Though the effects are similar, air conditioning units in RVs operate differently from conventional air conditioners used to cool houses. Because RV A/C units are hermetically sealed, they are not designed to be opened up for repairs or Freon replacements. Though repairs are possible, they are not always cost effective, so preserving the lifespan of your existing unit should be a priority. If you follow these basic RV A/C maintenance must-do’s, you’ll keep your A/C in top condition for many more RV trips to come!
Before you begin any form of maintenance on your air conditioner, first verify that the power to the A/C unit has been disconnected. You’ll want to begin by doing an overall inspection. Examine the plastic shroud that encases the unit; this will most likely require you to access your roof. Your A/C unit can sustain damage from low hanging branches or UV rays, so check closely for cracks or splits in the covering. Look for compromised or cracked seals around the A/C unit as well. These damaged areas might not initially effect the performance of your cooling unit, but they do create areas where water can seep in and cause permanent impairment. New plastic covers can be purchased to replace a damaged one.
Routine cleaning will not only enhance the lifespan of your RV’s air conditioning unit, it will also help to preserve its cooling abilities too. Follow these recommendations for periodic cleaning and keep your A/C in top working condition on all of your future RVing adventures!
Filter: It is recommended that you clean your RV filter once every month. The filter is most often located in your RV's interior, under the air distribution rim. To clean your filter, simply wash it carefully using warm water. Let it air dry completely before you replace it. If you notice that your filter is damaged or it isn’t coming clean as well as you’d like, a replacement may be needed.
Condenser: It is recommended that you clean your A/C unit’s condenser coils every couple of years. To do so, remove the plastic shroud and set it aside. Several specialty products are available for cleaning A/C units, but you can also use common household grime cleaners, such as 409. Spray your cleaner of choice onto the condenser coils and let it sit for around 10 minutes. Use a wet/dry shop vacuum to suck up the excess moisture and residue, or use an air compressor to clean out as much of the ductwork as possible. For best results, remember to blow air through the coil from the inside out. If needed, repeat the cleaning process until the grime is removed to your satisfaction, and then let the unit dry completely.
Evaporator Fins: When cleaning you will want to avoid the evaporator fins as much as possible in order to reduce your risk of causing them damage. If you bend these fins during the cleaning process, you will actually be doing more to restrict air flow, obviously making your unit less effective. Luckily, if these fins do sustain damage, a comb-like gadget can be purchased and used to straighten them out.
If the fan motor in your RV A/C unit doesn’t have oil tubes, this step in the maintenance process isn’t applicable to you. If oil tubes are present, you should consider lubricating them periodically for optimal performance. To do so, put a few drops of machine oil into the tubes on either end. Just a couple of drops will go a long way. While you have the internal components exposed, you may also want to consider oiling the bearings too.
Keep your cool in spite of the summer sun’s heat by keeping your A/C in top condition! Taking the time to properly care for your RV’s A/C will do a great deal when it comes to extending the lifespan of your unit. For more RV maintenance information, check out this post!
Do you have experience with maintaining your RV's A/C that you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments below!