Note: With the heatwave blanketing so much of the country, I thought I would repost this blog on ways to make life more comfortable in an RV in hot weather.
The thermometer has been flirting with the 95-degree mark, which is a reason a lot of people stay out of Florida in the summer. The good news is that there is less traffic on the roads, and stores and restaurants are not very crowded. The bad news is that it’s too bloody hot to go outside unless you have to!
Although I’ve seen some days at campgrounds in northern Indiana, in Michigan, and other places 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 Florida or 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 into 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 used 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 an Roof Vent Insulator. Basically a pillow, some even have 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?
Congratulations Deb Heen, the winner of our drawing for an autographed copy of Big Lake Hoarder, the most recent book in my Big Lake mystery series. We had 101 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.
Thought For The Day – My biggest fear about becoming a zombie is all the walking that I’d have to do.