How does air conditioning work in an RV?

two rv ac units

Air conditioning works by cooling air using refrigeration. It's a simple concept that dates back thousands of years. In fact, air conditioning uses the same basic principles that were invented by the ancient Egyptians.

For a long time, people had no idea how to make cool air cheaply. The first practical way to do this was by making use of ammonia gas. Ammonia gas (NH3) comes from natural materials like urine, feces, and decaying matter. Here's what happens if we put ammonia in water.

This causes the water to break down into hydrogen and oxygen gases. As those gases leave the liquid phase of the solution they become very cold, giving off moisture as a condensation product. This is why you get steam when boiling water. The colder the water, the less vapor pressure the water molecules have. When the vapor pressure of the water drops below atmospheric pressure, the water vaporizes into tiny droplets that then float away as clouds.

Eventually somebody thought to add electricity to ammonia gas. At that point, the whole thing became much easier. We just need to take ammonia gas and run it through a compressor. That makes it turn into compressed air. We let the air flow over ice or a chilled metal surface. This causes the air to lose its warmth, and we're left with cool air!

Inventors started messing around with ammonia gas right after it was discovered. They tried putting it in different containers and different combinations of liquids and gases. A few inventors even thought about using ammonia gas in cars. Unfortunately, ammonia gas is poisonous. If you breathe enough ammonia gas, it will burn your lungs and kill you. So, nobody wanted to mess around with it.

But eventually, someone did figure out a way to make the gas safe to inhale. He noticed that if he mixed ammonia gas with carbon dioxide, the result was not deadly. Carbon dioxide is a gas produced by burning wood, coal, or oil. We actually produce something similar at home. Burning methane gas emits carbon dioxide.

Another inventor realized that carbon dioxide was the perfect material to store the gas safely. After all, carbon dioxide is colorless and odorless. It doesn't smell like ammonia gas. And it won't explode if it gets accidentally exposed to oxygen, so it's not dangerous to transport.

That inventor figured out how to make a chemical reaction that changed ammonia gas into carbon dioxide and water gas. Then he combined the two together and got a mixture of ammonia and carbon dioxide. He added a little bit of salt to his mix to help retain the pressure of the gas until it came out of the container.

A lot of people still use ammonia based air conditioners today. But, in recent years, a new type of air conditioner has been developed. It uses refrigerants that don't emit any harmful substances. Since it isn't toxic, it doesn't damage anything around it.

This makes it safe for all types of vehicles to have a ac system installed.

Here are a few 12 volt air conditioners you can use on your rv. They're all sold on amazon.

  1. NEKPOKKA 12V DC air conditioner
  2. Omosiroi 6800 BTU 12V Truck Cab Air Conditioner Split AC Fits Semi Trucks Bus RV Caravan(White)
  3. CHUANG Gouku 12 Volt DC Air Conditioner Fast Cooling Truck Cab RV AC Unit for Rvs, Trucks, Construction Vehicles, Harvesters, Agricultural Machinery, Parking Wider Vent, White (EAC009.22-1)

Can I Use My Air Conditioning When I'm Boondocking?

First off, we need to start by defining what a boondocking vacation is. Essentially, boondocking means traveling without relying on any sort of power grid. You may have heard of people who take their RV's and travel the country looking for natural hot springs to bathe in, or maybe you've seen those videos where they go camping in national parks. Those are both forms of boondocking.

Yes, you can use your air conditioning unit when you go boondocking. The main thing to remember however, is that you will need a way to keep the ac unit running. You will not have any access to any type of shore power, so, you will need to plan for a way to keep your unit running.

How To Make Your AC Unit More Efficient

You can make your air conditioner unit more efficient with these 7 tips:

  1. Schedule an annual tune-up for your AC unit. This will help ensure that it is running properly and at peak efficiency.
  2. Keep the area around your AC unit clear. This will allow the unit to breathe and keep it from working harder than necessary.
  3. Replace your air filter regularly. A dirty filter can make your AC unit work harder and be less efficient.
  4. Use a programmable thermostat to help regulate the temperature in your home. This can help you save money on your energy bills.
  5. Make sure your vents and registers are not blocked. This can restrict air flow and make your AC unit work harder.
  6. Seal any leaks around your doors and windows. This will help keep cool air in and hot air out, making your AC unit more efficient.
  7. Use ceiling fans to help circulate cool air.

Parts Of The Air Conditioner


The thermostat is the controller that regulates the temperature of the air within the home or office. When the temperature reaches a certain point, the thermostat turns off your air conditioner. This makes sure that you are not wasting money cooling down the air unnecessarily. In addition to controlling the temperature, thermostats are equipped with timers that allow you to set specific times at which the air conditioner should turn on/off and adjust the cycling time accordingly. You may have thought that thermostats were only used in homes, but they are widely prevalent in commercial buildings too.

Air Blowing Unit (ABU)

An ABU is the device that blows out the cool air inside the room or house. The airflow created by the ABU is usually constant, although some models offer variable speeds. A typical ABU consists of an electric fan that pushes the warm air outside and a motor that spins the fan blades to create a breeze. There are two types of fans, centrifugal and axial, depending upon their design. Centrifugal fans tend to generate higher wind speed, whereas axial fans produce lower wind speeds. Since these ABUs move air throughout the space, they do not need to use a lot of electricity to function.

Air Filter Evaporator

Air filters are designed to trap particles and debris from entering your home or business and maintaining clean air quality. Different sizes and shapes are available, and each is suited for a particular purpose. For example, a HEPA filter traps airborne particles measuring 0.3 microns and smaller while a MERV 13 filter catches larger particles. There are many different brands that supply air filters, including Trane, Daikin, Honeywell, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, LG, Samsung, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Daikin, Onkyo, Acorn, Sanyo, Carrier, GE, Bosch, and others.

Condenser Coil

Condensers are metal coils that capture the heat from the air flowing over them, thereby converting it into thermal energy. This thermal energy is then transferred to water inside the condenser. The condensed water eventually flows back into the air conditioning system and is heated again before returning to the compressor. The amount of heat dissipated from the system is determined by the mass flow rate and heat capacity of the water inside the condenser coil.


A compressor is a machine that increases the pressure of a gas or liquid. Compressors are used to increase the pressure of air in order to remove moisture from the air and make it dry. They work by sucking in a low-pressure gas and pushing it towards something called a discharge pipe where the compressed air is released. Compressed air is used in various applications—such as fire extinguishers, pneumatic tools, medical equipment, and even refrigeration systems.


Air conditioners are a necessity in rvs, homes, offices and public spaces. It's a huge help during summer months when temperatures soar over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, maintaining an air conditioner can be tiresome and difficult. If you keep a regular maintenance schedule, you will be able to keep your rv ac unit running smoothly. Plus, there are several things you can do to make your rv more comfortable to live in.

The main component of an air conditioning unit is the compressor; it keeps air cold or hot and releases the right amount of pressure at the right rate of speed. Most compressors run on gas or electricity, but AC units with non-powered options also exist.

The other major component is the fan, which circulates the air inside the space so the compressor can work effectively. The vents inside your RV move this cool or heated air around so everyone can be comfortable. Fans move the air and ventilate your space, while compressors take care of your comfort level inside your RV.

After you purchase your unit, you'll need to learn how to use it properly. You'll want to read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and follow them step by step whenever you're installing or repairing your AC unit. Additionally, you'll want to check your unit regularly for leaks and wear and tear it enough that it doesn't overheat or break down completely. Also remember to change your cooling filters regularly to keep your condenser clean and working properly.

Maintaining an air conditioner can be difficult if you don't know what you're doing. However, it's easy once you know how to use it properly- just make sure you're following the manufacturer's instructions whenever you're installing or repairing your unit! Doing regular maintenance will keep your AC unit working well and make it much more comfortable for you and your family while camping.

Tips On How Can You Keep Your Rv Cool During Summer

RVing in hot weather can be uncomfortable, and even dangerous, if you don't take the proper precautions. Here are 9 tips on how to keep your RV cool in summer:

  • Use reflective window covers.
  • Park in the shade.
  • Use awnings.
  • Use fans.
  • Use an air conditioner if you have one.
  • Use a dehumidifier.
  • Use evaporative cooling if you have a holding tank.
  • Drink lots of fluids, and avoid strenuous activity.
  • Check your RV for proper ventilation.

Other Ac tips in detail

Use Fans Instead

Fans circulate air more efficiently than AC units. While fans won't cool things down as well as a AC, they are more affordable and easier to install. All you have to do is buy some inexpensive fans and connect them to outlets near where you spend the most time, like your desk or bedside table.

Don't Over-Cool The Room

If you've ever experienced an over-cooled room, you know that it doesn't feel great. Your body feels warm and stuffy, and you just don't feel comfortable. That's exactly the same feeling you'll experience whenever you try to cool your entire house down at once. By using fans to circulate the air, you'll be able to avoid that problem entirely.

Set A Timer

You can set timers on your thermostat to automatically activate your ac when it's getting close to being too hot. If you go about doing this correctly, you shouldn't have any trouble achieving the desired effect, since the AC is cycling constantly anyway.

Get The Right Size Unit

There are actually two types of ac units. There is the standard type, which is what you probably already have, and then there is the mini version. The mini ones tend to be less expensive, and they work similarly to smaller fans, only they are hooked up to a compressor instead of an outlet. Since they take up less space, they won't block any access to the rest of your house, and they can fit anywhere in a small area.

Can I Run My Ac With Solar Power?

Sunlight is a free and limitless source of energy. Solar energy produces no air pollution or hazardous waste. Solar-powered air-conditioning makes sense since it's typically hottest when the sun is shining, and that's when air-conditioning use is most in demand! Switching to solar could reduce your heating and cooling costs by as much as half depending on how much sunlight you can capture.

One such application of this renewable energy source is in air conditioning, through solar air conditioners. These heating and cooling appliances can work by using the sun as an energy source. Reduced energy bills and minimal environmental impact are just some of the benefits which this energy source provides.

What are the benefits of using solar power for ac?

Cost Effective - Solar energy is cheaper than other renewable energies. Also, it does not require any fuel.

Clean Energy - Solar energy is clean and pollution free.

Durable - Solar panels last long and provide electricity even after years.

Efficient - Solar energy is highly efficient and uses less land than fossil fuels.

Affordable -Solar energy is more affordable than many other energy sources.

Flexible - Solar energy can be stored and distributed as per our requirement.

Renewable - Solar energy is renewable and self-sufficient.

Secure - Solar energy is safe and secure and provides us 24 hours a day electricity.

Eco-friendly - Solar energy is eco-friendly as it generates no harmful wastes and no emissions.

Versatile - You can use solar energy almost anywhere in the world.

Self-powered - Solar energy is self powered and requires no external power source.


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When Is The Best Time To Run My Ac? During The Day Or At Night?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors, including the climate you live in and the efficiency of your air conditioner. However, there are a few general tips that can help you decide whether to run your AC at night or during the day.

If you live in a hot climate, it may be better to run your AC during the daytime so that your rv is cool and comfortable throughout the day. However, if you have an older or less efficient air conditioner, it may be better to run it during the night when the outside temperature is cooler. This will help your AC unit to cool your rv more effectively.

Ultimately, the best time to run your AC will depend on your individual circumstances. However, following these general tips should help you to make the best decision for your home.

Which is better for long-term use?

You should generally purchase a newer model if you plan to make regular trips with your RVs. Older models tend to have less power, which could result in shorter run-times between charges. However, some older units still work just fine if they're set up properly. If you're looking at used equipment, check out the owner's manual to ensure that the RV air conditioning unit is in good working order. Also look closely at how well maintained the unit is. If several parts of the RV air conditioning system aren't operating correctly, you may want to consider replacing them before using the unit.

Can I save money by purchasing used equipment?

If you decide to purchase a used air conditioning unit, make sure that the unit is inspected by a professional mechanic. Many mechanics charge a fee to inspect the unit, but many others will provide free services if you ask nicely. If you buy the RV air conditioning unit used, you'll need to take care of its maintenance yourself.

What factors affect how long the RV air conditioner lasts?

Many factors can affect the lifespan of your RV air conditioning unit. These include the age of the unit, the type of motor used in the device, and the quality of the installation. In general, if the RV air conditioning unit has been serviced regularly, and is installed and operated correctly, it will last longer than a brand new unit.

How much does it cost to install an RV air conditioning unit?

Installing an RV air conditioning unit can cost anywhere from $1000-$1500. Most of the time, the expense comes down to the amount of labor involved in installing the unit. The installer should factor in the costs associated with the labor, installation materials, and any additional tools required for the job.

Should I invest in a commercial grade air conditioning unit?

It really depends on what kind of RV you own. A commercial model will give off greater amounts of BTUs per hour and requires less electricity to operate. But most people don't need a commercial grade air conditioning system unless they travel frequently. If you plan on making more frequent trips, then it might be considering investing in a larger, more powerful unit.

How long does an RV air conditioning unit last?

Different types of RVs require different levels of maintenance to keep their air conditioning systems functioning well. For example, motor homes need to be serviced often since they spend more time outside than typical campers. In addition, the heating and cooling systems of these vehicles are more complicated than those found in smaller recreational vehicles. As a result, a motor home air conditioning system will likely wear faster than one meant for a camper or trailer.


Regular maintenance keeps your RV AC unit running smoothly and efficiently. Doing so prevents damage or overheating that interrupts your comfort levels. Doing a routine check and replace parts properly with an inspection lamp or light on a timer for low-use hours like overnight use helps. Hanging fans directly above an RV AC unit if possible keeps it cool even at night.

The purpose of an RV air conditioning system is to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your vehicle. You can control the temperature inside your coach by adjusting the amount of coolant that flows through the compressor. By cooling the interior space, the refrigeration unit prevents the vehicle's internal components (such as food) from spoiling.

About Author:

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Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

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