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How To Keep Your RV Cool In the Summer

Updated: May 23, 2023

Keeping your RV cool in summer is essential when traveling in the hotter months of the year. Here are some tips and tricks on how to do just that.

keeping RV cool in summer

With the summer months ahead of us we are super excited for the warm weather! But when it is time to get out of the heat we want to cozy up into a cool space. Keeping your RV cool continuously while saving on energy can be a challenge. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding how to keep your RV comfortable for the hot season. Here are some tips and tricks to help you choose the best way to keep your RV cool in summer.

1. Park Strategically

When choosing a parking spot for your RV, try to find a location with ample shade. Parking under trees or near tall buildings can help minimize direct sunlight exposure, reducing the heat inside the RV. If shade is limited, you can create your own shade using awnings, tarps, or reflective covers. These can be set up around your RV to block the sun's rays and keep the interior cooler.

Where Can I Park My RV

2. Use Window Coverings

Windows are a significant source of heat gain in an RV. Installing window coverings such as shades, blinds, or curtains can help insulate the windows and block out the heat. Consider using reflective or blackout curtains as they are specifically designed to reduce solar heat gain and keep the interior cooler. Close the window coverings during the hottest parts of the day to prevent heat from entering.

RV cover

3. Ventilate Properly

Proper ventilation is crucial for maintaining a cool and comfortable environment inside the RV. Open windows strategically to create cross-ventilation, allowing fresh air to flow through the RV. Additionally, opening roof vents or installing vent covers can help promote airflow while keeping bugs out. By allowing hot air to escape and bringing in cooler air, you can reduce the overall temperature inside the RV.

RV slide-outs

4. Use Fans

How to keep your RV cool without AC? Fans play a vital role in circulating the air and creating a breeze inside the RV. Ceiling fans are a great option if your RV is equipped with them. Portable fans or small tabletop fans can also be used to improve air circulation. Place the fans strategically in areas where you spend the most time, such as the living area or bedroom. This will help move the air around and create a more comfortable atmosphere.

RV parks Florida

5. Insulate and Seal

Proper insulation and sealing are important for preventing heat transfer into the RV. Insulate windows by using reflective material or insulating panels to block the heat from entering. Additionally, check for any gaps or leaks in the RV's doors, windows, and walls, and seal them with weatherstripping or caulking. By minimizing heat transfer, you can maintain a cooler interior temperature.

RV insulation

6. Use Reflective Surfaces

Reflective surfaces can help block the sun's rays and reduce heat absorption. Covering windows with a reflective material such as foil or thermal insulating shades can significantly reduce solar heat gain. These materials reflect the sun's rays back out, preventing them from entering the RV and keeping the interior cooler.

RV windshield cover

7. Optimize Air Conditioning

If your RV is equipped with air conditioning, it's important to optimize its performance. Clean or replace the air filters regularly to ensure proper airflow. Consider using additional fans or portable air conditioners to help distribute cool air evenly throughout the RV. Close off areas of the RV that are not in use to concentrate the cool air in the main living areas. It's also helpful to park the RV in a way that maximizes shade and minimizes direct sunlight on the exterior unit of the air conditioner.

RV AC units

8. Limit Heat-Generating Activities

Heat-generating activities like cooking can significantly raise the temperature inside the RV. During the hottest parts of the day, try to minimize these activities or move them outside. Use a grill or camp stove for cooking instead of using the RV's oven, which generates a lot of heat. Similarly, avoid using appliances that produce excess heat, such as hair dryers or space heaters, during hot weather.

portable fire pits

9. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential for regulating your body temperature and staying comfortable in hot weather. Drink plenty of water and avoid excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol, as they can dehydrate you. Keeping yourself hydrated will help your body cope better with the heat and make you feel more comfortable inside the RV.

RV travel day

10. Consider External Shading

If you're planning to stay in one location for an extended period, you can set up external shading devices to provide additional shade for your RV. Canopies, pop-up gazebos, or shade sails can be installed near your RV to block the sun's rays and reduce heat absorption. This extra layer of shading can help keep the temperature inside the RV cooler, especially during the peak hours of sunlight.

awning sunshade

Tips on Keeping RV Cool in Extreme Heat

Extreme heat requires extreme measures to keep your RV cool. Here are some hacks to keep RV cool in the summer heat.

RV roof sealants

1. Use insulation blankets: Insulation blankets are specially designed to cover the exterior of the RV, providing an additional layer of insulation. These blankets help to block the heat from penetrating the RV walls and can significantly reduce the temperature inside. They are particularly useful in extreme heat conditions.

2. Install roof vent fans: Roof vent fans, such as powered vents or solar-powered fans, can help remove hot air from the RV's interior more efficiently. These fans create airflow and exhaust hot air out of the roof vents, aiding in cooling the RV. Consider installing a fan specifically designed for RVs and use it in conjunction with other ventilation methods for optimal cooling.

3. Utilize shade screens or sunshades: Shade screens or sunshades are mesh coverings that can be attached to the exterior of your RV. They block direct sunlight while still allowing air circulation. These screens can be particularly useful for covering large windows or the windshield, reducing heat gain inside the RV.

4. Insulate the roof: Heat can penetrate the RV through the roof, especially in extreme heat conditions. Insulating the roof with reflective material or adding an additional layer of insulation can help minimize heat transfer. This insulation reduces the amount of heat that enters the RV, keeping the interior cooler.

5. Use reflective roof coatings: Reflective roof coatings are designed to reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption. Applying a reflective coating to the roof of your RV can significantly reduce the amount of heat transferred into the interior. It acts as a barrier against solar radiation and helps to keep the RV cooler.

6. Park near water or at higher elevations: If possible, consider parking your RV near a body of water or at higher elevations. Bodies of water, such as lakes or rivers, can provide a cooler microclimate due to the evaporative cooling effect. Higher elevations tend to have lower temperatures, offering relief from extreme heat.

7. Keep blinds and curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day: Closing blinds and curtains during the peak hours of sunlight can help block out the heat and prevent it from entering the RV. This simple step can significantly reduce the interior temperature.

8. Use shade cloth or tarps: If you're unable to find a shaded parking spot, create your own shade using shade cloth or tarps. Set up these coverings on the sunny side of your RV to block the direct sunlight. Secure them tightly to provide effective shade and minimize heat absorption.

9. Use portable air conditioners or swamp coolers: Portable air conditioners or swamp coolers can provide additional cooling in extreme heat conditions. These units can be placed strategically inside the RV to cool specific areas or rooms. Portable air conditioners require a power source, while swamp coolers use water evaporation to produce cool air.

10. Stay hydrated and dress appropriately: In extreme heat, it's crucial to take care of yourself as well. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding excessive exposure to the sun. Dress in lightweight, breathable clothing that helps regulate body temperature and protects you from the sun's rays.

How to Keep RV Cool for Pets

Your pets feel even more warm in the hot summer heat than you. Here are some ways to keep your RV cool and comfortable for your pets.

RVing with pets

1. Provide ample shade: Create a shaded area outside the RV where your pet can relax and escape direct sunlight. Use a portable canopy or set up a covered playpen with mesh walls to provide shade while still allowing airflow. Make sure there is access to water and a comfortable resting spot.

2. Use window shades and step covers: Install window shades and step covers that block direct sunlight and help regulate the temperature inside the RV. This will prevent the interior from becoming too hot and uncomfortable for your pets. Ensure proper ventilation is maintained while using window covers.

3. Use cooling mats or pads: Cooling mats or pads specifically designed for pets can help keep them cool. These mats are usually filled with a gel that absorbs and dissipates heat, providing a cool surface for your pet to lie on. Place the mat in a shaded area inside the RV or use it in their sleeping area.

4. Maintain proper ventilation: Ensure that your RV has proper ventilation to allow air to circulate effectively. Open windows and roof vents to promote airflow and reduce the build-up of hot air inside. Consider using portable fans to enhance air circulation in specific areas, such as near your pet's resting spot.

5. Never leave pets unattended in a hot RV: It is crucial never to leave your pets unattended in a hot RV, even for a short period. The temperature inside an RV can rise rapidly, leading to heatstroke or even death for pets. If you need to leave the RV, make sure your pets are with you or arrange for proper pet care in a cool environment.

Beat the Heat!

There you have it, all the tips to keep your RV cool in the hot summer months. Remember, it's important to adapt these strategies based on the specific conditions and limitations of your RV. The effectiveness of each method may vary depending on factors such as the size of the RV, insulation quality, and external weather conditions.

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