We recently had the misfortune to be RVing in some VERY hot weather! We're talking 120 degrees Fahrenheit kind of heat! So, we had to break out all of our tricks and invent some new ones!
Air Conditioners ❄️
Certainly, the most important player in the heat is your air conditioner! They need to be operating at peak efficiency, and the only way to get that is with periodic maintenance. If you've never done this maintenance, we can almost guarantee your condenser and evaporator coils are full of junk and need to be cleaned!
Another AC upgrade that helped us a lot is our RV Airflow system. The 45% improvement provided by this product was certainly a BIG factor in keeping us cool in the desert heat! Check out that video if you haven't already.
Air conditioners are very power hungry and they need a certain amount of wattage to run. When the voltage is low, it makes up the difference in amperage (current). This higher current can blow the breakers on your distribution panel. When it's really hot out, it's almost guaranteed to blow breakers. Ideally, you want 120 volts from the pedestal (shore power) but we usually see around 115-118 which is fine.
The first 2 sites we tried at Las Vegas RV Resort were giving us around 103 volts! Completely unusable! So, if you know you're going to be in a high heat situation, it's a great idea to contact the RV park and ask about their power situation.
Even at around 115 volts, we were blowing breakers in the afternoon. To mitigate this, we removed the front panel of our breaker box and aimed a fan at it. This provided enough cooling to keep the breakers from tripping and kept our AC running all day.
Another tool that might help in the low voltage situation is an autoformer. An autoformer steps up the voltage from an inadequate pedestal. It does this by using more amperage. We've never used one but hear they do work. The issue is the extra amperage they require to boost the voltage. Using one means that you will be pulling more amperage than without. This can negatively impact everyone else on that circuit in the RV park.
Anywhere the sunlight can reach your RV increases the heat transfer to your RV! Park in the shade if you can. But, if you can't, you can try some artificial shade. The most obvious way is to use your awnings. This can at least protect one side of your RV. You can also try using some breathable tarps. This seemed to help as there were a lot of people using them at this RV park. For the roof, for the slides, anywhere you think it might help.
While researching how to shade an RV, we came across Shade RV. While we have zero experience with the product, it sure seems like the perfect solution.
As the afternoon heats up, so does the RV. You can cheat the temperature swing game by starting out as cold as possible. Overnight, get the temperature as cold as you can. Even if it's a level of cold that requires a hoodie inside, lowering the starting point for the day will help you in the afternoon.
Keep the RV closed as much as possible. When coming and going, be aware of the door and close it as quickly as possible!
You can also help keep the heat out by insulating your fan vents and shower skylight with special insulating pillows designed to fit snugly into those places (links below). These also have reflectix on one side and do a great job of keeping the heat from leaking in as much in those areas.
Close off any rooms you don't need. If you have a toy hauler like us, that might be the second bathroom, or it might be the whole garage.
Eliminate any unnecessary sources of heat inside. The stove and oven have no way to vent heat outside, so it will only add to the heat inside.
If you have an RV-style fridge (absorption) as we do, you will likely need to take some measures to keep it cool. The first thing you'll want to do is some maintenance. See our video on the topic. There are several things you can do to help improve the efficiency of the fridge, and you'll need every bit of efficiency you can get!
Also, just like the front door of the RV, keep the door closed as much as possible. Get in, get what you need and close the door!
The fridge needs to be able to exchange (expel) heat in the rear of the unit. In extreme heat, this can be problematic. We were able to help the situation with a $10 box fan from Walmart. We placed it (facing out) on the top half of the fridge to help pull air through.
- RV Air Conditioner Maintenance: youtu.be/Gbm8hOyZlrU
- RV Airflow: youtu.be/V9rEQb05Qv4
- RV Refrigerator Maintenance: youtu.be/MBwSJL7kBZc
- ALL of our RV Maintenance Videos: youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMg04_vIaei5b7IEAvTNH5zThn4yi8Rdk
- RV Airflow: changinglanesrv.com/rvairflow
- Reflectix Double Pack Insulation: amzn.to/2TC9Qy0
- Camper Skylight Cover and RV Vent Insulator: amzn.to/3eWkCGR
- Camper Shower Skylight Cover: amzn.to/36WcbXE
- SoftStartRV (RV AC Soft Starts): changinglanesrv.com/softstartrv
- Shade RV: www.shaderv.com/
- Phil and Stacy (You, Me & the RV): www.youtube.com/channel/UCC3X81KrKId1Yvvl0Bs_VoA
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