Do RVs Have Air Conditioning?

Sometimes you may wonder that do RVs have air conditioning. Depending on the size, type, prototype, and age of your camper, there's a good chance that it already has an AC unit. Even though there are other options, which we'll talk about in a minute, your RV will probably have a rooftop air conditioner nine times out of ten.

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An air conditioner on the roof is lovely for RVers since it doesn't take up any floor space and doesn't block a window. Also, they are low enough that they won't add much to your rig's total ground clearance. Rooftop air conditioners are relatively reliable and can cool a surprising amount of space in a short amount of time.

Depending on your RV size, you may have one or more RV air conditioning units. Huge RVs, such as 45-foot Category A diesel hustlers, may need two teams to cool the whole floor at once. This is especially true if the main bedroom is in the back and has a door between it and the living room. It's important to remember that, like all AC units, these come in a range of power levels designed to cool different rooms.

Most of the time, this power is measured in BTUs, British Thermal Units. If you need to buy a new or replacement RV air conditioner, it's a good idea to figure out how many BTUs you need by measuring the square footage of your RV.

But rooftop AC units do need maintenance sometimes, and just like any other piece of equipment, people can sometimes break down for no reason. Knowing how to do basic diagnostics on your RV's air conditioner is essential, and finding a trustworthy technician when you need one. You should also buy an RV air conditioner cover to defend your investment. Here is our guide to finding reliable repair specialists and some basic information about how to sustain and take care of their rooftop air conditioning unit.

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Air conditioning in rv

Air conditioning in rv

A/C Units For RVs

Most RVs have built-in air conditioners, but they can't be run by the engine alone. RVs need a lot of power, so they must be driven by a generator.

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AC power is a particular type of generator that is used by air conditioners. This power comes from a 120-volt outlet, which can be found in places like homes and portable generators. Gas generators can be used to power air conditioners, but they are expensive to fill up again and again.

One half of an adventurous couple who keeps a blog called Finished With the Wynns, Jason Wynn, talks about his hard time with a gas generator.

In the first year of RV travel, we must have wasted hundreds of dollars worth of propane because we didn't know how the heating systems worked. Most RVs have air conditioners that are built into the roof or ceiling. Instead of just cooling the air, these air conditioners take the heat out of the car, which makes the temperature drop.

Some RVs have air conditioners in the dash that turn on when the RV does. These air conditioners aren't as strong as those hooked up to the generator, but they usually work well enough to cool the RV a bit when moving.

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How The Air Conditioning In RV Works

The AC system in an RV is different from the AC in your car or house because it is a closed system. This appears to mean that the refrigerant fluids, like the Freon in our vehicles, are sealed inside the tubing and can't get out. They go through the system repeatedly to get rid of hot air and bring cool air back into your RV. 

Inside the AC unit, the compressor moves, heats, and squeezes the refrigerant vapors. When the pressure on the mists is high enough, they will heat the condenser.

The condenser works to capture the heat from the air and send it out of the RV. The refrigerant's vapors are cooled and turned back into a liquid inside the condenser.

This cool liquid goes to the evaporator, which takes heat from the warm air inside the RV. When this hot air passes over the evaporator's excellent coils, the temperature of the air drops. Through the vents, this cool air is vented back into the RV.

As the liquid refrigerant absorbs heat in the exchanger, it turns back into a vapor so it can go back into the compressor and go through the system again.

Air Conditioners In RVs Use A Lot Of Power

With this simplified explanation, you understand why the cooling process within the AC unit needs so much energy. Think back to your science class and the different ways things can be. It takes a lot of energy to turn the refrigerant gas into a liquid and back into a gas.

A BTU is a unit used to measure energy in air conditioning. The AC unit will be more robust if it has more BTUs. The BTUs of most Motor home air conditioners are between 11,000 and 15,000.

The more BTUs you need to cool down your RV, the longer it is. This is why most RVs that are longer have two AC units. If your RV is longer than 32 feet, likely, one AC unit won't be enough to keep you cool when it's hot outside.

4. Tips To Make Your Rv With AC Work Better

Here are a few quick tips to help users run their RV air conditioner in a way that is efficient and saves energy. This is important when you're running on generator power! And keep your truck cooler in general.

Ensure the filters in your AC are clean.

Airflow is essential for your AC to work well, and dirty filters will slow down this process. Filters can get full of dust quickly on the road, so check your cold air return and filters every two months.

Use fans to move cool air around.

An RV air conditioner tends to cool the air right in front of the vent, making a pocket of cool air. These kinds of ceiling fans can help spread the cool air around the room and bring the temperature down faster.

Whenever possible, park in the shade.

Use your RV's awning to add more shade to the area around it—the less your air conditioner work to eliminate the heat inside the RV, the better.

Close the doors to the parts of the RV you aren't using.

Close the vents in rooms you're not using during the day so the air conditioner can push all the air into your room.

Don't add more heat to the air.

The heat inside your RV will go up when you cook or use the microwave. This will make the cool air from the AC unit less excellent. Use your outdoor kitchen or grill for cooking food outside the RV while the air conditioner is running.

Keep your RV warm.

Think about getting tinted or double-paned windows for your RV to keep it from getting too hot. Pull down the shades and make tight seals where heat can get into your RV.

Find out more about RVs that can be used all year here. Not only do they keep out the cold better, but they also keep out the heat better.


If you want to take a trip in your RV in the summer, you might want to know if it has air conditioning or not. 

Is there air conditioning in an RV? Some RVs have one air conditioner in the ceiling. Some also have AC systems in the dashboard. Most RVs have at least two and sometimes even three air conditioners. RVs rarely don't have one. Most RV air conditioners are quiet, well-built, and practical.

Most of the time, RV air conditioners work well. Even if an RV doesn't come with an air conditioner, there are many ways to put one in yourself.

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