collected in the black and grey water tanks to be emptied upon reaching a facility. Motor homes that are parked at a campground often have sewage and water hookups so the tanks of the RV can be bypassed while they motorhome is hooked up to the campground tanks. However, the black water tank should remain closed until it is 3/4 full and then emptied, otherwise, clogging will occur. While the vehicle is hooked up to a fresh water source, the water hookup itself is used to pressurise the water system. When there is no fresh water hookup, a 12V water pump is used to keep the water system pressurised and freely flowing from an open faucet. When the water tank is empty, the water pump should be turned off while driving so as not to cause pump and water system damage.

Electricity and Gas

A motorhome generally uses a standard vehicle battery and a deep drain battery. The vehicle battery is used for regular engine function, and the deep drain battery powers the electricity inside the motorhome. When driving the motorhome, the engine keeps the deep drain battery charged. For air conditioners or microwaves, the motorhome will require the external power source of a generator. The refrigerator, heater, water heater and stove use propane gas, which is contained in one or more casements called balloons. Balloons can be refilled when empty, sometimes within a campground facility. Hookups to external electrical are available within some campgrounds also, and are recommended to save propane usage.

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