We spent much of last summer in Florida and this summer in Arizona, so we have experimented with different ways to keep the RV cool in the summer heat. Here are the things that worked best for us.
Take Care of your Air Conditioner
The beauty of having an RV in the summer months is that it comes with air conditioning. You don’t want to end up like we 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.
The first step is to visually inspect it when you are preparing your RV for the season. Just as you check your RV roof for leaks and damage, you should also look over your roof top A/C unit. Make sure that the unit is securely mounted, the plastic cover is in good condition, and there are no cracks in the plastic. Inside the RV, keep your filters and clean and make sure there is no buildup of dust inside the unit.
Look for Shade
A little shade can go a long way. Many campground reservation systems these days have maps to allow you to see what type of site you are reserving. Normally we avoid trees so we can take advantage of solar power, but in the summer we’re more interested in staying cool under some shade trees.
Don’t forget to climb up on the roof and check for twigs or other debris before you pull in your slides. You don’t want anything interfering in getting a good seal. Wash off any sap right away. It will only getting tougher with time.
Use your Awning
Your awning not only provides you with shade to sit under when you are outside. It also blocks some of the hot sun from coming in your windows. As the awning shades part of your RV from sunlight, it reduces total solar heat gain or the amount of heat your RV receives. This can reduce the amount of time your air conditioner has to work to cool down your RV.
WARNING: Don’t leave your awning out when you go sightseeing. Summer thunderstorms can come in quickly with high winds and rip it right off.
If you are in need of a new awning, we recommend Shade Pro. They’ve been in business over 30 years and offer a terrific warranty on their products. You can install a new awning yourself to save on costs or they can help you finding someone to install it for you.
For those windows that aren’t shaded by an awning, reduce the amount of light that can enter with other techniques. The easiest step is to keep the window shades closed. Last summer when we were in southern Florida, we even put reflectix insulation on the inside of the windows. You’ll also want to be sure to block the light that enters from sky lights.
Keep the Air Moving
Fans can make you feel several degrees cooler via the wind-chill effect. A fan doesn’t cool a room, it just makes it more comfortable by dispersing cooled air more efficiently. If you are so hot that you are perspiring, blowing air over your skin causes quicker evaporation which allows your heat energy to escape much quicker than normal, making you feel cooler.
We’re very happy with the ceiling fan in our new Arctic Fox, but don’t despair if yours doesn’t have one. We used a couple of inexpensive oscillating fans in our last RV and they worked well. I still use a USB fanwhen I’m working. I just plug it into my computer.
Grilling is synonymous with summertime for good reason. If your air conditioner is struggling to keep up, don’t make things worse by adding heat to your RV interior. Instead of cooking inside, take it outdoors. There is a portable grill for every size of family or you can even cook over the campfire. We found the Weber Q1000 to be perfect for the two of us and I’ve heard great things about the Blackstone table top grill.
Choose a Cooler Destination
We were so surprised on our recent trip to the Pacific Northwest how cool it was in mid-July. A couple of years ago we enjoyed a coastal Maine vacation and were able to keep our windows open at night.
So take a look around at places you might want to visit and see what the typical weather is like. Chances are you can find a destination that you’ll enjoy while you avoid the heat.
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