RV Air Conditioner Maintenance; How To Stay Cool This Summer

RV air conditioner maintenance

Maintenance is one of the most important parts of RV ownership. Keeping your rig in peak working order not only prolongs the life of your camper, but it also limits frustration down the road when something breaks. Along with maintaining your water heater, holding tanks, and other seasonal checks, RV air conditioner maintenance is vital for a comfortable camping experience, especially in the summer. In this post I am going to give you a few tips for maintaining your RV air conditioner to keep it running and cooling efficiently for years to come.

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Tip: Before performing any of the following ways to maintain your RV air conditioner, make sure the power is off to your unit. You can do this by either turning the breaker off for you’re A/C or unplugging from shore power.

Clean or Replace Filters

The most basic task you can perform on your RV air conditioner is cleaning the filters. These foam filters are designed to be removed and washed. Simply remove the filter from the housing, gently wash with soap and warm water, let dry, and replace. If you see signs that the filters are beginning to breakdown, now is a good time to replace them. This simple function allows air to move through the filter freely without causing extra strain on you’re A/C.

RV air conditioner vent
clean vents inside RV

Inspect And Clean A/C Vents

If your RV air conditioner is ducted, inspect all your A/C vents for damage and clean any cobwebs, dust, etc. While you have your inside A/C cover off to inspect the filters, clean the ducts leaving the unit. You won’t be able to reach very far into the duct, so clean what you CAN reach.

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Visually Inspect The Air Conditioner Cover

The next step is going to be a little more difficult, especially if you are, let’s say, not as nimble as you used to be. That’s the problem I am finding I have with a lot of tasks nowadays.

Dometic Rooftop Unit
RV rooftop A/C

This step involves climbing on the roof of your RV, carefully. Grab a ladder, if your RV doesn’t have one installed, and climb up on the roof. If you aren’t too sure of where you should be stepping, put a small piece of plywood down first. The plywood will distribute your weight more evenly.

You are going to be looking at the A/C shroud for any signs of damage. The sun’s UV rays can wreak havoc on the plastic shroud covering you’re A/C. Look for cracks and any other damage especially at the base. If you find that the cover is damaged, you can order a new one from the manufacturer.

Inspect The Seals Around The A/C

Water has this way of finding the smallest crack or hole and once it does, it is going find a way into your RV. When you are maintaining your RV air conditioner, make sure you pay close attention to the seals around your unit. While you’re up on the roof, you might want to take the opportunity to check around all your vents, skylights, etc. for any signs of damage.

Related: Camping Season, 7 Ways To Get Your RV Ready

Clean The Condensing Coils And Evaporator Coils

Depending on the model of your RV air conditioner, the cover on your rooftop unit may or may not be removable. If you happen to have a unit that has a removable cover, you are going to want to make sure everything is clean and free from dirt and debris. Be careful of any yellow jacket or wasp nests that may have been built inside you’re A/C cover. If you happen to find one, take care of that issue before proceeding.

With the cover off, inspect the air conditioners cooling fins for signs of damage. Bent or damaged fins can greatly reduce much needed airflow to keep your RV air conditioner running efficiently. You can straighten bent fins with a fin comb or a butter knife. Be careful not to puncture or damage the cooling coils.

Cleaning the condensing coils and evaporator coils are as simple as praying a quality coil cleaner on the coils, waiting for 15 to 20 minutes, and gently rinsing any debris that may be trapped in between the fins. A common household spray bottle works well for this.

Related: RV Covers: The Great Debate, To Cover Or Not To Cover

How Much Does Annual A/C Maintenance Cost?

If you are up to the task of maintaining your RV air conditioner yourself, the cost is minimal. You’ll likely spend a few bucks on coil cleaner, a fin comb, and a filter, if needed. If you are not comfortable performing your own air conditioner maintenance, I would recommend calling a mobile RV service tech in your area to service your air conditioner for you.

The cost of having a professional perform the maintenance on your RV air conditioner will vary by location and the company you use. Typically, the cost to perform this maintenance will run around $250, plus any parts that might be needed.

Related: Is It Cheaper To Rent Or Buy An RV?

Conclusion On RV Air Conditioner Maintenance

Keeping your RV air conditioner is top working condition is a huge part of making your family camping trips as comfortable as possible. A dirty and neglected A/C will have to work harder to keep your camper cool than if it were clean. Do yourself and your air conditioner a favor and make sure you keep up with the annual maintenance.

Do you have any RV air conditioner tips? Please leave a comment below and let us know.

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