My cousin Beverly called the other day to tell us it was 108 degrees in Tucson. There’s a reason I stay out of Arizona in the summer. Although I’ve seen some days here in northern Indiana when it felt just as hot. Of course, fans of the desert will tell you that while it does climb into the triple digits in Arizona, it’s a dry heat. Yeah, it’s dry inside an oven too. What’s your point?
You may not be in the desert now, but wherever you are, here are some ideas to help keep your RV cool without sending your electric bill through the roof.
When traveling 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 spend time cooling 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. In helping to accomplish that, 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 forward 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 Fabric 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 bubble insulation 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 will keep the 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 to vent outward 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!
One of the best investments we ever made was a Fan-Tastic Vent Endless Breeze box fan. It plugs into a 12 volt outlet, has three speeds, and moves a lot of air. We’ve put it in front of an open window to draw warm air out or pointed it the other way to pull cool night air inside our RV. We also use it to move air to different areas of our motorhome when we are plugged in at a campground and have the air conditioning on.
An inexpensive investment that pays off big in keeping an RV comfortable in hot weather is a Roof Vent Insulator. Basically a pillow, some even with with foil on one side, made to fit inside the vent opening in your ceiling, you will be amazed at how much heat they keep out on a hot summer day.
These are just a few tips to help you keep your cool when the summer temperature climbs. Do you have any of your own you want to share?
Meanwhile, Bad Nick has been busy heating things up in his little corner of the world. Check out his newest Bad Nick blog post, titled The Bible Buffet.
Today is your last chance to enter this week’s Free Drawing for an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small town in the Midwest in 1951. With 73 reviews and a five star rating on Amazon, people tell me that this is my best book yet, and I tend to agree. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.
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Great informational blog, we have learned over the years on the road that everything you said is so correct and so helpful. We do use the generator and the AC when the coach starts to heat up while we are driving, shoots the Hades out of gas mileage but it is so nice to have it cool when we are setting up and not have to wait for it to be comfortable. We have two of the Breeze fans that we run almost constantly. Best buy we ever made, one in the front of the coach and one in the bedroom.
Good hints – we seldom ever need to run the AC – generally only do it if we’re leaving during the part of an exceptionally hot day so the cats are safe. Bad Nick made some good points. You can’t pick and chose what you want to obey and use the bible to support your cause if you’re clearly violating the other rules. Let him that is without sin cast the first stone.
You left out elastomeric roof coating, and evaporative coolers. I have a Lazy Daze coach, and have been very disappointed in the fact that for its high price, and th fact that they’re made on order, not assembly line…..they’re eye NOT a four season vehicle. Whatev the temp is outside, it’s the same inside. As soon as I can afford to, I’m selling it and buying a four season coach. In the meantime, I a being forced to gut my walls one at a time, and insulate them with a higher R value material than what was factory installed.