Bad RV Air Conditioner? You didn’t follow these steps.
There was a time when RVs didn’t all have air conditioning but those days are long gone. Some of the best camping takes place during the summer and in some hot climates. Having a reliable and efficient A/C system is a must.
Performing basic air conditioning maintenance is a great way to become familiar with your RV.
To ensure you have a cool, comfortable RV, follow these 5 tips and tricks for RV air conditioning maintenance.
1. Clean the filters
There are two sides to your air conditioner: the intake and the exhaust. The intake side pulls air in and along with it… dust. The dustier the environment, the more often the filter will need to be cleaned.
It is as easy as twisting a couple of tabs on the ceiling A/C cover and dropping the filter out. Most are just foam filters that can be cleaned with water, dried, and reinstalled. The foam filters are very easy to tear when washing so be gentle.
2. Straighten condenser fins
The condenser fins are part of the A/C unit mounted on the roof of your RV. The condenser unit has a series of winding tubes with cooling fins. These fins are very thin and susceptible to damage.
Check the fins and make sure they are free of debris and that they have no damage or bends. To straighten, you can use a small flat screwdriver or dull knife such as a butter knife. A condenser fin comb is the best option and is a cheap investment. Be careful not to damage the tubes that the fins are attached to as they are crucial to the A/C system.
3. Inspect gaskets and seals
The whole idea of air conditioning systems is to move air around, more specifically remove warm air and add cool air.
In general, you will have a rooftop unit sealed to the roof of your RV, ducting that is sealed to the AC unit inside your RV, and various ceiling vents throughout your RV all sealed to the ducting. All of these locations have the potential for a bad seal reducing the airflow of your system.
Check the seals at all locations and if a leak is detected, replace the seal or close up the leak with HVAC tape. Periodically performing this air conditioning maintenance will ensure the cold air is getting to where you need it.
4. Do a temperature check
In very basic terms, the air inside your RV is drawn into the A/C system, cooled, and pushed back into the RV.
Checking the temperature change between the inlet and outlet ducts on your A/C system is an easy way to ensure it is working at its full potential.
With a thermometer, check the temperature of the air on the intake side. This will be the duct under your air filter. Note this temperature.
Next, take the temperature at one of the vents on the A/C unit itself. Run the A/C for a few minutes to make sure it is fully cooling. The air coming from the roof vents throughout your RV will be warmer as it has moved through the ductwork so checking at the unit itself will be the most accurate.
The temperature of cold air from the A/C unit should be 15-20 degrees cooler than the air being drawn from inside your RV.
If the readings are less, then this is a sign you have a problem.
5. Perform a thorough cleaning
The rooftop unit is exposed to the elements year-round along with debris while traveling. At least twice a year, at the beginning and end of the season, it is a good idea to remove the plastic surround and thoroughly clean your unit.
A vacuum with a soft brush attachment can be used to remove any dust and loose debris. Follow this with an A/C system cleaner to remove any stubborn debris. While you are on the roof and have the cover removed, take the time to look at the rest of the components for damage. Check the fan for damage or dirt and that the motor spins freely.
Bonus Tip – Get a SoftStartRV unit
Installing a SoftStartRV device on your A/C unit gradually smoothes out the power spike that happens when you start up the A/C unit. It can reduce the startup amps by up to 70%.
This means you use less power when turning on your air conditioner. Not only is this great for off-grid, dry camping, or boondocking, it means you still still run 2 A/C units when all you have is 30 amp power.
Visit SoftStartRV to learn more about this DIY add-on.
Track your RV maintenance
Air conditioning repairs can be costly and a broken A/C system can end or prevent a trip. Keep your A/C system maintained and ready for use with some easy preventative air conditioning maintenance.
Make sure you stay on top of your RV maintenance with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only does it keep all of your important documents in one place, but it will also send you timely reminders when RV maintenance is due and potentially save you from a costly repair or accident.