Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

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Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby Neufusion » Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:32 am

We have a huge RV and I was thinking about putting some reflective tarps over the top of it to cut down temps. They would lay flat on the roof and come out 1-2 feet on each side. I was either going to pull them flat against the sides and tie them to the RV and under it OR use some rebar stakes and pull them at a 45 degree angle to provide a little shade to the sides of the RV. I'd arrange them so the A/C condenser sticks out.

A friend mentioned this might not be a good plan because the tarps would blow around, rub the RV, and make a lot of noise.

What do you guys think? Good idea or no?

Thanks,
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby mzfit » Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:13 am

I tried something like this in 2008 - my virgin year. I used 2x4s to get the sides up and leave a small gap for air between the RV and the tarp. It lasted about 4 hours before the winds shredded it. I ended up just shoving it under the RV and cleaning up my mess at the end of the week! Best thing I did was get large pieces of cardboard from big box stores and cut it to fit the inside of all my windows - ESPECIALLY the huge front window!! I have taped aluminum foil to it facing out and that helped a little but was really more of a pain that it was worth. I have just done the cardboard itself the last 2 years and I sleep pretty well til 10 or 11 when I get too hot. Depending on what time I got in the night before - I may wake up long enough to turn on the gennie and AC and then go back to sleep! Just my thoughts...
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:05 pm

If this is your own RV - and you are handy and not too busy - you could make standoffs, say aluminum channels screwed into strong points on the RV. This way, when the wind flaps the tarp, it won't rub the RV's skin. But having a gap between the RV and teh tarp would cause the tarp to cavitate.

Just brainstorming here. :)

If you waxed the RV surface thoroughly and securely attached some sort of reflective tarp to the RV like a second skin, then that might work.

Just some ideas.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby gyre » Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:27 pm

It's been done successfully, but I'm not sure how they attached them.

There's a thread.

Silvicool is an option, or solid aluminet, hard to find in the usa now.

They used reflectix scrim.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby Token » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:23 pm

I just run the AC when needed.

Much easier that way.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:44 pm

Token lives!
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby happydragon » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:54 pm

I strapped milk cartons to the roof of the RV with ratchet straps to provide an air gap between the tarp and the roof, then pulled the tarp over the milk cartons and used more ratchet straps from the grommets down to the RV frame to hold it tight. Granted, the weather was pretty mild this past year, but it held up nicely and the only time I had to run the AC was when my SO's asthma kicked up and we needed to clear the air for her.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby motskyroonmatick » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:44 pm

Those old vacuums that use water for the filter(I think Filter Queen) clear the air in an enclosed space really fast. That is what I have heard.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby gyre » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:33 pm

Rainbow vac.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby dragonpilot » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:10 pm

Not worth the trouble, IMHO...just run the AC during the hot part of the day, as Token suggests. We've never covered our RV and it's just fine.

If you run the gennie/AC a lot be sure to have enough extra fuel to getcha back to the nearest refueling point. I wouldn't rely on the 1/4 tank gennie reserve shut-off (on most modern RVs) to get me back to a commercial gas pump...Gerlach is a zoo during Exodus and Cedarville, if you're going that way, is 100 miles...not to mention idling in the lines coming in and during Exodus. Plan accordingly.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby Packoderm » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:55 am

I just put a good old fashioned shade canopy over my rv. The shade mesh holds up better than the plastic tarps.


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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby Misti » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:13 am

I was worried about creating the baked potato effect if the tarp was directly on the RV so I worked out a way to prevent that.

This worked really well for us, the top has a rack on one end and a storage box that hold the tarp up off of the roof, and the wind cooled the air directly above the RV, the ties held it tight and it didn't make much noise. The tarp shades the windows and we still get light. We ran our AC once when we had company, but this set up kept us nice and cool without the AC. It was also nice to have a little spot a spot to set up chairs and to keep the bikes out of the sun.


Image

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We had a little rubbing on the corner of the storage box so next time we will be adding more foam on the corner, and had the rebar wiggle loose a little around the end of the week and had to hammer it back in a bit.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby Saguache » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:37 pm

Neufusion wrote:We have a huge RV and I was thinking about putting some reflective tarps over the top of it to cut down temps. They would lay flat on the roof and come out 1-2 feet on each side. I was either going to pull them flat against the sides and tie them to the RV and under it OR use some rebar stakes and pull them at a 45 degree angle to provide a little shade to the sides of the RV. I'd arrange them so the A/C condenser sticks out.

A friend mentioned this might not be a good plan because the tarps would blow around, rub the RV, and make a lot of noise.

What do you guys think? Good idea or no?


So the idea **is** a sound one, however, I would amend with the following. First, the reflective material won't do squat for you unless you add a layer of insulating air under it. You'll only be able to reflect a small portion of the radiation that will be headed your way so its critical that there is a layer of air between the tarp and the top surface of the RV. If you stretch your tarp a couple of inches above the RV's roof you'll be doing great. The awning portion of this already has this built in and has the added bonus of preventing reflected light from the playa from cooking the south facing side of the vehicle. Longer is way better here because the sun is so high in the sky in August.

Second, consider very stout bungies along the tarp to prevent wind from ripping the fabric and/or tearing out grommits. More attachement points is better since you'll reduce wind load by splitting it with every additional attachement point.

Finally, make it so you can put it up and take it down easily. You wont want to drive aroud with a big sail on top of your RV.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby Elliot » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:10 pm

Image

Granted, it may not be realistic to install such bows on the roof of a regular RV, but this air gap arrangement on my converted school bus does a good job.

Say, Packoderm... Is that a ready-made canopy, or did you assemble it from components? I'm looking for a store around Sacramento that sells connectors. (Rather than chance a sight-unseen internet purchase.)
Packoderm wrote:I just put a good old fashioned shade canopy over my rv.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby CornMan » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:26 pm

Elliot, go to the Roseville flea market and auction. They'll have everything you need except for the EMT conduit pipe which you buy at Home Depot. On the playa, I covered the front, back, and one of the sides with shade mesh too, and that worked great.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby gyre » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:39 pm

Shelsys will let you order one sample to see if you're okay with the quality.

I imagine most companies will.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:08 pm

Saguache wrote:Finally, make it so you can put it up and take it down easily. You wont want to drive aroud with a big sail on top of your RV.

You have your "Safety Third" and I have mine.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby Elliot » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:34 pm

Great! I have not been to Denio's in ages.

Shelter Systems in Chicago has connectors only for 1" conduit. I'm hoping to find a larger size, like for chain link fence pipes. King Canopy in North Carolina has several sizes connectors up to 2". Master Halco lists galvanized fence pipe in 1 3/8, 1 5/8, 1 7/8, and 2 3/8.

In other words, I'm still researching and brainstorming.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby gyre » Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:31 pm

Call them direct and ask.

Also Holliday Canopies.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby Elliot » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:05 pm

Ah yes, we are familiar with Holiday. Not quite in my price range.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby CornMan » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:20 pm

Denio's has 3/4 inch, 1 inch, and one other really big sized connector like 2 inches. They do not have 1-3/8 or 1-5/8 or anything like that. Their tarp prices are lower than the online places for the same stuff. The mesh is black only, and the heavy duty tarps are white or silver only. Shop around when you are there to get the lowest price. There are about 4 places there that sell the stuff.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby TT120 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:42 pm

Yup, I was at Denio's last weekend and they have all that stuff. I even found some 2 foot pieces of rebar with tennis balls already installed. lol. I'm going back next weekend to pick up some of that black shade cloth for my monkey hut.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:47 pm

I like this place for connectors. 8)

http://www.ysbw.com/
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby gyre » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:59 pm

Elliot wrote:Ah yes, we are familiar with Holliday. Not quite in my price range.

Shelter systems has even pricier stuff.

They both have basic stuff too.

I recall looking for fittings for fence poles at both.
Seems like they had some in a range of sizes.
it won't be in the catalog though.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby Elliot » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:02 am

FIGJAM wrote:I like this place for connectors. 8)
http://www.ysbw.com/

Bingo! Yuma's connector sizes fit the fence post sizes, up to 1 7/8.

Oh, regarding "Shelter Systems", I believe there are two businesses by that name.
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby gyre » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:07 am

Two?
Not two.

A zillion, more like.

http://www.shelsys.com/
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Re: Reflective tarp over RV to lower temps?

Postby Elliot » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:15 am

That's the one in Chicago. I have their print catalog, and it shows 1" EMT only.
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