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How To Get Your RV Air Conditioner in Top Condition

Published on May 10th, 2023 by Natalie Henley

Keep Your Cool on the Road with RV Air Conditioner Maintenance and Troubleshooting

If you’re hitting the road in your RV, you want to make sure you stay cool and comfortable along the way. And that means keeping your air conditioner in tip-top shape.

After all, it’s not just about comfort—it’s also about the quality of the air you’re breathing.

So, how do you keep your AC unit running like a dream? Regular maintenance is key to ensuring your AC unit functions efficiently.

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Follow these tips to keep your RV air conditioner running smoothly and in top condition.

Understanding Your RV Air Conditioner System

An RV air conditioner works on the same principle as a typical household air conditioner. It removes heat from the air inside your RV and expels it outside, leaving the interior of your RV cool and comfortable.

The air conditioning unit draws in hot air from the environment and passes it over evaporator coils containing refrigerant, which is a chemical compound that can absorb heat. As the refrigerant absorbs heat, it changes from a liquid to a gaseous state. This gaseous refrigerant is then sent to the compressor, which compresses the gas and raises its temperature even further.

The hot, compressed refrigerant then flows through a condenser coil, where it releases the heat it absorbed from the RV interior. As the refrigerant cools, it changes back into a liquid state and returns to the evaporator coils to begin the cycle again.

The RV air conditioning system also has a fan that blows air over the evaporator and condenser coils, helping to transfer heat more efficiently. The unit also has filters that remove dust and other particles from the air as it is circulated.

Tips for Maintaining Your RV Air Conditioner System

Proper maintenance is key to keeping your unit functioning effectively and providing you with a comfortable environment during hot summer days. Here are some helpful tips to maintain your RV air conditioner:

Tip 1: Inspect the Shroud

The shroud is the protective cover over your air conditioning unit. It’s important to inspect it regularly for any cracks or damage. If you notice any deterioration, replace the shroud as soon as possible to prevent further wear and tear to the unit.

Tip 2: Clean the Air Filter

To clean the air filter, turn off the power to your RV air conditioner and locate the air filter. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove any dust or debris from the filter, and then use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to remove any remaining dirt or debris. If the filter is extremely dirty, you can soak it in warm, soapy water, rinse it thoroughly, and allow it to air dry before replacing it.

If it is too worn or stretched out to use anymore, replace it. You can purchase a larger filter and cut it to size if needed.

Tip 3: Clean the Condenser and Evaporator Coils

Begin by turning off the power to your RV air conditioner and locating the coils. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove any dirt or debris from the coils, and then use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove any remaining dirt or debris. If the coils are extremely dirty, you can use a condenser coil cleaner solution and evaporator coil spray to clean each respectively. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product labels carefully.

Tip 4: Inspect the Rubber Gasket (Watch Out for Leaks)

Water is bad news for RVs, and it’s essential to check for places where moisture can get in. One of the places you will want to watch for leaks is around the AC. Check the rubber gasket for damage or wear, and tighten the screws that hold your air conditioner in place if necessary.

Streamlining RV Air Conditioner Maintenance With RV LIFE Maintenance

When it comes to maintaining your RV air conditioner, it is generally recommended to perform maintenance every six months. This includes cleaning all components of the unit and replacing the air filter as needed. 

With so many maintenance tasks to keep track of as an RVer, it can be overwhelming to remember everything that needs to be done. This is where online planning tools like RV LIFE Maintenance comes in handy. 

The app can help you stay on top of all your RV maintenance needs. It sends alerts when maintenance is due, ensuring that you don’t miss any important tasks. As part of an RV LIFE Pro Membership, RV Life Maintenance is just one of the many useful features available to help simplify RV ownership.

Safeguarding Your RV Air Conditioner

Protecting your RV air conditioner is important to ensure its longevity and proper functioning. One way to do this is by installing a soft start device. A soft start device like SoftStartRV can protect your AC unit from damage caused by power surges and voltage drops. It can also reduce the stress on your RV’s electrical system by gradually starting the AC unit, rather than drawing a sudden surge of power. This can also help prolong the life of your AC unit’s compressor. 

Installing a SoftStartRV is a relatively simple and affordable way to safeguard your RV air conditioner. And it can give you peace of mind knowing your AC unit is protected.

Troubleshooting Common RV Air Conditioner Problems

If you encounter problems with your RV air conditioner, there are several potential causes to be aware of. Here are some common issues and what could be causing them:

No Cool Air?

If you’re not getting cool air from your RV air conditioner, it could be due to a refrigerant leak, dirty air filters, or a malfunctioning compressor. It’s important to address these issues promptly to avoid further damage to your unit.

Weak Airflow?

 If your RV air conditioner is blowing weak airflow, it may be due to clogged air filters, dirty coils, or a malfunctioning fan motor. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent these issues.

Strange Noises?

Unusual sounds coming from your RV air conditioner could indicate loose components, a malfunctioning fan motor, or a compressor problem. These issues may require professional repair.

Foul Odors?

If your RV air conditioner is emitting unpleasant odors, mold or mildew growth inside the unit may be the culprit. Regular cleaning of the air filters and coils can help prevent this issue.

AC Not Turning On?

 If your RV air conditioner won’t turn on, it may be due to a tripped circuit breaker, a faulty thermostat, or a compressor problem. Troubleshooting these issues can help identify the cause and determine the appropriate solution.

When to Call in the Professionals

While regular maintenance can prevent many problems with your RV air conditioner, there may come a time when you need to call in the professionals. Signs that it’s time to call an HVAC technician include:

  • Your unit isn’t cooling your RV effectively.
  • You hear strange noises coming from your RV AC.
  • Your RV air conditioner isn’t turning on.

When looking for an HVAC technician to service your RV air conditioner, be sure to choose a reliable and experienced professional. Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from other RV owners.

Keep Your RV AC in Top Condition

Your RV AC plays an important role in keeping you cool and comfortable while you’re on the road. To keep it in top condition, it’s important to clean and maintain it regularly. If you do encounter problems, troubleshoot them as soon as possible and call in the professionals if necessary. By following these tips, you can keep your RV air conditioner in top condition and ensure a comfortable journey wherever the road takes you.

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