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Ask Dave: What is the best RV window insulation?

Dear Dave,
I have just arrived to work in a pretty cold climate. Winter will be over soon. However, right now it is still fairly cold, with frost on the windows. I have noticed here that some folks have insulation types on the exterior of the windows and some on the inside. Any thoughts, other than leave for Florida? lol! Thanks. —Andrew

Dear Andrew,
I have not used any window insulation that is applied to the outside other than a windshield cover. It was not really for insulation, but rather to protect the windshield and cover better than those stupid curtains! But I have used several products on the inside.

Blow dry plastic

These residential window insulation kits are easy to apply and allow you to still see what’s outside. Place the two-sided tape around the frame and apply the film. Trim it close to the tape and then use a blow dryer to shrink the film. It acts as a dual pane window and the air gap between helps insulate. You can get them in different sizes and weight material.

Reflectix shiny cell foam

This is a popular product for cold weather camping but is not as easy to install as it needs to be cut to size and typically fastened with tape. I have, on occasion, used Velcro strips so I could take the material off when not camping in the cold. You need to leave an air gap with this, as well. It will reflect 96% of the radiant energy that strikes it. Most RV windows are not sealed very well at the edges or sliders where the two glass pieces meet. This helps dramatically. However, you cannot see outside the window.

Quilted shades

One other item I have found is quilted covers or shades. These are custom made and can replace the existing blinds or shades, or applied with Velcro. Again, these block the view and make it darker inside. However, I have found that in the dead of winter there’s not much to look at anyway.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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pursuits712
7 months ago

How about bubble wrap? Wet the window and stick it on. When we faced shortages on some of the usual insulation kits, we tried this at home on windows least exposed to the sun. Worked great!

Dave Mckenna
7 months ago

Dave,
Is it true that Reflectix shiny cell foam insulation can lead to overheating and seal failure on dual pane windows? If so, perhaps a small gap should be left at the top and bottom to allow for convection. This might even add a small amount of solar heating to the interior.