15 Ways to Keep Your RV Camper Cool This Summer
Now that summer is officially here, keeping your RV camper cool is probably at the top of your list.
Temperatures are already soaring. Some parts of the U.S. are experiencing record heat waves, and areas that typically don’t get hot are sweltering.
If you’re feeling the heat in your RV this summer, don’t sweat it. Today we’ll show you some things you can do to keep your RV cool.
Let’s check them out!
15 Tips to Keep Your RV Cool During the Summer
We’ve put together 15 tips to keep your RV camper cool this summer and help your air conditioner work its best. There’s no one way to help keep your RV cool, so use these tips together for the most effective RV cooling.
1. Park in the Shade
One of the best ways to keep your RV cool in the summer and help your air conditioner run efficiently is by parking in the shade. It might not seem like it, but shade will help cool your RV interior immensely.
When your air conditioner doesn’t have to combat the heat of direct sunlight, it will work much more efficiently.
2. Use RV Vent Covers to Insulate Vents
RV vent covers are like giant pillows that fit right into the roof vent openings to insulate your RV.
Roof vents let in a significant amount of warm air thanks to their location and the lack of insulation. Vent covers, or vent pillows, block light and provide a few inches of insulation to help keep your RV cool.
3. Use Insulated Window Covers to Cool Your RV
You can cut Reflectix to fit your RV windows, use foam board or cardboard, or get insulating curtains. Insulating your windows is one of the most crucial steps in keeping your RV cool in the summer.
RV windows have zero insulation. Sunlight streaming through your windows can turn your RV into an oven.
4. Use Fans to Keep Air Moving
Use small, portable fans to help keep the air moving throughout your RV. Fans will help your air conditioner work more efficiently, too.
If one area of your RV camper cools down faster and better than another area, use fans to circulate the cool air to other rooms and areas of your RV.
Pro Tip: We’ve been using the Fan-Tastic Vent for 6 years and it’s worked great.
5. Clean Your RV Camper AC Filters
Your air conditioner is the number one way to keep your RV cool in the summer. You can help keep your RV AC unit in tip-top shape with regular maintenance and cleaning. Check, clean, and change your RV air conditioner filter regularly.
6. Keep Rooftop AC Unit Clean
You should check the rooftop AC unit on your RV and clean it off with a hose or soft brush. Wasps can build nests in the air condition housing, and the blades on the outside can get dirty.
Set aside a day for cleaning, so your AC can do its job at keeping you cool.
7. Cook Outdoors to Keep Your RV Camper Cool
Nothing heats your RV interior faster than cooking. If you must cook, do it outside. Many RVs have exterior kitchens, and your outdoor grill or exterior kitchen is perfect for when it’s just too hot to cook inside.
8. Use LED Light Bulbs
LED light bulbs don’t get hot like regular incandescent light bulbs do. It might not seem like a big deal, but when all your light bulbs give off heat, it can heat your RV too. LED light bulbs are great, but not just because they’re cooler to the touch: They also use electricity.
9. Keep Electronics Off
Electronics like TVs, video game consoles, and computers put off a significant amount of heat. Keep your major electronics turned off during the heat of the day to help your RV stay cool.
10. Cover Skylights in Your RV to Keep Cool
Most RVs have skylights in the bathroom, and skylights have little to no insulation. You can cover your skylight with Reflectix or purchase a skylight cover to help keep your RV cool.
11. Use Awnings to Shade Windows
Your RV awning isn’t just to keep you in the shade while you’re outside; it can also keep the inside of your RV cool. Your RV awning shades your door and the large front windows on your RV. This helps prevent your RV from getting too hot during the day.
12. Use Insulated Curtains on Windshield in Motorhome
If you have a motorhome, the hottest part of your RV is in the cab. That’s because almost the entire cab of a motorhome is a window. The windshield is the least insulated spot on your entire motorhome, so keeping this area insulated is critical to maintaining temperatures inside your RV.
You can block off the entire cab by hanging blankets to help your RV stay cool. Or you can use insulated curtains on the windshield and side windows.
13. Close Rooms You’re Not Using
On sweltering days when your RV AC struggles to keep up, you should close off rooms that you’re not using. You can hang blankets or shut doors to help your air conditioner cool specific areas.
If you have a ducted air system, you can close the vents in the rooms that you aren’t using to force all the cool air to where you are.
14. Start Your AC Unit Early
Even if it’s not hot early in the morning, starting your air conditioner early in the day will help keep your RV cool when it gets hot in the afternoon. It’s much easier to keep your RV cool all day long than to let it get hot and then try to cool it down. Overworking your AC by cooling a hot RV can cause it to freeze up or work less efficiently than if you let it run all day long.
Pro Tip: You can run your AC with a generator if you install the DIY RV Soft Start.
15. Keep Your RV Camper Door Shut to Stay Cool
Aside from the windshield, the most significant source of cool air loss is your door opening and closing. During the heat of the day, minimize entering and exiting your RV as much as possible.
Insulation and Common Sense Go a Long Way
Keeping your RV cool during the summer requires a little ingenuity and a lot of common sense. Some of these tips are what you’d do in a house, and others are specific to RVs.
But they’re all effective and, together, can keep you cool. Do you have any tips for staying cool when temperatures rise?
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After reading your article about RV cooling techniques, I thought you would be interested in this:
I’m a retired product development Engineer and I own a new Coachmen (Forest River) model 339DS Class A motorhome which came with two 15K BTU Mach 10 heat pump units.
In the hope that it would resolve my high temperature shutdown issue I purchased and installed the MicroAir soft start and Air Control plenum on both Heat Pumps. (cost was $450 for each heat pump unit) My Coleman Mach 10 Heat Pump’s compressor cycles off in our extreme temperatures in Bullhead City, AZ. When it reached ~110 degrees outside first one then the other Compressor turned off. This was due to the Condenser temperature sensor detecting high temperatures which set a latching relay cutting compressor power. Only turning the Thermostat or AC circuit breaker OFF then back ON would get the compressor running again. I verified that I had >115 Volts at the compressor just prior to shut down. The Micro Air and Air Control products made no discernable difference re. the high temperature shutdown!
I saw a Youtube video https://youtu.be/aWUqQnEw-8Y about someone with a Dometic AC unit that had removed the plastic ribs which were impeding air flow through the condenser coil. So having all but given up I figured that I would do something similar using ½” square vinyl coated welded steel fencing material which was cut to size and inserted in and attached to the shroud using twisted wire to hold it in place. Then I cutout most of the unnecessary ribs that were impeding air flow through both the condenser coil and the exhaust air vents along the compressor side of the unit. This directed most of the exhaust air flow (after passing through the condenser) over the compressor which in Freon 410A units runs at high temperature and pressure. Before the modification the top of the shroud would billow allowing air to exhaust through the top vent slots. After the modification the billowing has stopped as the side port exhaust air was unimpeded.
I’m looking forward to the next heat wave of 115 degrees or more to determine how much of an improvement this modification made. I can see on my Victron Energy Management display that the run current/power no longer increases by several hundred watts, and the compressor sounds quieter… but it has been only 110 degrees outside not 115 or more.
I recommend doing this as it will reduce the run current on hot days by reducing the back pressure seen by the compressor. If nothing else it will allow more run time when operating on a generator or battery power. I suspect it will reduce the warranty claims as the relay won’t be cycling on/off as frequently and the compressor will be working against reduced pressure.
Coleman should in my humble opinion give less credence to aesthetics and more to assuring reliable operation… Also important is the side benefit of improving energy efficiency! The recommended shroud fix could be offered as an upgrade, but seeing as RVs move from place to place it should be the standard configuration on all such units. I assume the shroud is either vacuum formed or injection molded. Perhaps if the latter the welded wire could be over-molded rather than requiring fasteners to hold it in place.
(couldn’t include photos. Provide your e-maill address and I will include the photos)
Please feel free to contact me to discuss my findings and recommendation.
4090 Yucca St.
Bullhead City, AZ 86429
Cell (928) 201-4905
I own a Jayco 2008 Melbourne motorhome. It came with many of the bells and whistles mentioned in the article. It has 2 reversible ceiling fans with weatherproof shrouds and thermostats that were factory installed but 1 lone roof mounted AC. On our first voyage in 96 degree weather we found the AC cut off continually. The campsite had little shade and the conditions in the RV were difficult. This was before I found the thermostats to the roof fans (newbee me)and figured them out. The problem with the AC was worn starter relays (which I told the tech to check). When we returned I immediately bought a “plan B” portable AC which vents out a window, installed 2 oscillating wall fans, and avoided the RV repair shop who gave us the “all clear” on the road worthiness check. We survived what could have been an end to our road warrior journeys. Check, check, and recheck, behind what the professionals are telling you at $50+ an hour. A plan B AC is not a waste and takes up little floor space. Happy Trails.