Informational Guide

How To Clean an RV Air Conditioner Filter

RV air conditioner filters can be difficult to clean. Learn how to renew your vehicle’s unit with these excellent cleaning tips.

by Josh M

Take care of your RV, and your RV will take care of you. You don’t want to learn the value of that thought on a hot day when your RV air conditioner decides not to work. Knowing how to clean your RV roof air conditioner filter can make sure it keeps you cool and comfortable on the road or at the campsite.

Here’s the best way to clean an RV air conditioner filter.

Neglecting your air conditioner filter can cause all sorts of problems for you and your RVs air conditioner system. If the air does not circulate freely, the system can get clogged. Your air conditioner will then need more energy to function on the one hand, and on the other, allergens will accumulate more easily.

If you have allergies, a dirty air conditioner filter can make them worse. The dust that settles inside the system can cause respiratory issues. At worst, bacteria and mold circulating in the air inside your RV can make you ill. At the least, a dirty air conditioner filter will make the air in your RV stale.

How To Clean the RV Air Conditioner Filter: Step-By-Step Guide

Cleaning your RV’s air conditioner filter is simple and easy if you have a reusable model. Don’t attempt this with a single-use filter. Instead, replace a dirty single-use air conditioner filter with a clean one.

Here are the steps to follow for washing a reusable RV air conditioner filter. If you make a habit of doing this maintenance regularly, following clean-up jobs will be easier because dirt and debris won’t have a chance to build up.

Locate the Air Conditioner Filter

Turn off the electricity to the AC unit and remove its protective cover. Review your RV’s owner’s manual for the best way to remove the air conditioner filter and follow the recommended steps

Vacuum AC Filter

Once you have removed the air conditioner filter, take it outside to clean it up. First, use a vacuum cleaner with a small brush attachment to remove large pieces of dirt and debris. Don’t press down when vacuuming, as this could press debris into the filter.

Wash Air Conditioner Filter

If you see signs of mold in your RV air conditioner filter or if it’s especially dirty, washing your air conditioner filter is the next step. Fill a bucket or sink with warm water and add a mild detergent. Let the filter soak in the warm, soapy water for 15 minutes or longer, then go over the filter with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove grime, mold, and dirt.

Sanitize Your Air Filter

Before you reuse your air filter, make sure you’re not leaving behind bacteria or mold from your cleaning job. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar or an antibacterial solution. Spray the filter down and let soak for 10 minutes, then rinse.

Dry and Replace

Let your RV’s air filter air dry completely before replacing it in your RV’s air conditioner. Don’t leave it in direct sunlight, though, as it could damage the filter. Wipe down the shroud of the air conditioner to make sure it’s clean, too, and check the condenser coils for dirt.

Do this chore once a month, and your RV’s air conditioner filter won’t be as dirty. Your lungs and your air conditioner will thank you.

If you use a single-use filter, replace it every other month to every 90 days, depending on air conditioning use. Clean fan blades and condenser coils to keep your RV’s inner air conditioning parts in top condition.

How To Clean the Dometic RV Air Conditioner Filter

Dometic recommends cleaning your filters every two months. The easiest way to do this is to remove the filter, clean it with soap and water, and reinstall it after it’s dry.

As with other filters, remember to not expose them to direct sunlight when you are leaving them to dry. The water with which you wash them must be warm, if possible. Also, be gentle and exercise patience! Otherwise, your filters may damage.

RV Camper Night

Common RV Air Conditioner Problems Caused By Dirty Filters

A dirty filter can also do a number on your RV’s air conditioner as well as your lungs and enjoyment of your camping trip. Here are some of the serious air conditioning problems a filthy filter can cause.

  • RV Air Conditioner Turns On & Off Repeatedly
    If the air conditioner in your RV turns on and off repeatedly, dirt being in the air filter and around the condenser coils could be the reason. A filthy air conditioner filter can keep air from flowing through, making the air conditioner shut down.
  • RV Air Conditioner Is Very Noisy
    If your RV’s air conditioner makes an awful racket, it’s likely because its filter is dirty. Fan blades that have become dirty because of a dirty air conditioner filter can become out of balance. Cleaning ducts, motors, and air pipes can also help the unit run quieter and more efficiently.
  • RV Air Conditioner Freezes Up
    Since a filthy air conditioner filter can block airflow, a dirty air conditioner filter could be the cause of an RV’s air conditioner freezing up.

Keeping an RV’s air conditioner filter clean and replacing filters as needed should help RV campers sidestep air conditioning problems. Using a clean filter will also keep you from inhaling pathogens.

How Often Should You Clean Your RV’s Air Conditioner Filter?

Cleaning your air conditioner filter should be part of regular RV maintenance. Clean your RV’s air conditioner filter monthly with heavy air conditioning use or every other month with lighter use. If your air conditioner filter is disposable, replace it annually.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Can you clean a single-use filter?

No, if your RV’s air conditioner uses a single-use filter, it’s not a good idea to try to clean it. Single-use filters are designed to be used one time. Cleaning them will only damage them.

How can I prevent contamination from building up on my AC filter?

Removing your RV’s air conditioner filter each month for light vacuuming can prevent the buildup of dirt, mold, and debris and the need for soap-and-water soaking and scrubbing. Single-use filters can also be lightly vacuumed.

In either case, make sure to also wipe down condenser coils and fan blades when replacing the air conditioner filter.

How long do RV air conditioner filters last?

Single-use air conditioner filters will last about 90 days with heavy use. With fewer RV trips and air conditioning use, a single-use air conditioner filter could last as long as two months. Washable air conditioner filters can last anywhere from five to 10 years, depending on use.

How much do RV air conditioner filters cost?

Single-use RV air conditioner filters can cost $10 or less per filter. Washable air conditioner filters can cost 10 times as much, but these last far longer. Depending on how often an RV is used, washable air conditioner filters may be the more economical choice.

Conclusion

Regular maintenance is essential to RV camping, and this includes air conditioner filter maintenance. Keeping your RV’s air conditioner system clean will extend the life of your air conditioner. Cleaning a washable air conditioner filter will keep the air you breathe healthier and your air conditioner in top working condition.

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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