When summer comes around or when you are out adventuring in an exotic, tropical country, the heat and humidity can bring on a real sweat. No one wants to be stuck in a sauna for their whole journey in their RV, so thank goodness for the developments in technology and the air conditioner installed in your RV! With all electrical appliances, these air conditioners require regular maintenance to continue to serve us well throughout the years.
You would not want to be caught in the middle of your trip, traveling under the sweltering sun and finding out that you are stuck with a malfunctioning air conditioner on your RV. Save yourself and your travel buddies this torture, and never have another trip ruined by the heat. Read on to find out some tips to maintain your RV air conditioner, and if you are currently plagued with some air conditioner problems right now, we will share the best way to clean your RV air conditioner coils to keep that cool air blowing again.
What is in an RV air conditioner?
Unlike your air conditioning unit at home, your RV air conditioner is a simpler device, and it is completely possible for you to maintain and repair it yourself without the hefty costs of hiring a professional. After all, why spend that money when you can put it to better use? But first, it is integral that you have a basic understanding of the systems of your RV air conditioner.
There are a few different styles of RV air conditioners that are out in the market, such as the basement model, but the focus here will be on roof-mounted models as they go back the furthest are seen the most frequently in RVs. As a general rule, these maintenance and repair tips will be mostly the same for the different types of RV air conditioners.
There are two main systems in a RV roof air conditioner- the sealed system and the air moving system.
The sealed system: This houses the inner workings of the RV air conditioner that work together to keep the air blowing out of the air conditioner cool. Take a look inside and you will find the compressor, condenser and evaporator. The compressor does the job of circulating Freon through the condenser and evaporator coils cooling fins. This cycle repeats until the air is at the temperature set.
The air moving system: This is comprised of a motor and two fans. One fan does the job of moving the air across the evaporator and the other fan moves air across the condenser.
Sometimes, one of these systems will experience problems, preventing your RV air conditioner from operating at its best to keep your RV cool. It is important to find out the source of these problems, allowing you to target your repair work. The common problems that can occur are water or debris damage, an overworked unit that has been working hard for years, dirty air filters and coils, or perhaps it is just simply too hot outside for the air conditioner to keep up with.
How to check your RV air conditioner
When you are feeling the heat settle in, and start to wonder if there is something wrong with your RV air conditioner, don’t panic! First, check the power supply to the RV by plugging something else into the outlet connected to the air conditioner. Sometimes, the problem might not even lie with the air conditioner. Also make sure that the breaker is not tripped before you start poking around at your air conditioning unit.
Now that you are more certain that the problem lies with the air conditioner itself, it is time to inspect both the inside and outside components of your RV air conditioner. To save yourself from an unpleasant electric shock, make sure that you unplug your air conditioner from the electrical supply before doing any inspection.
Even after doing so, take note that the starting capacitator may still be charged with a high voltage. Take caution and do not touch it with your bare hands to prevent a nasty shock!
Inspecting from the outside: Always taking caution to your safety, carefully climb to get to the top of your rig. Now, you can inspect the cover of your air conditioner for any cracks. A cover that is in good condition is important, as it will keep out rain and any debris from entering to the inner workings of the air conditioning unit. The air conditioner should also be securely attached to the roof of your RV.
It should be firmly mounted on with a rubber gasket between the unit and the roof of the RV to prevent moisture from creeping into the unit. The condenser fins of your air conditioner should be free from bents and clean. The air conditioner coils should also be clean and not clogged with dirt or debris.
Inspecting from the inside: Take a close look at the air filters, and make sure that they are clean. Dirty air filters can greatly reduce the performance of the RV air conditioning unit.
What do I do if my RV air conditioner coils need to be cleaned?
Now that you know that the problem lies in dirty air conditioner coils, here are the steps to clean them so that they will be looking as good as new.
- Remove the filters
Move the filters out of the way so that you can get to the air conditioner coils. These filters should be cleaned at least once a month if you are a frequent user of your RV air conditioner. Cleaning them is simple as you just have to wash them gently with some warm soap and water, letting them air dry completely before fixing them back. No fancy chemicals or tools needed!
- Clean the evaporator coils
After removing the filters, you should be able to see the evaporator coils. Use a good spray or foaming cleaner to loosen any debris and dirt. Use the soft bristle brush of a vacuum to remove the debris.
- Clean the condenser coils
Unscrew any bolts to detach the shroud from the air conditioner. Use a vacuum to remove any dirt or debris. Then, spray the coils using a coil cleaner. Take note to read the instruction booklet coming with the coil cleaner you have purchased and follow these instructions closely to prevent permanent damage to your air conditioning unit.
If your RV air conditioner is still not operating well after all this work, it might very well be time to call a professional to take a look at it. The RV air conditioners do not work like the air conditioning units you use at home, and the Freon in it cannot be checked and recharged as they run based on a close system. Sometimes, they simply cannot be repaired, and it might be time to start looking for a new one at the stores.
Tips to maintain your RV air conditioner
Now that your RV air conditioner coils are clean and your RV is nice and cool again, make sure that you follow these tips to maintain your RV air conditioner at its peak performance.
- Do not overwork your RV air conditioner
All electric appliances will be more prone to wear and tear if you constantly push it to its limits and overwork it. Yes, the air conditioner is there to keep the RV cool and, but you also want it to be working for a long time. Set the temperature higher and compensate by turning the fan setting on. This will make sure that the temperature will be adjusted when the RV is at the set coldness, and the fan will help to distribute the cool air to every corner of your RV. Stop overworking your air conditioning unit, and it will last for many years to come.
- Cover your RV air conditioner when it is not in use
When it is cold out, and you do not need to have that air conditioning on to stay cool, purchase a cover for the air conditioning unit so that it is not exposed to the elements as well as the dirt and debris in the air as you speed along the roads to your next adventure.
- Oil the fan in your RV air conditioning unit
Keep the fan well oiled to ensure that it is moving smoothly. The fan keeps the air circulating throughout the entire RV, so you will want to keep it working well.
- Open the roof vent when you are not using the air conditioning unit
When you do not need the air conditioning in your RV on, open the roof vent to let any trapped moisture out. This prevents moisture from accumulating in the air conditioning unit, which can cause much damage to it.
- Check the condenser from time to time
Check the condenser coils for any clogs or dirt accumulation at least twice a year. Clean coils will keep your air conditioner operating at its best, keeping you cool.
Take these small steps to keep your RV air conditioner in a good condition. If properly maintained, your air conditioning unit will last for many years, and will serve you well for the many exciting trips you take in your RV. Simple maintenance and repair can be performed without the help of professionals if you have a basic understanding of how the air conditioning system works.
A useful tip will be to use your smartphone to take a few shots of the air conditioning unit before moving any parts when you are repairing it. This will prevent any confusion when you are reassembling the parts back again later. As a reminder, always take care of your safety first, be it when you are climbing onto the top of your RV to check the air conditioning unit, or when you are unplugging these appliances from the electrical supply. Good luck in your repairs, and here’s to many more fun trips in the summertime!