How to Control the Temperature in Your RV

When traveling in a travel trailer, camper or motor home it's easy to become uncomfortable due to heat, cold or humidity.

Discomfort may be due to your RV, but it more likely is the result of your own inexperience or lack of “know how".

If you make it a point to find the source of the problem and then learn how to eliminate it, your vacations will be much more pleasant.

The following information will tell you what you need to know.

Being able to control an RV's internal temperature makes it comfortable for travelers. (with special permission)

Plan for Weather And Climate Variations 

Those who take lengthy trips often fail to consider differences in weather and climate, so the first tip that will help you to avoid problems is to do some weather forecasting

Ask yourself these questions:
  • Where are you going?
  • How long do you plan to be on the road?
  • During which season or seasons will you be traveling?
  • Have you checked online weather sites such as weather to help you get a feel for historic weather patterns for those areas and their seasonal weather forecasts?
People who pay attention to details such as these learn to plan their trips to avoid going to Southern Nevada during the hot summer months and Kansas during tornado season.

They also pack clothes that will keep them comfortable.

Use The Right Climate Control Equipment

To control the temperature in your coach, you need to use products that are made specifically for that purpose.  If you don't, you won't be comfortable when you're on the road.

Since most RV units have single pane windows, an air conditioning system or furnace is not always enough, so you have to supplement them in order to get the job done.

Here is what you need to have and do. 

1.  Buy a roll of foil insulation and cut it to fit each window as needed. Using this material is amazingly good at keeping both heat and cold out of your RV. When you are not using it, you can roll it up and store it in or under your RV or keep it in your tow vehicle.  If you have thermal windows, you will only need this foil for you windshield and entry door.

Although it may seem costly, this is actually a good price when you consider that purchasing just one small piece to cover the window of your RV door costs upwards of $15.00!

If you scroll through the Amazon site you can find it in different sizes, but we have found that using the 4 foot width works best.

Even on the hottest or coldest days, this type of insulation will keep you comfortable when you're in your RV.  You can also cut some to protect your external plumbing during freezing weather.

(click link to buy)

2. Install Fan-Tastic fans in your ceiling vents.  These fans fit into any 14 inch square ceiling vent openings and can either pull air in from outside or suck it up and out from the inside.  They help to quickly lower the temperature in a coach that has been sitting in the sun all day, or remove odors from bathrooms and kitchens.

(click link to buy)

Buy and install one or two Fantastic Fans and use them to exhaust or bring in air.  Most units come with these types of fan, buy not all are in good working condition.  If not, they need to be repaired or replaced.

3.  Use insulated covers in your RV's ceiling vents.  These insulated covers are sized to fit any RV ceiling vent.  No installation required.  Simply slide them in and pull out as needed.

Great for protecting your coach from cold air leaks or sucking hot air and/or odors out of your unit quickly

(click link to buy)

4.  Always carry a medium sized electric fan with you when you travel.  Use it for those times when you do not need AC but do need a bit of breeze for soft cooling.

This type of fan is also  good to use to move air conditioning from the front unit back to the bedroom when you do not want to sleep directly under an AC unit but need to keep cool.

5.  Keep at least one small electric heater on board. These are big money savers because they allow you to heat your coach without using propane.  

One or two of them will keep you comfortable even in the coldest weather, especially if you use them along with the aluminum bubble insulation.

Make sure the one you buy has a thermostat.  Use it to heat areas of your RV, but make sure to set it on a fire resistant material such as a stove top. 

These units work extremely well to heat your RV in cold or damp weather conditions.  If you own a large RV, carry two such heaters.

Protect Your RV Against Air Leaks

There are many ways for air to leak in and out of an RV.  The more leakage you have, the less able you will be to control your internal temperature, and the more uncomfortable you will be.

If you want to have better climate control, always make sure windows and exit doors are closed and locked, foil insulation is in place, vents are covered and curtains or shades are drawn.

Your windshield is a huge area that, if not covered, can produce large amounts of heat and cold within your coach.  You should always cover it with insulated foil that is cut to protect all of the windshield.  Every exposed area allows for problems.

If you have a window on your entry door, cover it as well.

The biggest areas for air leaks are slide rooms.  The best way to minimize the leakage problems they cause is to either keep them closed as much as possible, buy an RV without slides or with as few as possible.  Also, you may need to repair or replace seals as time goes on because they do deteriorate.

You can also get air leaks via your roof, so make sure to seal all seams once each year. 

You can do this either with a sealant or special tape made specifically for RV roofs.  Some people find that they prefer to use a combination of the two.

Plan Your RV Travel Day With Care

A couple that purchased a used RV complained to a friend during their first trip with it that their AC was not working well.  Someone had to tell them that if you are traveling to Georgia in the height of summer, it is not wise to be on the road after mid day!

During hot weather, one should try to avoid driving directly into the sun.  Also, long drives across hot pavement is hard on equipment and tires.

Most RV units can be divided in half by sliding doors.  In really hot or cold weather, using this feature keeps half of the unit heated or cooled comfortably whether the RV is moving or camped.

Planning for weather conditions in these ways does allow for better comfort and more enjoyable trips.

As I’ve said so often, the difference between a dream trip and a nightmare trip is planning.

If you use these tips for controlling the temperature in your coach, you'll definitely enjoy your vacations.