Tips for Keeping your RV Cool in the Heat of the Summer

RVers and vehicle owners alike know that it is difficult to maintain your vehicle during the summer. However, because an RV functions as both a house and a car, there’s more involved than just tuning up what’s under the hood. There are a lot of things to consider when maintaining an RV in the heat, and these considerations involve keeping a consistent and cool interior temperature, as well as keeping your RV running well. After all, no one wants to break down when in route to their next campground or Harvest Hosts location! This article will offer helpful tips for making sure that your RV can function and operate well in the heat.

Photo Credit: Campers Inn RV Blog

Location, Location, Location

If possible, try to avoid hotter locations in your RV. Some RVers travel with the weather to avoid both extreme heat and extreme cold. The farther north you go(or the higher the elevation), the more mellow the summer temperatures should be. Check out our article on chasing that perfect seventy-degree temperature year round!

Photo Credit: Do It Yourself RV

Air Conditioner(s) and Roof Vents

Air Conditioners

If, like many of us, you find yourself encountering hot temperatures in the summer, you will of course need to find a place to plug into shore power (or run your generator) so that you can run your air conditioner(s). Most RVs come equipped with at least one air conditioner, while many larger ones have two or three. 

It is important to properly maintain your air conditioners throughout the year to ensure that they can properly cool your RV when it is hot. If your air conditioner is mounted outside your RV, then consider covering it with a tarp or something else when not in use. This will help to prevent the heat from building up and causing damage to your system! 

There are some things to keep in mind while running your air conditioner(s), as well. If you are worried about condensation forming on the windows inside of your vehicle, then consider placing a small fan inside of your RV when the air conditioner is on. This will help to circulate the cool air and prevent damage due to condensation. In addition, be sure to regularly check and clean your air conditioner’s filters, along with the vent filters.

Photo Credit: RV Repair Club

Roof Vents and Fans

If your RV isn’t equipped with air conditioners, you can use your roof vents/fans to help cool your RV. If your RV is not equipped with roof vents either, then consider installing roof vents with covers, which are generally cheaper in cost than installing air conditioners. This will help with circulation and keep your RV cool, while also keeping out rain.

On the other hand, roof windows, fans/roof vents, and skylights have been known to let in excess heat as the sun beats down at the hottest parts of the day. To combat that, rooftop installations can be equipped with insulate covers to block out the sun’s rays. These will help to keep the cold air inside your RV.

RVers with electrical hookups can also add window AC units and portable fans to help with the interior temperature, as well. The correct combination of cooling tricks and devices should help to keep you and your family comfortable even in the hottest of destinations.

Photo Credit: TinyHouseDesign

Cook Outside of your RV

This might not be an option for everyone, but if you can cook outside of your vehicle then do it! Cooking inside the RV will create excess heat and increase the indoor temperature. Cooking outside can provide you with equally great meals without the cost of heating up your interior.

Photo Credit: RVupgrades

Refrigerator Tips

The heat of the summer can pose additional unique challenges to your refrigerator. To keep your fridge running in tip-top shape, try to park with the refrigerator in the shade and defrost regularly to ensure optimum efficiency. Check out our tips on maintaining your fridge and on keeping your fridge cool enough for more.

Miscellaneous Cooling Tips

One of the most important steps to keeping your RV cooled off is choosing the best possible parking spot. If possible, try to position your RV in the shade. At the very least, strive to have the side of the RV containing your refrigerator in the shade.

In addition, awnings and window shades can help your RV stay cooler inside. Direct sunlight tends to quickly warm up your RV, but blocking out the sun with shades or curtains can reduce a majority of residual heat.

Finally, consider swapping incandescent light bulbs for LED bulbs.  Lighting accounts for about half of the energy usage in your RV. LED light bulbs use less electricity, give off more natural light, and are much cooler to the touch than incandescent bulbs. This can also help to slightly reduce your interior temperature.

Photo Credit: Camping World

Roof and Windshield

Consider adding a coating to your roof and windshield, which will help prevent damage in the sun and could also help keep your interior a bit cooler, too. You can also install solar shades on your front windows, but they may not be effective if there is too much heat coming through.

Before traveling, check your windshield wipers for any cracks or rips. Extreme changes in weather, and sometimes extreme heat, can damage your wipers which could make driving conditions dangerous, especially during a heavy summer rainstorm.

Photo Credit: EZ Snap

Tires

Use tire covers to protect your tires from both the sun and the heat. This will help prolong the life of your tires and prevent them from cracking in the sun. In addition, be sure to check all tires frequently for proper air pressure. This can be especially pertinent in the summer, when hot pavement can heat up your tires, causing them to expand and overinflate. Frequently checking the tire pressure can help to combat this issue and keep from any disastrous effects. Likewise, consider installing a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which can take the guesswork out of keeping your tires at the proper pressure and temperature. Check out our article on selecting the best over all TPMS devices for your tires.

Photo Credit: TinyHouseDesign

Under the Hood

Be sure to keep your vehicle’s filters clean and free of debris, leaves, and other things that may damage the engine. This is important throughout all times of the year, but especially in the summer, when excessive heat can be a bit harder on your engine. In addition, check your coolant levels  to make sure that they aren’t too low. Low coolant levels can cause engine overheating, which will lead to an expensive repair bill!

Inspect your hoses and belts periodically, as well. Hotter temperatures can lead to your engine running hotter and deteriorate any rubber pieces under the hood.

Photo Credit: Your Mechanic

Oil Levels and Transmission Fluid

Many vehicles require transmission fluid changes during the summer months, due to heat caused by increased use of the transmission. Check your transmission fluid levels frequently, and be sure to change the fluid at least every 50,000 miles. In addition, be sure to change your oil regularly (at least every 5,000 miles) to prevent engine wear and tear, which can also be made worse in the heat.

Keep an eye on all fluid levels in general so that you know when it’s time for maintenance. Your RV will thank you, as well! This is a great time of year for an engine tune up!

Photo Credit: Beach Automotive Group

Keeping your RV cooler this summer is important for both the health and comfort of you and your family. With a few simple steps, it’s easy to keep everyone feeling refreshed on those hot days when all they want to do is stay inside with air conditioning blasting. Stay cool, go swimming, and drink plenty of water!

Photo Credit: The Dyrt

What are some ways that you stay cool in the summer? Where’s your favorite place to go during these scorchers? Let us know what makes your summers great in the comments below!

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