Learn from RVillage members about RV cooling and heating systems.


Staying cool in an RV is one of the biggest challenges. RVillagers complain that even rigs outfitted with a "four season package" seem to have non-existent insulation. When the outdoor temperature exceeds 90 degrees (F), you may want to move on to a cooler climate—or simply understand that RV air conditioning is not going to keep up!

View responses.

If you're going to be traveling cross-country during the warmest parts of the year (late spring through early autumn), you may want to choose a more northerly route; and if you're driving a motorhome, many RVillagers report running their generator and the "house" air conditioning while rolling down the road to keep things cool inside.

Getting parked and plugged in before the hottest part of the day is advised.

Or find other ways to stay cool...

Check out these ideas.

You can also keep the sun out of the windows with these tips, or add a sunshade to the awning.

Types of cooling units

Roof-top air conditioner. Photo: Coleman

Rooftop air conditioner
The most commonly-used was to stay cool. RVillagers have LOTS of information to share about these units:

Issues and possible solutions with rooftop units
Just when you need it most...

See all the helpful advice offered.

Watch those settings: "On" and "Auto" behave quite differently.

Water leaking around or into the unit? See trouble-shooting tips here and also here. It could be a drainage issue.

Check out these ideas!

Humidity can be challenging for RV air conditioners:

RVillagers offer their tips.

SoftStart technology for your A/C

SoftStart device for air conditioner. Photo: SoftStartRV

Use this device to run TWO or more air conditioner units on a 30 amp circuit, or dry camp with a smaller generator. Learn more here (and purchase with an RVillage discount).

Watch a video by Mike Sokol explaining the SoftStartRV.

Non-ducted A/C
Have a Coleman Mach non-ducted unit? Learn more about these from RVillagers.

Roof vent fans

Multi-speed bi-directional fan that fits the standard RV roof vent opening. Photo: Fan-Tastic

The two most popular brands of roof fans are Fan-Tastic and Maxx Air, each offering a range of similar functions & features. RVillagers rave about what they love about these over the standard RV roof vents.

How hard is it to install a roof fan?

Watch a video of Mark Polk installing a Maxx Air fan.

Heat pumps

Despite the name, these units also produce cooling. Learn more here. However, they do have limitations in heat production.


Propane heaters

RV propane furnace. Photo: Atwood

The most common form of heating found in an RV is the built-in propane furnace. They put out a lot of BTUs—however they can be propane guzzlers, and RVillagers report that they vent almost as much of the heat outdoors! The fan uses a lot of battery power as well (not so good when boondocking). The good news is that a 10- or 20-minute blast from the furnace will heat the house up quickly, unlike small space heaters.

Favorite stand-alone propane space heaters are the Mr. Heater "Buddy", and the Olympic Wave-3 catalytic heater. See suggestions for more types of space heaters.

Get LOTS more information in this Related post: Propane heat.


Doesn't that look cozy? Photo: Yoopers Don & Mary

A popular and aesthetically pleasing way to get some heat in less-cold climates is an electric fireplace.

See this clever space-saving tip for a pull-out fireplace/drawer.

Alternative sources of heat

Cubic airtight wood stove installed in a bus. Photo: chris an tami carslake

You could get adventurous and try other sources of heat, such as pellet, diesel, or wood stoves. Be sure to install safely with proper wall (and roof) clearance and ventilation.

Check out this ambitious project: self-installed heated flooring!

Get more tips for heating things up in this related post: Snowbirds RVing in the Snow?!

How do you keep your furry family members warm?

A few ideas here.


RV thermostat. Photo: Airxcel

The heart of the cooling and heating system. Whether standard or digital, this simple device makes all the difference in your comfort!

Can you replace / upgrade your thermostat? Check out this info. It's even possible to calibrate the sensors. You may need to blow the dust out of it at times!:

RVillage groups

Join some helpful groups to find answers and offer solutions!

   Return to The Guide Chapter: RV Utilities

Disclaimer: The information gathered here is compiled from the posts and opinions of RVillagers, and not of RVillage itself. RVillage assumes no responsibility for any inaccuracies or omissions.

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