Reducing Heat Inside an RV

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buffs94

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Mar 12, 2005
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13
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Denver, CO
Hi. I'm a newcomer and just bought my first RV. It's an 1984 Class C in extremely excellent condition. I'm planning on going full-time but I also work during the week. I guess that's not really full time then. Basically I'll be living in the RV for the next 8 months or so. My biggest concern right now is my little dog. I'll have to leave him in the RV during the day. I'm not too sure how hot it gets inside. I live in Denver and it gets pretty hot. Not Arizona or Texas hot but hot enough. Are there anyways I can keep it cool enough inside or will I be forced to run the AC all day? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.  :-\
 

Tom

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Jan 13, 2005
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Welcome to the forum. Some of our members are offline for part of today. But keep checking in and I'm sure someone with pets will answer your question.
 

Ned

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I'm familiar with how hot it can get in Denver in the summer.  You will have to run your A/C during the day to keep it cool enough for your dog.  Also have someone watch out for the dog if the power should go out while you're at work so they can take him out of the RV until the power is restored.
 

BruceinFL

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Mar 12, 2005
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You would be surprised how hot it can get in an RV, even in cool weather when the sun is out. I normally leave the AC on with the thermostat set at around 75-78 when we are leaving the dog. Also, let someone know you will be gone so that you can be notified if the electricity takes a dump.
 

Ron

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Home is where we park it
I don't think power outages happen that often but just like in a stick house it does happen and there is no way of predicting when.  Is better to take preventative action or have a backup plan just in case it does.

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Unfortunately power interruptions are notall that  unusual in many RV parks. WIth people moving in and out all the time, breakers are tripped and sometimes power posts get knocked over bycareless drivers.  Or the maintenance staff may have to shut down a section to do a repair or improve something. Typically they are not long, though.

An RV in the open sun heats up just like a car. It takes somewhat longer because the air volume it greate, but over the course of 8-10 hours it can get pretty darn hot inside.  Automatic ceiling vent fans(e.g. Fantastic Vent)  help a lot, but Denver gets hot enough you may need the a/c.

You should also be concerned about the dog barking. Yeah, I know your dog never barks, but being cooped up alone iin a small place all  day may cause him to do things you are unaware of.  Ask your neighbors if they are hear him while you are gone.
 

buffs94

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Mar 12, 2005
Posts
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Denver, CO
Thanks for that info. It is very helpful. My dog is my son. He's usually pretty good about not barking. But then again, I don't know what he does when I'm not around.
 

Pat

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Mar 17, 2005
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Payson AZ
buffs94:

I have a cat and a small, 24-foot RV.  Three years ago I was here in Mesa in August.  The outside temp got up to 111, and inside got up to 120 (no cat at the time, by the way).  I turned on the air conditioner, not realizing that the fan had a high and low setting.  I was VERY new to this.  Anyway, I could not get the temp in here below 115 with the air conditioner running for hours and the fan on low.  I was doing some things wrong and was in direct sunlight.  It was cold by the ceiling and hot half way down.  Imagine the heat down at pet level.  In moderately warm temperatures where it'll get up to 90 or 100 in here, I leave the air on in the cool morning.  It'll kick itself on when the temp rises.  Sometimes I set the air conditioner fan to run fulltime to keep the cool air circulating when the compressor is off.  In cooler weather (between 75 and 80) I let the air conditioner run the fan on auto so the fan stops when the compressor kicks off.  However, I haven't had Missy in here in Arizona heat.  I don't think I'd leave her in this little place, at least not without some kind of shade and other preparations.  She's a cat, so she's asocial and afraid of everything.  Have you considered doggy daycare for your dog?  It's only for 8 months. 

BTW, I have tried keeping both Fantastic Vents open, one pumping in air, both windows open, and the back door open with screen closed.  It can still run up to 90, on a warm (not hot) day.  Leaving windows and doors open invites breakins in some places and certainly doesn't keep out rain.

--pat
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It is nigh unto impossible to keep some RVs cool in full sun on a hot day. The insulation is often minimal, many lack dual-pane glass, some have lots of windows & skylights that allows the sun's rays to heat the inside and air circulation is often poor, especially in rigs without ducted air.  All this adds up to a lot of discomfort and the risk of heat prostration or even death for pets or people.  It may actually be less risk to leave a pet lying in the shade under the RV than to coop it up inside where the enclosed box can turn into an oven and go to 110-140 degrees.

Some things that can be done include:
1. Even the slightest shade on the site helps. Think about where the sun is at mid-day and late afternoon, when it is hottest.
2. Open awnings to shade the windows and walls and thus reduce sun-loading on the interior
3. Put reflective tint on window glass
4. Put foam insulation in ceiling vents. RV stores sell "pillows" designed for a standard 14x14 vent but you can buy 2 inch foam in most any craft or fabric store and cut your own. Even a cloth cover snapped over opening will help quite a bit. Don't forget the shower skylight if you have one.
5. Additional fans will circulate the air and reduce hot spots.
6. Consider closing off unused areas during the day, especially if leaving a pet. Your a/c may be able to keep a smaller area cool.
7. Cut and fit insulating sheets using the 2x3 foam-backed poster boards available in most craft stores, Walmart, etc. This material is 1/4 inch rigid foam and will generally stand on its own in window tracks, entry door, etc.  It dosn't look real shabby and can be stored easily under a matteress or back of a closet.
 

Pat

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Mar 17, 2005
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Payson AZ
buffs94:  I would add to that excellent list that a sun shelter might help if your spot has absolutely no shade.  I just bought a 10x10  EZUp sunshade yesterday.  You can also get pairs of side panels for it.  I'll stand it on the fridge side of my RV, because the sun gets under the awning until late morning and is peeking under the other side by 2:30 or 3 in the afternoon.  I'll clean off and close the awning and use the sunshade (properly staked or weighted down against wind).  I don't know if this will work, because I haven't tried it, and many RV spots don't provide room for such a structure.  In my present winter spot there's plenty of room, assuming none of the neighbors, with nice park model mobile homes, complain that the tent look is tacky.

One problem I'd have with leaving an air conditioner to maintain the temperature is that the appliance might fail, or, like somebody else said, the power might fail.  I'm glad I'm retired.  If I think I can't leave Missy the cat safely, I won't go.  It's not like having to go to work every day.

--pat
 

Karl

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Mar 3, 2005
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Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Just a small addition to Gary's excellent suggestions: If you decide to put reflective film on the windows, make sure you get the type that's specifically designed for RV double-pane use. The film used in cars and available everywhere, can cause excessive heat on the window itself and break the glass. Camping World and other RV specialty shops have the stuff you want.
 

Pat

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Mar 17, 2005
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Payson AZ
People here in Arizona pack up all kinds of insulation around their windows for the summer when the places are closed.  One person found scorch marks along her windowsill where she had insulation against the window and shades or curtains behind the insulation.

--pat
 
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