Yep, it's summer. One good indicator is rising temperatures and sweat dripping down your body from simply standing outside. I know, it's shocking this is happening. An outrage, I tell you!
You could blame global warming, or you could be proactive about it and try to beat the heat. RV's are not the greatest insulators, but there are some things you can do to help.
Four-Season Weather Rating
Many larger campers are equipt with a better weather rating. The walls are built thicker which helps keep cool air in. There has been some debate about which camper manufactures have the best insulation. You could spend a lot of time researching this (I certainly did) but in the end, I do not believe it will make enough difference to matter.
If you're like me and get hot above 75 degrees, it won't matter which manufacturer you go with. At the end of the day, you're still going to be hot. This does not mean not to get a weather package at all, if you're going to live full-time in your campers, by all means, I advise you to shop for one with a weather package. I'm just saying I haven't seen much difference between different manufacturers packages.
Already have a camper without a weather rating? No worries. There are other steps you can take to aid in your quest for a cool space this summer.
If you spend most of your time in the desert, you know that shade in the summer is just diet shade. But truthfully it helps when you're trying to keep a camper cool.
If you can eliminate the sun beating down on your RV all day, it saves so much on your electric bill and your AC units will thank you. I have stayed in some RV parks that have slots with covers that are wonderful in the summer. Trees help as well and you get to set your hammock up if you're brave enough to step out into natures sauna to lounge about.
If shade is not a luxury available to you, no worries, there are other things you can do, no need to sweat... unless you sweating is the reason you're reading this article. In that case, keep reading.
This is probably the cheapest and easiest thing you can do to keep your camper cool. Reflectix is basically foiled bubble wrap. The theory is that the best insulator is stagnant air. The foil reflects the heat and the bubbles help insulate and keep the cold air in.
All you need to do is cut it to fit your windows and velcro them in place. Simple, yet effective.
Yes, you might feel like you are living in a tin can, but at least it will be a cool tin can. Priorities?
Honestly, I held off on doing this for a year and I was thoroughly annoyed at how quickly it took effect but now I couldn't survive the desert without them. I have them on nearly every window. I did make covers for them. It definitely helps the tin can feeling.
We also took it a step further and put them in the floor vents and the vents under the stairs. The way our fifth wheel is and how most campers are, the vents essentially are connected to the under storage which can get quite hot, especially if you need to get underneath for any reason.
Get your handy-dandy screwdriver and take the vents up. Our vents had little "arms" that were perfect to cut the Reflectix to fit and pushed them in the "arms" so we didn't even need velcro for these.
The covers I made
Clean Your AC Unit
This is another easy and cheap step. Keeping them clean does help keep your AC unit alive longer.
What you'll do is climb on top, don't look down (if you're like me and hate heights), remove the AC cover (you'll need a screwdriver), and blow all the dust and dirt out. Again, simple.
Inside we clean our return air vents once a month. We have filters that we can reuse which makes it super easy. Take your handy-dandy screwdriver and remove the vents, take the filters outside and use your water hose to squirt off all the dust and dirt. Leave them in the sun to dry and then return them to their homes in the vents.
Fans Help Circulate the Air
I'm sure Grant is smiling reading this because we argued about if this actually works for probably an entire year. I have either given up or succumbed to the idea that this actually works.
Currently, we have a fan in the bedroom, a fan at the top of the stairs pointing toward the bedroom, and our living room ceiling fan on and circulating at all times. Yes, I know one could argue that it's wasting electricity and that fans only work when you are in the room (sorry dad). But when it's over 100 degrees and the AC is struggling to keep up, I find the fans do help and keep the AC units from completely hating their lives.
It's also worth noting that we have fans that are both fans and space heaters. These are so amazing in the winter that we barely use propane.
Keep Unnecessary Doors Shut
This I found to be a huge help. In the winter I never worried about if the closet or pantry door was open or closed but in the summer, it generates so much heat with our closet being in the front cap and the pantry on the back cap. If you keep the doors shut, that's less area for the AC to have to cool down.
You might think that shouldn't make that much difference and for a long time I would have agreed, however, when you're working with under 300 square feet, it does make a difference. Plus our washer/dryer is in the closet and can produce a lot of heat when operating.
We may or may not have caved and purchased a third AC unit one month ago. Even with all of the precautions we took, when it gets up to 110 degrees on a daily basis, our AC units were starting to strain and the camper would get sometimes up to 80 degrees inside at the hottest point of the day.
If you're a weekend warrior, more than likely, you'll be out of the camper exploring during the hottest part of the day so this won't matter too much to you. Mind you, once the sun goes down, the camper does cool off and go back to our set temperature. But if you're a full-timer working from home or have pets at home, you might want to reconsider.
They can be pricey but holy crap they do the trick! Even on the hottest days, I still find myself wearing a sweater around my house. It. Is. WONDERFUL!
I hope these tips help you stay cool out there this summer! If there is something you feel I didn't cover well enough or have questions on other tips, feel free to comment or shoot me a message via the contact page. I would love to hear from you!
Stay cool out there, folks!