As full-time Class A RV’ers based out of Florida, we know how uncomfortable the summer temperatures can get. Even though our 44 foot Newmar Mountainaire has 3 air conditioning units, it can still struggle with the extreme heat. The climate is changing, and it’s definitely getting hotter outside which makes the motorhome AC units struggle to keep the inside of the RV cool. I researched and found these 23 ideas on how to keep the summer heat out and our electric bills down.
23 Ways to Keep Your RV Cool During Hot Weather
Here are 23 ways to keep your RV cool in the extreme heat of summer that really make a difference. Want to skip right to the tip? Click on each of the links below to go to that tip.
1. Park Your RV Facing North
2. Vent Your RV Basements
3. Insulate Your RV Engine Compartment
4. Use Your RV Awnings
5. Paint Your RV Roof with Insulating Coating
6. How Your RV Windows Tinted
7. Clean Your RV Air Conditioner Condensers on the Roof
8. Install an Autoformer in Your RV Power Bay
9. Upgrade Your RV Vent Fans with High Powered Fans
10. Use RV Vent Insulators with Heat Barrier Reflective Surfaces
11. Install 3M Crystalline Film on Your RV Windshield and Cockpit Windows
12. Install an Exterior RV Windshield Shade
13. Add Additional Insulation in RV Cabinets on Exterior Walls
14. Run Your RV Generator and Air Conditioners While Driving
15. Don’t Wait to Turn Down Your RV’s Thermostat
16. Balance Your RV Air Conditioning Zones
17. Regularly Clean your RV Air Conditioning Intake Filters
18. Use LED bulbs instead of Incandescent in Your RV
19. Close Your RV Window Privacy Shades to Block Heat
20. Switch to an Induction Cooktop in Your RV
21. Check your RV Air Conditioning Discharge Temperatures
22. Use Small Fans for Circulation
23. Try Al Fresco Dining
1) Park your RV facing North
Use the location of the Sun to help keep inside temperatures down in your motorhome. Depending on your location and the time of the year, try parking your RV so that your windshield faces north or slightly northwest so that the morning sun is blocked by your awning. Then during the hottest part of the day, your RV casts a huge shadow on your outdoor living space keeping things way cooler in the afternoon and early evening.
Quick Tip: When booking sites, ask which direction the site faces and request one that faces north if you are planning to stay long in one spot. Also, download a solar tracking app like Sun Seeker to determine the direction of the sunrise.
2) Vent your RV Basements
After arrival, open your basement storage doors to allow the engine heat to escape. Heat builds up all day during travel and has nowhere to go but up into the floor of your coach. Help dissipate the heat quickly by opening your basement doors for 20 minutes while you are getting settled.
Quick Tip: Set a timer to remind you to close your RV basement doors. You don’t want to leave them open all night exposing the contents to the elements and critters.
3) Insulate Your RV Engine Compartment
Use a heat barrier material like Thermo-Tec (found on Amazon) and line your engine compartment. After application, it acts as a heat shield to keep engine heat from penetrating into your RV. Our RV is a diesel pusher and the back closet area takes a long time to cool down since the engine heat comes right through the back walls.
Quick Tip: Add a cooling fan to your engine compartment to help pull the hot air out.
4) Use Your RV Awnings
Open your outside window awnings upon arrival so that the sun doesn’t shine directly into your motorhome windows.
Important Tip: Make sure to close all of your RV awnings when you leave the coach or whenever bad weather threatens including just rain. Even with wind sensors, we learned the hard way what damage a heavy rain shower can do to an awning.
5) Paint your RV Roof with Insulating Coating
Have your RV roof painted with an insulating, reflective coating. One of the highest-rated brands in Dicor Roof Coating.
Quick Tip: In addition to helping reduce the interior heat, this will also create a protective barrier helping to prolong the lifespan of your RV roof membrane.
6) Have Your RV Windows Tinted
Have your RV windows professionally tinted in limo dark.
Quick Tip: A professional window tint company will know what level of tint is legal and will warranty their work. Look for one in your area that has experience tinting RV windows and can show you examples of their work.
7) Clean Your RV Air Condensers on the Roof
The AC condensers are located on the roof of your RV and should be inspected and cleaned at least annually to remove any debris that has accumulated under the protective shrouds.
Quick Tip: Once the protective shroud is removed, use compressed air and blow from the inside out to remove any debris trapped under the shroud.
8) Install an Autoformer in Your RV Power Bay
Autoformers increase the voltage to your RV and regulate the power supplied to your air conditioning units. They do not produce power or steal power, they just convert amps to voltage and provide a boost. This is especially important in times of low voltage flow experienced when parks are full and everyone using their own air conditioners and drawing high amounts of power.
Quick Tip: Hughes Autoformers is a recognized leader in providing autoformers to the RV market and has an excellent video explaining why you need one. Click this link to watch the video: Hughes Autoformers.
9) Upgrade Your RV Vent Fans with High Powered Fans
Upgrade your existing RV vent fans to more powerful higher quality vent fans. The newer, more powerful units circulate air better and automatically start if the temperature exceeds the selected temperature.
Quick Tip: Choose an RV vent fan that is reversible (to pull hot air out or cool air in), offers multiple speed settings and Rain Sensors. Also, look for models that offer insulated vent fan lids. Don’t forget to clean the blades regularly.
10) Use RV Vent Insulators with Heat Barrier Reflective Surfaces
When not using your vent fans, use vent cushions for your vents and skylights. They fit into the vent openings and stop heat transfer..
Quick Tip: These work well year-round by keeping your RV cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. If the cushions don’t fit in your vents, you can install a reflective material directly on the vent covers. We like Reflectix. Click the following link to go to the Reflectix Product page.
11) Install 3M Crystalline Film on Your RV Windshield and Cockpit Windows
This clear window film does not obstruct your night vision (as most dark window tints do), and according to 3M, will reject 60% of solar energy and 97% of heat-producing infrared rays. Since it is non-metalized, it shouldn’t affect your GPS, mobile device reception or toll pass transponders.
Quick Tip: This is an excellent way to block heat while stationary and while traveling. You will want to have it professionally installed.
12) Install an Exterior RV Windshield Shade
While the 3M film will provide significant heat relief while you are moving, an exterior RV windshield shade absorbs and dissipates much of the solar heat before it reaches the glass.
Quick Tip: One of the best exterior windshield shades on the market is made by Magne Shade. These are custom shades that magnetically attach to your RV to allow easy installation. Magne Shade also makes exterior covers for your windows and tires. Here’s the link to Magne Shade to learn more about customizing a shade for your coach.
13) Add Additional Insulation in Your RV Cabinets on Exterior Walls
Most RV’s don’t have a lot of insulation and you can notice this when you open a cabinet on an exterior wall on a hot day. You can easily install an additional layer of insulation yourself by lining your cabinets with heat reflective film which can drop the temperatures inside cabinets by 10 degrees! Our favorite is Reflectix which comes in rolls that you can cut to fit your cabinets.
Quick Tip: You will need to use some adhesive (like double-stick tape) to attach it as there is no adhesive backing. Don’t forget to line the top of your cabinets as well as the sides. If you don’t like the look of the silver reflective surface in cabinets, line them with decorative contact paper. Click the following link to go to the Reflectix Product page
14) Run Your RV Generator and Air Conditioners While Driving
While driving run your generator and turn on your rooftop air conditioners. This serves two purposes. It allows you to exercise your generator, and it keeps all of your interior surfaces cool.
Quick Tip: Your Genset only uses about one-half gallon of diesel fuel per hour and generators should be run with a load on regularly to avoid further maintenance issues.
15) Don’t Wait to Turn Down Your RV’s Thermostat
If you wait until it’s too warm inside and then turn down the thermostat, it makes your air conditioner work harder. It also takes a lot longer to get things cool.
Quick Tip: Open bathroom doors and let the cool air out into the rest of the coach. Close your bedroom door at night to keep your bedroom cooler.
16) Balance Your RV Air Conditioning Zones
Keep your RV air conditioning thermostats in sync so the rear air conditioning units help the forward zones and even the load.
Quick Tip: We turn down our bedroom thermostat at night by 2 degrees and close the door which let the other units maintain a constant temperature in the rest of the coach.
17) Regularly Clean your RV Air Conditioning Intake Filters
Find your air conditioning intake filters on the interior ceiling of your RV, unscrew the plastic cover and remove the small foam-like filter. I thoroughly rinse mine in the sink to remove any lint and dust. Make sure you allow them to dry completely before reinstalling.
Quick Tip: I have a calendar reminder set on my Google calendar for the first day of every month to do this and other regular RV maintenance items.
18) Use LED bulbs instead of Incandescent in Your RV
Most new coaches use LED bulbs instead of the older incandescent bulbs which give off a lot of heat. If your RV does not, it is pretty easy to change them out depending on your light fixtures.
Quick Tip: If you want more light on your countertops, consider the LED light strips which are easy to install and provide fantastic task lighting especially under cabinets.
19) Close Your RV Window Privacy Shades to Block Heat
When we leave our coach, we always close all the window night-shades. This can drop the temperature as much as 10 degrees inside the RV and also keeps your air conditioners from working so hard.
Quick Tip: If you don’t have solar day shades that you can see through consider installing them. We have all these great windows to have a view of our wonderful surroundings. Closing the privacy shades while you are home during the day just seems sad.
20) Switch to an Induction Cooktop in Your RV
One of the best inventions ever is the induction cooktop for RVs! They do not heat up the inside of your motorhome as traditional electric or gas cooktops do. You can easily regulate temperatures similar to a gas cooktop, but it is much safer since there is no open flame. Induction cooktops heat up quickly and cool down faster than traditional electric cooktops. I love my induction cooktop. One of the things I like the most is that unless I have a compatible induction pan on the cooktop, it cannot be accidentally turned on.
Quick Tip: Induction cooktops require pans that are made of magnetic-based materials. That means cast iron or fully clad magnetic stainless-steel pans work perfectly.
21) Check your RV Air Conditioning Discharge Temperatures
Thanks to fellow RV’er Tom Chelbana for this idea:
Use an infrared temperature sensor to measure air temps. If your AC is discharging cold enough air it should be at least 20 degrees colder than the air in the coach. Your dash AC air should be 30 degrees colder than the air in the front cab area.
Quick Tip: You can purchase an infrared temperature sensor at any local hardware store like Home Depot or Lowes pretty inexpensively. If you are not getting low enough readings, it’s probably time for an air conditioning service if all filters are clean.
22) Use Small Fans for Circulation
Small fans placed in strategic spots around your RV help circulate the cooled AC air. I was surprised at how well this actually works.
Quick Tip: Check your local Target or Walmart store especially when kids are going back to college where small items are a necessity in dorm rooms. You can often find great deals on decorative fans that fit in small spaces.
23) Try Al Fresco Dining
When the temperatures begin to cool down in the evening, we love to cook outside. If we are not barbequing, we came up with a clever idea: portable induction cooktops! We have two portable induction cooktops that allow us to cook outside.
Quick Tip: These portable cooktops are inexpensive and come in handy if you need extra cooking surfaces inside especially during the holiday seasons.
Other than reminding you to have your RV units inspected and serviced annually (which I put as a Reminder on my Google Calendar), that’s it for our 23 Ways to Keep Your RV Cool!
Related Questions People Also Ask
Do RV AC units need to be recharged?
No, RV Air Conditioning units are not made to be recharged.
If your units have been properly maintained and are not blowing cold air, they may
need to be replaced. Schedule a service call with an RV air conditioning professional
to be sure.
Why is Water Dripping on the Outside of My RV Roof AC Unit?
You will see water dripping outside your RV air conditioning unit from the roof because this is how the air conditioning system expels the condensation collected. The higher the humidity outside, the more water will be expelled. Water dripping outside your RV is a good sign that your air conditioning system is working properly. If your RV air conditioner is running and it is not dripping outside, the drain pan may be plugged.