Best RV Air Conditioner Reviews – Buyer’s Guide 2021

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Summer is the best season for RV camping. It’s beautiful outside and the warm weather gives more opportunities to have fun. However, at the same time, summer can bring unrelenting heat. That’s when having an air conditioner on board your recreational vehicle can make a huge difference. And if you’ve started looking for the perfect unit but find the vast amount of options confusing, these best RV air conditioner reviews will hopefully help to point you in the right direction. Below the comparison table and reviews, you can also find a buying guide where we’ve detailed everything you need to know about RV air conditioners in order to make a more informed buying decision.

Recommended RV Air Conditioners Comparison Table

Image Product name Details Check price
Dometic Brisk II Dometic Brisk II
  • 13,500/15,000 BTU
  • 2800 watts
  • Ducted and non-ducted
  • 29.18" x 27.23" x 12.7"
  • 77 lbs
Coleman 48204C866 Coleman 48204C866
  • 15,000 BTU
  • 1800 watts
  • Ducted
  • 38" x 26.1" x 13.8"
  • 90 lbs
Coleman 48208C966 Coleman 48208C966
  • 13,500 BTU
  • 1,200 watts
  • Ducted
  • 38" x 26.1" x 13.8"
  • 90 lbs
Advent ACM150 Advent ACM150
  • 15,000 BTU
  • 2,800 watts
  • Non-ducted
  • 33.46" x 25.6" x 15"
  • 50 lbs
ASA Electronics ACM135B ASA Electronics ACM135B
  • 13,500 BTU
  • Non-ducted
  • 25.6" x 15" x 33.46"
  • 68.4 lbs
Dometic 641816CXX1C0 Dometic 641816CXX1C0
  • 13,500 BTU
  • 1,800 watts
  • Ducted and non-ducted
  • 29" x 40" x 9.5"
  • 110 lbs

Top 6 RV Air Conditioners Reviewed

Dometic B57915.XX1C0 Brisk Air Conditioner

best rv air conditionerThe top rated RV air conditioner in 2021 is the Dometic B57915.XX1C0 model. It’s not only one of the most efficient RV air conditioners, but also one of the most durable and quietest.

Dometic engineers have put in a lot of work to redesign their old models. The result is a stronger, lighter, and more efficient RV air conditioner.

First, it’s the durable design of the unit. It’s made with a carbon steel base and a galvanized steel top plate. This gives it long lasting strength and makes it one of the toughest air conditioners on the market. The custom wrap-around shroud is also laminated for UV protection and longer lasting beauty. Moreover, this small rooftop air conditioner is performance tested to withstand extreme vibrations that it might experience on harsh roads or in extreme weather conditions.

Another thing that makes this RV air conditioning unit stand out is how light it is. Weighing just 77 pounds, it’s one of the lightest options you can find, which is perfect for RV use. Thanks to the re-engineered features, such as the EPP foam housing, this air conditioner weighs 19% lighter compared to previous Dometic models.

This RV air conditioner also ranks high for its performance. It features a smart design with larger air openings and other improved materials. This new design allows having 15% more airflow than the previous models. And as for the capacity of this air conditioner, you can choose between 13,500 BTUs and 15,000 BTUs.

Dometic also took great care to make this the quietest RV air conditioner. It features a quiet motor and fan operation due to the design which is built with the motor, compressor, and evaporator all bracketed together. On top of that, the air conditioner is equipped with dual rubber bushings. All this helps to minimize vibration and provide a quieter performance.

The unit also offers easy rooftop installation, which you can do either ducted or non-ducted. However, this product includes only the air conditioner. To get it up and running, you’ll also need to purchase separately the control board, thermostat and if you want it to be ducted, the ceiling air distribution box.

PROS
  • You can choose between 13,500 BTUs and 15,000 BTUs.
  • Compact and lightweight design.
  • Durable construction.
  • Excellent air flow and performance.
  • Quiet operation.
  • Can be installed ducted or non-ducted.
  • Available in white and black.
  • 2-year protection plus warranty.
CONS
  • Doesn’t include the control unit.
  • Expensive.

Airxcel 08-0080 Mach 15

rv air conditioner reviewsAnother highly recommended RV air conditioner is the Airxcel 08-0080 Mach 15. It’s a 15,000 BTU unit that offers some of the best efficiency and cooling capacity that is available on the market.

It features a sleek, low profile design in a solid, streamlined shape. The sturdy metal base provides durability, while the plastic drain pan prevents corrosion. The shroud is also corrosion resistant and by securing to the base with stainless steel truss head screws, it provides protection for the motor and other parts. For extra durability, this rooftop air conditioner also features all copper tubing and gas-flux brazed joints.

As for its cooling efficiency, it’s equipped with a ⅓ HP fan motor that is capable of delivering an incredible 320 CFM of cool air. That is one of the best rates of air flow on the market. The motor is also sealed in a shaft in order to protect it from the elements and extend its life.

The air conditioner also provides such great performance with very quiet operation. The blower features an efficient compressor and evaporator that offer smoother and quieter operation. You’ll still hear it, especially on the highest setting, but you will notice that it’s still quieter than most RV air conditioners.

One more great thing about this AC unit is the ease of installation, especially if you already have all the wiring from a previous AC unit. It comes with clear instructions, which you can easily follow and get the job done yourself instead of paying hundreds for a dealer installation.

You can install this air conditioner either ducted or non-ducted. For the non-ducted installation, you’ll need to purchase the ceiling assembly separately. Moreover, both options don’t include the control panel, so you’ll need to purchase one at an additional cost or use one from your old unit.

PROS
  • High cooling output.
  • Efficient ⅓ HP motor.
  • Corrosion-resistant construction.
  • Durable design.
  • Easy to install.
  • Weighs 85 pounds.
  • Optional heater assembly.
CONS
  • Does not come with a control board.
  • The delivery packaging is a bit light, which can cause damage to the product.

Coleman Airxcel 08-0056 Mach III

most efficient rv air conditionerAirxcel offers another good RV air conditioner. The Coleman Airxcel Mach III offers many of the same features as the Mach 15 but with less cooling capacity.

This RV AC unit also features a durable design with a metal base plate, good protection for the motor, and a corrosion resistant shroud. All the components are designed to ensure long lasting durability of the AC even in the harshest weather conditions.

As for the cooling capabilities of this air conditioner, it offers 13,500 BTUs and the ability to provide 320 CFM of cool air. It features a ⅓ HP motor for a more powerful performance. Moreover, the unit is equipped with a large evaporator and condenser coils that feature raised lance fins. Both of these design features contribute to more efficient dissipation of heat and better cooling performance.

This air conditioner can also produce heat, which is perfect for those who like cool-weather trailer camping. However, for that, you need to additionally purchase a heat assembly.

The same as all the other products mentioned above, the Airxcel Mach III also includes only the air conditioner itself. The control board, ceiling assembly, and thermostat don’t come in the package. So, if you don’t have these components from your old system, you will have to buy these separately.

PROS
  • ⅓ HP motor for powerful cooling performance.
  • 13,500 BTUs cooling capacity.
  • Enhanced ability to dissipate heat.
  • Optional 5,600 BTUs heating capacity (purchased separately).
  • Made of durable components for longer lasting life.
  • Corrosion resistant parts.
  • Weighs 79.5 pounds.
CONS
  • No control board.
  • Loud.

Advent ACM150

best rv rooftop ac unitThe Advent ACM150 is also a high quality air conditioner that is specifically designed for use on RVs, campers, and trailers. From the ground up, it’s built with all the features to provide the best performance and to offer the best protection against the challenges of being used on an RV.

With 15,000 BTUs, this unit offers the highest cooling capacity that you can get for RV use. When operating the AC, you can also choose between 3 speed options ensuring that you get the cooling effect that you want.

This air conditioner is highly rated for its durability. It’s made with a metal base pan that provides rigidity and support for the entire unit. The rooftop air con also features a watertight vent-opening gasket with built-in dense foam support pads. All the rest of the components are also made from high-grade materials, delivering exceptional quality and ensuring reliable performance even in the toughest conditions.

In all, this RV air con is known for its simplicity. It features a streamlined, lightweight, and compact design. Weighing just 50 pounds, it’s one of the lightest and smallest RV air conditioners.

If you’re planning to do a lot of RV camping in the winter, you can also get the plug-in heat strip and make it a dual function AC unit. However, this heat strip is not included in the package and is only optional.

This is a great product but if you’re looking for the best RV ducted air conditioner, this isn’t the one. It’s designed for non-ducted applications only.

PROS
  • 15,000 BTUs capacity.
  • Rigid base pan.
  • Three fan speeds.
  • Made from high-grade materials.
  • Weighs 50 pounds.
  • 2-year warranty.
  • Offers a heat strip as an add-on option.
CONS
  • Only for non-ducted installation.
  • The shipping packaging could use more padding for better protection of the air conditioner.

ASA Electronics ACM135B

quietest rv air conditionerFor a 13,500 BTU RV rooftop air conditioner, consider also the ASA Electronics ACM135B model. It’s a high efficiency unit that is specifically designed to withstand the rigors of RV use.

It features an extremely rigid frame made of a durable metal base pan and top. There’s also an extra thick watertight gasket that is added to prevent any moisture from leaking into your RV. Moreover, to further extend the life of this AC unit, the motor comes with overload protection.

This RV air conditioner also offers top-notch efficiency. Even though it’s rated at 13,500 BTUs, when it was tested to the ARI standards, it consistently showed a performance that was 10% greater than that. And there are a few features that contribute to such high efficiency.

The unit is equipped with additional evaporator cooling fins, which increase the cooling efficiency. These cooling fins also feature silicon coating, adding to the increase of the airflow. On top of that, the air conditioner is built with more copper tubing in the evaporator and condenser coils. This increases the cooling surface area and provides better performance.

There are a few other features that make this RV rooftop air con really stand out. They include an environmentally friendly refrigerant, three blower speeds, and a filter that you can remove and wash.

As for the installation, both ducted and non-ducted options are available. Whichever option you choose, mounting this unit on top of your RV roof is a fairly easy and straightforward process. It fits into a standard 14 1/4″ x 14 1/4″ vent opening, so if you’re replacing your old air con, the installation will be even easier.

One more thing that is worth mentioning about this AC unit is that it can also be used for heating your recreational vehicle. If you would like to have that function as well, you can purchase the additional heating element.

PROS
  • Rigid frame made from durable materials.
  • A composite of foam is added to the frame to offer quieter operation.
  • Additional evaporator cooling fins.
  • High cooling efficiency.
  • Motor overload protection.
  • Includes washable filters.
  • Non-ozone depleting refrigerant.
  • For ducted and ductless installation.
  • Optional heating element.
  • 2-year warranty.
CONS
  • Not the best customer support.

Dometic 641816CXX1Co Penguin II

small rv air conditioner with low profileIf you’re looking for a low profile RV air conditioner, a good option is the Dometic Penguin II model. The same as all the other products on this list, it’s designed for RV rooftop installation and is engineered for strength and durability.

The sleek, modern design of the shroud that is only 10 inches high offers reduced drag, which would otherwise affect your mileage. That is the lowest shroud design that you can find on the market.

Moreover, depending on your preference, you can purchase this RV air conditioner in either polar white or black shroud color.

As with all the advanced RV air cons, this model also uses the R410A refrigerant. It offers better performance in terms of lower ozone depletion and efficiency. In the cooling mode, this unit uses 1762 running watts and with that much power consumption, it offers 15,000 BTUs capacity.

This air conditioner is perfect for both duct and non-ducted cooling systems. So, you can choose the one necessary, if you already have an old air con that you’re looking to replace.

Keep in mind that this AC unit doesn’t include the control board. However, you can buy it as an add-on. On top of that, if you’ll be using it for a non-ducted system, the ceiling assembly is also sold separately.

PROS
  • High capacity.
  • Low profile design for reduced drag on the road.
  • Lightweight.
  • Environmentally-friendly refrigerant.
  • Can be used with ducted and non-ducted systems.
  • Fits standard roof openings.
  • 2-year protection plus warranty.
  • Easy installation.
CONS
  • Expensive.
  • Doesn’t include the control board.
  • Noisy.

What Is an RV Air Conditioner?

RV air conditioners differ from the traditional ones that you install in a home in that they are much smaller. Since RVs usually have small living space, an air conditioner with 13,500 BTUs or 15,000 BTUs is sufficient in most cases.

Most of these units are installed onto the roof of a recreational vehicle and through the air vents, they cool the interior space.

They run on AC power, which usually comes from a generator. Since running an AC on a generator for an extended time can get expensive, some also use solar panels to generate the power. However, you do need a pretty big solar power set up to power an air con.

Benefits of RV Air Conditioners

  1. Convenience. Whether your pop-up camper, 5th wheel, or travel trailer is a permanent or just a temporary home for you, you still want to make it as comfortable as possible. That’s why getting an efficient RV air conditioner is a necessity, especially if you travel in warmer climates. It can really make a difference between an enjoyable experience and one that everyone would rather forget.
  2. Improved air quality. The AC units keep the air moving in the interior of the vehicle, preventing stagnation and collection of dust. The fresh and moving air is also less likely to become the breeding grounds for germs. And all this is especially beneficial for those suffering from asthma or allergies. Moreover, some of the modern air conditioners are equipped with air filters and even air purifiers, which not only circulate the air but also clean it.
  3. Heating. If you invest in an RV air conditioner that additionally includes a heat pump, you will also be able to comfortably enjoy the living space of your vehicle when you’re traveling to colder climates or in cooler seasons.

Things to Look Out For in the Best RV Air Conditioner – Buying Guide

1. Types of RV Air Conditioners

When choosing an ideal RV air conditioner, one of the first things to consider is the type of unit that you would prefer. There are two main types that are used for cooling recreational vehicles. They have a few differences, understanding which will help you decide which one would be best for your RV.

Non-Ducted

A non-ducted RV air conditioner blows air out of its bottom part and directs it into the interior of your trailer. It’s installed into a hole that you have to cut in the center of your vehicle’s roof. Alternatively, some of the RV air conditioners can be installed into the roof vents. However, check the manufacturer’s specifications as not all of them are designed to perfectly fit into the standard opening.

The main components of a non-ducted system include a condenser, blower, and compressor. All these parts are packed into a single aerodynamic body, which compactly sits on the top of your RV’s roof.

This type of RV air conditioner is an ideal option for those who are looking to replace their existing one. Then, you can just remove the old one and put the new one in its place. After that, the only installation work that will be left is just a bit of wiring.

The downside of non-ducted air conditioners is that they don’t really have even distribution of cool air, creating hot and cold spots. However, since most RVs are quite small, this should be a problem in most cases. And if you do have a larger RV, you can always install two of the non-ducted units and they will provide even coverage throughout the interior of your vehicle.

Ducted

Ducted RV air conditioners require the use of air ducts for distributing the air throughout the RV. These air ducts are also mounted onto the vehicle’s roof and are usually placed in a systematic manner, ensuring that you get the best air flow in all parts of your RV. So, if your motorhome already has multiple ducts in the ceiling, this option would suit you better.

The ducted AC units come with a separate control board, which you can use to adjust the temperature for any specific room of your RV.

However, there are also downsides to this system. First of all, they are usually more difficult to install since you have to connect them to all vent ducts. And secondly, if the ducts are very long in the RV, it can weaken the air flow.

In all, if you have a small RV, a non-ducted system should be perfectly fine for your rig. And if you have a bigger one with already existing ducts, you might prefer a ducted system.

2. Mounting Type

The next thing to consider when shopping around for a new RV air conditioner is the type of mount that you’d prefer. You can mount it either on the rooftop, on the window, or get a portable unit that won’t require any installation at all.

Rooftop

Rooftop air conditioners are the most popular choice among RV owners since with the rooftop installation, they save you space inside the vehicle. That leaves you more valuable space that you can put to other uses. And this is especially beneficial for those with smaller vehicles where every inch of space counts.

Some people install these units through the roof’s window. Or if they don’t want to reduce the amount of natural light coming inside, they cut out a hole for it. If you do choose this type of air conditioner, make sure that your roof has enough space and that it’s completely flat.

Within the rooftop category, you can choose between ducted and ductless systems. Depending on your rig and your needs, you might prefer one or the other. More on that we’ve talked about in the section above.

One of the downsides of rooftop air conditioners is that they add to your vehicle’s height. A lot of the units have a height of about 15 inches and that can cause drag, which can subsequently affect your mileage. However, to prevent this, you can buy a low profile RV air conditioner and then you’ll barely notice the difference.

Some of the rooftop models also offer the heat function. However, their heating isn’t usually the most efficient. Since the hot air tends to rise, having the heat come from the ceiling isn’t optimal for good performance.

Under Bench

If your RV’s roof is too curved for a rooftop air conditioner or there are just too many other devices, you can opt for an under bench unit. This type of air con you place under a bench or inside some compartment. It provides more even cool air distribution since they are always used with a ducting system. They also don’t affect the natural light inside your vehicle since they don’t block any windows. And they can also provide effective heating of the RV due to their placement lower to the ground.

As for the downsides, under bench RV air conditioners take up your valuable interior space and there are not as many available products on the market as with the rooftop type.

Window

Window RV air conditioners are also not very popular and you find that many options that you can choose from. These units are built similarly to the ones used in homes. The main difference is in the size. The ones that are designed for RV use, can be as narrow as 14 inches.

3. Portability

You can also get a portable RV AC unit. With this type, you won’t need to do any installation. It comes ready for plug and play. Moreover, you’ll be able to move it around to whatever point you want in your RV. These systems provide efficient air cooling but they do take up space inside your RV and to prevent leakage, they also require a hose.

4. Cooling Capacity (BTUs)

Another important consideration for choosing a good RV air conditioner should be the cooling capacity, which is measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units. You can define this measurement as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. And in AC units, it defines the amount of heat it can eliminate from the air. That’s why when choosing the right BTU capacity of the AC, you need to take into account the size of your RV. The larger your vehicle, the more BTUs you’ll need.

On average, RV air conditioners offer 13,500 BTUs, which is sufficient for most recreational vehicles. And if you’ll be using the AC sparingly, you don’t need any more power. On the other hand, if you have a larger vehicle and you’ll be visiting areas with extreme temperatures, you might want to get a higher BTU unit. In this case, you can choose a 15,000 BTU air conditioner, which will help you to cool your RV much quicker.

5. Power Consumption

You should also consider the power consumption of the RV AC unit. Most of them draw quite a bit of power and they usually require a generator to provide it. That’s why check the specifications of products and look up their wattage. More powerful units, of course, will have a higher wattage. However, choosing an air conditioner that consumes less power will be beneficial for you in the long run. These systems are more environmentally-friendly since they use less fuel to power the generator. Moreover, they are also more cost-effective, saving you money in the long run.

6. Construction Quality

Construction quality is also an important factor. It determines the durability of the air conditioner. And since RV air conditioners don’t come cheap, you want to make sure that you invest in the highest quality air con. That’s why check the manufacturer’s specifications to see what materials are used in the construction and what features are added for durability.

Also, if you choose a rooftop system, make sure that the air conditioner comes with protection against outdoor elements, preventing corrosion and rust of the unit.

Moreover, your camper or RV driving will not always be on smooth roads. This means that the air conditioner should be able to withstand the vibration of a driving vehicle. It should have various features, such as foam padding, for protecting the inside components from such harsh conditions.

7. Noise

Another factor to add to your considerations is the noise of an RV air conditioner. You won’t really find a unit that is completely silent. However, some do produce more noise than others. To understand the noise level of different AC units, you can read user reviews or check online comparisons. However, keep in mind that in most cases, a more powerful unit would also be noisier. That’s why you might also need to consider if quietness or better cooling performance is more important to you.

8. Size

The size of the RV air conditioner is also an important factor. If you want to replace an existing rooftop air conditioner, check if the new one is designed for the same sized opening. The standard is 14 by 14 inches. However, not all products are made for the standard. And if you buy a different size, you’ll have to cut out a new opening and this will leave you with an extra hole in the roof, which is not an ideal situation.

Additionally, check the overall dimensions of the unit and specifically its height. If the AC’s frame is too high, it will create a draft when driving and subsequently make you get worse mileage. To prevent this, look for low and medium profile RV air conditioners.

9. Heat Pump Option

RV air conditioners can also work with the heat function. However, in most cases, that will require purchasing separately a heat assembly. If you’ll be spending a lot of time camping with your trailer in colder climates, you can consider adding it to your AC package.

With that being said, most RV rooftop air conditioners are not capable to provide very efficient heating due to their placement. That’s why in temperatures that are close to freezing, you’ll be better off with a separate heater.

10. Installation

A good RV air conditioner is one that is also simple and easy to install. You’ll probably need an extra pair of hands since most of these units are pretty heavy. So, you’ll need some help getting it up onto the roof. But, other than that, it should be a simple process with minimum hassle.

It’s also important that the manufacturer provides clear instructions for you to follow. Maybe you can also find some videos online where they go over each step of mounting the air conditioner that you’ve chosen.

Alternatively, you can use the help of a professional, though this will entail extra costs. In general, RV air conditioners are not very difficult to install and most people can easily get it done themselves.

11. Maintenance

Your new air conditioner should also be easy to maintain. First of all, it’s the frequency of cleaning the air conditioner and replacing the filter. And secondly, consider the durability of the product and what are the chances of mechanical parts needing frequent repairs or replacement.

12. Brand

Buying an air conditioner from a reliable brand that has been on the market for many years ensures that you’ll be getting a high quality product. Popular brands with good reputation usually offer long warranties, which shows that they are sure of the quality they provide. A known brand that has been offering RV products for years also provides reliability, since you know that they have many years of experience in the industry and since you know that they most likely won’t close down within a year.

If you’re wondering what are the best brands for RV air conditioners, the most popular ones include Dometic and Airxcel. Both manufacturers have many years of experience and a huge variety of products with a special focus on RVs. Except for air conditioners, their line of products also includes solar panels, refrigerators, ventilation, etc.

13. Price

Just like when shopping around for any other product, the price should also be a determining factor. Setting a certain budget that you’re ready to spend will help you narrow down your options and make choosing the right RV AC unit a much easier process.

For a good RV air conditioner, be ready to pay around $600-700. Units at this price level will offer high performance and top notch quality. Lower priced products might not offer the same performance and they can also be less energy efficient and noisier.

How To Install RV Air Conditioner?

Most RV rooftop air conditioners are fairly easy to install. You can complete the entire process on your own with just some basic tools. The most difficult part is getting your old unit down from the roof and the new one up. For that, you might want to find a willing friend to help.

Here are a few tips for the installation. However, make sure to check the instructions that are provided for your particular air conditioner. The rooftop type air conditioners are all installed in a similar way but there still might be some differences for your product. So, don’t start the installation, before you read the manual.

First, we’ll explain how to remove an old RV AC unit:

  1. Put blankets around the work area to prevent scratching the surface of the roof.
  2. Remove the old AC shroud.
  3. Remove the old ceiling assembly.
  4. Disconnect the wiring and remove the retaining bolts.
  5. With the help of a putty knife, loosen the air conditioning unit from the roof’s surface.
  6. Lift the old air conditioner and remove it from the roof.
  7. Clean the installation area and remove any old putty or adhesives.

Installing the new air conditioner:

  1. With the shroud removed, bring the new AC unit to the rooftop.
  2. Place it where the old unit was with the shorter end facing the front of the RV and make sure that the rubber gasket is properly aligned over the square hole.
  3. Secure the bolts and attach the duct.
  4. Secure the shroud with the retaining nuts.
  5. Reconnect the wires in the ceiling’s junction box.
  6. Install the ceiling assembly.
  7. Connect a power source and do a test run of the new AC unit.

RV Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

To keep your RV air conditioner in top-notch condition, it’s important to regularly do some maintenance work. It will ensure continuous efficient performance and will prevent your AC from breaking down before due time.

For proper RV air conditioner cleaning and other maintenance, consult your product’s manual. All AC units are slightly different and in the manual you’ll find more specific instructions for your particular unit. However, below are some general cleaning guidelines.

  • Before undertaking any maintenance work, make sure that the power to the AC is turned off and disconnected. It can also be good to put on some gloves in order to protect your hands.
  • First of all, try to keep the AC cover clean and in good condition. The cover is important for protecting the inner workings of the air conditioner. If it gets damaged, it can leak water inside, which would greatly shorten the lifespan of the unit.
  • The UV rays and various outdoor elements will eventually cause the cover to wear out. The plastic cover can become weak and break, which will also damage the internal components of the AC. That’s why it’s important to replace it with a new cover before it gets to this point.
  • How to clean camper AC coils? That’s probably another question that pops up when doing RV AC maintenance. To clean the evaporator coils, remove the shroud, disconnect the control panel and remove the freeze sensor probe. After this, the coils are ready for washing. You can use either a household cleaner or buy a specialized one in a store. If you get a cleaner that is designed exactly for this purpose, you’ll also have step-by-step instructions on how to properly use it.
  • When doing RV AC maintenance, it’s also important to check if the fins are straight. Bent fins restrict air flow and cause reduced cooling ability. If you see that your AC’s fins are bent, use a comb or a dull knife to carefully straighten them out. However, be very gentle and try not to damage the condenser tubes.
  • If your unit also includes filters, remove them. On some air conditioners, you might have to replace the filters. However, on most models, the filters are removable and washable.

RV Air Conditioner Troubleshooting

  • If your air conditioner fails to turn on, make sure that it’s getting power. Or if it’s activated with a remove control, check if the batteries are still good.
  • If your RV AC is not cooling and instead, it’s blowing out hot air, start by checking your thermostat. It might have the wrong temperature on or might just be broken. If the problem isn’t in the thermostat, cleaning the AC might solve the problem. And if the problem persists, you might have a faulty compressor capacitor.
  • If your air conditioner smells bad, the most likely cause is poor maintenance. An unclean air conditioner can become a breeding ground for fungi and mold. Giving your unit a regular cleaning will help to prevent bacteria growth and odor. At the same time, it will help to maintain good airflow.
  • If your RV AC unit is leaking, there could be a few potential causes. The main causes include a broken drain tray, a blocked air filter, and a blocked drain hose.
  • Your RV air conditioner will never run totally quiet. However, if you find that your unit became unusually loud, check if the rubber shock absorbers inside the unit are in the right place.
  • If your AC keeps running even though you try to turn it off, you might have a busted thermostat or an issue with the circuit board.

RV Air Conditioner FAQ

How does RV AC work?

Most RVs come with vents in the roof, which is a perfect location for installing a rooftop air conditioner. These units work similarly to a refrigerator. Instead of cooling the interior air, they just draw the how air outside and then pushes the cool air back into the RV.

What is the largest BTU RV air conditioner?

The largest BTU that RV air manufacturers offer is 15,000 BTUs. It’s sufficient cooling power for most recreational vehicles. However, if you have a large RV and you feel like 15,000 is not enough, you can purchase two or even three of these units.

How to Make Your RV Air Conditioner Quieter?

If you find that your air con is unbearably loud, there are a few fixes that might help to make it a bit quieter. First of all, check the bushings. They might have become loose or misplaced, which would affect their ability to dampen the sound. Another reason for a loud air conditioner could be that the rubber cushioning has worn out, so it’s not able to absorb the vibrations as well anymore.

The cause for very loud air conditioner operation can be that the unit is just very old. In this case, there’s little you can do to make it quieter. And it might be better to replace it with a newer model.

How many watts is an RV air conditioner?

RV air conditioners use a significant amount of energy. To power an average unit, you’ll need a generator with at least 2000-4000 watt capacity. For example, a 13,500 BTU RV air conditioner will require a generator with at least 3000 watt capacity. As for 15,000 BTU units, you’ll need a generator with more 4000 watt capacity.

Do RV air conditioners run off propane?

RV AC units run off 110V AC power, which is usually produced by a generator. There aren’t any models that run on propane. However, the generator is often powered with propane. And if you’re using a propane generator, make sure that you have a propane regulator.

How many amps does an RV AC draw?

As we’ve already mentioned, recreational vehicle AC units usually draw a lot of energy. A typical unit might need around 16 amps of starting power and 13 amps of running power.

What size RV AC do I need?

When talking about the size of an air conditioner, it’s important to understand the BTU measurement. We’ve talked about it in our buying guide, so we won’t go into specifics here. However, there are two main options regarding RV air conditioner options. You can choose between 13,500 and 15,000 BTUs. There are also units with lower cooling capacity but there are very few of them. And 13,500 or 15,000 BTUs is a perfectly sufficient capacity.

Do I need an expert to install an RV air conditioner or can I do it myself?

If you have some hands-on experience, you can easily do the installation on your own. Except for the instructions supplied by the manufacturer, you can also find plenty of video instructions online for almost any product. So, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on expert installation. However, it will be helpful if you could find a friend who will help you with getting the unit up onto the RV rooftop. The AC units are on the heavier side and doing it on your own might be a bit difficult.

How often should you maintain your RV air conditioner?

It’s best to do some maintenance work about every other month. Clean it, check if there are any cracks or other issues. All this will prevent your AC from getting damaged beyond repair.

Can I run my RV AC on battery power?

It is possible to run an RV air conditioner on batteries but you’ll still need a source of power to recharge them. If you don’t want to install a generator, a good alternative is installing solar panels. However, you will need a bigger kit since air conditioners require a lot of power.

Final Thoughts

With the best RV air conditioner, you’ll be able to enjoy more comfort and convenience while on the road. The steaming hot summer days will not be the cause for discomfort anymore. However, keep in mind that an RV AC unit is a major investment, so choose one that would offer the best quality and the best performance. In these RV air conditioner reviews, we’ve included the top rated products in 2021. We’ve picked them for their reliability, durability, and excellent performance. If you’ve tried any other good RV air conditioners, we’d love to hear from you.

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