RV Air Conditioning Basics and Troubleshooting Tips

Posted on 05/13/2019 by RV Repair and Maintenance, RV Products, Parts and... 210
RV Air Conditioning Basics and Troubleshooting Tips

Your RV is essentially a large metal box, perfect for absorbing the burning heat of the sun. If you’re travelling this summer, you want to be sure that your RV air conditioner is working to its full potential to keep you and your family cool and comfortable. Our latest blog will fill you in on RV air conditioning 101 and some common issues to make troubleshooting any problems a cool breeze.

RV Air Conditioner Basics

The power of your RV air conditioner is measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units. The standard power for most RV A/C units is either 13500 (13.5k) BTU or 15000 (15k) BTU. The amount of power you will need depends most importantly on the size of your rig, the climate in the area that you are travelling in, and just how cool you would like your living environment to be.

The power of your RV air conditioner is also partially dependent on the size of the unit. Smaller, low profile models tend to be less powerful but their shorter height makes them more versatile for parking, boondocking, access to gas stations and more. Larger units will provide more cooling power but they will also make your rig less fuel efficient with the added drag.

Ducted RV air conditioners work much like your home cooling system, with cold air being distributed throughout the rig or trailer via a series of ducts. Non-ducted RV air conditioners simply blow cold air out of the bottom of the unit into the rig.

RV air conditioners with heat pumps offer you the convenience of heating and cooling but they are much pricier than their A/C only counterparts. Heat pumps bring warm air in directly from outside of your rig so the heat they provide will be contingent on Mother Nature and the outside temperature. Heat strips can also be added to a standard RV air conditioning unit to help cut the chill but do not replace the power and consistent heat of an RV furnace.

RV Air Conditioner Tips & Troubleshooting

RV air conditioners are great for keeping you and your rig cool and comfortable when the mercury soars … unless they stop working properly. Here are some helpful tips, products and troubleshooting ideas to help you get your RV A/C back and running in tiptop form!

RV Air Conditioner Filters

Your RV air conditioner filter is your line of defence against dirt, dust and debris. Much like the heating and cooling system in your bricks and mortar home, the filters in your RV air conditioner will need to be changed regularly to keep your system running efficiently. You should be checking your RV A/C filter at least once a month and changing it as necessary. With both washable and disposable filter options, the choice really comes down to what is most convenient for you. Do you have the space to carry a supply of replacement filters in your rig? Do you have the capability to wash a reusable filter? Both options are just as effective so the choice is yours.

To cut down on the amount of dirt and debris entering your RV air conditioner unit, you may want to consider using an RV air conditioner cover. Made of heavy-duty jersey-backed vinyl for durability, a cover will protect your A/C unit against moisture, airborne contaminants and UV rays, as well as increase the life of your air conditioner shroud. These covers should be kept tightly fitted to the unit to decrease drag and increase fuel efficiency.

RV Air Conditioner Capacitor

When the weather is especially hot and humid, you may find your RV air conditioner struggling to start or stay running. The A/C compressor unit requires so much power to start up that it can overload. To avoid this issue, you may want to consider installing a hard start capacitor. The process to install a capacitor is relatively simple but an improperly working capacitor can lead to the attached motor overheating or burning out.

If you would like to use your RV air conditioner without using your rig’s battery or fuel sources, you will need to invest in a generator. When deciding on what type and size of generator to buy, you must consider your RV air conditioner’s power requirements. A standard 13.5k BTU air conditioner unit will run on a small generator of about 11.5 amps.

RV Air Conditioner Parts & Accessories

RV Part Shop has everything you need to keep your RV air conditioner unit pumping out icy cool air all summer long! Our extensive catalogue features parts and accessories from top manufacturers like Dometic, Coleman Mach, and more. With fast, FREE shipping and no hassle 30-day returns, we will make sure that you are back on the road in cool comfort!

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