I recently saw this quote online:
Did Abraham Lincoln really say that? Of course not! Anyone can post just about anything on the internet without the expertise or facts to back them up, and that’s exactly what some RV influencers are doing. The challenge today is that the RV industry is exploding and people are hungry for information. There are so many people that see the potential for making money with blogs, articles, “vlogs” and more as a result. You can’t blame them—they are making good money from it. But in many cases, the information they’re putting out there just isn’t true, and it can do a lot of damage to RVs!
RV influencers are just writing for SEO
So many articles are being written for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) content—whatever that means—with very little regard for factual information. From what my granddaughter tells me, writing for SEO is having content that will “pop up” the most times in a search and put you higher in the categories. The better an SEO score, the more people will visit your website. That’s what you want, right? Well, except when the information you’re posting is totally bogus!
In my opinion, too many people are writing RV articles and content based on SEO. New RVers are just Google searching for information or they’re using social media platforms that are more about form than function. (I call it “roughing it at Starbucks”.) And some of the information is not only wrong, but it can also be damaging or even dangerous. Here are a few examples.
Fake steps, fake news!
One morning last week I was going through MSN.com and one of the “news” blocks at the top showed an advertisement for Lippert steps. Most of you know that Lippert makes or owns just about everything in the RV industry and has some great products, including steps. However, the ones pictured here might not be very functional in an RV.
I know what happened here. Lippert is advertising all over the internet and someone that is good with graphics was tasked to insert a photo that would draw attention. This one did for me. But a two-story cement staircase for an ad about RV steps is a little misleading…
Insulating RVs for summer… not this way!
Another example is a recent article I read from a popular RV lifestyle blog. The headline was something about how to insulate RVs for summer. Most of the content was generic and mildly helpful. However, three of the tips had me wondering where this RV influencer’s research came from.
Nope, don’t do this
One tip said to add insulation to the inside of the wall. Spray foam was recommended and, apparently, is the popular choice of RV owners. One thing I’ve learned in my 30+ years of being in the RV industry is that I never say never. However, I have not come across anyone that has ever added spray foam insulation to the inside of their RV walls. First, the walls either have block foam insulation sandwiched between lauan sheets and an exterior fiberglass sheet, or they have loose-fill insulation in the stick-and-tin types. Here is a cutaway of a Winnebago model. How would you add spray foam to the inside of the sidewall here?
Plus, anyone that has ever used spray foam insulation knows that it expands. Can you imagine what that would do to your sidewall, windows, and doors? Ouch! To install spray foam you would need to drill holes in the outside wall between the framework, fill the cavity with spray foam, and install plugs or seal the opening. OK, I’ll say it… I have NEVER seen this!
My guess is the RV influencer who wrote this did a generic internet search for keeping your house cooler in the summer and got information on adding insulation to a residential house that does not apply to an RV. Again, ouch!
Another misleading tip from an RV influencer
At first glance, this makes sense. However, the next tip starts by stating that all RVs are equipped with air conditioning and you can use them as much as you want. But the tip goes on to state that using the air conditioning will drain your battery and fuel reserves. The roof air conditioner runs on 120-volt power and requires shoreline power or a generator. OK, remember how I never say never? Keystone has introduced the SolarFlex System that uses lithium batteries and an inverter and can run the roof air conditioners with the SoftStartRV™ for about three hours. Some of the smaller Class B units have a similar set up. So technically it can drain the battery, but it’s quite a stretch. And yes, if you run the generator to power the roof air, it will use fuel.
I still think it’s an internet search that relates to older automobiles running the air conditioners in hot weather.
Paint the outside of your RV
The third tip states that darker RVs get hotter inside, which I believe is somewhat true. When I was at Winnebago we did temperature tests on units that had full body paint to determine if it would affect the adhesive used in the sidewall and cause delamination during really hot days. The darker colors did produce much higher interior wall temperatures. However, there was only a 1–2 degree variance inside the rig. The block foam insulation in the sidewall and roof helps with temperatures.
The tip stated that many RVs are already painted white but if you have a darker color and are having temperature issues, try painting the RV white. Really?? First, most are not painted white—the fiberglass has the inherent color. The writer obviously does not know what all goes into “painting” an RV. And what type of paint should be used: eggshell finish, indoor-outdoor, roller or brush, washable? I didn’t know it was just that easy! I think I might try something else before just painting it to see if it gets cooler.
RV influencers aren’t paying attention to the facts
There are several publications (like us, RVtravel.com!), articles, and blogs that do provide helpful information. However, you need to pay close attention to facts that back up that information and make sure they are from a reputable source. You can do a lot of damage to your RV if you follow some RV influencers’ advice online.
Gotta go. I’m heading to my local Ace Hardware store to see if they can match the exterior color of my neighbor’s ’89 Bounder. It’s now a light pinkish color!
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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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