Camping in extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can be a miserable experience if you have uncovered windows. Because our RVs aren’t built with thick thermal insulation and double-paned windows like a sticks-and-bricks home, hot or cold air can seep in or out faster.
But what if there was a way to provide RV window insulation to stop some of that energy leakage? We’ve found several solutions to make your winter or summer camping experiences much more comfortable.
How Can You Improve Your RV Window Insulation?
There are two primary ways to improve your RV window insulation. You can either replace the windows altogether or put covers over them. Most RVers choose the second option because the first option is much more time-consuming and expensive. But desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures!
Below, we’re covering all of your options, from quick and easy DIY projects to full window replacements. Keep reading to find the best option for your situation.
Replace Your Original Windows With Double-Pane Windows
Most RV windows are single-pane glass. Single-pane is easy to create and inexpensive to install. But these windows don’t insulate your camper from temperature extremes very well. Replacing them with double-pane windows can really keep the frigid cold and fiery heat outside.
With two panes of glass separated by a vacuum of space, these new windows will offer more energy efficiency. Because your air conditioner or heater may not have to work quite as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature, you’re extending their lifespan, as well.
Double pane windows in RV’s also help prevent condensation buildup on the windows due to temperature differentials. One major benefit most also overlook is their sound dampening capabilities. Double pane windows can help keep it quieter inside an RV when things are loud outside.
Replacing your RV’s windows with double-pane ones can be costly. Depending on the age of your vehicle, you may void your warranty by modifying the original equipment. Be sure to check with your RV manufacturer before making any changes.
This type of window is also prone to fogging if they get damaged. They are also double the weight of single-pane windows.
➡ Read our in-depth article on double-pane windows: Top Reasons to Invest in Double Pane RV Windows
Insulated RV Curtains
Curtains not only create privacy in your RV but they offer window insulation as well. Thick, insulated curtains, keep offensive temperatures at bay. They trap hot or cold air between your window and the curtain to keep it out of your main living space.
Insulated curtains can be an inexpensive way to stop much of the heat or cold before it enters your coach or trailer. They can also reduce how much space you need to heat or cool. For instance, many RVers put curtains between the cab of their motorhome and the living area, so their heater doesn’t have to generate heat for the front seats when they’re not in use.
In more humid climates, insulated curtains may accelerate condensation on the windows because of the trapped air.
DIY It With Reflectix
One of the most common ways to detour temperature extremes in your RV is to place Reflectix in each window. This product is actually a bubble wrap with foil on either side. It works like double-pane windows, trapping hot or cold air before it enters your rig. The shiny foil exterior on Reflectix also helps reflect UV rays away from the vehicle.
Reflectix is an extremely affordable RV window insulation choice. Additionally, it’s easy to cut to size, making it the perfect DIY project. You can customize it to any RV window size and shape.
- Item Weight: 4.6 lb
- Country of Origin: China
- Brand name: Reflectix
Like insulated curtains, Reflectix can cause condensation buildup in humid climates. The best way to avoid that is through the use of a dehumidifier. And with Reflectix in your windows, you won’t have a view outside or see sunlight streaming into your rig.
➡ Need an RV dehumidifier? We’ve rounded up your best options here: 6 Best RV Dehumidifiers and Why You Need One
Many RVers who’ve purchased vans and smaller RVs immediately have their windows tinted, anticipating heat problems and sun damage. This may be a great starting point to mitigate hot temperatures in the summer.
RVers who tint their windows have reported up to a 20-degree difference in heat buildup in their vehicles. And with tinted windows, you can still see out and enjoy sunlight in your RV.
Depending on the number of windows you have tinted, this can be an expensive solution. You may still need to add Reflectix or some other form of RV window insulation to keep the heat down. Tinted windows also don’t help in cold temperatures.
Another way of forming a second layer to trap cold or hot air is by installing plexiglass covers. You can cut a sheet to fit over your existing windows.
With plexiglass, you’ll get the benefit of sunlight in your coach, and you’ll enjoy seeing out your windows. Because it usually comes in a large sheet, plexiglass is a good choice for big windows. You can hold it in place with velcro or double-sided clear tape.
Plexiglass is a little hard to cut to size if you use anything other than the thinnest thickness available. Also, it’s very easy to scratch, and over time your windows may become harder to see through. You may find you have to replace it at that point.
Will RV Window Insulation Work for Both Summer and Winter?
Many of the solutions listed above work well in both summer and winter. Most are good at moderating temperature extremes in both directions. However, tinted windows won’t keep cold temperatures out of your rig.
Pro Tip: Give yourself some privacy by installing new window shades. Learn more about What Are MCD Shades? (Hint: Your RV May Have Them).
Should You Insulate the Inside or Outside of Your RV Window?
Most travel trailer and fifth wheel owners insulate the inside of their RV windows with one of the options mentioned above. However, motorhome owners usually do a combination of both since they have a large front windshield to contend with.
These RVers place an RV windshield cover on the exterior of their front windows. These covers reflect UV rays before they can pass through the glass and generate heat inside the coach. Most covers are also see-through from the inside during daylight hours, letting light into the RV but not allowing others to see into the vehicle. A windshield cover might become part of your arsenal in RV window insulation if you drive a motorhome.
In general insulating the outside is best in the summer to prevent rays hitting the glass, but on the inside in the winter, to prevent heat loss and trap heat.
Is Insulating Your RV Windows Worth the Hassle?
RV window insulation is one maintenance job you can’t avoid, as it’ll make any camping experience much more enjoyable. The effort to hang insulated curtains or cut Reflectix to fit your windows will pay off in reduced energy costs. You’ll also save some wear and tear on your heating and cooling appliances.
Most campers find that planning for RV window insulation before they need it is a wise investment. You don’t want to get caught off-guard by a heatwave. And a freak cold snap might make it difficult to sleep without your teeth chattering. Why not consider now what measures you can take to make your RV cozy and comfortable at any temperature?
➡ Learn more here: 5 Best RV Windshield Covers to Protect You and Your RV from the Sun
How do you insulate your RV windows? Leave a comment below.
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Sunday 26th of September 2021
The Steps to Installing a Frameless RV Window: First, remove the RV window. Look at your RV window and check the location of the screws that secure it to the RV wall. Ensure you use the correct screwdriver to loosen and remove the fasteners from their slots. The window seal should also come off when removing the old RV window, you might have to scrape the rubber seal from the perimeter. Verify the fit of the frameless window into the hole before installing it. Ensure the exterior window flange does not overlap while providing an exceptional seal to the RV’s sidewall. Prepare the frameless window, then install it. Ensure the trim’s correct alignment before fastening the corner screws.
Wednesday 29th of September 2021
Not allowing your RV battery to discharge below 50% can help extend its lifespan. So do check for parasitic loads, observe the correct battery charging process, and manage the battery’s fluid levels.
Wednesday 15th of September 2021
Replaced all the cheesy RV blinds with cellular day/night blinds. Huge difference and look so much better than the cheapo ones RV s come with
Mortons on the Move
Wednesday 15th of September 2021
Cellular day/night blinds are a great choice! Glad to hear you're happy with them. :)
Friday 10th of September 2021
Great article! I'd never thought about actually replacing my single-pane windows. Our large rear 5th wheel window is much worse than the others, so it might be worth the investment. Thanks for the idea!
We recently built solar shades for the outside of our RV and still can't get over the massive change it's made. An inexpensive DIY project has made our rig a lot more comfortable.
Mortons on the Move
Friday 10th of September 2021
Dual pane windows are definitely an investment, but most RVers find they're worth it. We've actually written a whole article about them, which you can read here if you want to learn more: https://www.mortonsonthemove.com/invest-in-double-pane-rv-windows/