How to use an rv air conditioner?

How to use an rv air conditioner?

rv ac unit

An rv without air conditioning will not be fun especially during the summer months.

When you are using an rv air conditioner, it is best to keep the doors and windows closed. This allows for a better flow of cold air throughout the entire unit.

You can use the air conditioning system while you are driving if desired. However, it will pull power from your generator or engine in order to run properly so make sure that you do not overuse this function of the system as it can drain where you get your power from leading to inconvenience later on down the road (i.e., no electricity). You should also turn off the ac unit when filling up with gas as overworking could lead to problems with your generator while at a gas station.

What is an air conditioner?

An air conditioner is an appliance found mainly in homes throughout the world that is designed to help control the temperature of a room or an entire space. Air conditioning works by cooling hot air and removing humidity from a space.

How do air conditioners work?

There are two types of air conditioners: those for personal use such as window units and split-system models, and those for commercial industrial purposes (i.e., big air conditioning systems). There are also portable air conditioners which can be used both in your car and at home during warmer months when you need an added relief from the heat but don't want to be miserable inside your home or vehicle because it's too hot.

With home ac units there are two different kinds of coolant: water soluble (which contains glycol) and oil based (which uses a refrigerant like Freon).

One of the most common problems people have with rv air conditioning units is that they fail to work during warmer months because they are blocked by leaves, dirt, or other debris. Make sure you clean your ac unit regularly and make sure it's getting enough airflow. Airflow is key when it comes to rv air conditioning because it needs a constant flow of fresh air across the internal coils in order for them to dissipate heat.

RV AC Units don't work like ac units at home, so they are not as simple and straightforward as using one that might be at home. In fact, some rvs come with dual ac systems that can cool both the living quarters and the engine compartment at the same time. Rv ac units function more on a basic level where ice is produced by evaporation rather than refrigeration (the process of removing heat from a space). Air is forced over an evaporator coil that contains cold water while an electric fan blows outside air through the coil which produces cold moist air. The moisture collects inside the unit and is drained out.

Rv ac units can be very complicated, but it is still a good idea to have some knowledge on how they work before trying to use one. When learning how to use an rv air conditioner, there are things that you need to remember:

  • Conserve the cold air: One of the problems with an rv ac unit is that when the door is opened, all the cool air escapes out instead of staying inside where it's supposed to be cooling off the people and objects in it. So if someone needs to exit or go outside for some other reason, don't put off shutting the door until later or else all your work will be undone.
  • Do not evaporate any liquids or throw any hot materials into the unit: This can be dangerous not only to others around, but also for the rv ac itself. Especially if it is not made to take a large amount of heat being shot at it from whatever is being evaporated/thrown in. If you accidentally spill something on the floor near (but away from) the air conditioner openings, make sure you clean up after yourself before anything gets ended up inside.
  • Check the drain plug before using: Some rv air conditioners are built with a hole that will let water out when too much accumulates in it after use; however, this isn't always true for all models and brands. It's important to check your owner's manual (if you have one) to see what kind of drain plug your model can or should be equipped with.
  • More than an air conditioner: If you didn't know already, it's important to remember that some rv air conditioners (at least the ones with manual temperature controls and knobs) aren't just for cooling things down; they are also heaters, which is a good thing to keep in mind if you ever need emergency heat and warmth. It's a bad idea to hook the exhaust tube up to your car while using it as a heater though because carbon monoxide fumes can get sucked in.
  • Be Cautious: Rv ac units tend to be hot even when they're not running and this can be especially important to keep in mind if you plan on draining the water out of it while its hot. These units have many sharp edges that could cut and injure you, so it's important to use caution.
  • Renting vs buying an rv ac unit: Now, there are also many places that rent these kinds of units as well. This may be advantageous if you only need to use one for a short period of time rather than purchasing one outright (which can actually get quite pricey). If you have the money though, it certainly isn't unheard of either - many campers tend to love their air conditioners so much they buy them new every year or two or just keep using the same model year after year until it breaks down completely or something better comes out.

How much does it cost to run rv air conditioner?

Everything else being equal, if you want to run your 13500 BTU AC unit for about 18 hours total during a hot day then you would need close to 65 kWh's of power (basically 6500 watts) assuming it runs near its max capacity. This would be about the same as running a 15 amp appliance like your refrigerator or a microwave 9000 watts for approximately 18 hours of time. Depending on how much you pay per kilowatts hour, you can calculate how much you would pay.

Here is a list of all the states in the US and their cost for each killowatt of power used:
STATE As Of April 2021
Alabama 12.41¢ / kWh
Alaska 22.54¢ / kWh
Arizona 13.16¢ / kWh
Arkansas 9.99¢ / kWh
California 19.90¢ / kWh
Colorado 12.28¢ / kWh
Connecticut 21.62¢ / kWh
DC 13.21¢ / kWh
Delaware 12.05¢ / kWh
Florida 11.37¢ / kWh
Georgia 12.26¢ / kWh
Hawaii 32.76¢ / kWh
Idaho 10.58¢ / kWh
Illinois 12.56¢ / kWh
Indiana 12.02¢ / kWh
Iowa 13.81¢ / kWh
Kansas 11.56¢ / kWh
Kentucky 10.56¢ / kWh
Louisiana 9.37¢ / kWh
Maine 16.16¢ / kWh
Maryland 13.92¢ / kWh
Massachusetts 21.11¢ / kWh
Michigan 16.07¢ / kWh
Minnesota 14.09¢ / kWh
Mississippi 11.55¢ / kWh
Missouri 13.23¢ / kWh
Montana 11.85¢ / kWh
Nebraska 11.31¢ / kWh
Nevada 11.67¢ / kWh
New Hampshire 19.63¢ / kWh
New Jersey 15.64¢ / kWh
New Mexico 13.37¢ / kWh
New York 19.30¢ / kWh
North Carolina 11.24¢ / kWh
North Dakota 12.07¢ / kWh
Ohio 12.64¢ / kWh
Oklahoma 10.72¢ / kWh
Oregon 11.02¢ / kWh
Pennsylvania 14.38¢ / kWh
Rhode Island 18.64¢ / kWh
South Carolina 12.91¢ / kWh
South Dakota 12.39¢ / kWh
Tennessee 10.79¢ / kWh
Texas 11.36¢ / kWh
Utah 10.63¢ / kWh
Vermont 18.50¢ / kWh
Virginia 12.40¢ / kWh
Washington 9.79¢ / kWh
West Virginia 11.57¢ / kWh
Wisconsin 14.28¢ / kWh
Wyoming 12.30¢ / kWh

How long to run rv air conditioner?

You don't have to avoid using your RV AC because you're concerned about how much it will cost, but at least now you can make an informed decision on if and when it's really turning it on. Also, knowing what your power costs are in advance helps budgeting for your trip all that much easier.

You will most definitely be running your rv's ac more during the summer months because hot weather can really make the inside of your RV feel up to 20 degrees hotter than it's actual temperature. I would say that you will be using your ac at least 50% more during the summer months and every little bit helps.

Pros for running AC in rv:

  • Air Conditioner can help reduce the amount of dust and debris being brought inside the RV.
  • Air conditioning will reduce humidity levels in the home, helping to keep mold growth at bay.
  • Running air conditioners helps minimize the need for using fireplaces or space heaters.
  • By keeping the interior temperature at around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, you won't need to wear a sweater or sweatshirt.
  • Running your A/C while traveling helps to reduce the cost of energy.
  • Air conditioners don't leak water vapor into the air.
  • A properly working air conditioner keeps out bugs.

You can read up on

  • how does air conditioner work in an rv to find out more information on the topic.


    Using an rv air conditioner is easy. If you cannot figure it out by just looking at the buttons or switches located on the system, read the owner's manual.

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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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