No matter what your rv is, a Travel Trailer, 5th Wheel, Class A Motor Home or what have you, we all seem to have the same issue. Cupboards that can’t seem to keep the heat out.
Why is this a problem? Well, for a couple reasons.
1: it’s hard enough to keep some rv’s cool in the summertime (especially when you have a darker colored coach like we do) and when the sun is beating down on the outside of your walls, it can make the inside of our cupboards extra warm.
2: Keeping your food in these heated cupboards is not good for your food nor your bank account when you have to replace the spoiled or melted food.
And quite honestly, melted chocolate chips is not an option in my opinion.
Most rv walls are made with a thin layer of insulation.
As you can see from the picture, it’s not much of a barrier between the inside of the rv and the hot beating sun outside.
So what does one do to solve this problem?
We are not unique in this solution. As a matter of fact, their are some of you out there that have done this already and I’m hoping you are happy with this easy, quick and cheap solution.
We found this thin insulation on a roll that we were able to buy by the foot while we were at Tiffin, in their campground store. You may be able to find something like this at your local camping store. Also on Amazon…CLICK HERE.
Measuring the inside of our cupboards, we bought what we needed, got our tape measure out and scissors and went to work.
First step is emptying your cupboards completely. This may take a while if you’ve lived in your rv for a while. Just think of it as a good time to really do a good organization job and purge anything that you haven’t used in a while.
Second, get your tape measure and measure the entire length of the inside wall of your cupboard. Keep in mind that if your cupboard is on a slide you’ll want to measure the side of the cupboard that is on the outside slide wall as this will get heat from the sun also.
Walls All Lined And Stuff Back In Cupboards
You’ll also want to measure the roof. At first we did not think the roof of the cupboard would need to be insulated because it is protected from the sun by the slide topper. However, after we lined the walls and put everything back into the cupboards, we took heat measurements and the top of the cupboard was significantly hotter than the walls. Therefore defeating the purpose of lining the walls because it was still letting heat in. So we ended up lining the ceiling of the cupboards too and this helped significantly with the reduction of heat.
We also found that when lining the ceiling portion, you will need some sort of double sided tape to keep the insulation from dropping.
Speaking of heat. We took heat measurements before the lining was installed and after.
As you can see from the pictures, the heat was reduced by at least 10 degrees. Keep in mind, this was only on a 70 degree day. So imagine what a typical summer day savings would be.
In our opinion, this was a much needed improvement to reducing the heat build-up inside the cupboards.
We also took it upon ourselves to insulate our bathroom vanity. Now our toiletries are no longer luke warm and that is welcome change.
Now time for a Public Service Announcement: It is not advised to keep medication in your vanity. Heat and moisture from the shower and such may degrade the medication. It’s always best to keep your medication in a cool and dry environment. Insulation installed or not.
We’ve been happy with our results of the insulation liner inside our cupboards. For those of you that are not thrilled with what your cupboards will look like with a silver liner inside them I did think of something that may help. You can always go out and buy some decorative contact paper and stick it to the liner. That way when you open your cupboards it will just look like some type of wallpaper. Just a thought.
And if you are looking for it…You can get it from Amazon…Here is the link… CLICK HERE
Great tip! Did the insulation have a name? Is it something you can get at a hardware store like Home Depot or Lowes? Great suggestion on the contact paper to cover the silver too.
Just started full time RVing this week with my 4 greyhounds. http://www.GreytRVadventures.com.
First…CONGRATS on getting on into the full time life on the road! As far as what it is, it is more or less foil on both sides with about 1/8″ of insulation in between. It is 4 feet wide by however long. We got 20 feet of it and costed us $9.00. Took a reading the other day after we added the ceiling, it was 18 degrees difference inside the cabinet. (As compared to one we did not do on the same side of the coach.)
Good idea! We’ll give it a try and see what benefits we gain w/temp control. Thanks!
I wonder if doubling up on the insulation might not cut temps further. It’s so thin you won’t loose much space
Great idea.Should keep air conditioning down too thereby making it last longer.
Great idea but I have not been able to find anything like that in any of the box stores any ideas
Bummer. We purchased it at the Tiffin Service Store. But I found it on Amazon and it is also offered on Prime. Here is the link… CLICK HERE (I have also updated the blog with the link.)
I just checked the insulation on Amazon from you link. I am confused. If this is reflective, where does it reflect the heat to?
According to the manufacturer’s description,
“Reflectix is a 5/16-Inch thick, seven layer, reflective insulation which is available in rolls of various widths and lengths. It is used extensively in both specialty and standard construction projects. Two outer layers of aluminum foil reflect 97-Percent of radiant heat. Each layer of foil is bonded to a tough layer of polyethylene for strength. Two inner layers of insulating bubbles resist conductive heat flow, while a center layer of polyethylene gives Reflectix high reliability and strength.”
So it’s not “Reflective” in the sense that it reflects the suns rays. It reflects the radiant heat, resists the heat flow. From our temperature tests, it really does work and helps in keeping the cabinets cooler than what they would be without it. :)
Did you also put the foil stuff in the basement ? Trying to find the blog part about changing of the couch .you had it send to Tiffin for installation? Where did you sit on it before you bought it?
Keep the great work! Currently going back over older stuff making a list, looking to trade up next year,it’ll be number 3 in the Tiffin family.
Lowe’s home improvement
During the build at RB, would there be time for you (the owner) to install on the outside of the cabinet boxes BEFORE they were installed? Seems like one could sneak over the the waiting cabinets and apply before they were installed in the slides/coach.
If you can find them. But that is a much harder thing to do. In the case of a new build or buying a couch, I would just do it before you put anything in the cabinet when you take position. I say this just in case they may need to “do something” to fix something that might be inside a cabinet. If they need to remove something, then what you did will be removed. I would not take the risk. IMHO.
Could one use the silver windshield shade stuff? Or is it to thick?
Hi…The rolled insulation that we used is what is normally used for windshields as well as other windows.
What did you use to stick it to the walls and ceiling?
Hi…Double sided tape. The 3M tape with the green peal off. We put a strip about every 6 inches so you need a few larger rolls.
Any ideas about insulating the ceiling? It’s so thin
Sorry, no as there really is not a way to get to the inside of it as there is no attic. I am not aware of any company that does anything on the roof to help.
Does Tiffin put any radiant barrier in the roof cap or between the cabinetry and the outer skin of the slides or coach? If not, do you know if they’ve ever considered it, even as an option? Thanks.
Hi…You know, funny, I do not recall. I just looked back at some construction photos and I did not see anything that would make me think their is a layer. However I do recall reading that Tiffin added a radiant barrier in 2014 models. I think I may have to check further.
Hi David, Thank You for the tip. We have a new Winnebago Vista LX on order and I will definitely add this to the cabinets.
What do you think of adding it to the back of the slideout closet and the drawers?
Thanks again for Your great blog.
Hi…I do not see any reason to do drawers as they are air gapped a great deal so that will not help. If the slideout is is hot and the back wall is actually the wall, then yes, that could help. (Just making sure you did not mean the back wall of the coach.)
I’ve done the cabinet backs but see that the top section should be done also. Do you perceive any problems with stapling the top pieces? Of course I would not use staples that are too long (although they probably wouldn’t hurt anything since there’s nothing above the slide). I am also thinking to use small pieces of cardboard on each staple as a washer.
We just used double sided tape and it worked out just fine. Not one issue. Or you could use spray adhesive. Hope this helps.
Camper World has huge rolls
Any issues with condensation building up between the wall and the reflectix? In the winter condensation is the greatest enemy and concern…
No issues at all. I just now just a few places just for kicks…No sign of any issue. (Nor did I expect to find any from this.)
Can I use this to keep cupboards warm in the winter under our bay window?
I do not see why not. I just used it to keep things warmer in the winter in all my cabinets. Hope this helps.