Victoria is the southernmost state on the Australian mainland. Little stands between it and the harsh Antarctic cold fronts. Over the next three months, swathes of Tasmania and the Australian Southeast are expected to have median temperatures of between -3°C and 6°C. The daring among us may see little reason why this should stop them from taking an RV holiday or tour. For others, such as those living in their campervans, RVs, motorhomes or buses, even the idea of this cold weather sends a shiver down their spine. To them, we propose our top heating tips for your caravan or motorhome.
A vehicle cannot be as warm and toasty as a house. Where the latter can have thick walls, even double-bricked, loads of insulation, and enough central heating to make Solomon blush (or at least get a little red in the face), an RV typically will only have about an inch and a half (about 3.5cm) of foam insulation to get through the cold weather. Australian RVs especially are unlikely to be overly prepared for the winter months, with manufacturers instead preferring to prepare their vehicles for the more holiday-heavy, hot Australian summer. This can create a problem for the die-hard RVers who want to spend all year in their bewheeled castles.
Our first heating tip: have a good heater. A diesel heater is a compact, clean and efficient way of heating your home on wheels. Not relying on electricity, diesel heaters can be used anywhere, even out in a campsite. Ecologically sound as well, the diesel heater is the fastest way to warm up your motorhome.
The second of our heating tips is to skirt your rig. Use old panelling to block off the area under your cabin. Wind passes between the chassis and the ground, making the floor of your camper cold. This can radiate through your vehicle and take out a lot of heat. The elevation of your vehicle helps to keep it cool in summer, but in winter, you want to restrict this airflow. Just remember to remove the panelling before you drive off!
Laying down rugs and mats is another surefire way to keep warm underfoot. Covering the floor of your rig does three things: firstly, it helps to insulate the interior; secondly, it helps to mitigate the effects of the airflow from under your machine; thirdly, it stops the floor from being cold to touch, if you’re not wearing socks. Rugs are a great seasonal insulator because when the weather heats up and you want your vehicle to cool down, you can remove them without any heavy operational work.
Insulating the inside of your cabin is a cheap, temporary solution to quick winter warmth. Covering surfaces other than the floor add another layer of insulation. Covering surfaces with rugs and cushions and lining the walls and windows with curtains will help trap heat and keep you toasty. And again, when the summer rolls around, you can easily take them out to return your machine to its breezy coolness.
Even filling empty compartments with spare rugs, pillows, blankets and bedding will help with locking in heat. RVs are designed to maximise storage and for short trips, some of their many hidden compartments, drawers and cupboards can go unused. You can free up storage in your home by using your camper to store extra blankets, and they may come in handy during a cold night.
You can also buy removable window insulation, such as window film or foam boards, to place over your panes during cold snaps. In the long-run, it’s worth investing in good window insulation, such as double panes and good seals. These will take pressure of your heater in winter and your air-con in summer. In the short term, though, or even additionally, removable window insulation adds an extra layer – literally – to your temperature security.
In our last entry, we recommended checking for leaks and unsealed cracks in your vehicle to prevent water getting in. This week, we recommend it again to prevent heat from getting out! If your vehicle is draughty, you may have a crack. Check all your windows and vents for anywhere that air can get in and use a sealer to secure the area. If the draught is coming from under the door, you may want to purchase an insulated snake or a draught excluder.
Most heat escapes through the window, even if it’s closed. One of the most effective means of keeping your motorhome or caravan warm is to make sure your windows are properly insulated. We recommend the S4 hinged window. The S4 hinged window comes with a grey acrylic, double-glazed pane for the ultimate combination of style and economy. A double-glazed window is the best type of window for both summer and winter. With an integrated roller blind and fly net, this window ensures privacy and warmth without obstructing the view out.
Of course, the best thing to do is to make sure your vehicle has the best insulation possible. Book in with us today to discuss options for relining your bus, motorhome or caravan with the latest and safest in quality vehicle insulation. As Melbourne’s one-stop shop for all caravan, bus and motorhome needs, we can also provide you with a diesel heater and install the S4 hinged window to help you stay snug and on the road through the winter. We can also talk to you about your individual vehicle to troubleshoot some cost-effective solutions to your temperature needs.
So there you have it! Those are our top heating tips to keep your rig toasty this winter. Take it easy, friends! Don’t forget to stay warm, hug your loved ones and keep your hot water bottles close.