Informational Guide

RV AC Troubleshooting Guide

Maintain your RV air conditioner in top condition with our repair and maintenance guide for all types of campers.

by Josh M

The RV air conditioner works similarly to a household unit, except it is mounted on the top of your camper. Just like with any air conditioning system, problems can arise at times.

To help you figure out what’s going on, we have put together this RV air conditioning troubleshooting guide. We will discuss RV AC maintenance and camper AC repair.

Freedom Elite RV on the Road

Many of the same issues with an RV air conditioner are also the same problems you will face at home or with your automotive system. Whether the RV air conditioner won’t turn on or it is simply blowing air that isn’t cool, it’s time to figure out what went wrong and resolve the issue. Here are some of the most common problems you might face.

  • Won’t Turn On
  • Turns On & Off Repeatedly
  • Leaks (When It Rains & Dry Outside)
  • Not Blowing Cold Air
  • Noisy
  • Has A Foul Smell
  • Freezing Up

Solving RV Air Conditioner Issues (Repair & Troubleshooting Tips)

Solifer Action RV parked on Grass with Other Vehicles

What To Do When It Won’t Turn On

If the AC in the RV is not working because it won’t turn on, you want to start by looking at the remote you are using. Is it possible that the batteries are simply dead? If the problem persists after you replace the batteries, the issue could be with the switch itself.

What To Do When RV AC Turns On & Off Repeatedly

This problem points to some sort of electrical malfunction. It could be related to a short circuit or have something to do with the placement of the thermostat. It’s also possible that the condenser coils are dirty and simply need to be cleaned. Performing some regular maintenance might fix the problem.

What To Do When Your AC Is Leaking

The air conditioner sealed to the rooftop contains a rubber gasket. While this doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, there could be a leak stemming from a worn-out gasket. You can verify that the gasket is still intact. If it appears to be failing, the only solution is to replace it.

What To Do When It’s Not Blowing Cold Air

The first thing to check when the temperature isn’t right is the thermostat. If this unit is faulty, it could be sending the wrong information to the air conditioner. However, it’s also possible that the RV air conditioner needs to be recharged, especially if there was a leak involved.

What To Do When Has Loud Noises

AC units are meant to be quiet and smooth operating. You may hear a little noise, but anything loud indicates a problem. In some cases, the excessive noise means that the shock absorbers have become dislodged, requiring you to remove the shroud and replace them. They could be rubbing on the compressor coils or fan.

What To Do When Exhibits Foul Smells

Normally, bad smells occur when a filter is dirty and needs to be changed. It can also happen if any mold or mildew has built up in the system. If you change the filter but still notice problems, you want to clean the entire system. Pay close attention to the air conditioning vents where the air comes into the RV.

What To Do When Becomes Frozen

There are multiple reasons that the AC unit might have ice building up on it. While it doesn’t happen often, you want to start by checking for a leak. Otherwise, the presence of ice could mean that the system is dirty or that you need to top off the Freon levels.

How To Clean, Reset & Maintain an Efficient RV AC Unit

There are multiple ways to ensure that your RV air conditioner continues working as designed. A little care upfront can save you from costly repair bills later on. From cleaning it to resetting and maintaining it, we cover the tips you need to know.

Recreational Travel Camping with an RV

Cleaning

Dirt and debris build up on the RV air conditioner over time. These contaminants can infiltrate the most essential components, leading to trouble with the operation. By regularly cleaning the air conditioner, you ensure this debris doesn’t cause any issues. Pay close attention to the ceiling vents, condenser, evaporator coils, and filters when cleaning the RV air conditioner.

Resetting

If you need to do more than turn off the AC temporarily, it’s simple to reset the thermostat for your RV air conditioner. Start by turning off the thermostat at the air conditioning unit. Next, you want to reset the circuit breaker at the breaker box. Wait for thirty seconds and then attempt to turn the AC thermostat on again.

Maintaining

You want to physically inspect the air conditioner a few times a year. Check the casing to ensure it isn’t cracked or damaged. It’s also wise to inspect the rubber gasket between the air conditioner and roof. This must be in optimal shape to prevent leaks. Hose down the air conditioner unit occasionally to keep dirt out of the vents. You also want to perform some cleaning on the interior vents to ensure maximum airflow.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Are rooftop RV air conditioners easy to repair?

If you need to change the case, the service isn’t difficult to do. However, if you are dealing with electrical issues or something complicated, you might want professional help for guidance.

Why does my rooftop AC trip the breaker in my RV when it’s on?

In most cases, this signifies a bad compressor that is drawing too much amperage while running or starting. However, there’s also the chance that it could be a damaged capacitor creating issues.

How often should you service your RV air conditioner?

It’s best to have the RV AC serviced every year. By performing this annual service, you can head off any potential air conditioning problems before the repairs get too costly.

How do I remove the vent on my RV AC?

Different manufacturers use varying methods to hold the vent in place. You might be able to pry it off gently with a screwdriver. Make sure you read the service manual before getting started.

Conclusion

With the most common RV AC troubleshooting tips, you can figure out what is causing your toughest problems. Sometimes, you can resolve the issues without a lot of mechanical expertise, thereby saving you money in the long run.

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.

Top