Most RVs have single-pane windows. Manufacturers use single-pane windows to minimize their manufacturing costs and reduce the overall weight of the RV. However, single-pane windows are typically insufficient and unable to keep temperatures indoors at optimal levels.

During winter, a lack of insulation can cause condensation making the RV seem like it is sweating. The sweat may result in water damage in the RV. Insulation helps to maintain stable temperatures in the RV and avoid condensation-related issues. On the other hand, during summer, uninsulated windows allow warm air from the outside, causing the RV interior to get hot.

There are a variety of RV window insulation options available. They vary in insulation efficiency and when it would be suitable. Below is a look at the various RV window insulation options and what each is most suitable for.

Blinds and Curtains

Blinds and curtains can be effective and affordable RV window cover and insulation in winter and summer. They offer a certain degree of insulation. However, effectiveness depends on their quality and thickness, as well as the material of the window.

Thicker blinds can be effective at blocking out light and heat during summer. However, they may not be as effective as curtains due to the gaps between the slats, which can still allow air to pass in or out of the RV.

Therefore, curtains are generally more effective at insulating RV windows, especially thick ones. They also help to reduce drafts coming into the RV. However, compared to blinds, blinds are more effective at blocking out light.

Thermal curtains are particularly a great option for RV window insulation. They are thick and made of insulating wool, velvet, or flannel fabric. As such, they effectively reduce heat transfer, especially during cold weather. If you are RVing in an extremely cold area, use thermal curtains with a tight weave for enhanced efficiency.

Another benefit of using blinds and curtains besides protection from cold air is providing an extra layer of privacy. For example, if you are parking your RV in a parking lot or campground.

Plexiglass

Plexiglass is a suitable RV window insulation option if you are on a budget. It is a more affordable option for creating a makeshift double pane.

It is also a more effective option than plastic insulting films, so it is better suited for use in extreme weather conditions. Plexiglass is lightweight, durable, and offers good thermal insulation.

There are different types of plexiglass to choose from. Plexiglass varies in thickness and clarity. Thicker plexiglass offers better insulation, but it is heavier and more expensive. A thickness of about 0.22 inches is suitable for most RV windows.

Also, consider whether you want clear, tinted, or frosted plexiglass. Clear plexiglass will allow more light into the RV, while frosted and tinted plexiglass reduces lighting and the amount of heat that enters the RV. 

To install the plexiglass, cut it into custom pieces to fit your RV windows with an allowance of 1-2 inches. You then mount the sheet on top of your window frame. Push it against the glass to create a firm, airtight seal. Attach the outer edges of the plexiglass to the window frame using adhesive and screws for a secure and airtight fit.

The sheet helps create an air gap, as with double pane windows, providing insulation. Although it is not as airtight as a window pane window, it improves temperature regulation in the RV.

The main downside of using plexiglass for RV window insulation is that it blocks the window. Since it is not clear like glass, it blocks the views from the outside. Also, if installed on operable windows, you will no longer be able to open and close the windows.

Window Tint

Window tint is a type of window film applied to the interior side of the window. It is designed to reduce the amount of light and ultraviolet (UV) radiation that passes through the window. It is made of a thin layer of polyester and then coated on one side with a layer of adhesive for easy application on the window’s interior.

Although window tint films have insulation benefits, they are not effective enough to be used as the only form of RV window insulation. They are ideal for use primarily to block UV rays and enhance privacy.

There are different options available, ranging from clear to dark. Darker films block out rays from the sun, which can help lower RV temperatures during the summer. The film also protects the interior finishes from fading due to exposure to UV.

internal thermal screen blind at windows pane

Shrink Plastic Film

Shrink plastic film, also known as window insulation kits, provides an extra layer of insulation on the windows to prevent heat loss or heat gain.

The film works such that when the temperatures are high, it gets heated and shrinks, adhering tightly to the window. This creates a tight seal that prevents air, draft, or heat leaks.

These types of window films are readily available at affordable prices. They come as a kit with a roll of shrink plastic film, double-sided tape, and a heat gun or air dryer. For optimal efficiency, you should replace the plastic film periodically.

To install, cut the roll of shrink plastic film to the dimensions of your RV windows. Allow an extra inch or two to give room for trimming during installation. Clean the window and dry it thoroughly. Apply double-sided tape on the window.

Remove the backing of the double-sided tape and apply the shrink plastic film, ensuring it is smoothened up with no air bubbles or wrinkles. Apply heat evenly across the installed film using the hair dryer or heat gun. The heat will cause the film to shrink and conform to the window.

Double Pane Windows

Another option would be upgrading your single pane RV windows to double pane. Double pane windows are the most effective insulation method on RV windows. They are also aesthetically appealing and retain the window’s functionality such that you can still see outside and open and close the window as needed. However, double-pane windows are expensive.

A double pane window has two sheets of glass that seal a layer of air, making the glass non-conductive. This prevents heat from exiting or entering through the window to maintain temperatures at optimum.

Note that not all windows can be upgraded to a double pane window. It depends on your RV’s construction design. Contact an RV technician or manufacturer to determine if you can make your windows double pane. Some manufacturers also offer the option to upgrade for you at a cost.

Reflective Bubble Sheeting

Reflective bubble sheeting is another convenient and affordable option for RV window insulation. They are made of polyethylene bubbles encased in aluminum foil. The reflective outer surface reflects heat and sun rays, while the middle layer provides insulation.

Buy US Energy products certified rolls of reflective insulation material. There are unlimited options that are easy to find on Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc. Cut it up into correct sizes and cover each window. Use double-sided tape to mount the reflective bubble sheeting on your window panes to ensure it stays put.

Reflective bubble sheeting can be used alongside curtains and blinds for enhanced insulation. Also, if you do not want to have the sheet permanently installed, use removable sheets of reflective material that you can slide behind the blinds or roll up and store when not in use.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is yet another easy-to-install and cost-effective RV window insulation. Cut it up to sizes that cover your window completely. Then, dampen the glass where you will be installing it. You can splash water on the window using a spray bottle or wipe with a damp cloth. Stick the bubble wrap on the prepped window with the bubble side against the glass.

Conclusion

Insulating RV windows offers numerous benefits. It helps to lower electricity consumption as you do not have to keep the heating and cooling system running throughout.

As such, it reduces strain on the heating and cooling equipment. It also reduces wear and tear on interior finishes due to extreme temperature conditions inside the RV or exposure to UV rays.

There are unlimited options for RV window insulation. They range from blinds and curtains to plexiglass covers, bubble wraps, double-pane windows, and window films. The most suitable option depends on your RV construction design, budget, efficiency, and personal preference.

You could also use a combination of two or more RV insulation techniques for the best results. If you are unsure which RV window insulation option to use, consult an RV insulation specialist.