How Semi-Trucks Stay Cool

As heating and cooling enthusiasts, we at BNG Heating & Cooling have always been interested in how truck drivers stay cool during the summer nights when they’re parked for a good night’s sleep.

Do they keep their trucks running? Do they have special AC units? We did some research and found out!

Auxiliary Power Unit

Commonly called an “APU,” this is a small generator engine added to the truck. Because parking a truck and keeping it idle is both a safety risk and a suck on the truck’s fuel reserve, many drivers opt to add this unit to their trucks.

With these, the driver is able to heat or cool the truck’s cabin though controls in the sleeper.

Like residential generators, APUs come in electric or gas form. They’re also usually able to power electronics and even small appliances. Electric versions are generally easier to maintain, though the gas variations are always improving.

These are especially useful when drivers go through states with strict idling laws. If a driver does not have an APU and finds themselves in a state where idling is illegal—what do they do?


In the summer months, proper ventilation is KEY. Drivers sometimes have to get creative with the way they circulate air through the cabin (see the second photo in this article!).

Keeping windows slightly open for that airflow, as well as blocking out the strong UV rays with reflective screens are the most basic ways to stay cool.


Even when there’s not a chance that a driver will find themselves at a rest station that does not allow idling through the night, they’re always encouraged to be prepared for extreme heat during the summer months.

It is crucial that they have enough water to stay hydrated and cool, wear clothes suitable for staying cool and blocking UV rays, and to remember tricks for staying cool—like soaking a towel in cold water and wrapping it around your neck.

All this research has taught us that trucking comfort is getting closer and closer to what you expect from home comfort. Life on the road isn’t nearly as hard as it used to be!

Just watch this video showcasing the 2018 Volvo luxury truck—the advancements that this industry is making are simply amazing.

Wishing your home was as comfortable as that sleeper cabin is? Call us!

We may not be able to set up your entertainment system, but we CAN ensure that your home is properly ventilated, efficiently maintained, and that the temperature you prefer is always what you get.

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