How is my RV affected by higher altitudes?

How is my RV affected by higher altitudes?

By Russ and Tina De Maris

A new RVer was studying his rig’s appliance manuals and came across statements that suggested his LP appliances might not work at higher elevations. How big of a concern is high-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 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 most significant 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 air to get inside to the burner. That in itself often is enough to stop problems.

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 thought something had physically gone wrong with the unit, but once they came down below 7,000 feet, the fridge 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 from gas to shore power.

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 mainly for running air conditioners, and at higher elevations they generally didn’t need the cooling units.

Other gas appliances at altitude? It seems like stoves and ovens work just fine, but 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.

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