14 Tips on Keeping Your RV Cool in the Summer

Summer has already arrived for much of the country. If you full-time in an RV or camper, trying to keep your coach cool during high outside temperatures can be a challenge. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of 13 tips on keeping your RV interior cool in hot weather.

Look at our pathetic looking nomad cats. They never lay that way! But because it’s so hot in Texas (in the 100’s!!), this is how they slumber…all sprawled on the floor airing everything out. Why? Because scientifically, heat rises. This is why they lay on the floor instead of their little beds or any other place in the RV that they own. It’s cooler for them.

Well, we (and they!) are going to help you with some ideas that work for us.

1)  Start your AC early

Even before it starts getting hot outside, turn on your air conditioner to cool the walls, floors and ceilings of your coach. Its more beneficial to do this than to try to cool a hot RV.

RV TIP: Use these little portable usb fans to circulate the air! We LOVE them!! We will even put them on the floor for our kitties. They are rechargeable so you don’t have to stock batteries!

2)  Pull your shades

As the sun moves (actually the earth moves around the sun but you get my drift) around your RV, pull the shades to keep the sun from coming through the windows.

3)  Extend your awnings

If it’s not windy outside, extend your awnings on the sun side. This will shade your RV at least for a few hours. Its recommended you only do this while you are at your RV.

RV TIP: Never leave your extended awning unattended!!!

4)  Cover your RV door window

Most towables don’t come with shades on RV doors. Even as simple as taping a piece of cardboard onto the inside window frame of the door will minimize heat from the sun coming into your RV. You can also use Reflectix Foil Door Window Cover to keep the sun and heat out.

5)  Insulate your RV windows

There’s a product for insulating RV windows called Reflectix Foil Insulation. It looks like silver bubble wrap that you tape onto your windows if you’re going to be in hot temperatures for longer periods of time and don’t mind your windows being covered all of the time. You can also use the Reflectix Tape to insure proper adhesion.

6)  Insulate your fantastic fan

You can insulate your Fan Vent and Skylight with an RV Vent Insulator with reflective surface. This will keep the cool air from escaping up into the vent. As well, it will keep the sun from beating down into the spaces below.

7)  Use your ceiling fan

Your ceiling fan helps circulate the air in your RV living space. Since your AC vents are in the ceiling, you’ll want to adjust your fan’s direction to push the cool air down.

8)  Close off rooms and AC vents you’re not using

Just like your S&B (Sticks & Bricks house), closing off rooms conserves and concentrates the airflow in the area that you want it. If you spend time in your kitchen and living area, close the bedroom and bathroom door and AC output vents. This will help your AC unit force the cold air only in the spaces you want it.

RV TIP: See those vents in the pic above? We replaced our former vents with Spaceport AC closable ceiling vents. What a difference! We can even turn them to directionalize airflow.

9)  Turn off lights and lamps

Incandescent and halogen lights emit tons of heat when they are turned on. Shut them down for the day and use your LED lights instead.

10)  Leave the television and electronics OFF

Televisions and Electronics (ie. computers, etc.) get warm when they’ve been on for any period of time. Turning them off lessens the electricity draw and allows more energy to go to the Air Conditioner(s).

11)  Don’t cook or use the oven

Cooking on your stovetop or in your oven obviously gives off heat. On hot days, eat cold foods, salads and sandwiches, go out to eat (it’s cooler in restaurants anyway!) or order takeout.

12)  Minimize opening Your Door

Our mothers told us when we were kids to ‘close the darn door’ and now its our turn to tell every one else who enters to do the same. Minimizing opening the door will allow the cool air to stay in and the hot air to stay out.

13)  Make sure your AC vents are clean

These are a huge culprit in Air Conditioner malfunctions. You should clean your AC output and intake vents AT LEAST MONTHLY! Make sure nothing is blocking the air flow in each.

We’ve shared a great informational blog on How to Clean Your RV’s AC Vents and Filters.

14)  Service your AC unit annually

This last one is a biggie! If you have your AC unit serviced every year, you minimize expensive repairs down the road. As well, it will minimize the potential of your AC going on the fritz when you need it most. Hire an RV Tech who is qualified and knowledgeable to service all of your AC components. Make sure your Tech also inspects the intake and AC vents in your RV.

We hope these 14 tips help you keep your coach cooler in the summer. The ticket to keeping your RV or camper cool in the hot temperatures is just be mindful and conservative with how you are cooling your units.

If you enjoyed this blog, you’ll want to read this…

RV Tips for Weather Emergencies


DISCLAIMER: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


34 Replies to “14 Tips on Keeping Your RV Cool in the Summer”

  1. Use velco on the reflexic so you can still use the vent in your bathrm r if you need to see our a window ect

    1. Great idea, Shelley! Thanks for sharing your tip! Stay cool out there! It’s a hot one!! -Dan & Lisa

  2. You’ve got some great RV tips for staying cool. We want to take ours on some trips this summer, but man it gets hot in there! I’ll have to look into getting some insulation for the windows, like you said.

    1. Ridley, We’re glad you enjoyed those tips. Please pass our blog info onto some of your clients. Oh, and you’re so right about it getting HOT (or already has!) Look at cooler places to go enjoy. Being near a lake or place where you can take a dip is always a plus.

      BTW, we will be in Elkhart the first week of September if you’d like to do a meet and greet! We’d love to meet our Liberty Crew followers!

      Stay cool! -Dan & Lisa

  3. I took the inside covers off our units and sealed all areas between supply and return. Huge difference. The manufacturer spends no time sealing these areas which shud be seperate. Major loss of cold air right back to the return. Now we have good flow to the bunk house thru the duct work.

    1. Travis, thanks for taking time to read our tips. We agree, every RV owner should inspect their air duct system and if they find discrepancy, they should consult a professional or research how to fix the issue. Good for you knowing how to do it. Safe travels! -Dan & Lisa

    1. Paprika, we’re so glad that our information is helping you along the way. We hope you keep reading; lots more good info to come! -Dan & Lisa

  4. Except for having a clean filter inside & making sure there’s no debris on outside AC unit & its able to drain properly. These units are NOT serviceable. They either work or they don’t. Learn your unit & “service” it yourself every year.

    1. Hi Kim, Great note! We service our own AC’s often. As we all should know, if we take care of our equipment, it will take care of us. This is one of the reasons we avoid long stays at the beach or salty air. We’ve seen first hand on another RVers’ AC roof units what salt air can do. Totally destroyed the components inside and of course, the efficiency depleted significantly. -Dan

    2. Not true. Remove the a/c cover armed with a soft bristle brush and some 409 (ie) and spray the fins of the a/c unit and let it sit 30 seconds. Lightly scrub up and down ( don’t bend the fins ). Rinse the fins and replace the cover. BE SURE ALL POWER IS OFF. Do this once a year if used heavily.

      Most roofs are white (ish). Clean the food to deflect more heat.

  5. any energy saving ideas id love to know. its 100 degrees here in dickinson an im a new rv owner for the first time.

    1. Hi Theresa, those tips should help conserve energy as well because they help the AC work more efficiently. Thanks for asking! -Lisa & Dan

  6. Good tips! We just picked up one of those little fans. Might have to get another.

    This might seem obvious but we found if you keep an RV in a shady spot it makes a huge difference in temperature.

    1. Hi Scott! Thanks for reading! Yes, shade makes it nice. Well, unless we’re boondocking and needing the solar. But hey, did you see those new batteries we have now? Can store energy for days!! Yay! Those little USB fans work awesome. We even take them outside with us when we’re sitting around. They chase the bugs off at the same time, keep us a little cooler. In fact, we need to order two more; thanks for the reminder.

      Hope to see you soon. We miss you cool kids! Safe travels! -Dan & Lisa

      1. Hi Gloria, thank you for visiting and following our blog and our travels. Have you gotten up on your roof and opened up your AC unit? It may need a good cleaning. Smelling musty may mean you have mold or moisture up in your unit or vents. We recommend reading our blog RV Maintenance Tip #2 – Air Conditioning Vents and Filters. If you’re not able to do the maintenance yourselves, we suggest finding a reputable RV Tech to do it for you. – Dan & Lisa

  7. I never really think about the A/c unit itself or the filters. My awning has had it’s better days and I swear it is always windy when I want to extend it . The wind sensor causes issues. So I leave it in most of the time. I’m still learning how to adjust but I guess summer time is a bad time to learn. I did install the reflective shades in all the windows and it makes a HUGE difference.

    1. Bloggin Brandi, thank you for taking the time to read our blog. I’m glad that you found relief with our recommendation of the reflective shades. I wish they were a little more stylish on the inside portion. When you make reservations at a campground or RV park, check the orientation of the sun. We do better when the afternoon sun is on the left and front side of the RV if possible. That allows shade on the door side. Just another idea to give you some relief. Happy Trails! -Dan & Lisa

  8. Such an informative article you had shared. All the information you had posted is beneficial. Thanks for sharing this article. Your tips will help me to keep my RV cool in the summer. Keep posting this type of helpful post. Good wishes… 🙂

    1. Hey Travis, thanks for taking the time to read our blog post. We hope you’ve read others that will help make your RV travel a little more fun and stress free because we’ve taken the guess work out of it. Travel safe and stay the cool guy you are! -Lisa & Dan

  9. We were in Florida last August (silly is) in our 5th Wheel. We are from Calif. Our rig has ACs in two locations. We tried all those tricks you mentioned but kept getting condensation inside and no relief from the heat . We hired a certified RV tech. He said we needed to use the high fan at all times and not the auto setting. Simple! It worked. Finally we had relief in a very humid climate

  10. About 30 minutes before arriving at a hot sunny site, I start the genset in our motorhome, and turn the a/c unit(s) on. Then after registering, parking and leveling, things are nice an cool when it’s time to plug in.

    1. Hi Denny, sounds like you have a great solution. Nothing like having a comfortable RV to settle in after a long trip. Thanks for reading our blog! Safe travels!

  11. Hello I have a 2006 Keystone Sydney edition 5th wheel and I just replaced my ac with a new unit and it’s 100 plus degrees in Phoenix Az right now and my unit is hot as ever!! The ac unit when on in this extreme heat is blowing hot air and I hear the compressor kicking off and on about every 10 minutes or so and it will blow a little cool air then kick back off blowing hot! I’m so depressed and disappointed right now cause I spent $850 on this unit plus $200 labor and I’m getting the run around from the installer telling me it’s my house not the unit. We he installed it only blew air out of bedroom ducts but not kitchen or bunk room and I told him they worked before with the other unit even if it was just fan air. I don’t know what to do I’m on a fixed income and I’m full time in my Rv and it’s horrible that this has happened to me especially in a time like this during this virus time. I called a few places to come do a service check to get another opinion and most are closed during virus I guess not an essential business. I need desperate help please can someone point me in the right direction. I’m disabled do limited ability to do things on my own.

    1. Hi Brendie, we’re so sorry to hear of your AC issues and totally understand. Our only recommendation is to contact your local RV Mobile Tech. They may be able to schedule you in to come look at your AC. Do realize, you will at least have to pay a service call for them to come look at it. We are not RV techs, so we can’t give you any other suggestions than that. Sorry. Hope you get relief soon.

  12. It made sense when you said that covering the door windows on RVs can go a long way in keeping out the sun. According to my knowledge, it would also be smart to get a cover for the RV’s windshield, since that’s a large area that could potentially let in a lot of sun as well. Thanks for sharing this helpful info for anyone planning on RVing this summer!

    1. Yes, Rebecca, there are covers for motorhome windshields but they can be pricy and are custom but do they do work as well. Thank you for that addition.

  13. I live in a box truck with a window unit sticking out the side through a hole i cut for it. It gets real hot in here during the day no shade anywhere. Any suggestions? I almost feel like i need to build some sort of shade over the roof out of plywood to make shade. Its a 22 foot box truck.

    1. It sounds like you have a hybrid-type setup. Your AC is more of a residential type so I would follow your manufacturer’s instructions. There are great suggestions in this particular blog you may want to revisit and check out. Stay cool out there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *