Expert Tips for Keeping RV Cool in Extreme Heat

Keeping RV cool in extreme heat can pose a significant challenge. Were you aware that the interior temperature of a vehicle can surge by as much as 20°F within just 10 minutes of exposure to extreme heat? This means that if it’s 90°F outside, the interior of your RV could quickly escalate to a sweltering 120°F!

Maintaining a cool environment inside your RV isn’t merely about comfort. In fact, keeping RV cool in extreme heat is also crucial for your well-being and the overall longevity of the vehicle. So, whether you’re gearing up for a summer road trip or seeking refuge from the scorching heat during a camping excursion, you should know how to stay comfortable and safe from heat. 

You’re in the right place because this guide aims to provide practical tips for effectively keeping RV cool in extreme heat. Keep reading to explore more.

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Key Takeaways

  • External and internal factors all play a role in the temperature of your RV interior
  • Insulation is crucial for keeping RV cool in extreme heat
  • Enhance the effectiveness of insulation by insulating doors and windows, upgrading RV skirting, and sealing compartments

Understanding the Factors Affecting RV Temperature

When it comes to keeping RV cool in extreme heat, it’s necessary to understand the factors that can affect its temperature. Recognizing these vital factors allows you to take appropriate measures to maintain a comfortable interior climate.

Ambient Temperature

The ambient temperature has a vital role in how hot your RV gets. If you’re camping in areas with scorching temperatures, your RV will be exposed to intense heat, making it harder to keep the interior cool.

Sun Exposure

The sun’s rays can turn your RV into a mini-oven. In fact, the more direct sunlight your RV receives, the more it heats up. Pay attention to the positioning of your RV, as the shade can provide much-needed relief from the sun’s relentless heat.


High humidity levels can make it difficult to cool down your RV. Moisture in the air can make the interior feel hotter and more uncomfortable. With that said, managing humidity levels becomes crucial in creating a pleasant environment inside your RV.


Insulation acts as an ideal barrier between the outside environment and the interior of your RV. Good insulation helps to minimize heat transfer, keeping the hot air out and the cool air in. Inspect your RV’s insulation and ensure it’s in good condition to maximize its effectiveness.


Proper ventilation is necessary for maintaining airflow and preventing stagnant, hot air from accumulating inside the RV. It lets fresh air enter and hot air escapes. Ultimately, it helps regulate the temperature. Ensure vents and windows are open to facilitate airflow.


Maximizing airflow is crucial for keeping RV cool in extreme heat. By strategically positioning fans and using window or ceiling fans, you can promote air circulation and create a more comfortable atmosphere.

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RV Insulation: The Primary Solution for a Cool Temperature

Insulation for RVs is the number one tool for maintaining a cool camper this summer. Essentially, it helps trap cold air inside the RV and keep hot air out. Depending on the style of your RV and the amount of insulation needed, there are several options for keeping RV cool in extreme heat.

Each type offers unique benefits, so explore them below:

Fiberglass RV Insulation

This is the most common type found in RVs. With one of the highest R-values, it provides excellent thermal resistance and maintains a consistent interior temperature. Also, it is affordable and easy to replace.

Fiberglass insulation is suitable for withstanding a single climate but may need replacement every few years. If you plan to travel to tropical areas, a different insulation type may perform better.

Rigid Foam RV Insulation

This insulation type offers superior moisture resistance and a long lifespan. It doesn’t collect or absorb moisture, making it suitable for those who explore different climates. Rigid foam panels are available in various R-values and thicknesses, making them versatile in different climates.

RVers willing to invest time and effort into installing rigid foam insulation will enjoy long-term use.

Spray Foam RV Insulation

Spray foam is applied directly into the walls of your RV using spray canisters. It provides a solid seal against drafts and is impervious to moisture. Therefore, it makes it a good option for summer beach trips. Spray foam insulation is also lightweight and affordable, which can help improve gas mileage.

When properly applied, this RV insulation blocks moisture and some noise. It is perfect for keeping the interior cool in the summer but may not be ideal for extremely hot or cold climates.

Additional Insulation Options

In addition to installing insulation, combining the following can help effectively beat the heat and keep your RV cool during the summer. These are simple tasks that can go a long way in saving energy costs. 

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Insulate the Doors and Windows

Doors and windows in RVs can let in a lot of hot air if not properly sealed. Here are some options to improve your RV door and window insulation:

  • Add New Caulking: Apply a new layer of caulk around your RV windows to block out hot air.
  • Replace the Weather Stripping: Inspect your RV’s weather stripping for any damage and replace it if needed.
  • Add Reflective Insulation: Use sheets of reflective insulation on your RV windows to block the sun’s rays and help cool your camper.
  • Use a Door Snake: Place a tube of fabric or foam (door snake) across the bottom of your door to prevent drafts.
  • Upgrade Your Doors and Windows: Consider upgrading to energy-efficient doors and windows that provide better insulation. 

Upgrade the RV Skirting

RV skirting is often overlooked but can effectively insulate your RV for summer. It creates a safe barrier between the underbelly of your RV and the outside elements, blocking the heat radiating from the pavement. You can purchase customized RV skirting or build a makeshift one using plywood or foam board to prevent hot air from entering underneath your camper.

Seal All Compartments

Exterior storage compartments can let in hot air through hinges and cracks. Like doors and windows, you can seal RV storage compartments by inspecting and reapplying caulking. Replace any damaged weather stripping to ensure a proper seal.

RV Cooling System: Tips to Choose the Right Model 

An efficient AC unit is crucial for keeping RV cool in extreme heat. Below are some factors to consider when choosing an RV cooling system.


Know the correct dimensions of your unit to ensure a seamless fit in your RV. Take measurements of the rooftop or assigned area to determine the available space for installing the unit.

Additionally, be mindful of the unit’s weight to ensure it remains within your RV’s weight limit. Opting for a lightweight and compact air conditioner will make installation easier while maintaining the overall RV stability.

Cooling Power

The power output of the AC system is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). A higher BTU means a more powerful cooling capacity.

Consider the local climate and the size of your RV to determine the best BTU for your AC. Small RVs require low-BTU ACs. On the other hand, larger RVs and motorhomes need powerful units with high BTU ratings. Find the right balance to ensure adequate cooling without overworking the RV’s electrical system.

Energy Efficiency

Opt for an energy-efficient air conditioner to effectively save on energy expenses and lessen your environmental impact. Look for units with high EER (Energy Efficiency Ratios), indicating more energy savings.

Features like sleep modes, adjustable fan speeds, and programmable thermostats enhance your energy efficiency and improve overall RV comfort.

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Installation and Maintenance

Some RV air conditioners require professional installation, while others are simple DIY projects. If you’re uncomfortable installing the unit yourself, check for installation kits and instructions. This will help to have a smooth installation process.

Look for units with features that make maintenance and cleaning easy. These include removable, washable filters for improved air quality. Also, you should clean the condenser coils regularly to prevent dust, dirt, and debris from blocking airflow.

Noise Level

Consider the noise levels of the system, as excessive noise can be quite disruptive during your long travels. Go for units with noise reduction features to maintain a peaceful and enjoyable experience inside your RV.

Other Effective Tips in Keeping RV Cool in Extreme Heat

Maintaining RV air conditioners is essential to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. This is primarily during the hot summer months. Listed below are some simple tips and tricks you can follow to keep your RV air conditioner efficiently working for cool temperature:

Clean and Replace the Filters

Regularly cleaning or replacing the RV air conditioner filters helps to make it cool. Filters can eventually become clogged with dirt, restricting airflow and reducing cooling efficiency. Clean filters for better air quality and help the air conditioner work more effectively.

Keep the Coils Clean

The coils in your AC can accumulate dirt and debris over time. Use a vacuum cleaner with a soft-bristle brush to clean the coils. Keeping the coils clean allows for better heat transfer and improves the air conditioner’s overall performance.

Check and Clean the Condensate Drain

The drain removes moisture that collects during the cooling process. However, it gradually accumulate debris over time, resulting in potential issues such as water leakage or decreased cooling efficiency. Regularly check the drain and clean it if necessary to prevent any problems.

Inspect and Clean the Vents

Check the vents both inside and outside your RV. Make sure there are not any obstructions, such as furniture or debris. Clear any blockages to ensure proper airflow and efficient cooling.

Test the Thermostat

Periodically test the thermostat to ensure it is functioning correctly. Adjust the temperature settings to see if the AC responds accordingly. If you notice any issues, such as inaccurate temperature readings or difficulty in adjusting settings, consider getting the thermostat checked or replaced.

Schedule Maintenance

Consider scheduling regular maintenance for your RV air conditioner. An expert technician will inspect and clean the internal components and address any likely issues before they become major problems.

Protect the Air Conditioner from Harsh Elements

When your RV is not in use, consider using a cover or shade to protect the air conditioner from direct sunlight, rain, and other harsh elements. Also, RV roof vent covers can help prolong the unit’s lifespan and prevent unnecessary damage.

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Keeping RV Cool in Extreme Heat: FAQs

The summer heat can be extremely brutal, especially if you’re RVing. We want to make things easier by answering your questions about keeping an RV cool in extreme heat.

How can I determine if my RV needs better insulation?

Several signs indicate that your RV may benefit from improved insulation. These include difficulty maintaining a consistent temperature inside, excessive heat transfer from outside, and drafts or air leaks. If you experience any of these issues, it’s a good idea to consider upgrading your RV’s insulation.

Can I install insulation in my RV myself, or should I hire a professional?

The level of complexity associated with installing insulation depends on several factors. These include the insulation type you choose and your comfort level with DIY projects. Some materials are relatively easy to install, but it’s best to consider hiring a professional.

Is it necessary to insulate the underside of my RV?

No, but it can provide several benefits. It can reduce heat transfer from the ground, protect plumbing during the winter, and improve overall temperature control. Consult your RV manufacturer or an expert to determine the best insulation options for the underside of your specific RV model.

Keeping Your RV Cool Means a Comfortable and Fun Experience

Ensuring your RV remains cool during summer is crucial for both your comfort and overall well-being. Thankfully, by following the above tips, you can guarantee a refreshing and stress-free RV experience, even amidst scorching temperatures. Remember to prioritize insulation and an effective cooling system while staying diligent with maintenance routines.

For further insights into keeping RV cool in extreme heat and embracing the RV lifestyle, feel free to reach out. We’re here to help you beat the heat and make the most of your adventures on the road.

Eddie Meyers
author avatar
Eddie Meyers
My name is Eddie, and I am an RV enthusiast! I have enjoyed traveling all my life, and want to give my family the same opportunities to see as much of the world as possible. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered how great RVs can be for vacations with a young family. Here at RV Lifestyle Experts, I want to share my experiences, the tips I’ve picked up along the way. I hope that our guides can encourage you to try the RV lifestyle. I promise you that you won’t regret it!

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