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
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.
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.)
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.
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.)
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!
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!