HomeBLOGAir ConditionersHow To Clean RV Air Conditioner Filter?

How To Clean RV Air Conditioner Filter?

The air conditioner in your RV is the most critical component for maintaining home-like comfort while traveling. And, because the weather might fluctuate dramatically as you drive across states, you may need your RV’s air conditioning quite frequently.

In this guide, we will let you understand about performing do-it-yourself maintenance by cleaning your air conditioner filter to prevent the occurrence of odor in the cooling system.

Maintenance of the RV Air Conditioner filters has to be serviced at least once every twelve months. It includes cleaning and testing airflow. To begin, remove and clean the filters and the surrounding areas.

Why is it important to keep your AC filter clean?

Air conditioner filters keep most unwanted elements from the outdoors out of your camper. Unfortunately, these particulates accumulate within the filter while it performs its function. As a result, the screen will eventually reach its breaking point.

When your RV air conditioner (or any other type of air conditioner) is on, the air is constantly passing through it. Because air is rarely entirely clean, air conditioners use a filter system to prevent impurities from entering the system.

  • The filter protects the inside components of the air conditioner from damage caused by outside debris. As a result, adequate maintenance is required to keep the filter in good working order.
  • A dirty filter will substantially reduce the cooling system’s efficacy in your RV. The accumulation of dust or filth on the filter might restrict the airflow through the AC. Your air conditioner will provide less airflow, but it may also require more energy to maintain its average cooling capacity.
  • The dirt could also accumulate in the RV ducts, causing respiratory complications over time, especially in patients with respiratory problems.
  • If left unattended for an extended period, a dirty filter might cause your complete air conditioner to fail. And replacing an air conditioner isn’t the cheapest or most straightforward task.

Where Is the RV Air Conditioner Filter? 

Where Is the RV Air Conditioner Filter?

It’s not challenging to locate the air conditioning filter in your RV. All you have to do is open the vent cover inside your RV. The filter should be right in front of you. Then, it’s as simple as lifting it out.

This vent is usually found in the RV AC shroud positioned in the RV ceiling. You can see the dirty filter if you open the vent, just like you would at home.

If the filter is particularly filthy, you should lift it with caution. You don’t want to distribute dirt around your RV and make cleaning more difficult for yourself. After cleaning the air filter, ensure it is scorched before reinstalling it.

Steps To Clean RV Air Conditioner Filter

Step 1. Remove the Air Conditioner Filter

Remove the protective shroud from the AC unit and turn off the power. The cover on some RVs is removed with screws, while others are removed with tabs.

For detailed directions on removing the AC air filter, consult your RV owner’s manual or the AC manufacturer’s manual.

Consult your air conditioner’s user manual for specific instructions on removing the air filter.

Step 2. Vacuum the Air Conditioning Filter

Take the filter outside to clean it after adequately removing it from the AC unit. Clean all of the big dust and debris caught in the exterior of the filter with a vacuum cleaner with a brush tip fitting.

When vacuuming, don’t press down on the filter because this could damage it and necessitate a replacement. You can get away with a light vacuum cleaning like this once a month or every 45 days if you clean your filter regularly.

When cleaning the filter, make sure to clean the inside of the machine before replacing it thoroughly.

Step 3. Clean the Air Conditioning Filter

If the filter is filthy and there is grime or mold on it, you’ll probably need to clean it to ensure that all mold spores and dirt are removed from the membrane.

Add some mild dishwashing detergent to a bucket of warm water or the kitchen sink. Allow 15 minutes for the filter to soak in the water. Strong cleaning chemicals, such as bleach, must be avoided because they may damage the filter’s membrane. You’ll need to replace the filter if the solution hurts it.

If the filter is filthy, you may need to soak it for up to two hours to dislodge all of the dirt. After washing the filter, use an old toothbrush to brush any dirt or grime away from the filter’s surface.

Brushes with rough bristles may damage the filter, so stick to soft bristles like toothbrushes.

Step 4. Bacteria Management

After you’ve cleaned the filter, you’ll need to kill any pathogens that remain, such as germs and mold. Fill up a spray bottle halfway with white vinegar and halfway with water. 

After spraying down the filter, immerse it in a shady spot for 10 minutes before rinsing it clean with water. Alternatively, you can spray an antibiotic solution over the filter to protect it from germs and your lungs.

Step 5. Replace and Dry

Allow your filter to dry before stationing it back in your air conditioner. However, please do not leave the filter in direct sunlight since the intense UV rays may harm the filter membrane’s sensitive materials, causing it to lose efficacy.

Replace the filter after drying it and wiping down the interior of the shroud and the AC unit.

Step 6. Cleaning the RV AC Condenser and Evaporator

It’s good to check and clean the AC filter if you recently purchased a used RV. Many customers fail to inspect the air conditioner to determine whether it is unclean and then wonder why their new RV lacks the “New RV Smell.”

However, if you’re cleaning the air conditioning filter, you should also inspect the condenser and evaporator fins while you’re at it. RV owners should inspect these parts for wear and tear every few years. In addition, proper evaporator coil maintenance guarantees adequate airflow and keeps the device from overheating.

Step 7. Repair or Replacement of RV AC Compressor

If your RV’s air conditioning unit stops working, the compressor has likely failed. Unfortunately, the compressor is the most expensive component of your RV’s air conditioning system. You might get away with an inexpensive repair in certain circumstances, but you’ll have to replace the device in most cases.

Depending on the model, new compressors might cost up to $800. However, in most circumstances, replacing the entire AC unit isn’t much more expensive than buying a new compressor; consider this before deciding whether to spend your money on a repair or a replacement compressor.

Step 8. Servicing and Repairing the RV AC Fan Motor

You can inspect the fan motor for maintenance after removing the AC shroud. You must remember to turn off the power supply before working on the AC unit or risk suffering a severe injury that will send you to the hospital.

Wear gloves when working with the starter capacitor, as there may be residual charge in the capacitor. Make that the fan spins quickly with a touch of your fingers, then clean the fins with mildly soapy water to remove any dirt or debris.

Routine Maintenance for Your RV Air Conditioner Filter

RV Air Conditioner Filter

Cleaning the A/C filter more often will help the unit work more smoothly and save you money on expensive RV air conditioner repairs.

After every two weeks of use, most manufacturers recommend cleaning your air conditioner filter.

It would require cleaning the screen every other month for folks who only travel on weekends. You must clean the filter in the course of your travels if you take longer journeys or dwell in your motor home.

People with allergies or other health issues may need to clean more frequently. Cleaning the vent screen is preferable to suffering during your trip.

How to Know When It’s Time to Upgrade?

It’s time to change the filter if it’s still unclean after rinsing or soaking it or if it’s torn. A ripped filter will not be able to catch particles and keep the air clean. An air conditioner filter safeguards the air quality, so if it’s not up to par, you’ll want to replace it for your health benefit.

You might detect a stale odor in your RV as well. 

It suggests the possibility of mold growth, which you should address as soon as possible. In addition, if the air does not cool as rapidly as it used to, your filter may need to be replaced.

An air conditioner must have at least a primary filter since dust will get caught on the evaporator fins inside if it does not. In addition, it will degrade the AC’s performance and make it more challenging to clean than a filter.

How Often Should You Clean or Replace Your RV AC Filter?

You should inspect your RV air conditioner filter once a month. You may not need to clean it with water or a disinfectant as often if you vacuum it regularly. However, you can get away with cleaning the filter every time you go if you only use your RV occasionally.

Typically, RV air conditioner filters last 90 days when used continuously. If you live in your RV and use the air conditioning daily, you’ll need to replace the filter more frequently than someone who only travels a few times a year.

People Also Ask

Why Does My RV air conditioner leak when it rains? 

The fear of a leaky roof is one of the worst feelings for anyone who has recently acquired a new or old RV. Unfortunately, roof damage is one of the worst things that can happen to your RV because it necessitates a substantial deal of effort and is quite costly to repair.

Some of the most prevalent reasons for RV air conditioners leaking when it rains are as follows:

  • Shroud is broken or missing.
  • Mounting bolts that are loose or missing
  • The rubber gasket that is broken or damaged
  • Roofing or caulking that is deteriorated or damaged

How to clean RV air conditioner?

RVs electric air conditioner

RV air conditioning repair is a relatively simple procedure. On the other hand, cleaning RV air conditioners necessitates climbing onto the top of your RV. 

Get your air conditioner cleaned and serviced if you don’t feel safe on the roof. Never assume that your RV repair business will perform maintenance as part of your annual inspection; always ask for it separately.

Tools Needed

  • Cleaner for Coils
  • Comb with coils
  • Compressed Air
  • Oil SAE 20-weight SAE 20-weight SAE 20-weight SAE 20 (for units with a fan motor oil cap)

Step 1. Turn off the power

Turning off the power is the first step in cleaning your RV air conditioners. Disconnect your RV from shore power or turn off the breaker for your air conditioning unit to prevent the air conditioner fan from turning on during service.

Step 2. Remove and clean the filters

Cleaning or replacing the air filters is the next step in cleaning RV air conditioners. At least once a year, air filters should be cleaned. Air filters that are clogged hinder air from moving freely, rendering your cooling system useless. If you regularly use your RV’s air conditioning, we recommend checking the filters every three months.

Step 3. Take a look at the air conditioner

Climb to the top of your RV’s roof. We travel with a telescoping ladder to offer stable roof access. Have a second person on the ground who can help you with the tools and cleaning supplies. First, remove the air conditioner shroud by unscrewing the screws that hold it in place. While you’re working, put the screws and shroud aside.

Step 4. Examine the Unit Visually

Look for any huge garbage or bug nests in the unit. Wasps (mud daubers) frequently develop nests in RV appliances, and it is critical to wipe them out to avoid damage. Mud dauber nests are cylinders made of clay with a hole in the top. Look for any nests in your unit and eradicate them thoroughly.

Step 5. Clean the Evaporator and Condenser Coils

Combine the coils using a special coil comb to remove any oversized particles. Next, inspect the unit for any bent coils and straighten them out with the comb. After that, use compressed air to clear out any leftover obstructions or debris from the coils. Finally, spray the coils with coil cleaner.

Step 6. Oil Fan Motor

You must apply oil to your fan motor once a year if it has a small oil cover on top. First, remove the cup’s plastic plug and fill it with 3 to 4 drops of SAE 20-weight oil.

Step 7. Change the AC Shroud

Allow the coils to dry entirely before restoring the shroud over the unit. Remove the towel from inside the RV and wipe down any remaining particles. Replace the air filter, and your RV’s air conditioning is now up to date.

Does my RV air conditioner have a filter?

Most air conditioners have filters, and RV air conditioners are no different.

You can acquire various types and brands of RV air conditioner filters, just like you can in a stick-and-brick house. The following are three of the best.

  • RV Air Conditioner Filters MERV 6. The MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating system assigns a “grade” to your air filter. It implies that this filter will more effectively catch big particles such as allergies, dirt, lint, pet hair, and other contaminants, enhancing your RV’s overall air quality.

How do I know if my AC filter is dirty?

We get a lot of calls around this time of year concerning air conditioners that aren’t cooling properly. If this happens to you, the primary thing you should do is check your filters.

Here are various indicators that your air filter is unclean and needs to be replaced:

  • Unpredictable temperatures. Dirt or debris can accumulate on them, making it more difficult for air to circulate evenly throughout your home.
  • Higher utility bill. Determining the source of an increase in your electricity bill might be tricky at times. Checking your air filter is a brilliant place to start.
  • Increased allergies. Allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander will often adhere to your air filter, causing an increase in allergies.
  • Dust on surfaces and furniture near air vents. Finding dust on surfaces and furniture near air vents instead of surfaces further away from the vents is another common symptom of a filthy air filter.

Do RV air conditioners need to be serviced?

It would be best to inspect it once a year to ensure everything is in working order. Then, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, service your air conditioner at least once every twelve months. Keep your AC unit under warranty to avoid costly rooftop AC replacements and repairs. It is to enjoy consistently cool, crisp air on your road trips if you schedule annual service.

Servicing your RV’s air conditioner will improve the unit’s performance and air quality. Your mobile RV specialist will check the charge of the RV’s air conditioner, although this service is frequently used to rectify poor performance.


Camping in an RV is a fantastic way to see the country and enjoy camping. If you avoid the expressways and take the back roads, you’ll meet many intriguing folks. Check your air filters regularly to make your outdoor experience more enjoyable.

They are universally compatible, so installing them in your RV’s air conditioning unit should be simple. You can also save the unused portion when you need to replace your filter again. Taking care of the air conditioner filter in your RV involves taking care of yourself and others in your family who have asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems.

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