Why Being Level Matters
One reason an RV should be level is personal comfort. People are used to existing on a horizontal plane. We don’t feel comfortable walking up or down an incline in our RV, or sleeping on an angle. Leveling the RV helps to ensure that your bed is oriented to allow for healthful and restful sleep. It’s hard to cook eggs when the RV is slanted. The list goes on. In addition, an absorption refrigerator can malfunction when it operates outside its manufacturer’s level specifications. Modern fridges work fine at angles of plus or minus 3 degrees side-to-side and 6 degrees front-to-back.
These angles pretty much match what is comfortable to people inside an RV. If you use a bubble level, half a bubble from level should be sufficient for short-term stays, while longer stays should warrant a more concerted effort to center the bubble.
When To Level
Usually, an RV should be leveled as soon as it’s situated on a suitable pad. An RV may be equipped with stabilizer jacks, but they should not be used to lift the RV. Rather, leveling is achieved with blocks or leveling jacks.
Generally, an RV should be leveled as soon as you have a suitable pad, although there may be subtle variations as to when leveling fits into the order of operations. For instance, for RVs with powered leveling jacks and slideouts, some manufacturers mandate the slides be extended before the jacks; others specify jacks before slides. Make sure you understand and follow the manufacturer’s recommended order. Also, after extending a slideout, recheck that the refrigerator is level.
Before you finalize the RV’s position and begin the leveling procedure, check for clearances for the slideouts, awnings, steps, and entry doors. Look for anything that may interfere, including tree branches and power/water pedestals. Make sure you have enough power cord, fresh-water hose, and sewer hose to reach those services. If you use a satellite dish, be sure you can position it to have a clear view of the sky. Ensure you have enough door-side space for a picnic table and/or eating area. Perform a physical walk-around of the RV prior to final positioning. Look for bumps, dips, and other uneven spots, especially in unpaved areas. Sometimes moving just a few feet can simplify the leveling process.
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