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Old 07-15-2016, 02:59 PM   #1
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Easy mods to help keeping your RV cool

Since the temperature is supposed to top 100 degrees in the mid West over the next week, and there has been some discussion of cooling your RV in the forum, I thought it would be a good time to talk about any cooling issues that people are having and any "fixes" that they have come up with.

I traded my 2014 Vegas in for a a 2016 Axis this Spring and in the process went from a 15,000 btu A/C to the smaller 13,500 btu A/C, so I have been interested in quick and easy things that I can do to help my smaller A/C cope with the heat.

Heating and cooling is a lot like dieting, it is not just how many calories you put in, but how many calories you burn. Obviously, the less heat you let into the RV, the better chance you have for the cooling system to cool to your requirements. RVs are well enough insulated that at night or if you can get under cover during the day, the cooling system is adequate - pretty much no matter what the outside temperature. It is only when the RV is out in the direct sunlight and the RV skin is heating up and the heat pouring in every opening that the real problems arise.

While it is hard to add insulation to the whole RV, they are many other areas where there are relatively quick and easy fixes that can really help to reduce your inside temperature on a hot day.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:02 PM   #2
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As all of us know who own a Vegas/Axis, while that front windshield is a wonderful way to see the world, on a hot, bright, sunny day, a tremendous amount if heat comes thru that monster. While it is difficult to solve or even help that while underway, as soon as you stop for the day, it is relatively easy to cover up that huge heat source. There have been many discussions of how to do that and I will not go thru them here. While the best is an outside cover I am not willing to carry a ladder and cope with putting on and taking off a large outside cover. If you are, that is the best. I found a relatively cheap ($20) inside reflective shade at Amazon which cover the entire front windshield and installs in a minute. I purchased heavy duty Velcro from my local hardware store (more expensive than the shades) and put a piece the whole way across the top of the windshield. The screens stay in place by themselves, come right down and fold up for storage. Not as efficient as an outside cover, but a lot easier for me.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:03 PM   #3
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Since my iPad will only post single pictures, I will break this up into multiple posts. This is what it looks like. I also purchased two smaller, car windshield size screens that I can use on the side windows on either side of the front. They are also held on with Velcro and go up and down easily.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:10 PM   #4
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The second biggest source if heat in the front if my Axis is from the fan vent. If you stand under the vent on a hot day, you can just feel the heat radiate down on your head. Camping World (and I am sure others) sell a vent cushion for around $10 that fits up into the 14" square vent and keeps most of the heat from coming in. For those who want to try it or don't want to spend the $10-20, the small couch cushions provided by Thor fit fight up into the vent and do the same thing.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:13 PM   #5
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Moving to the rear of the Axis, the next large sound of heat coming into the vehicle is in the bathroom. If you go back there and stand with the doors closed, even with the A/C running, you can feel the heat. A second vent cushion helps some, but you still have the large skylight that is a tremendous heat source. I cut a piece of cardboard the exact size of the top of the skylight, covered it on top with aluminum foil (18" wide fits perfectly) and covered the bottom with sticky shelf paper. For $5 I have a reflective cover that helps keep a good part of the heat out. It 's held up with Velcro dots and easily comes down to take a shower.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:13 PM   #6
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I have a black plastic rain cover over my bedroom vent, so I do not need a cover for that. I also have Sunbrella, blackout window covers for all the bedroom that my wife made for our trip to Alaska which I could use to stop additional heat from coming in there. I think that is probably overkill for the heat, but was great for sleeping.
In addition to these easy fixes, I am careful to regulate where the cool air is going into the RV on a hot day. Closing all the rear vents so that all the cool air goes into the living room really makes a difference. This are my quick, easy and cheap fixes to help cool my RV. I am sure there are others out there that you have thought of that would help.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:23 PM   #7
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I do all the same with the foil when our Axis is in storage: Have 3 big pieces for the front 3 windows, cut up the small piece for the skylight above the shower and put the same foam "plugs" in all the hatches.

I've found that the industrial velcro doesn't hold so well when the RV gets hot (this is in storage so the A/C isn't running). Thus all my attempts to use velcro to hold the foil on work for a few days. My shower skylight cover always falls off now.

My goal for storage, though, is a little different: I'm not trying to keep the heat out I'm trying to keep the UV out. Keeping the UV out will help to prevent the interior fabrics, trim, etc. from fading over time.

I don't use our Sunguard while in storage because I don't want that to deteriorate that quickly either--we use it extensively when camping though.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:32 PM   #8
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My wife likes the RV warmer and she was using her electric blanket this summer while I was sweating in bed. Solution for our 24.1? A cheap little $7 electric fan from Walgreens pointed right at my face while I slept.

Slept like a baby in my rental Vegas!
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:43 PM   #9
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I've always had trouble with the Velcro glue holding in the Florida sun, but I bought some really heavy stuff from 3M that holds together like thin Legos. Both sides are plastic tubes that fit between each other and the 3M glue is such that if you stick it to something by mistake, it will not come off. It has held those two large screens on the front windshields up for a week in the direct hot Florida sun, but we shall see what happens when I try to take them down.
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Old 07-15-2016, 04:05 PM   #10
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i ordered a roll of reflectix from amazon. You can buy it by the roll at lowes or home depot too.
It's basically bubble wrap with a foil coating on both faces

Carefully cut to fit pieces for every window and every roof vent. Cuts easy with scissors or box knife. No need to treat the edges in any way

For the larger windows, it's easy to tape both sides of the seam with foil tape.... like the stuff they use for HVAC duct.... as in duct tape (not to be confused with duck tape)

For the roof vents, I carefully inserted two push pin thumb tacks in the sides of the face frame opening with a little glue, to form little "knobs" that serve to hold the stuff up. Still falls out sometimes since I only put two in each vent. (reminds me I need to do it again for the new fan I installed)

For the windows, I cut it carefully to fit snuggly inside the frames and the reflectix is stiff enough to stay in place.... although I pull the house window blinds down behind it and they really hold it in place..... & I suppose it also hides the ugly shiny foil from view when inside the coach.

I did all this for storage, but we have been tempted a few times to put them in for the heat while camping too.....
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Old 07-15-2016, 05:39 PM   #11
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In addition to modifying your RV, you may also be able to modify your behavior by timing activities differently.

Most air conditioners will have excess capacity in morning and late evening, and may only run short on capacity at mid day through late afternoon. For that reason it's good to reduce heat loads during those hours if possible.

For example, showering adds a lot of load to AC, so early morning or evening will not overwhelm AC as much as showering at 3:00 PM. Cooking also adds a lot of heat to RV. In summer when parked in sun we try to minimize a lot of cooking on stove, or microwave for that matter. Outdoor activities requiring going in and out of RV will also make it warmer. Humidity that gets in will make you feel even warmer.

And let's not forget all the newer RVs with residential refrigerators. Absorption fridges are vented outdoors, but residential units seem to keep all heat inside (I've only seen a couple so please correct me on this if I'm wrong). If correct, the more the fridge is used (door opened), the more load is placed on AC.

Setting the temperature cooler in morning to pre-chill the RV going into afternoon can also help a little bit. It won't be much, but every bit helps when capacity is marginal.
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:36 PM   #12
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All good comments. Fans are a good idea and I have a good 12v fan to use while we are dry camping along with the max fan. I just bought two 115v fans and mounted them over the windshield to use while driving. They hook up to a small inverter mounted on the dog house under the dash. We'll see on our upcoming trip if they were worth the minimal effort and cost.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:03 PM   #13
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We use the O2 Cool fans, sold at CW or Gander Mtn. Also under the Ozark name in the camping section of wally world. Work great and low current draw for those of us that dry camp.
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:18 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by scrubjaysnest View Post
We use the O2 Cool fans, sold at CW or Gander Mtn. Also under the Ozark name in the camping section of wally world. Work great and low current draw for those of us that dry camp.
This one?

O2C 10" Portable Fan with 2-Speed 10" Blade with Built-In Handle - Walmart.com

If so, how long does it run on 6 new batteries?
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:27 PM   #15
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Yep, that's the one we have for dry camping. I bought the 115v ones for upfront because they work do much better than the 12v, and can run off the inverter when the engines running. As far as the O2 fans, they do not run very long on 6 new batteries, but the come with a cord so you can hook them into you 12v house batteries. Then they will run all night or all day.
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Old 07-17-2016, 04:23 AM   #16
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It's always best to keep the heat out in the first place. I use a Sunguard shade on the exterior of the windshield and then I place those folding reflective shades underneath the the Sunguard shade. That keeps the sun from penetrating the windshield and therefore the infrared heat out. I also use the privacy shade for additional insulation.

I have painted the skylight in the shower so that virtually no light gets in, thus eliminating it's greenhouse effect. I first painted it with a dark brown to block light penetration and then covered that in white paint to reflect the light and heat.

When it's really hot I keep the slide outs closed, thus reducing the space that needs to be cooled by the A/C.
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:10 AM   #17
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Like blw2, I use Reflectix.
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Old 07-17-2016, 12:36 PM   #18
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I like the vent cover ideas, makes a lot of sense. Has anyone heard of these?
https://ezsnapdirect.com/

thoughts?
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Old 07-17-2016, 12:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenneth Neal View Post
It's always best to keep the heat out in the first place. I use a Sunguard shade on the exterior of the windshield and then I place those folding reflective shades underneath the the Sunguard shade. That keeps the sun from penetrating the windshield and therefore the infrared heat out. I also use the privacy shade for additional insulation.

I have painted the skylight in the shower so that virtually no light gets in, thus eliminating it's greenhouse effect. I first painted it with a dark brown to block light penetration and then covered that in white paint to reflect the light and heat.

When it's really hot I keep the slide outs closed, thus reducing the space that needs to be cooled by the A/C.
That's an idea I had not thought of, keeping the slides closed or closing them when you leave to reduce the space that needs to be cooled. In the Axis, you can close the pocket door from the bathroom and redirect all the cooling into the front of the RV. If you do that and leave the slide in, you have a very small amount of space to cool. Cool.
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Old 07-17-2016, 12:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Techn0 View Post
I like the vent cover ideas, makes a lot of sense. Has anyone heard of these?
https://ezsnapdirect.com/

thoughts?
We have used the vent cover in the past...those sold at CW ... but am happy to hear that those square pillows which come with the Axis will fit the vent hole !
Make use of those things !!

Driving down the road, we seem happy with the Ford a/c up front..KC, our traveling partner, seems comfortable too !

As I posted on other threads, as a quick fix, we purchased the Adco 2600 windshield cover. It is not very cosmetic, but does the job and is not as difficult to install, as some folks think. (we are OLD and we have no problem)
It is an inexpensive fix for this summer. We plan to buy Textilene and create our own cover this off season.
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