Monday, September 24, 2018

Keeping Cool in the South while RVing

Dear Miss Mermaid...

Do you have any tips to keep the rv cooler and - or keep the air conditioner working as well ( read as cheap) as possible? Living in our 5th wheel in Alabama, after living in Northern Michigan is taking a toll on me. Our Electric bill is so high due to the air conditioning. I have 2 dogs and one is an older English Bulldog, Iz needs the rv kept as cool as I can afford as the heat is very hard on Bulldogs. If you did a blog post on keeping cool I would so love it. I don't know how you feel about sharing the expertise you have, but thank you for the blog as it is. I love it.

Thank you for your comments and postings.  I am flattered you love my blog.  You make me bush blush blush.



I hardly know what I am doing but it's a grand adventure for sure. Here are some of my tips that might help you and your fur babies chill out.

Staying cool in an RV is never easy in the summer months especially in the south. Many RV's are not built to be eco-friendly. This puzzles me in this day and age, but it's the way the dominant manufacturers seem to do things.

Keeping dogs cool means lots of fresh water to drink. Mine slobbers and drops fur from his mutt-stache in the water bowl. I change his water out often to encourage him to drink lots of it. Then there are doggy baths to help cool the creatures.

Next is technology which for pets has soared over the years. Your bulldog might benefit from a cooling pad made for canines. Amazon sells a huge assortment. 

It may take some training and encouragement. Some dogs are suspect over newfangled things while other readily take to it. Mine will do most anything if a toy or treat or cheese is involved.

OK, now to cooling that RV for everybody.

First off is geography. If you can get to a higher elevation (mountains) and enjoy cooler weather, all the better. Some of the coolest places to camp in the south often come without modern techno amenities. Remote mountain camps that can't provide wifi or TV, though this seems to be changing as technology and cell towers are spreading far and wide. Still some companies don't want to serve low volume areas. Profits are paramount. So you may need to adjust your lifestyle to enjoy a cooler elevation.

Camping under trees is a lot cooler than in unshaded areas. Sadly many RV parks are being built without consideration for landscaping and some resemble a cramped Walmart parking lot with no trees or grass at all. Don't commit to a long term stay at a place until you have reviewed it in person. No need getting stuck financially in a less than ideal park if it means you can't cool the RV to your liking.

Keeping your awning out and open as much as possible will throw shade on the side of the RV and assist a great deal. If you fridge is on the awning side this helps the fridge cool better. Most RV's come with absorption refrigerators that run off propane or electric. Sadly the electric portion really draws a load of electricity. It's not near as efficient as typical home electric only fridges that are not the absorption type. So part of you high electric bill may be the gas/electric fridge.

Then there is the RV itself. You can close up all the shades as much as possible. For me though, I need my natural light, so my shades are up when the sun is up. Personal tastes. I do know I could save on cooling if I closed the shades. I sometimes do that when I am gone if the pooch is with me. He loves his window views as much as I do, so if I am leaving him home alone, the shades are up for his patrolling.

My motorhome did not have tinted windows, but my 5th wheel came with tinted windows. These do keep fabrics from fading and help somewhat with the heat. However it's easy to add some UV protection to help with cooling costs with static cling window treatments you can do yourself with water and a small squeegee or credit card. The key words are static or non-adhesive. I used some static cling to do a stained glass window in my motorhome's bathroom window. It was stunning. When I sold the motorhome, it had been on there 7+ years without failing.

Check out these static non-adhesive window films that are made to repel the UV rays and help cool your rig.


Pets and people put out humidity. A lot of humidity! So all of you being inside will raise the inside humidity faster than you realize. I looked into running a dehumidifier plus air conditioner but from what I learned, the dehumidifier makes the AC work harder. However, you can run a dehumidifier in the basement area, to help keep the humidity chased out of there.  You do need electricity access and the dehumidifier will need some room for it's fan to work. Luckily they come in all sizes. You will need to empty the water collection daily. They have an auto shut-off if the water is full. I use one in my storage shed, because I am in and out of there a lot cobbling together various projects.

If you can make room for a fan in your RV, the effect is amazing. Fans come in all sizes. Test the fan before purchasing if at all possible. Many oversea manufacturers have redesigned fan blades that spin around but don't push any air. DUH.

In my 5th wheel I use a unique bladeless super efficient portable fan. It's billed as  a pureFlow QT7- Bladeless 90 degree Oscillation Fan-Safe Energy Efficient-Powerful-Quiet Airflow-12 Fan Speeds by GreenTech Environmental. For me, it's done an outstanding job. I am able to keep my AC at much a higher temperature setting then turn on this oscillating fan that is powerful and quiet. It fits neatly in a corner where I mostly keep it yet blows out a powerful breeze circulating the air and giving the illusion that the room is much cooler than what the thermometer reads. It even comes with a tiny remote control. I use mine in the bedroom in a corner on a cabinet across from the bed, so the remote is super handy for adjusting it without getting out of bed. My dog sleeps next to it on the cabinet when I nap in the heat of the day, so it's canine approved.

If space is tight (like it was in my motorhome) I had good experience with 6 inch trucker fans for 12volt such as those made by Roadpro that work really well. Most come with a clamp or the option to mount it somewhere with screws. In my motorhome, I had two of these fans and enjoyed them.  I was using the 12 volt TV outlet to power mine, since my TV was using regular 110 plug.They put out a lot of wind for pennies.

One way to lower the humidity indoors is more time outdoors. What an oxymoron. My many years of living in the Caribbean where the trade winds were fairly constant might have turned me into a fan-oholic since moving to America where tradewinds are not prevalent. On my sailboat which I lived aboard for over a decade, I had emergency 12 volt fans. When I had to close up the boat for rain squalls, I would turn them on to keep cool until I could open the hatches again.

While workamping and regular camping, I enjoyed a lot of time outdoors under my awning. I ended up using a fan outdoors. I fondly call it electric wind. As a bonus, if it's buggy, it chases off the mosquitoes.  I cover it in plastic when not in use or I put it away to help protect it from the elements.

Supplmenting your AC with fans can keep your family cool without running the AC at full tilt boogie. The fan positioned to cool you or the dogs gives off the illusion of much cooler feeling. If your Ac unit has a choice of auto fan, then use that setting. My auto fan function on my AC unit means that the fan is adjusted by the temperature. When the compressor is off, the AC fan turns off but my portable fan is still running (aimed at me) so there is the illusion of being much cooler.

You can close up the entire RV, pull down all the shades and cover all the skylights with special pillows or insulation. This is a bit extreme and can be very depressing. Humans need natural sunlight to promote emotional well being. So it is a trade-off.

Skylight pillows type insulators can block the sun and heat especially if you are parked in full sun.
Another thing I try to remember is that when I am leaving the RV for a few hours, I turn up the Ac to a higher temperature setting. The RV is still plenty cool when I return. Normally when I am home, I am in and out of the RV many times a day, so I know I lose a lot of AC going in and out so much.

The AC and keeping cool is a matter of personal preferences and choices. I find relying on fans to assist in the illusion of being much cooler to help the most and my power  bill has been somewhat reasonable.

Thank you for stopping by today and thank you to all my gentle readers for your comments, suggestions and questions. 



  1. Lots of good tips. And yes those sky lights are really bad. I had them in a trailer and had to cover them over but I just bought a throw pillow to stick up there much cheaper. I think I also put a piece of art board first before the pillow it sure made a big difference. Here at home I do close up my house to try to keep my bill down and yes it is very depressing. But in triple digit heat its a must

  2. Thank You Thank You Thank You !!! I got some great tips from you. When I have some funds I can use I will get a cooling pad for Iz (the bulldog)

    I have used that stain glass cling film in the past. There were some windows I wanted to block the view in my old home in Michigan. I will also get some of that. As I recall they had some darkish ones that you could see out of. I found it at one of the building supply stores. I forgot all about that stuff.

    Thank You so much for taking the time to do this, your a big help to so many!
    Hugs, Sandra

  3. roof coatings. happy birthday. raz

  4. Keeping cool in the South while RVing can be a challenge, especially in the scorching summer months. Resident Artist Latent It's essential to have reliable air conditioning, ample shade, and good insulation.


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