Cool It!

 Posted by at 3:47 am  Nick's Blog
May 222013

In June Terry and I will begin our fifteenth year of fulltime RVing, and we love it just as much now as we did the day we drove away from our old hometown. That means that we have been living this wonderful lifestyle for almost 1/4 of our lives!

And while we may not be experts, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way about how to enjoy the RV lifestyle no matter where we are or what the weather is like outside. With summer weather right around the corner, and already here in many areas, I thought I’d share some ideas to help keep your RV cool without sending your electric bill through the roof.

If you are on the road in mountain country in a motorhome, consider turning off your dashboard air conditioner and running your generator and rooftop (or basement) AC. It places less strain on your engine when climbing steep grades in hot weather, and your coach will be comfortable when you arrive, instead of having to cool it down once you’re plugged in to shore power.

It’s easier to be comfortable if you can keep the heat outside of your RV in the first place. Awnings are your friend. You can easily reduce the temperature inside your rig by ten degrees or more by using your patio and window awnings. An added benefit is that if your refrigerator is on the curb side of your RV, using the awning to shade it will help keep things colder in your refrigerator.

We also use mesh type solar screens on our windshield and side windows, which helps block the sun while still allowing us to see outside. Some RVers we know also hang a piece of the same mesh from their patio awning to further shade their home on wheels. If the solar screen isn’t enough, and you are willing to forfeit the view, closing the privacy curtains over the windshield and cab area of a motorhome will help even more.

Sometimes you find yourself stuck someplace where the sun is particularly brutal and that mesh windshield screen just won’t do the job. That’s when a roll of reflective foil over the windshield can be a lifesaver. It does a good job on the inside, but the glass will still get hot and produce a lot of radiant heat. Putting the foil on the outside, under the wipers and secured so it won’t blow away, keeps that glass cooler in the first place, and your RV as well.

You don’t always need to run your air conditioner to be comfortable. Knowing how to get the most from your roof vents and windows can be an asset in keeping your RV comfortable. Close the windows and blinds on the sunny side of your RV and open those in the shade, then turn on your roof fans and you may be surprised at how much cool air flows in.

One summer several years ago, back when we were teaching for Life on Wheels, we found ourselves boondocking on an asphalt parking lot at a college in Pennsylvania for a week. It was bloody hot even at night and the RVs around us were running their generators all night long. Not us; we closed all of the windows in the front of our bus conversion, opened the bedroom windows, and put all of our roof vent fans on high. This created a strong airflow that worked almost like an evaporative cooler over our bodies. By morning we were pulling covers over us to warm up!

Thought For The Day – What we see depends mainly on what we look for.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  5 Responses to “Cool It!”

  1. I remember that week in PA. That is where we first met you and Miss Terry. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and humor all these years!

  2. Nick, this may be a stupid question, but to keep the rig cool on a hot day do you run your roof vent fan(s) to bring air in, or to draw air out? I’ve heard proponents for both directions. Thanks.

  3. I’ll sure be glad when you hit the road again. Just sayin’.

  4. Jim, We draw air in through the windows on the shaded side and out through the roof vents.

    Sue, We’re looking forward to getting on the road again too, but every day of an RVers’ life isn’t spent traveling.

  5. When it gets too hot at these RV Parks,I look up the local American Legion Post. Most have a few comrades hanging around watching ” I Dream of Genie” on the TV. Oh, and cold beer and air conditioning too!!!

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