HomeBLOGAir ConditionersHow To Use RV Air Conditioner?

How To Use RV Air Conditioner?

Various brand new RV owners expect the same level of performance from their RV roof air conditioner and are disappointed when they step into an uncomfortable vehicle.

If you travel during the rest of the year, you’ll almost certainly need to use your RV’s air conditioner or heater.

Most new RVs now come standard with an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. However, if you buy an older camper or trailer, you may need to install your own RV AC unit.

In this guide, we’ll learn more about your RV’s air conditioning functions and how to utilize its colling capacity.

To use your RV Air Conditioner, make sure you have enough power coming from your generator for your air conditioner to work properly. Next, secure to use a surge guard to protect your camper’s compressor and all electrical components, and lastly, set and control the temperatures you want to maintain when traveling.

How Does RV Air Conditioning Works?

Unlike your home’s air conditioning system, the RV air conditioning system is a closed system. This indicates that the refrigerant fluids are completely sealed inside the tubing and have no chance of escaping. Instead, they circulate through the design regularly, releasing hot air and reintroducing cool air into your RV.

The compressor circulates, warms, and compresses refrigerant vapors within the AC unit. When the vapors are condensed to a high enough pressure, they emit heat in the condenser.

The condenser absorbs heat from the air and transfers it to the RV. The refrigerant vapors are cooled and condensed back into a liquid inside the condenser.

Most RVs come standard with a roof-mounted air conditioner. Longer trucks – those over 32 feet – typically use two units, as one is rarely enough to get the job done efficiently. If your RV is older and does not come with a roof A/C, you may be able to get one installed.

Tips To Help Your RV AC Run More Efficiently

Tips To Help Your RV AC Run More Efficiently

You must understand that no RV air conditioner will perform as well as a large unit at home or a powerful A/C in your automobile. Most, however, perform admirably in temperatures below 100 degrees.

You should also be aware that running your RV’s air conditioning system will consume a lot of energy, true of all air conditioners. There are, however, certain things you can do to help conserve energy – and hence money – while also making your RV air conditioner function more efficiently

Keep The Filters On Your Rv Air Conditioner Clean

As with your home HVAC system, keeping your RV air conditioner’s filters clean and lint-free by cleaning and replacing them regularly is critical.

A dirty air filter will not only make your unit work harder to do its job. Consuming more energy and reducing its useful life will also mean that the filtered air is not as clean as possible, resulting in poorer air quality inside the RV, which can harm your and your family’s health.

Ideally, you should inspect and clean your RV air conditioner’s filter after each trip and replace it.

Don’t Leave The Doors Open.

If you leave any of your RV’s doors – or windows – open while using its air conditioning system, you will make it work harder and severely reduce its effectiveness by allowing hot air in that does not need to be there.

Consider enhancing the insulation around the doors and windows – basic weather-stripping generally suffices – to keep more of that beautifully cooled air inside where it belongs and keep doors and windows closed when the A/C is on.

Fans Should Be Used

In an RV air conditioner, the air in front of the vent is usually the coldest, creating a pocket of chilly air. Ceiling fans, or even essential freestanding fans, can help disperse cool air throughout the space and drop the temperature more quickly, which means you’ll stay more relaxed, and your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to reach that aim.

Minimize Activities Indoors

The more heat you put into your RV’s interior, the harder your AC will have to work to keep things cool. Also, when you cook inside, even if you merely use the microwave, you introduce hot air, which is true when you take a steamy shower.

When it’s hot enough to need your air conditioner, try to limit your culinary activities to outside — BBQs are more fun anyhow – and take chilly showers, which will help keep you cool. And, if possible, park in the shade.

Consider An Energy-Efficient Portable AC

If the air conditioning does not appear to chill some areas of your RV, you could try using an energy-efficient portable A/C unit instead. Remember that this should only be done if you have access to shore power, as these units would quickly drain your battery if you don’t.

Energy Star-rated portable air conditioners are becoming more affordable. As long as you have a window through which it can be vented, you may use one practically anyplace in your RV.

Draw on Shore Power Voltage

If you don’t already have one, purchase a plug-in voltage meter. They’re pretty inexpensive and plug into a standard duplex wall outlet. The voltage from the shore power to your supply and AC unit(s) must be sufficient. During exceptionally hot spells, electric overloads in the park may occur.

Before Arrival at Your Destination

If possible, run your generator and air conditioner long before you arrive on hot days. An hour of running will cool your RV’s inside walls and fixtures while utilizing half a gallon or less gas. As a result, when you switch your cooling cycle to shore power, the cabin will be at or near a comfortable temperature.

Availability of Shade

When booking your reservation, check whether any tree-shaded spots are available. Parks in desert locations are unlikely to have many trees that provide shade, but it’s worth asking. Meanwhile, dry camping allows the vehicle to be positioned to take advantage of any available shade.

How To Use RV Air Conditioner?

An RV air conditioner removes heat from the air within your RV. The AC unit sucks in hot air, expels it outside the RV, and pushes cool air back in through air vents. A compressor is one of the essential components of an air conditioner that allows this process to take place.

RVs typically include built-in air conditioners. However, they cannot operate only on motor power. A generator must fuel RVs since they consume a lot of electricity.

Air conditioners operate on a particular generator feature known as “AC power,” usually supplied by 120-volt plug-in sources such as residential electricity and portable generators. Air conditioners can run on gas generators, but they are expensive to refill regularly.

People Also Ask

How do I turn on my RV air conditioner?

Your AC unit is conveniently positioned in the center of your RV, and it isn’t easy to miss because it is generally extended over the top of the ceiling. Vents will be found on the AC unit or the sides. Take note of the vents. It will allow your machine to run more efficiently and save energy.

First, ensure enough power from a generator or plugged into a 30 or 50 amp outlet. It will take a steady energy supply to provide your AC with the juice it requires to cool down your camper.

The AC will undoubtedly shut down if the camper’s battery is depleted or not plugged into an external outlet. Therefore, be aware of how much electricity your air conditioner will require to run to ensure you have enough energy to support the feature.

After you’ve plugged in or started your generator, you can shift your attention to the interior unit, where you may begin managing the weather in your home.

How long can you run an RV air conditioner?

You could leave an RV air conditioner running indefinitely. However, if you operate your RV’s air conditioner on a generator, you would only get about 8 hours of life. This is because an RV air conditioner does not consume a lot of gas.

In general, you should be able to run your RV for roughly 8 hours on two gallons of gas. So, if you have a generator that can hold 6-gallons of gas and you are not using it for anything else, the RV air conditioner will be able to run 24 hours a day.

Of course, this will merely be a general guideline. It would help if you also kept in mind that different air conditioners use varying amounts of fuel. However, it will also be hardly influenced by the state of your RV’s air conditioner. The more power your air conditioner consumes, the older it is. It makes no difference whether it is well kept or not. It just happens as the components mature naturally.

Is it better to run RV AC on high or low?

Remember that your air conditioner runs on an outside air intake temperature. As a result, RV air conditioners are only remarkable to around 20 degrees below the outdoor temperature, so don’t mindlessly blast your air conditioner at its highest setting. Instead, remember to go “low and slow.”

Lowering the thermostat below 70 degrees can jeopardize the entire system. If you want to operate your air conditioner 24 hours a day, you must decrease the thermostat slightly to function correctly.

It’s also a good idea to start turning it on in the morning or while you’re out exploring. Again, you’re giving your AC adequate time to cool down your setup by doing this.

Can I run my RV AC all night?

Yes. You could run your RV air conditioner all night if you have a generator or are plugged into a 50 amp hookup where you are parked. In addition, most generators can run your air conditioner all night while using relatively little gasoline.

If you have shore power, it might be attractive. However, because these devices consume a lot of electricity, they may not be popular – or even allowed – at specific campgrounds or cost you extra. Also, if you have a generator, an A/C will soon exhaust it.

It will quickly drain your battery, assuming it can even run on battery power, as many RV air conditioners take far too much power for that to be viable. So instead, utilize fans at night and trap in as much cold air as possible during the day to circulate at night.


Overall, you can run an RV air conditioner all day if you decide. All you have to do is make sure you’re feeding it enough fuel to keep it going.

If you expect to use your RV air conditioner regularly, we recommend that you take steps to improve its efficiency. 

This implies you should make sure the temperature isn’t set too low and that you’re not turning your air conditioner on and off. Above all, you’ll want to make sure your air conditioner is well-maintained.

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