Mark Polk

Editor’s Note: The following story by Mark Polk offering tips on proper air conditioner maintenance and usage appears in the latest edition of RV Education 101. To read the entire issue click here.

It seems like we were just talking about how to stay warm in our RV and now we are talking about how to stay cool. Time flies when you are having fun!

For lots of folks the summer months are the most enjoyable to get out and use their RVs. Having fun in the sun is great, but when it gets hot outside you want your RV to be ready to deal with all the heat.

Fortunately there are several things we can do to make our summer RV camping trips more pleasurable.

For starters when you arrive at your camping destination strategically park your RV to take advantage of any shade 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 air conditioner will work more efficiently too.

You can also improve your RV air conditioner 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 using a small hand-held vacuum cleaner. I recommend you keep a new set of filters on hand in the event the old filters have seen better days.

Use your main patio awning and any window awnings to assist in keeping the interior cool. In addition to the awnings use your window blinds, or day/night shades to help keep the sun out and the cooler air in.

Campground voltage can fluctuate, especially during the hot summer months when all the campers are running their air conditioners, placing a higher demand on the campground electricity. You should monitor the voltage coming into your RV with a digital voltmeter or use some type of a surge protector. 

If voltage drops below 105-volts or goes above 130-volts turn your appliances and electronic equipment off until proper voltage is restored. Some of the more advanced surge protectors do this automatically.
You can increase the efficiency of your RV refrigerator by installing a vent fan that is thermostatically controlled. If you are mechanically inclined these fans are fairly simple to install, or you can have your local RV dealer install one for you. Either way it’s worth it. Removing heat from behind the refrigerator can improve performance by up to 40 percent.
Another ingredient to help keep your RV cool is proper ventilation. Proper ventilation helps prevent excess heat from building up in your RV. You can install vent covers, like Maxx Air vents 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. I use a vent cover on each end of our RV to help promote cross ventilation.