How long does an RV AC last?

In this article, we will discuss: How long does an RV AC last? We will review the best RV AC, and explain how to properly maintain it so it lasts you many, many years. 

How long does an RV AC last?

An RV AC can last up to five years, all depending on how often you use it, how well you maintain it, and whether you recharged it with Freon or not. To make sure that your RV AC lasts for as long as possible, you must follow a few basic tips:

  1. If you have not been able to park your vehicle in the shade, your motorhome can heat up quickly in direct sunlight. The interior temperature can even be much higher than the outside temperature. The first step to take, before turning on your air conditioning, is, therefore, to ventilate your motorhome well in order to lower the thermostat. Even if it means driving your first miles with the windows open.
  1. Switch on the RV AC gradually With the interior of your motorhome now ventilated, you can turn on your air conditioning. No need to put it all the way with the engine on, you will consume a lot of fuel unnecessarily. Be patient and let the air conditioning cool the interior gradually.
  1. Diffuse the air upwards – The sweltering heat outside gives passengers the reflex to point the air vents straight at their faces. A bad idea that can cause thermal shock and expose you to tonsillitis, infections … Not ideal for enjoying your vacation! 

Also, we recommend that you send the airflow up and down the cabin, via the ventilation control on the dashboard, and direct the vents upwards so that the fresh air is drawn in. diffuses better in the passenger compartment.

  1. Avoid strong temperature variations – Always with the idea of ​​avoiding thermal shocks, resist the temptation to set your air conditioning thermostat to the lowest level. A large temperature difference between the interior and the exterior is far from ideal for your body! 

Also do not exceed the 8 degrees of difference. This is more than enough to keep you feeling fresh while sparing your nose and throat when you get out of the vehicle.

  1. Maintain your RV AC – Do not wait for the arrival of summer and the hot weather to take care of your air conditioning system! Its maintenance is inexpensive and will allow the ventilation to be cleaned and the filters to be replaced, and even to top up with refrigerant gas if necessary. 

You will thus avoid diffusing in your motorhome unhealthy or too dry air which would attack your mucous membranes (nose, throat, eyes). Likewise, don’t hesitate to use your air conditioning regularly throughout the year, even if the temperatures are not very high. This will prevent the joints from drying out.

How much does it cost to repair an RV AC?

The cost to replace an RV air conditioner is between $600 and $3500, plus the labour costs which can add even $600 depending on the types of air conditioner you are replacing and its location.

Cost to replace/repair RV air conditioner

Type of air conditionerRepairs/Replacement costs
Rooftop Air Conditioning Units$2,000 t0 $2500
Vent-Free Air Conditioning Units$1000 to $1500
Portable Air Conditioning Units$400 to 700$
Window Air Conditioning $700 to $1000

It is not that uncommon to pay $1000-$2000 for a latest-generation RV air conditioner (with remote control, opening and brightness of the skylight preserved, continuous temperature adjustment, and other benefits included. 

If these prices seem too high for your pocket, there are still air coolers (cold only) that can be supplied with 12 V DC electric current and which replace a skylight RV air conditioner, but it should be noted that the current consumed can approach the 6 Amps (A) depending on the temperature difference to be produced, thus, you will be paying more for electricity. 

What is the best RV AC?

When choosing an RV AC, regardless of the type of air conditioner, consider the following three technical aspects as a priority: power, energy consumption and operating noise.

  1. Rule number one: A small appliance that runs longer will be more efficient than an overpowered air conditioner that often stops and restarts. A longer operating cycle will result in lower humidity levels in the home, a key factor in comfort and air quality. An air conditioner of the right size will therefore maintain a relative humidity rate of 30 to 50%.
  1. Other important criteria: energy-efficient performance. In this regard, the EnerGuide label provides information on the performance of each device. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating measures this rate of return. The higher the rating, the lower the energy consumption. This data is very useful in deciding between two products with very similar characteristics.

In addition, a product marked with the ENERGY STAR symbol guarantees that it meets the most stringent requirements for energy efficiency. Currently, ENERGY STAR qualified products must have a SEER of at least 14.

  1.  Finally, we must ensure that the type of device and the noise level generated by its operation comply with municipal regulations. A benchmark: your peace of mind (and that of your neighbours!) Will suffer if it emits more than 80 decibels. The technical data sheet for air conditioners describes their performance in this area.

How to maintain an RV air conditioner?

The answer is simple, to maintain an RV air conditioner unit, you will need to clean it more or less frequently. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it still has to be done; remember that the cleanliness of your trailer air conditioner is essential to ensure optimal operation!

Start outside your RV. You will need to repeat these operations at least once a year, or even more depending on your use. To do this, remove the air conditioning cover and remove any debris that may have accumulated: insects, dead leaves, dust, etc. To make cleaning easier, you can use a shop vacuum or a compressed air cleaning system.

Once properly cleaned, take the opportunity to inspect the seal located between the front and rear compartments; If it shows signs of wear, then it should be replaced without delay. If necessary, you will also need to lubricate the engine, if you notice a hole in it; a few drops of SAE 20 oil will do the trick.

Once you’ve put the outer cover back on, move inside your trailer. Remove the inner cover and remove the filters; these can be washed with soapy water. The more you use your air conditioner, the more often you will have to clean it; but in this way, you will ensure that it functions optimally for many years to come!

Make sure you clean the air conditioner’s filters, as well. For an air conditioner, the filter is as important as the oil for an engine. Its periodic maintenance is essential: a clogged filter reduces the airflow of the device, a cause of major damage to its compressor.

The bottom line

If you noticed that your air conditioner is not working properly, try giving it a good clean first, and don’t forget to change the filters as well. If you still can’t manage to find the source of the issue, it may be the right time to go to an authorised dealership or to contact a  technician specializing in trailer air conditioning maintenance who will quickly find the problem and resolve it.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on the content. 

FAQ on How long does an RV AC last?

What air conditioning to choose for an RV?

When choosing air conditioning for an RV, take into consideration the following:

  • Telair Air Conditioner Silent 500H.
  • Aventa Comfort.
  • Airva 12V & 24V.
  • Dometic Freshlight 1600 & 2200 air conditioner.
  • Portable air conditioning SW Cube.
  • Kronings Rooftop Air Conditioner K2400.
  • Euromac AC2400 Split System.
  • Telair Silent 220V-8400H.

How to cool a motorhome?

To cool a motorhome, open the doors, windows and skylights in the evening to naturally ventilate and cool the interior. In addition, do not drive in the middle of the day if your motorhome is not equipped with air conditioning. Engine and heat don’t mix.

What is the best heater for an RV?

The best heater for an RV is forced-air heating. It is the most used heating system in motorhomes if you are told Truma or Webasto it should speak to you.

How does hot water work in a motorhome?

The gas boiler (hot water) in a motorhome works quite simply: the water heats up thanks to the combustion of gas, by a burner, and is stored or not. It works with a bottle of butane, propane or LPG gas relaxed to 30mBar.


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