Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Air Conditioning and Good Friends

Stage Coach RV Park, St. Augustine, Fl.
Sandhill Crane
Okay, so we've been here in Florida now for the better part of 3 months. We can only live in Florida under one condition and that's...air condition(ing).  You may recall that in February this year we had our main air conditioner replaced in anticipation of our return to Florida. We replaced the ailing Carrier (for which we could no longer get parts) with a Coleman Mach 3.
Since perhaps June we've run the a/c continuously. However about 4-5 times a month it would trip the 20 amp breaker for the a/c. It wasn't a problem since we were always home when it happened and it was usually in the morning or evening when the unit was repeatedly cycling on and off.
My remedy had been to run the fan on low and set the thermostat to 75 to keep the system running longer and thus not cycling off as much.
That last few days have been exceptionally humid, I'm talking 90+ degrees and 90 percent plus humidity. Lows have been in the mid 70's with high humidity. Under these conditions, the a/c was tripping the breaker 3-4 times a day over the last few days. Not good! Again it was tripping after the system shut off and cycled back on in the evening and early morning.
I had exhausted my diagnostic ability with regard to this issue and had changed the filter, changed the circuit breaker, checked connections and made sure the condenser on the roof was clean, etc. It was time to call a professional. So we called in Tom's Mobile RV repair. 
Tom checked the amperage draw of the air conditioner and checked all the capacitors and everything checked out fine. So he called the Service Tech hotline to Coleman and explained the situation to include how we operate the system (Low Fan in auto setting, set at 75 in 90 plus degrees with 90 percent plus humidity).
The response was basically "operator error" on our part. 
According to Coleman under our current weather conditions and operating mode, the coil is icing up at which time it shuts off the compressor. However, the thermostat tells it to come back on and thus it trips the breaker. In order to operate properly under our humid conditions, we need to run the fan on hi and preferably in the on (not auto) position to keep more air moving through the coils and prevent the coils from icing up. Also we should set the thermostat to a setting that would allow it to cycle on and off on occasion. So, we paid $165 to the mobile tech for that lesson!
It's good to be back in Florida under the right condition...air condition.

Some good friends of ours, Joe and Leah from the West coast of Florida drove over to spend a weekend with us. So we spent some time in Historic St. Augustine.
Horse drawn carriage for tourists.
There are many historic sites and museums as well as shopping opportunities in St. Augustine.
Historic Church in St. Augustine
We enjoyed the free tour and wine tasting at the San Sebastian Winery in town. Joe and I didn't drink, but the girls had a good time! Of course, it's hard to leave without making a purchase!

Joyce with Joe and Leah at San Sebastian Winery
We were glad that Joe and Leah could take the time to visit and we hope they return soon. We had a great time!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Brief Return to Where we Started and Tropical Storm Debbie

June 4 thru June 26, 2012 Palm Harbor, Florida.
So, after spending a month in St. Augustine, Fl at Stage Coach RV Park, we made a trip back to Pinellas County and Palm Harbor where we had lived and worked for the past 30 years. It was not a trip I wanted to make as I had no desire to return, at least not with the fifth wheel in tow. But, we had to go back to assist a relative with a medical issue. This was something that we had known about for the past 6 months and it was time to get it done.
Although our first choice in campgrounds was Dunedin RV Resort, we decided on Sherwood Forest RV Park as the advertised rates were much lower. So after traveling the 200 miles, we got set up on the pond with some modest shade. The weather was cloudy and threatening to rain.
We paid $475 for a month not including electric. Well, we discovered that not only did Sherwood Forest have lower advertised rates but they had lower voltage. After plugging in and cranking up the air-conditioner, it was apparent that the voltage was low! We contacted the office and they sent out the resident electrician who readily advised that, "yea there's a low voltage problem in the park". 
Time to pull the plug!
The electrician checked the voltage at our power pole and read 108 and 112 on the two legs connected to the 50 amp outlet but declared it acceptable and advising that no one else has had a reported problem. Again at the time he checked it was relatively cool and cloudy. Not everyone was running their air-conditioners.
Fortunately the next two days were wet and cloudy and I only ran one air-conditioner.  However after some research and constant concern, I decided that we were going to have to move as my attention was constantly on that voltmeter and I was concerned over the possible damage to appliances including the main air-conditioner from the low voltage. Our Progressive Industries Surge Protector was at the verge of shutting off power to the rig as it is designed to do that when the voltage drops to 102 volts.
I drove over to Dunedin RV Resort to check availability and was prepared to pay the advertised $699 plus electric for a standard back in site. While getting a tour of the campground, I was told they had a special of $299 for the month and was shown the sites available for that rate in the back portion of the park.  I didn't care for those sites as they were backed in back to back with just a slab and crushed shell. I was surprised when they then offered us a premium back-in fully concrete site for the same price. I jumped on it and picked a shady site 24. It appeared that the park wasn't busy and most of the traveling RV'ers chose the premium pull-thru sites so I had my pick of almost any of the back-ins. Because it's a "resort" it had a nice club house and a beautiful pool which would be nice when my nephews came to visit.
After getting settled at Dunedin RV Resort and realizing they had strong voltage we were better prepared to take care of the family business and also enjoy our former stomping grounds to include Clearwater Beach. Sherwood Forest provided us with a refund and charged us $70 for the two nights we stayed.
Clearwater Memorial Causeway

Descending the Sand Key Bridge
Sand Key Bridge

Clearwater Beach
We enjoyed catching up with some friends and going out to dinner at almost all of our favorite restaurants. One of our friends invited us over for dinner several times and I enjoyed it each time as they are both fabulous cooks.
While we were in Pinellas County we got an un-welcomed visit by Tropical Storm Debbie that lingered for several days off the coast.
Slowly drifting North, Tropical Storm Debbie dumped over 10 inches of rain on us over the course of a few days. As the rain continued to fall, I moved our vehicles to higher ground near the club house.
The heavy constant rains resulted in flooding throughout the County and including our park. These shots were taken out our front door. We were on an elevated concrete slab and only had about 4 inches outside our door. However off the slab and into the street it was a solid 14 inches.  You can only imagine how much fun it was to walk two full size Boxers to higher ground and get them in and out of the rig! Of course they enjoyed splashing and getting as wet as possible! After a couple of days of flooding many of the few remaining guests had departed opening up a few sites that were like islands surrounded by the water. I moved our rig to one of those sites until the water finally receded after several days.
But it wasn't over yet! We still had to get back to the Jacksonville/ St. Augustine area and T.S. Debbie also decided to head that way depositing 15 inches of rain in Jacksonville. We stayed a day longer than we had planned as we waited out the storm before traveling back. The campground staff was very helpful and in fact most live in the campground and experienced the same issues. Upon checking out we were not charged for our electric use. We will be back at this campground if and when we return to the area.
Currently we are back in site 7 at Stage Coach RV Park. Prepared to continue working on improvements at our daughter and Son-in-Law's new home (i.e. painting, shelves, dimmers, yard work, etc.)  while he is deployed.
Site 7, Stage Coach RV Park