By Mark Polk
RV Education 101
Summer is here, and for motorhome owners that not only means prime camping season is upon us, but so are the dog days of summer. If you ever walked inside a motorhome that is sitting in the direct sunlight on a hot summer day, you know what I’m talking about.
Getting out in the sun and having fun is great, but when it’s just too hot outside and you need to cool off, you want your motorhome to be prepped to deal with the heat. Fortunately, there are some things we can do to make our summer RV camping trips more pleasurable.
1. Strategically park your RV to take advantage of any shade that is available, especially on the side where the refrigerator vent is located. Don’t be afraid to ask for a shady site when you check in at the campground. This will not only help cool the RV down, but your refrigerator and roof A/C will work much more efficiently.
2. You can also improve your air conditioner’s efficiency by keeping the A/C filters clean. In most cases you can wash the filters in warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly and allow them to dry before reinstalling. Another option is to clean the filters with a small handheld vacuum cleaner. I recommend you keep a new set of filters on hand in the event the old filters have seen better days.
3. Use your main patio awning and any window awnings to assist in cooling the RV down. In addition to the awnings, use your window blinds or curtains or day/night shades to help keep the sun out and the cooler air in.
4. Campground voltage can fluctuate, especially during the summer months when campers are running their A/C, placing a higher demand on campground electricity. You should monitor the voltage coming into your RV with a digital voltmeter. If voltage drops below 105 volts or goes above 130 volts, turn your appliances and electronic equipment off until proper voltage is restored.
5. Install a thermostatically controlled refrigerator vent fan at the back of the refrigerator, or at the top of the refrigerator roof vent, to assist with drafting the hot air away from the refrigerator. If you are mechanically inclined, these fans are fairly easy to install, or you can have your local RV dealer install one for you. Either way it’s worth it. The fan removes the heat built up behind the refrigerator, improving the refrigerators performance by up to 40 percent.
6. Another ingredient to keeping your motorhome cool is proper ventilation. Proper ventilation helps prevent excess heat from building up in your RV. You can install vent covers, such as a MaxxAir, over the roof vents to allow for ventilation. They are inexpensive, easy to install and they let the fresh air in, even when it’s raining. Meanwhile, the smoke, cooking odors, heat, and stale air escapes. I use a vent cover on each end of our motorhome to promote cross ventilation.
7. To help keep the inside of the motorhome cool, try to avoid opening the door as much as possible. And, cook outside rather than inside whenever possible.
|RV expert Mark Polk owns RV Education 101, a North Carolina-based company that produces and sells educational videos, DVDs and E-books on how to use RVs. Mark has more than 30 years of experience in RV maintenance. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1996 as a Chief Warrant Officer Three, specializing in wheeled and track vehicle fleet maintenance operations. He and his wife, Dawn, started RV Education 101 in 1999. They travel with their two boys in a 35-foot Type A motorhome.