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RV Podcast #360: RV Air Conditioner Hack and Upgrade

| Updated Sep 1, 2021

Getting the most out of our RV Air Conditioner can be a daunting task. But before you give up, consider this hack or this suggested upgrade.

The Hack is a very simple addition to your existing RV air conditioner – a $300 product (we can save you $30 off that price) called SoftStartRV that you install up on the roof.

NOTE: We're giving three of them away on a limited-time sweepstakes you can enter for free at

The Upgrade is much more expensive. It involves totally replacing your existing unit with a new one that Advanced RV markets through its Upfitter Resource website as the Quiet Air Conditioner

In Episode 360 of the RV Podcast, we show you both the RV Air Conditioner Hack and the Upgrade, plus much more, including the RV News of the week, the latest on the 2021 edition of America's Largest RV Show upcoming in Hershey, PA, RV tips, your RV questions, and a hidden campground gem.

To watch the video version of the Podcast, click the player below:

To hear the audio version of the player, you can listen in your favorite app or right now on your computer or smartphone through the audio player below.


Where to find the RV Air Conditioner info and other topics covered this week

Here's a table of contents of the topics we report. Scroll on the video or audio player to the times given to hear that exact subject.

  • :30 – The latest whereabouts of Mike and Jennifer
  • 2:20 – Details on the giveaway of three SoftStartRVs (the RV air conditioner hack) through our sweepstakes
  • 5:00 – Photo of the week. “Sleeping on Air” over the Italian Alps
  • 6:40 – Hot Asphalt temperatures. A warning about how hot asphalt is and the damage it causes to pet paws.
  • 10:55 – Extreme weather problems across the country
  • 12:57 – “Touron” woman sentenced to jail for walking in Yellowstone thermal area
  • 14:50 – Labor Day weekend travel predictions
  • 16:35 – Private Maine campground requires proof of vaccination and masks
  • 18:16 – Colorado campground closed because of bear activity
  • 18:25 – The latest on the Hershey RV Show. Interview with executive director Heather Leach.
  • 29:00 – Question about finding the quietest RV air conditioner
  • 30:35 – Demonstration of the Houghton RV air conditioner
  • 40:18 – Interview with RV electricity expert Mike Sokol about how the SoftStartRV hack lets you run your RV air conditioner while moochdocking by connecting to household 20 amp circuit.
  • 57:35 – Hidden Campground Gem the Cooper Gulch Campground in California
  • RV Tip. Using a blackout curtain to screen out the glare from a TV so you can 1:00:42 – watch TV and your partner can sleep

Info on SoftStart RV – our RV Air Conditioner Hack

SoftStartRV lets your RV air conditioner run on low power
The SoftStartRV is a huge help for boondocking and moochdocking who want to run their RV air conditioner on low power

We installed SoftStart RV on our Class C Leisure Travel Vans Wonder this past summer and since then, we've been able to enjoy moochdocking in the driveway of friends and relatives much more than before because with this hack we can run our RV air conditioner on regular household current.

We just plug into a 20 amp household circuit and we're comfortable all night long.

I've written before about this hack so if you want the details, head over to

RV Air Conditioner Upgrade – The Houghton Quiet Air Conditioner

The Houghton Quiet RV Air Conditioner
The Houghton Quiet RV Air Conditioner is the quietest RV air conditi0ner we have ever heard

This is expensive.

That's because if you choose this upgrade, you are totally replacing your RV Air Conditioner with a much quieter and more efficient unit made by a company called Houghton and sold and installed through Advanced RV in Willoughby, Ohio and its service.

You have to take your unit in to Advanced RV in suburban Cleveland. The install takes a full day and the company has overnight parking, with hookups, in its parking lot if you come in the night before.

The company claims the unit is 20% more efficient and many times quieter than any other RV air conditioner on the market. You can easily have a conversation with it running, even when the fan is on high.

Advanced RV retrofits it for Class A, B, B+, and C motorhomes, as well as trailers, and 5th wheels. Among the RVs it works on are Airsteam, Roadtrek, Pleasureway, Hymer, Leisure Travel, Winnebago, Prevost, and more.

According to the Advanced RV website, the price for installation is $3,143. Obviously, you need an appointment.

RV Podcast #360: RV Air Conditioner Hack and Upgrade 1
Mike and Jennifer Wendland

Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?

On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page that links to them. We update this all the time.  CLICK HERE to go to it directly. Have you caught one of our Amazon LIVE events yet? Just go here and Follow us – to be notified every time we go live.

Looking for a Great RV Adventure?

Mike and Jennifer's Great Lakes Shoreline Tour (U.S. Side)

RV Podcast #360: RV Air Conditioner Hack and Upgrade 2

Instead of the usual 7 Days that some of our other guides can be done in, with this one, we’re suggesting that you budget more time. This is why we are calling it a “Tour” instead of a 7-Day Guide! There are 86 pages in this new ebook.

In this new Great Lakes Shoreline Tour we cover in detail:

  • Notable U.S. Cities/Towns along each Great Lake (US side) like Watertown, Grand Island, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Vermillion, Mackinaw City, and so many more!
  • What to See/Do Around EACH Lake: Ocqueoc Falls Scenic Site, Les Cheneaux Islands, Antique Boat Museum, and many, many more places, including BONUS side trips!
  • And good Campgrounds for each Lake (US side) – at least 4 or 5 for EACH Lake! With all the info you need to set up reservations.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2021-09-01

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

One Response to “RV Podcast #360: RV Air Conditioner Hack and Upgrade”

September 01, 2021at9:59 pm, Trina said:

See below comments from the Advanced RV site regarding upgrading RVs (this would include the quiet AC)

Thank you for considering ARV for your upgrades. At this time our team is focused on our backlog of full-custom builds and upgrades for our owner community. We are sorry we cannot support non-ARV owners’ needs this travel season.

We are expanding our capabilities and hope in the future to be able to handle additional upgrades on non-ARV motorhomes. We appreciate your interest and apologize that we are not able to support everyone at this time.

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