Thursday, March 30, 2023
HomeRVAll of Your Questions About RV Air Conditioners Answered

All of Your Questions About RV Air Conditioners Answered

RV life is way more snug when your RV air conditioner works effectively. A purposeful AC unit can also be important for preserving the temperature inside your RV protected for pets and people, particularly in scorching and humid climates.

Like all RV home equipment, your AC unit requires you, the RV proprietor or renter, to function and preserve it correctly. This information will educate you the fundamentals of air conditioner use and upkeep by answering essentially the most generally requested questions on RV air conditioners

Use an RV Air Conditioner

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The fundamentals of protected AC operation start with guaranteeing you’ve ample energy provide to run your air conditioner. Earlier than transferring on, let’s reply just a few questions: 

Can You Run an RV Air Conditioner on 30-amp Energy?

In case your RV requires 30-amp service, that will probably be sufficient to run your RV air conditioner. In case your RV has a number of AC items, you’ll seemingly want 50-amp service to run each (or all) items. In case your RV requires a 50-amp service, you might be able to use a 30-amp adapter to run a single air con unit, however not a number of.

Your finest wager for safely operating your RV’s air conditioner is connecting to {the electrical} service your RV is designed for.

Can You Run an RV Air Conditioner on 15-amp Energy?

Theoretically, 15-amp energy is sufficient to energy an common air conditioner. The issue is determining whether or not your particular AC unit is “common.” You’ll have to know the precise amperage required in your unit. If in case you have a bigger unit that attracts greater than 15 amps, you gained’t be capable to run your AC on 15-amp energy.

Even when your AC attracts lower than 15 amps, you could be unable to run any extra electrical home equipment with out overloading the circuit. For instance, the mixed attracts of your AC unit, RV fridge, and electrical water heater could also be sufficient to journey a breaker. 

There’s additionally the query of surge watts versus operating watts. Even an AC unit that attracts lower than 15 amps when operating might draw extra when beginning up, leading to a tripped breaker. 

To fight this situation, some have gotten away with putting in a soft-start system or manually soft-start by turning on the fan for about 30 seconds earlier than switching to the bottom AC setting and dealing your manner up from there. 

Nonetheless, putting in smooth begin gadgets or manually making an attempt to function an AC with lower than the designated energy provide minimums might void your guarantee, trigger injury to the tools, and probably end in hearth. 

Backside line: your finest wager for safely operating your RV’s air conditioner is connecting to {the electrical} service your RV is designed for.

Can I Run My RV Air Conditioner on 120?

Photograph by The Toidi by way of Shutterstock

Normal 120 electrical energy provides about 15 amps. So, operating your AC unit whereas plugged into an ordinary 120 outlet is feasible in case your AC attracts lower than 15 amps and also you’re not operating too many extra RV home equipment concurrently. 

The issues are the identical as operating on a 15-amp shore energy connection. You’ll want to think about surge watts, you gained’t be capable to run many different home equipment, and also you’ll have to know precisely what else is drawing on that circuit. If somebody plugs a field fan into an outlet on the identical circuit, it could possibly be sufficient to journey the breaker. 

Protected AC Utilization Suggestions

Photograph by Tenting World

Now that you just’re accustomed to AC energy issues, listed below are just a few suggestions for protected use: 

  • Flip off all home equipment earlier than beginning your air conditioner. AC items draw extra when beginning up (surge watts) than they do as soon as they’re working (operating watts). Turning off home equipment reduces the probabilities of overloading a circuit when the unit begins. 
  • Examine the shroud often. The shroud protects the AC elements mounted in your roof. Test it earlier than and after every journey to make sure it isn’t cracked or lacking. Cracks permit mud, moisture, and different particles to degrade delicate AC elements.
  • Maintain doorways and home windows closed. Decrease the stress in your unit by trapping cool air in and preserving heat air out. 
  • Park within the shade. This additionally reduces how exhausting your air conditioner must work by limiting your RV’s publicity to direct daylight.

Clear an RV Air Conditioner

The fundamentals of protected AC operation start with often inspecting and cleansing the unit’s air filter. Listed here are some suggestions to assist:

Clear an RV Air Conditioner Filter

Inspecting and cleansing your air filter ought to be accomplished each 3-4 months. To wash the filter, both rinse with water and permit it to dry utterly or vacuum out unfastened particles earlier than rinsing and drying.

Right here’s an entire information to sustaining your RV’s air conditioner for extra AC upkeep suggestions. 

The High Questions About RV Air Conditioners

Let’s discover these widespread inquiries to study AC items and methods to responsibly cool your RV. 

How Many Amps Does an RV Air Conditioner Use?

The typical RV air conditioner attracts between 11 and 16 amps, however there are items (smaller and bigger) that fall exterior that vary. Power effectivity additionally comes into play. You may have two AC items of the identical dimension, however the extra environment friendly mannequin will often draw fewer operating amps.

Right here’s a fast breakdown of common AC amp draw relative to unit dimension in British thermal items (BTUs):

Amp rankings are listed for 70℉. Add 1 amp for each 10℉ exterior temp above 70. 

AC Capability Operating Amps
5,000 BTU ~4.35
6,000 BTU ~5.22
8,000 BTU ~6.96
10,000 BTU ~8.70
12,000 BTU ~10.43
13,500 BTU ~11.74
15,000 BTU ~13.04
20,000 BTU ~17.39

How Many Watts Does an RV Air Conditioner Use?

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Calculating AC wattage requires multiplying amps by voltage. AC items run on a 120-volt circuit, which you’ll multiply by the unit’s amperage to transform to wattage. You’ll discover that you would be able to additionally divide a unit’s BTU score by 10 to get an approximate measure of operating wattage.

That is useful when figuring out for those who can safely run your air conditioner with a generator, which often affords a wattage score versus an amperage score.

Listed here are some common wattage rankings by AC dimension: 

AC Capability Operating Wattage
5,000 BTU 500
6,000 BTU 600
8,000 BTU 800
10,000 BTU 1,000
12,000 BTU 1,200
13,500 BTU 1,350
15,000 BTU 1,500
20,000 BTU 2,000

Will a 3500-watt Generator Run an RV Air Conditioner?

The brief reply is sure, for many. However you’ll have to know your unit’s surge and operating watts. Bigger items will draw extra wattage and will hinder your capacity to run different RV home equipment, even with a 3500-watt generator. 

Listed here are some generator dimension suggestions primarily based in your RV’s electrical calls for: 

  • 30-Amp RVs: Minimal 3,500-watt generator
  • 50-Amp RVs: 6,000-8,000 watt generator for RVs with twin ACs; 10,000-12,500-watt generator for RVs with three ACs.

Take a look at extra suggestions for choosing the proper dimension generator in your RV.

How Lengthy Can You Run an RV Air Conditioner?

Most RV air conditioners final 6-8 years if maintained correctly. The extra diligent you might be with service and upkeep, the longer you’ll be capable to run your unit. 

When tenting, you’ll be able to run your AC 24 hours a day. You’ll simply wish to use a modest thermostat setting that permits the compressor to cycle on and off periodically. For bigger RVs with two or three items, you’ll be able to cycle between them to present the items intermittent breaks. 

Having a constant energy supply is an important factor to maintain your unit operating effectively. This isn’t a problem once you’re plugged into 30 or 50-amp service, however you’ll be restricted to your generator’s run time if powering your AC utilizing an appropriately-sized RV generator. 

How Do I Make My RV Air Conditioner Colder?

In case your air conditioner isn’t decreasing the temperature inside your RV to a cushty degree, right here are some things to attempt: 

  • Regulate the thermostat. It could possibly be so simple as telling your unit you need it to be colder inside your RV.  
  • Transfer to a extra shaded location. Lowering your RV’s publicity to direct daylight will make your AC more practical as a result of it gained’t must work as exhausting. 
  • Add insulation to roof vents and home windows. This traps cool air inside as a substitute of permitting it to flee. 
  • Clear and/or exchange the air filter. Inadequate airflow reduces your air conditioner’s effectiveness. 
  • Clear the coils or fins. Clogged condenser or evaporator coils will even scale back AC effectivity. These ought to be checked and cleaned each different 12 months. 
  • Test your energy provide. Inadequate energy will trigger your AC to function beneath its cooling capability. 
  • Decrease the variety of occupants. Our our bodies give off warmth. The extra individuals you’ve inside, the tougher your AC works to chill issues down. 
  • Cook dinner exterior. Simpler in case your RV options an outside kitchen, however price it to maintain issues cool inside your RV. 
  • Bathe within the bathhouse. Eliminates steam and condensation from scorching water…except you want chilly showers. 
  • Decrease using home equipment and electronics. Each equipment in your RV offers off warmth when it’s on. Lowering equipment and digital utilization will make life simpler in your air con unit.

What’s the Smallest RV Air Conditioner?

Photograph by Tenting World

Roof-mounted items are the commonest kind of air conditioner for RVs, however there are additionally small moveable and window-mounted items. These are nice choices for RVs with out AC or for supplementing an current RV air conditioner. NewAir and EvaPolar are two high manufacturers for small RV air conditioners. 

Discover small moveable RV air conditioners in our full choice of RV AC items. 

Can You Add a Thermostat to an RV Air Conditioner?

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Most AC items have a built-in thermostat or are wired to a wall-mounted thermostat in your RV. Aftermarket residential thermostats not often work with RV air conditioners, and whereas improve kits can be found, they should be from the AC’s producer and be designed particularly in your unit.

These kits will seemingly require the set up of extra elements that permit them to speak correctly along with your AC. In case your thermostat must be changed, your finest wager is to seek the advice of the proprietor’s guide and wiring diagrams in your mannequin and contact your native Tenting World Service Middle.

Does RV Top Embrace the Air Conditioner?

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Most RV producers record heights measured from the bottom to the very best level, sometimes your AC unit. A possible exception can be if the bottom mannequin doesn’t embrace an air conditioner, however one is out there as an improve. In that case, the listed peak might not embrace the air conditioner. 

Can You Run an RV Air Conditioner Whereas Driving?

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You’ll solely be capable to run your RV’s air conditioner whereas driving if it’s outfitted with a built-in generator and that generator is operating. It is best to NEVER run a moveable generator whereas driving in an try to energy your air conditioner. When you’re using within the cockpit, the sprint AC ought to be sufficient to maintain you and your navigator cool till you attain your vacation spot. 

Hopefully, you recognize much more about air conditioners for RV use, methods to use them, and the way to make sure they hold your RV cool and comfy. When you really feel like it is advisable to improve your AC unit, take a look at our full assortment of RV air conditioners

Do you’ve any extra questions on RV air conditioners? Tell us within the feedback beneath. 

And for those who’re nonetheless studying the ins and outs of RV upkeep, take a look at our downloadable RV possession and upkeep booklet!

Tucker Ballister is a Technical Content material Author for Tenting World and a lover of the open street. You may take a look at extra of his adventures and out of doors recommendation at



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