Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beat The Heat

It’s summer. It’s hot outside. Here are some thoughts that will help you maintain a comfortable temperature inside your RV.

The interior of an RV can become an oven when it is parked in full sunlight on a hot day. So shading as much of the RV for as long as possible should be a prime objective when selecting a place to camp. Try to find a campground with lots of trees and grass. It will be cooler than an RV park that resembles an asphalt parking lot. With any luck, you will find a tree-shaded campsite. Try to avoid parking on or next to a hot surface. A grassy or dirt campsite will radiate less ground heat than a paved site. A concrete patio outside your entry door is nice but it will reflect the heat of the sun against the wall of your RV.

If possible, try to locate a campsite that points the front of your RV in a direction between north-east and south-east (directly east would be perfect). Your large street-side wall will then be on the naturally shady side of your RV during the hotter times of the day; your patio awning will shade the curb-side wall; and one end of the RV will be shaded at least part of the day. By the way, you can increase the shade of your patio awning by adding mesh patio shades that hang from your patio awning.

Keep the sun from shining on or through your windows and skylights. Install window awnings on all your windows and use them. Close the blinds or, better yet, place solar window covers or reflective foil on the interior of the windows on the sunny side of the RV. Do the same for windshields exposed to the sun. Poster board, cut so its dimensions are just a little larger than the skylight, can be stuffed into the skylight opening to block the sun.

Give your air-conditioner a head start. Turn it on early in the day and let it pre-cool the interior of the RV. Understand that RV air-conditioners are designed to reduce the air temperature by 20 degrees. That means your air conditioner is working okay if the air on the outlet side is 20 degrees cooler than the air on the inlet side. Your air conditioner is probably doing about as good as can be expected when the outside air temperature is 100 degrees and the interior temperature of your RV is 80 degrees.

Keep the cool air inside and the hot air outside. Close all the windows and doors. Minimize the number of times the entry door is opened.

Use a fan to circulate the cool air. Direct the fan so it blows from under the air-conditioner towards the area you want cooled the most. Fantastic Vent’s Endless Breeze 12-volt fan does a dynamite job for us.

Decrease the air-space the air-conditioner has to cool. Shut the bedroom door and close its air-conditioning vents. If you do close the bedroom door, be sure to open a bedroom window on the shady side of the RV so the bedroom doesn’t get much warmer than the outside temperature. On really hot days, we have seen RVers retract their slide-outs to minimize the air space their air-conditioners had to cool.

Avoid cooking with the stove top and oven. Use the microwave (but not the convection) oven. Use the outside grill. Use electric cooking appliances outside. Better yet, and our favorite, eat dinner in an air-conditioned restaurant.

Keep in mind that RV absorption-type refrigerators have to work harder as the temperatures increase. Try to shade the exterior of the refrigerator. Encourage airflow over the coils on the back of the refrigerator by propping open the outside access door or installing a refrigerator vent fan.

When all else fails… hitch up and move to a cooler climate.

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