Don’t sweat it out this summer! Save time and money by following these RV air conditioner maintenance tips…
Preventative RV air conditioner maintenance can go a LONG WAY in saving you time and money. Not to mention it can save you from sweating your booty off in your a/c goes out during a camping trip.
We will share some valuable tips in this article to keep your RV A/C running great!
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Safety Warnings Before You Work on Your RV A/C
Before we jump into tips, we need to share some safety warnings to help keep you safe. We don’t want you falling of your RV roof or getting electrocuted!
These safety warnings don’t cover everything. You’ll also need to use your common sense and respect your physical and technical limitations. It’s always better to be safe than sorry! Don’t try to do something you’re not completely comfortable doing.
WARNING #1: Roof Safety
Some of the following tips should only be done if you feel safe accessing your roof. If you can’t safely access and maneuver on your RV roof, you should hire a professional or ask a qualified friend or family member who can.
You don’t want to become a slip and fall statistic!
WARNING #2: Don’t Get Electrocuted
Before you work on your RV A/C, you should always disconnect from all 120V power sources (such as from the pedestal, your inverter, or your generator). As an added safety measure, you can also turn off your A/C breaker.
WARNING #3: Don’t Touch the Capacitor
Underneath the A/C shroud, there’s a very high-voltage component called a capacitor. The capacitor must be de-energized by a qualified RV technician to do any type of diagnosing, servicing, or repairs.
Simply put, don’t touch the capacitor! Unless, of course, you’re qualified to do so.
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9 RV A/C Maintenance Tips
1. Service Your RV A/C Once a Year
As a big ticket item in your RV, Brenda recommends having your RV air conditioner serviced at least once a year. Ideally, you should get it serviced before the hot weather season begins, so you know you’re good to go.
A qualified RV technician can inspect and service the unit to help prolong its life and keep it in tip-top shape.
2. Always Use a Surge Protector
You should always use a surge protector whenever you connect to power to protect your RV’s electrical system, including your A/C. Many newer RVs come with built-in surge protectors, but many still require you to purchase one yourself.
This small investment can save your whole electrical system! We recommend reading Does a Surge Protector Provide Enough Protection? to learn more.
3. Avoid Low Hanging Tree Branches
This preventative tip, of course, applies to every time you park your RV. It ensures you don’t unknowingly knock your RV A/C into tree branches or low-hanging anything.
Even if you don’t hit the branches, you don’t want tree branches too close to your A/C. The closer branches are to your RV A/C unit, the more likely vermin or bugs will get in and cause damage.
The following tips are maintenance tasks you can do yourself at least once a year if you feel safe doing so.
4. Visually Inspect Condenser Coils
If you accidentally run your A/C into branches, you should visually inspect your condenser coils to ensure they’re not bent. You should also inspect them as part of your annual maintenance.
To inspect the coils, peer through the fins on the back of the A/C unit. (You do not need to remove the shroud/cover.)
If the coils look bent or damaged, you can contact a qualified technician to straighten them (or make sure they do it as part of your annual inspection and maintenance).
Bent or damaged cooling coils can greatly reduce your air conditioner’s efficiency. So, this is an important maintenance task!
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5. Visually Inspect the Unit for Pests, Nests & Debris
You’ll also want to inspect the unit and look in all the nooks and crannies for any pests or nests. Insects and birds (mud daubers, for instance) often build nests in A/C units.
Clean away any nests, pests, or debris build-up. This is also a good time to seal any gaps or cracks that aren’t supposed to be there!
Did you see what happened to us with mice? Don't let mice and birds make nests in your A/C!
6. Check & Tighten Bolts
An RV AC unit has several nuts and bolts holding it and the shroud (A/C cover) in place. Vibrations from driving down the road can loosen these bolts over time.
Loose bolts can cause rattling, which gets really annoying fast. Plus, loose bolts can lead to losing your A/C cover or even your A/C unit!
So, check all the bolts and tighten them as necessary. And speaking of rattling air conditioners, we also recommend reading How Do I Make My RV Air Conditioner Quieter?
7. Cover Your A/C Unit When in Storage
Just like your RV tires, it’s important to cover your RV air conditioning unit whenever your RV is in storage. Cover the shroud with a vinyl cover, if possible.
An A/C cover will protect your unit from sun damage (if stored outside), and help prevent insects and critters from getting inside.
Shroud covers come in all sizes and styles, so be sure to buy according to your model number.
DON’T FORGET to remove the cover before you pull out of storage! And never use the A/C while the cover is on.
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8. Clean the Filters Often
To maintain adequate airflow and improve efficiency, clean your air filters often! Ideally, clean them every month during peak season or every few months otherwise.
This goes for any A/C and air filters you have inside and out of your RV.
When your air filters are clean, your A/C doesn’t have to work as hard. So, clean air filters prevent undue wear and tear on your RV.
9. Monitor Your RV Power Consumption
Your air conditioner consumes a significant amount of power, especially when it turns on. Overconsumption can trip a breaker or prevent your air conditioner from powering on at all.
To avoid this problem, pay attention to what other appliances are using 120 volts AC at the same time. Turn off or unplug anything that isn’t needed, including basic items like a coffee maker or electric skillet that are plugged in.
If possible, switch appliances, like your fridge or water heater, to another power source. This will help your RV air conditioner to run without interruption.
We hope these tips help
And thanks again to RV Inspector Brenda of Queen Bee RV for all her expert advice!
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