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Smart ways you can beat the heat while RVing

It’s hot. Really hot. Locations across the country are setting all-time heat records this summer. Perhaps no one knows about heat better than RVers. Face it. We RVers battle the heat while living in what’s basically an oversized tin can or cardboard box. The question on all of our minds is: How can we beat the heat while RVing?

Simple remedies to beat the heat

Start early

That’s right. You might even want to set your alarm before the sun comes up if you sleep with the windows open. Why? So you can beat the heat. As early as possible, crank your RV’s air conditioner down—way down—before the interior of your rig gets heated up for the day. Once the furniture, countertops, and other interior furnishings get warmed up, your air conditioner will need to work extra hard to cool the air, as it also battles to cool the furnishings.

Get fans going

Moving the cooled air (or even warm air, for that matter) will help you feel cooler. We use both a box fan and an oscillating fan that’s mounted on a stand. In tandem, they work well to help move cooled air throughout our RV. We also run the RV’s ceiling fan. Oh! In the bedroom, we took down the TV and in its place mounted an oscillating fan on the wall. It’s a big help at night.

Cover windows and skylights/ceiling vent fans

During our very first summer, we discovered that much of the outside heat entered our RV via the single-pane windows. In extreme heat we don’t open the windows, anyway, so we cover all windows with reflective screens (like the ones made to cover your car’s windshield). We put the reflective screens against the windows and then pull down our RV shades. Our shades hold the reflective screens in place.

Cover vents

Our current RV came with vent covers like these. Previously, we simply crammed oversized sofa pillows into the ceiling vent wells. Easy-peasy.

Make up your mind

Either stay inside or stay outside, but do not open that entry door unless absolutely necessary! (We had to have serious discussions about this with our grandkids.) So much heat comes in through that door, while massive amounts of cooled air go out! Before you leave your RV, make sure you have everything you need: grocery list, sunglasses, keys, etc., so that you won’t need to open the door more than once.

Use your awning

It will cast shade on your RV and help to keep it cooler. If your awning adjusts, tilt it so that it gives the maximum amount of shade onto your rig. (Hint: We never leave the campground without retracting our awning. We’ve seen too many folks return from a brief shopping trip only to find a wind gust has ripped their awning.)

Shower

You’d think taking a cold shower would make you cool, but health experts say no. It’s better to take a lukewarm shower. The sensation of warm water on the skin will lead to increased blood flow. This will promote heat loss from the body.

Keep interior doors closed

Each time we open our bedroom closet we’re met by a blast of hot air. We’ve made it a habit to keep the closet and cupboard doors closed. It’s just less hot air for the air conditioner to cool. Friends we know insulated their closets with foam board or aluminized bubble wrap insulation (more on that here). They claim it holds out a lot of heat. You can also insulate the back of cupboards with foam board. We did this on a previous RV and not only was it easy, but it also really helped block the heat.

Swap light bulbs

If your RV has incandescent light bulbs, consider changing them out for LED bulbs. LED bulbs run much cooler than incandescent ones.

Cook outside

Cooking outside will keep excess humidity out of your RV.  Remember that you can use an outdoor outlet to power your electric skillet, griddle, or even the slow cooker. If you must cook inside, place lids on cooking pots or, better yet, use the microwave. (Check out this ingenious gadget to cook outside with.)

Clean filters

Use a hand vacuum to clean your air conditioner filters. Or you can remove the filters and clean them with soapy water. Dirt and grime trapped in the filters will put extra strain on the air conditioner and you don’t want that!

Roof sprinkler?

I have yet to see or try this in person, but recent RV blog conversations mention running a sprinkler on the rooftop of your RV to beat the heat. The idea is to keep cool water continuously sprinkling on the roof’s exterior. This tactic is supposed to produce a noticeable drop in inside temps, enabling your RV’s air conditioner to perform more effectively. I’m sure you’d need to get the campground’s permission to do this, and I wonder what sediment, minerals, etc., would collect on your rig’s roof after prolonged use. If you’ve tried this, let us know if it worked for you!

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Gary Stone
14 days ago

Consider cutting Reflectix to fit over the OUTSIDE of the window frames. Frames are metallic and transfer heat to the inside of the rig. Covering the inside does only half the job. Painters tape holds it in place.

Larry Lee
15 days ago

Not listed in the article but seriously my wife and I find it helpful to close the blinds and remove our clothes when the A/C can’t keep up with the sun’s output.

Lindalee
15 days ago

On the roof sprinkler, that would be a good idea EXCEPT, here in Corpus Christi, Texas we are in Stage 2 Water Restrictions which means NO sprinklers except on your trash day. Only water the lawn by hand with a garden hose. NO watering at all on weekends!

“Swamp Coolers” were very popular in warmer climates a long time ago (I’m 74 and barely remember). They were recirculating water on the roof of the house so the water on top of the RV is not a new thing, just an old one reinvented!

Joel
16 days ago

How about using some common sense?
All of the suggestions have merit but as a society we seem to give up the independence camping provides.

FDajnowicz
16 days ago

On the roof sprinkler, check this out and improvise. (https://www.homedepot.com/p/DIG-Drip-and-Micro-Sprinkler-Kit-GE200/202829012). you can probably set it up to pump through a reservoir and recycle the water. As an accessory you can buy a timer that goes on the faucet. You can buy individual parts instead of the kit. The feeder lines are 1/4 rubber tubing and are punched into the main line which is 1/2″ plastic tubing. It even has “goof plugs” to relocate feeder lines.

bill
16 days ago

I agree on everything except the roof water .. Water will be the new oil to be fought and died for (already is in many places in our world).

Lisa Adcox
16 days ago

We insulated our outside storage. Used Reflectix. It helped keep closet cooler. Was a huge help.

Bill Turkus
16 days ago

Before there was AC many buildings had flat roofs that could be flooded. As the water evaporated it absorbed heat from the roof. Since heat rises, it cooled the building. Similarly, misters absorb heat by latent heat of evaporation to help cool the refrigerant, creating a cooling effect. I sometimes use this principle by spraying water on my condensing coil.

Ruth Blum
16 days ago

if you’re going away for several hours bring your slides in. Less space for the ac to cool.

Barnjai
16 days ago

Good advice. One thing we do instead of cooking outside is to go to an air conditioned restaurant 😉

Dawn
16 days ago
Reply to  Barnjai

👍

SUSAN M
16 days ago

Years ago we were camp hosts at Canyonlands NP. No electricity/no generators, so no AC. Temps were high 90s to +100 during the day. Serious heat in a “tin box”. Thankfully, nighttime temps drop in the desert; we could look forward to the cooling off. But during the day the important thing was to keep the sun off the rig. To do that we used our awning, but that was not big enough. So, much to my husband’s annoyance, I used tarps. Clipping them to the awning edge, the roof features, the ladder, whatever, I moved them with the sun. It was still hot, but it was better – even if we did look like a gypsy camp. Soaking your feet in a bucket of cool water or kiddy pool also helps.

Darrell Cannon
16 days ago

You can tell Gail Marsh that my $500000 dollar mororhome is not a tin can or a cardboard box. I don’t believe any of your readers think their rv is either. With articles like this you will not have a newsletter. I will cancel today.

Tom H.
16 days ago
Reply to  Darrell Cannon

Really? Good riddance.

Jerry Attrix
16 days ago
Reply to  Darrell Cannon

{bleeped} are you? Wow

Last edited 16 days ago by Jerry Attrix
bill
16 days ago
Reply to  Darrell Cannon

Goodbye! And good luck!

Impavid
16 days ago
Reply to  Darrell Cannon

Darrell I think the newsletter will continue for the masses who aren’t offended by a term that is pretty close to the truth. You probably worked hard for your money and deserve a beautiful half million dollar motorhome but for most of us, in reality, most campers, even my 40 foot 5th wheel really isn’t much more than a tin (okay fiberglass) can and cardboard box.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
16 days ago
Reply to  Impavid

Thanks, Impavid. Have a great day! 😀 –Diane

KellyR
16 days ago
Reply to  Darrell Cannon

Our little Class B is in fact a tin can, and for our budget, equal to $500,000. We are kind of proud of ours too. Gail Marsh is welcomed to come visit us in our tin can any time she wishes, See you in the woods, Gail – and on this site.

david
16 days ago
Reply to  Darrell Cannon

Will “aluminum can” bring you back?

McTroy
15 days ago
Reply to  Darrell Cannon

Umm, a $500,000 morohome? Someone is bragging and doesn’t use spell check!
Keep up the good work Gail!

Scott
15 days ago
Reply to  Darrell Cannon

see ya…not. Lighten up or you may die earlier than expected with all of that negative junk. The writer was just using literary license to make the article a bit more user friendly. Yeez !

Cecilia
15 days ago
Reply to  Darrell Cannon

You’re being sarcastic right? Hope so. If not, no need to announce your departure.

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