Keep Your Camper Warm With The Right RV Insulation
The weather is cooling down, and it’s time to start thinking about getting your RV ready for winter. Most RV insulation will do a decent job at keeping the heat in and the cold out, but there are always things you can do to keep your vehicle nice and warm this season.
If you use your RV all year long, it’s important to have good insulation. This will help during both hot and cold weather, so it’s a worthwhile investment. Most RVs have some basic insulation when you buy them, but you can make them more resilient to temperature changes if you take a few steps of your own.
Below, we have a few tips that will help you improve your RV insulation and stay warm this winter. So grab a warm drink, turn on the heater, and get ready for the coziest winter of your life!
First off, turn your attention toward your RV windows. Most trailers have at least a few windows, and some models have them lining every wall. Windows are great for ventilation, natural lights, and enjoying the scenic views of your destinations.
However, glass is a pretty weak insulator. Heat can pass in and out of your vehicle if you have a lot of exposed windows. If you have dual-paned windows, this will help you reduce the amount of heat lost. But not every RV is equipped with these, and it can be expensive to get them installed.
If you want an easy solution, try covering up your windows when you want to conserve heat. If your windows are covered with an insulating layer, they won’t leak heat nearly as much. You can opt for custom-made covers, or you can use DIY methods. Reflective insulation like Reflectix works well and is easy to set up in RV windows. Anything works as long as it adds an extra layer.
You can make window covers out of cardboard, styrofoam, or fabric. Even a folded towel will provide a nice additional layer! Curtains or blinds aren’t as effective, but they still provide a barrier between the window and the rest of the RV.
Replace weather strips
Next up, let’s look at the door. RV doors are equipped with a weather strip that forms a seal around the sides of the door. These can become battered and worn down over time, especially if you open and close the door a lot.
When you want to improve your RV insulation, look carefully at the weather strip. Search for any gaps or holes. If you feel a draft coming through the crack, that’s a major giveaway that it’s time to replace the weather strip.
Your vehicle might require a special type of weather strip, but you might want to get this MAGZO Foam Weather Stripping if you want a reliable, all-purpose product. If you plan to use your RV throughout the winter, it’s a good habit to replace the weather strip on a seasonal basis. Keep some spare strips on hand so you can patch up holes as needed.
Use vent covers
Vents help keep your RV clean, dry, and well-ventilated. However, they can also let in cold air during the winter. They can be a major chink in your RV insulation armor. Therefore, it’s important to be able to cover them up when necessary.
Once again, you can usually buy custom vent covers for your RV or make your own. Sometimes they come with your vehicle when you buy it, so make sure you properly inventory all your accessories.
Simply place the cover over the vent when it’s not in use and remove it when you need to get rid of excessive heat or humidity. You don’t need to have your vents covered all the time, but it’s a good idea to keep the covers on as a default during the winter.
Seal up any cracks or holes
There are other areas where cold air can leak into your RV. Small cracks, holes, or rips on the inside and outside can lead to major problems. Make sure you properly check and seal your roof during the winter because a buildup of snow and ice can lead to major damage. Once water leaks into your structure, it can create the perfect conditions for mold, rot, and other types of damage.
Keep a supply of caulk on hand as you search for weaknesses in your RV insulation. Use it to plug up any broken or damaged areas. Your windows, doors, and exterior vents are some of the most important places to check. If you can seal up weak spots, you’ll be able to retain heat much more easily.
Invest in rugs and carpet
Nobody likes to deal with cold feet! The walls and ceiling of an RV are usually the primary focus when insulation is installed, so the floors may be colder than you would like. Although this isn’t a major problem, it can be annoying and uncomfortable. Therefore, you might want to take extra steps to bulk up the insulation of your floors.
Rugs and carpeting provide a warm, buffering layer. Plus, they’re comfortable to walk on and can add a bit of style to your RV. It’s also possible to install heated floor panels, but these tend to be expensive and difficult to add. Rugs and carpets are an easy and fun way to keep your feet warm on cold winter days.
Keep the underbelly warm
RV underbellies are vulnerable to cold temperatures. If they’re not properly insulated, your pipes can freeze, and your water heater can become damaged. Additionally, a cold underbelly will lead to colder floors, which we mentioned in the point above.
It’s a good idea to buy an RV with an enclosed and heated underbelly. You can pay for this to be done specially, but it’s nice to have a vehicle that already has it installed.
If you want to protect it in other ways, you can wrap heat tape around your pipes and cover the underbelly with blankets for some DIY insulation.
Create/buy RV skirting
Speaking of keeping the underbelly warm, let’s talk about RV skirting. Skirting provides a protective layer underneath your RV and insulates it against major temperature changes. It also prevents snow from blowing underneath your vehicle.
Many manufacturers can sell you RV skirting, but there are tons of DIY methods that you can use as well. You can make skirting panels out of plastic, vinyl, tarps, plywood, and much more. If you want to go even cheaper, you can pile dirt or snow around your RV to protect the underbelly. These methods are a bit messier, but they still get the job done.
A nice all-around option is an inflatable RV skirt. You just push this under the vehicle and inflate it. The skirt fits around your underbelly and prevents snow or ice from forming on the surface.
Use space heaters
Finally, you can heat up your RV by using space heaters. These don’t necessarily improve your RV insulation, but they do keep you warm. You also don’t need to rely on your A/C system or a fireplace.
Space heaters are perfect for RVs because they can easily heat up a small, enclosed space. Depending on the size of your vehicle, one of two heaters should do the trick. A gas-powered heater like the Mr. Heater F232000 can run even when your RV is powered down. If you don’t want to drain your battery, a portable model like this is a great option!
Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.