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rv trips & travel

How To Increase Airflow In An RV

The open road and ability to adventure in an RV are great feelings. Your RV feels like a second home that is different in some ways. One challenge in making an RV truly feel like home is having adequate air circulating.

RV travelers tend to travel away from cold weather and find themselves in warmer climates. These warmer climates also tend to be dustier. Either way, RV AC units are known to have some issues with cooling down an RV quickly and moving air around in a way you would have at home.

Increasingly the air flow in your RV is often as simple as adding ducts to your existing vents. You could also consider adding fans, changing filters, or using your windows and doors to add air. Another option is to switch your types of lightbulbs.

Adding an air conditioner

Not every RV has an air conditioner, especially smaller RVS. You can, however, have an air conditioner added. Most travel centers and RV repair places will add an air conditioner, generally to your roof.

If you don’t have an air conditioner in your roof, that is definitely the first step to adding more serious airflow to the RV. Otherwise, the RV is limited to what the vents in the dashboard are capable of providing for additional air.

Since there is a good chance your RV already has an air conditioner built in, we can talk more about what to do if you already have one.

Adding vents to your air conditioner

Compact air conditioners normally have vents on the sides that allow the cold air to come out. Sometimes these air vents are’t especially efficient.

RV owners can purchase additional vents for an RV and add them to the bottom of the AC if there is space available.

How? Well, first read the instruction manual both for the vents and for the AC. Second, one of the easiest ways is to unplug and detach your AC. You’ll want to cut holes the size of the vent in the bottom of the AC. You can then install a vent in those places.

New vents also often give the option to turn the direction of the air or turn on and off. 

Clean your air vents and filters

Blocked up air vents and filters can have a big impact on air flow. Messy air vents can cause the itself to become dirty, and in some cases, just stop flowing. An RV owner might gradually notice this issue and not realize the vents are getting blocked into the RV feels too warm. You can readily can out your RV’s vents using a vacuum, snake, or other devices you can get at a hardware store.

Your air filters are also quite important as they remove dust and debris from the air, on a small, not visible level. Air filters can greatly improve the quality of your air, but when they catch too much stuff like dust, they are rendered ineffective. They might not even let much air through.

Consult your RVs manual to learn where you air filters are. Remove them and either replace or clean. You might notice a difference in air flow as well as smell.

Use fans to increase airflow in your RV

One very easy method of adding airflow to your RV without modifying much of anything is using fans. Fans can be solar powered, battery operated, or plug in, so you can pick one best suits your kind of RV and setup.

An oscillating fan can do wonders for moving air around a room, especially in the heat. Fans can also be quieter than your air conditioner. They are quite useful when it’s not so hot, instead of AC.

If your objective is really airflow, fans are among your first choice and option. In addition to moving air around the RV, they can help cool down too. They are also far less intensive than adding air ducts to your air conditioner and much less expensive than a whole air conditioning unit.

Open some windows

If fans don’t quite fit your needs and you’d rather pull in fresh air, simply opening the windows is a free way to make the air flow better. Most windows on an RV open from the inside, and some can open pretty wide to be more accommodating to more air, faster. 

Parking the right way and airflow

Airflow and warm air are usually pretty related. A lack of airflow can make your RV feel warm and stale. Warm air doesn’t help this.

Try to park your RV in the shade or in a shadow. Avoid parking in direct sunlight because the air temperature under direct heat is hotter than when parked next to a tree. Direct sunlight will make your RV feel warmer too, and reduce the effectiveness of an attempt to increase airflow.

LED lightbulbs in your RV

What do lightbulbs have to do with your RV and airflow? More than you might think. Incandescent lightbulbs produce more heat then LED lightbulbs, which are pretty cool. Your RV’s fans and air conditioner will always be fighting a source of heat inside your RV when you use the wrong kind of lightbulbs.

LED lightbulbs increase air efficiency by making the whole RV potentially cooler rather than adding heat. They are also reasonably inexpensive and last a longer time than incandescent.


RV airflow can be improved greatly in just a couple steps. RV owners will want either a fan or some hardware to clean their vents. In situations where the air conditioner itself is not working efficiently, cleaning the air conditioner or adding additional vents to the bottom of the air conditioner can help too.

Most of these items like cleaning or changing an air filter can be done with little do it yourself knowledge. Parking your RV in a place that promotes the cooling or air can also be done quite easily and for free. 

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