When you live in your camper or travel trailer for more than a weekend escape to the resort on Lake Ontario, energy bills can begin to pile up as you churn through propane tanks and watch your electric meter pick up speed. Improve the comfort level of your mobile vacation home by taking some steps to make it more energy efficient.
Insulating Your Rig for Year-Round Comfort
Even if you typically leave our cooler climate for warmer trips down south, remember that insulation provides benefits for both seasons. A properly insulated rig will keep out steamy heat and frigid cold.
Windows are one of the largest sources of heat loss in your RV. Investing in double-glazed windows will make a significant improvement to the comfort of your mobile home and lower your energy bill. You can DIY this job with a double-glazing kit. For your older rig, applying a new bead of caulk around your windows can seal leaks.
Install a Skirt
Think of all that cold air snuggling up to the floor of your RV. A skirt blocks the wind and snow while providing a large air cushion to better insulate the belly of your beast. It may take an extra half-hour to deploy at your site, but it will help to win the battle against the cold.
Wrapping Pipes and Sealing Gaps
Some inexpensive pipe insulation and pipe wrap found at Home Hardware will lower your demand for the water heater and protect the RV against burst pipes. During the warm months, turn on all the lights inside and open the cupboards. Go under the rig and look for light around pipes and heating ducts. Add some foam or duct tape to block the holes.
Look up for More Heat Loss
Remember that skylight in the shower and the pop-up vents? Put your hand up there and feel the cold seeping inside. Cut a piece of rigid foam insulation and secure it with gaffer tape to seal up that gap.
Living Off the Grid and Maximizing Your Power Supply
For those of us RVers that love to park on the edge of vast parks and wild spaces, energy conservation is always on your mind. Live more comfortably and take full advantage of the amenities offered in your fifth-wheel with these affordable upgrades and tips.
Unplug to Save Energy
When you are relying on your battery and generator, make sure to shut off as many electrical appliances as possible when you leave the camper for the day. Even the clock on the old VCR will eat away at your battery. The less power that your battery uses, the less power it takes to recharge.
Cooking with Kettles and Ovens and Campfires
Why does it take just a minute or two to boil water in a kettle? Because it does not lose heat from a large open surface, like in a big pot for pasta. Reduce energy usage for cooking by using lids on pots, boil water in a kettle, and bake in the oven. The oven doubles as a source of heat for the living area for an hour or two after you are done with the meal.
If you are trying to save on propane but have a campfire planned for s’mores–think about doing the old hot dog and pot of stew over the fire.
LED Lighting is Your Friend
Living in a Class A rarely means that you are happy to live by flashlight. You can reduce your electricity usage for lighting by up to 80% if you switch out all your cabin lights with low-voltage LEDs. You can even find party lights with the new technology, greatly reducing the demand placed on your battery.
Solar Panels to Provide a Trickle Charge
Adding a solar panel setup to your RV can be a significant investment. But it is actually less than the cost of an upscale generator. When properly aimed, the solar panel can recharge your battery during the day, lowering your need to use more gas when you get back from explorations.
Add a Second Battery
Double your available power supply by adding a second battery. For a couple of hundred dollars, you just halved your demand for fossil fuels and when properly maintained, you can get years of service from that extra battery.
The Electric Hook-Up is Your Friend
When you compare propane-powered appliances vs. electrical versions, electric wins the energy-efficient battle every time. If you are staying at a campground or RV resort, take full advantage of that electrical hook-up by switching over the refrigerator, using space heaters on cool autumn nights, and even cooking on a hot plate or induction stove.
Make sure to visit our blog for more DIY ideas to improve your RV and ways to maximize your enjoyment of the open road.
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