Guide to RV Insulation 101

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With extreme temperatures comes the dangers of unsuitable living conditions. Insulators come as a relief in such conditions. In countries closer to the North Pole, temperatures drop unfathomably low. Life becomes challenging. The only means to survive is resorting to insulating the houses or trailers, wherever people reside.

Insulation, particularly thermal insulation, is a term used for products that erect a barrier between the areas with a temperature difference and reduce loss or gain of heat. Some, like the foam insulators, provides both insulations as well as soundproofing of the house. These mechanisms prevent the house from being heated up during summers and keep it warm in winters.

Insulation comes in different kinds: wall, roof, acoustic and underfloor insulation. The chief purpose of thermal insulation is to maintain a hygienic and warm indoor climate under extreme temperature conditions. Insulators help the environment by decreasing the heating demand and protect the elements from moisture related damages.

The insulation materials are an assortment of fiberglass, rigid foam boards, cellulose, natural fibers. Such bulky fibers reduce conductive heat inflow. Magnetic insulators are arguably the electric insulators used to shield magnetic or electric fields.

For those who live on spontaneity, the adventures come at a great cost. While you may find camping, during the winter, thrilling, it might not be so. Camping out in a trailer brings a key absence in mind- lack of insulation. RVs possess a heater or an air conditioner feature, but small trailers usually are lacking in that department. Trailers sound cool, but you would rarely find the owners get the credit for the facilities constructed.

Overview:

The awareness of insulation is startling. People show their concern both for their comfort as well as the environment. Each RV insulation has an R-value. This particular feature overlooks the efficiency of insulation in maintaining an even temperature. In simpler words, the higher the R-value, the better is the insulation.

There are a few points you need to remember when insulating your RV:

  • An upgraded version of polystyrene, polyurethane is more effective as it has a higher R-value of R-18 and provides better insulation.
  • Avoid paper-faced insulation for the walls, as it proves to be difficult when creating a system to hold back the condensation.
  • The fiberglass batts can be easily torn off to heatproof the area around electrical cables.
  • Gaps allowing air passage occur whenever you encircle the fiberglass around the electrical boxes or crumple it behind them.
  • Measure and cut a fiberglass batt for an exact fit.
  • If your RV is chilly, you can use a leak detector for heat. This tool, functioning on battery, employs infrared sensors to detect patches that are either warmer or colder than its milieu, indicating an air leak. Just by pointing, the leak detector finds a cold or warm spot and the LED light changes from green to red (warm) or blue (cold).
  • The moment you try to fit a batt into narrow spaces, it generates numerous air pockets, thus, sinking the R-value.
  • Do not pull the nails or screws out of a window, instead, run a saw between the window and the framing. The fasteners, as well as the foam, can be cut together. 
  • If you need to build or rebuild, but are facing moisture problems, use materials that resist fungus growth and aren’t affected by water.
  • Insulate the exterior walls to prevent condensation. But do not cover the walls with insulation if water is leaking in from outside.
  • You might find a necessity for an expanding foam to cork the electrical wire holes, along with a caulk gun while installing boxes when you are moving around to work on the bigger air leaks.

Need for insulation:

Insulation is a crucial proficient way to conserve energy. If you have a knack of pushing your limits, make sure your RV is well stocked in insulation before hunkering down on the extreme climates.

It will stand as a formidable fortitude between your RV and the harshness of the climate, be it the scorching heat or biting cold. Protection does not come only in regard to the temperature control but also in terms of reducing noise pollution.

The cost involved in such expenses depends on the size and age of the RV. Whether it would require more insulation or less, and the type will determine the amount of the bill you will have to foot.

Types of insulation:

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Fiberglass and foam insulation are the two primary types available with different R values. Moreover, insulators have structural similarities with wood, having small pockets of air. Fabrics like cotton, used as curtains, are great insulators.

Fiberglass: is the commonly used insulation material as it is proven to be the best for maintaining temperature consistencies. Ranking at the top with the highest R-value and affordability, it is generally furnished in most of the RVs, particularly the latest ones. However, not everything remains the best forever. These fiberglass insulation materials have a short lifespan. It is subject to moisture saturation followed by a growth of fungus and a musty smell around the RV, potentially risking the health of the camper. The owners of such insulations should avoid moving around in different climatic conditions, especially going to the extremely humid temperatures.

Rigid Foam: an invariable DIY venture, rigid foam comes in various thickness and have to be cut according to the required size and fitted into the areas. No RV comes with rigid foams installed, hence, you have to get down in the dirt along with a can of caulk gun and industrial tape and fix them to the walls. The foam has to be fitted tightly into the studs on the wall to avoid airflow. Although having a mediocre R-value, it is suitable for those who change climate frequently and possess the appropriate amount of experience.

Spray Foam: with the same R-value as that of the Rigid Foam, Spray Foam is best for those who avoid extreme temperatures with lightweight RVs. This low-cost insulation method is simple enough for a novice to use the applicator and spray directly onto the walls of the RV. With a longer life span, it is moisture-repellent and extraordinarily lightweight. Although this insulation is compacted firmly with itself, creating an airtight blockade for temperature, steam, and even sound; it emits a distinct unfavorable smell that sticks around for more than a week.

Choosing correct insulation depends on your goals with your RV. Hunting down RV sporting insulation of your choice has become easy.

Insulation methods:

Some RV’s insulation might leave you wanting, but fortunately, there are ways to improve them. Here are four key areas that advice on how to insulate an RV in a way that will make your RV more energy efficient.

Windows and doors:

Older RVs tend to get a little chilly, especially around the doors and windows, indicating a dire need for an upgrade. As they are less protected than the exterior of the RV latest energy-efficient technologies might help in turning up the insulation value. Low-cost insulation involves re-sealing of windows and adding solar curtains. Replacing the worn out weather strip on the sides of the door will prevent the inflow of air.

RV Skirting:

Yes, RV skirting entails covering the underside with a ginormous skirt. An underutilized insulation procedure puts a barrier that prohibits the outer elements from damaging the RV belly. Campers who used this tactic praise its laudable mechanism to keep the rig warm using less propane and a steady reduction of temperature in the interior. Skirts provide a greater R-value during the winter months and are customized to fit the different forms of RVs.

RV Exterior:

Although a skirt is believed to prevent the chill from entering into the RV, it is recommended to check the underside for any leakage or gaps. Gaping holes can exist near the hoses and pipes, which have a high chance of going unnoticed. Aerosol foam helps in reducing such gaps. In case of an additional element, a motor home, is tugged along. You need to be aware of the seals on the storage compartment doors- which, if receives any cracks, might allow the outside cold air to enter into the RV cabin.

RV Vents:

Winters will advise you to stuff the vents of the RV with foam boards. You can also purchase vent covers online to stop the outflow and inflow of air through vents.

Beat the Frost with the Best Cold Weather RVs

It is always beneficial to know the areas which coax the entrance and exit of cold air into the RV-windows, doors, undercarriage, storage compartments etc. Simple adjustments and alternative methods to improve insulation, depend mainly on the type of RV you possess.

RV insulation for summer:

Summer brings scorching heat and high temperatures leading you to feel boiled up in your RV, if not properly insulated. Imagine going on a camping trip down the Rockies with temperatures shooting sky high, you will end up being baked in the oven if the RV lacks cooling mechanisms.

Reflectix Foil insulation is a known solution in such paramount conditions. They come as silver bubble bundled up, which are fastened onto the windows. Apart from the general insulation techniques, you can insulate the vent and skylight to prevent the cool air from escaping. Minimize opening the door unnecessarily and using any electronic gadgets; instead, turn on the fan and the air conditioner even before the temperature starts rising outside.

Skirting the RV during summer is another hack to prevent the rig from heating up. A thorough check to detect any unseen gaps which might result in the inflow of hot air turns fruitful if immediately taken care of. Parking an RV already has numerous challenges, summertime comes with another significant one- availability of proper shade. A tree cover or a man-made tent, it will help in keeping the rig cool and the air conditioning unit will tend to work more efficiently. Shades require to be pulled down along with the awnings on the windows. Rolling them up and down might feel strenuous, but the result is worthwhile.

Insulate the water hose with Styrofoam or wooden blocks to save it from being weathered. Any meals requiring heat can be taken outside; setting up the stove, burner or grill away from the rig is an additional cooling advantage. It is of utmost importance to be mindful of opening the RV door during cooking period. Regular servicing of the air conditioning system and cleaning the filters lead to a much better result. Carry portable fans of mobile size, it can be fixed anywhere around the RV and used for superior air circulation, and use the LED lightbulbs instead of the incandescent ones. The LEDs create less heat, use less energy, but provides a brighter outcome for the campers.

Insulating your RV during the summer is both budgets friendly and requires minimal handy work unlike during winters. Relying more on everyday technologies and nature, most of the novices prefer camping trips during the summer. With long vacations and barbecues, it proves to be an ideal time for family bonding. Taking your pets along become hassle-free as all you have to mind is the rig being kept cool.

Nevertheless, the experienced, hardcore campers prefer winter camping over the summers. With blazing campfires and minimal trouble of insects, they feel more connected to nature. Starry skies, glimpses of the Northern Lights, the thrill of animal watching and splurging on top quality gears are precisely the few reasons attracting campers all around the world.

However, the camping trips are incomplete without the plush accommodations of an RV. With adequate insulation, comfortable camping is at your fingertips. The adventures of doing something out-of-box deserves a quiet and peaceful living to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Improvements in health are a startling reality; the fresh air and nature around improve digestion, immunity and blood pressure.

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