RVs tend to be a solar oven even without direct sun exposure. And if you enjoy taking your RV to the lake or river as much as we do, you know just how quickly a little direct summertime sun can heat things up. My 32 foot motorhome has 2 roof top a/c units, but it can get up to 120° and higher at the Colorado river along the Ca & AZ boarders. And this happens to be our favorite dry camping location. So keeping things cool inside the RV can be a challenge, even with 2 a/c units running on full blast. Every window and vent opening is nothing more than a place for heat to enter. Add to that windows acting like a magnifying glass, and you are fighting one heck of an up hill battle by 1 hr after sunrise. So here is our solution that seems to make the difference between being tolerable inside the rv to being a fantastically cool or even cold place to retreat from the sun at any time of the day!
Step 1: What You Need
Items you will need:
Roll of reflective insulation stuff
(link to some http://tinyurl.com/ppp3j5r )
elastic I used fabric type in 3 sizes 1/4, 1/2 & 3/4 in width.
These are the basic items needed to complete the project. You can add or subtract items to fit your personal needs and your personality. Read this entire instructable through before starting your own, and you'll see what I mean. Most of all have some fun and stay cool!
Step 2: Measure and Cut
Measure your windows and draw them out on your reflective insulation, like a sewing pattern. To keep costs down (as the insulation can get expensive) you can make a set to fit 1 side of your RV windows. if your RV is like mine, it has matching windows on each side. If you do this you simply use them on the side facing the sun and then move them around midday to the other side. (don't forget to put them back on the sunrise side before going to bed at night) That way you can block out the hottest of the sun. I started with a 1/2 set, but eventually made a complete set to fit all my windows. At up to 120 degrees outside, I find I need to be able to get into a cold RV now and then in order to really beat the heat. And the older I get the more cold time I need. I am sure many of you ladies understand exactly what I mean.
Now that you have cut a sunshade to fit each window. You will want a way to keep them in place.
Step 3: Prepare Window Stays
Keeping the shades in place has been a big challenge over the years. You may be thinking Nah!. In your mind you think velcro, tape, duct tape, magnet, or any other number of ways. And I assure you I have tried most, if not all of those methods. And from experience I can tell you they will most likely fail! Why? GLUE and ADHESIVE. Simply put, you would have to attach those things to your window and your shade somehow. And every thing will melt, heat, dry, crack or in some way be heat effected and fail you. Trust me, I know. But now I have finally come up with the solution. Elastic straps. And this is how I did it.
I used a few widths of elastic, using different sizes depending on the window or vent opening. Did I mention I also made them to fit my rooftop vents?. As they are a huge source of heat also. Skylights too!. Most of my windows are about 32 inches high, so I cut elastic strips at 29 inches long. You will want 2 or 3 for each window, depending on how wide the window is, and how you cut your shades to fit. I cut mine to the exact size of the window, so I can tuck one side into the frame and that end doesn't need a strap. So I put 1 strap on the other end and 1 just off center. If you cut your shades to be larger then the windows by 1/4 inch or more you will need 3 straps for each large window. For my small windows and vents I used the 3/4 width elastic and cut 8 inch lengths to be used diagonally across the corners. After I cut the elastic i dipped the cut ends in glue to prevent fraying and hung them out to dry. For the thin elastic I found the awning arm a great place for drying.
Step 4: Putting Shade Stays in Place for Windows
Once the glue has finished drying I attached an upholstery tack to each end. I folded over the end and pushed the tack through double thickness of elastic to make the hold stronger and add to the fray prevention. At the window I dipped the tack pointed end into the glue, pushed the tack into the wall just above and below the window (one end at a time) then tapped it all the way in with my little girlie hammer. Repeat as needed until all your windows have the necessary number of stays in place. Allow some drying time for the tack glue before use.
Step 5: Putting Shade Stays in Place for Rooftop Vents and Small Wondows
Attaching the stays for small windows and vents is about the same except I used 4 on each running diagonally across the corners. And I used the thicker 3/4 inch elastic.