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Beat the heat: How to keep your RV cool this summer

By Julie Chickery
Summer is quickly approaching and it’s the most popular time of year to hit the road in your RV. The problem is it can get pretty hot inside. Here are a few tips guaranteed to help you stay cool while enjoying your summer travel. 

Take care of your air conditioner

The most important thing you can do to beat the summer heat is to keep your RV’s air conditioner running well. You don’t want to end up like I did a few years ago and have the A/C fail in July… IN FLORIDA! To avoid this, be sure you are keeping up with your preventive maintenance.

Start by visually inspecting the A/C when you are preparing your RV for the season. When you are up on the roof checking for leaks and other damage, you should also look over your rooftop A/C unit. Make sure it is securely mounted, the plastic cover is in good condition, and there are no cracks in the plastic. Inside the RV, keep your filters clean and make sure there is no buildup of dust inside the unit.

Look for shady sites to stay cool

We all know that a little shade can go a long way in the summer. Take a look at the campground map and find a spot that offers some shade. Even if you only have shade for part of the day, it will be better than nothing. Just be sure to climb on the roof and check for twigs and leaves before you pull in the slides if you don’t have slide toppers. You’ll also want to wash off any sap because it will only get worse over time. 

Hint: Check Google Earth before booking a site. You’ll be able to see if a particular area of the campground is more shaded than another. 

Use your awning and window shades

An awning is a great way to provide your own shade when you are sitting outside. It has the added benefit of blocking some of the hot sun from reaching your RV. Just remember not to leave your awning out when you go sightseeing. A summer thunderstorm can do serious damage pretty quickly.

Another way to reduce the heat in your RV is to keep the window shades closed. If you have a motorhome, you might want to consider getting a custom shade for the front and side windows in the driving area. Magne Shade™ makes products expressly for this area. 

Another option for windows and skylights is to utilize reflective insulation on the inside of them.  

Keep the air circulating to stay cool

When it is warm out, but not necessarily hot enough for air conditioning, consider using a fan. I often use my fan to keep air circulating. Fans can make you feel several degrees cooler by dispersing cooled air more efficiently. I also plug a small USB fan into my computer when I’m working. Opening windows that aren’t in direct sunlight will also lower the internal temperature. If you found the shady spot mentioned above and can open windows situated opposite from each other, you may end up with a wonderful cross breeze. 

Cook outside

If your air conditioner is struggling to keep up, don’t make things worse by adding heat to your RV interior. Cooking is one of the worst culprits for raising the temperate in your RV. Luckily, there is a portable grill for every size of family, or you can even cook over the campfire.

Related:

Keep your RV cool while dry camping

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Bob Weinfurt
5 months ago

My motorhome would get extremely hot in the summer so I’d need to be plugged in to run the A/C. Last spring on a 60 degree day,I went up to inspect the roof. Even though it’s a light grey color, it was too hot to keep your hands on. On the next cloudy day, I cleaned the roof off with alcohol and water to get any loose material and oxidation off it. Then I coated it with Henry dura brite white elasomeric roof coat. It’s something I coated my houses roof with and the difference was phenomenal. My motorhomes roof stays cool, so the inside is also much cooler. I don’t have to run the A/C half as much and when I do, it runs a lot less often than it used to.

Larry Lee
5 months ago

We have found that using the ceiling fan set to exhaust and closing all windows except the windows on each side of the bed creates a pleasant and quiet draft across our faces.

Nancy Moehle
5 months ago
Reply to  Larry Lee

We do the same thing, especially at night. It keeps us cool and gives the air a break.

Larry Lee
5 months ago

Might consider adding an awning on the street side to block the sun, especially if the refrigerator is on that side.

Bob P
5 months ago

And don’t fire up the grill if you’re overnighting in the Walmart parking lot!

Derek
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

😂

Judy G
5 months ago

And speaking of a fan, I purchased a small, clip-on model which could attach securely to different surfaces: the dining table, a wall edge in the seating area, even the edge of the fridge when defrosting the freezer. And it’s out of the way for walking or getting tipped over by the dog.

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