RV Air Conditioner Repair and Troubleshooting Guide

One of the best aspects of RVing is the ability to bring the comforts of home on the road with you – with one of the main comforts being air conditioning!

Unfortunately, there will come a time when that comfort breaks down. And let me tell you, your A/C never breaks down at a convenient time.

In our RV air conditioner repair and troubleshooting guide below, we cover some of the most common A/C issues along with tips on how to repair them. This will help you save time and money that you can spend on the road!

Regular RV A/C Maintenance Tips

Before we jump into our air conditioner troubleshooting and repair guide for your RV, we first want to stress the importance of proper maintenance.

Regularly following these maintenance tips will save you time and money in A/C repair costs. Plus, they will greatly reduce the chances you get stuck out in the middle of nowhere with no A/C!

Important: Before performing any maintenance on your A/C unit, be sure to turn the unit off and disconnect it from the power source to avoid electrical shock.

Clean the Air Filters

Be sure to clean the air filter(s) in your RVs A/C after every two weeks of operation. Check out our guide on how to clean an RV air conditioner filter for the exact step-by-step process.

Important: Do NOT run your A/C without the filter in place! This can cause the evaporator to become clogged with dust and reduce performance.

Clean A/C Box Housing

Clean the air distribution box housing and the control panel regularly with mild soap and a soft cloth.

Important: Do NOT use an abrasive scouring pad or furniture polish to clean the housing or control panel.

Keep Your RV A/C Covered When Not in Use

There are days, even months when the RV air conditioner isn’t running. During this time it’s easy to accumulate soot and dirt in the air conditioner, which can cause a host of issues. By investing in a good A/C cover, you can keep a lot of that debris out, thus keeping the unit clean.

Tip: While you’re on your roof, check any seals and tighten any screws or bolts as needed. This will help ensure a tight seal to prevent leaks and help keep your RV AC quiet when operating.

Inspect the Condenser & Evaporator Coils

At least once a year be sure to inspect the air conditioner condenser and evaporator coils. Look for coils that have been blocked by dirt or leaves. This is especially important if you start to notice your A/C not blowing as cold of air as it used to.

Check out our video below on how to properly clean these coils.

Lubricate the Fan Motor

Some units may require you to lubricate the blower motor periodically. Check the owner’s manual to see if this is necessary and for the type of oil needed. SAE 20 non-detergent type oil is most commonly used and can be found on Amazon at the link below or at a heating and cooling parts supplier.

3-IN-ONE Motor Oil SAE 20

3-IN-ONE Motor Oil SAE 20

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RV Air Conditioner Repair & Troubleshooting Guide

Even the best RV air conditioner will eventually run into problems. And when it does, there are three main cases you will run into:

  1. The air conditioner has no power and won’t turn on
  2. It will turn on but won’t run
  3. It runs but isn’t blowing cold air

If you’re experiencing one of these three issues then jump down to the appropriate section below for tips to repair it.

Important: Before performing any repairs on your A/C unit, be sure to turn the unit off and disconnect it from the power source to avoid electrical shock.

My RV Air Conditioner Has No Power

If your RV air conditioner is not receiving power and won’t turn on it’s typically an issue with the power supply or the breakers.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Test the RVs power supply. Plug an appliance into a 110v outlet in the RV to see if it works. If it works, then the power coming into your vehicle is fine.
  • Check the breakers. If your RV is receiving power, next we need to check the breakers. It’s not too uncommon for a breaker to trip in the RV and cause the A/C to stop working.
  • Check the transfer switch. If your unit powers on with shore power, but not while using a generator then it could be a bad transfer switch.

If everything checks out, it’s time to call in a qualified professional to service your air conditioner.

My RV Air Conditioner Won’t Run

If your RV air conditioner powers on but will not run then it’s typically an issue within the unit itself.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Check the fault codes (if applicable). Many RV air conditioner models, for example, the Dometic Brisk 2, will display a fault code on the unit when there is an issue. Check your owner’s manual for the meaning of the code.
  • Check the high-pressure switch circuit. If your A/C model has a high-pressure switch safety circuit, then it could have been tripped due to abnormal conditions (dirty filters, etc.). Refer to your owner’s manual for steps to reset the circuit. In some models, it’s as easy as turning the RV’s power supply off and then back on.
  • Check the capacitors. Your RV air conditioner unit will typically have two capacitors – a run capacitor and a start capacitor. Oftentimes when you hear a humming sound, but your fan won’t kick on, it’s due to a bad capacitor. You can test your capacitors using a standard multimeter. If you find a bad one, you will need to contact the manufacturer for a new one or find a suitable replacement.
  • Check the thermostat. This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure the temperature on the thermostat is low enough for the unit to kick on.

If all the above check out, you will need to contact a qualified service technician to service the unit.

My RV AC is Not Blowing Cold Air

If your RV air conditioner turns on but isn’t blowing cold air, then it typically needs proper maintenance performed on it or it simply can’t keep up.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Check the outside temperature. On extremely hot days it can be difficult for your RV A/C to keep up. Especially if your RV has a high heat gain. If your vehicle is poorly insulated, has a lot of windows, is located directly in the sun, and so on, it can be difficult for even the best air conditioner to keep the vehicle cool. Try parking your RV in the shade, keep doors and windows shut, and don’t use heat-producing indoor appliances like your stove to help keep your RV cool.
  • Check the air conditioner filters. Checking and cleaning the filters every two weeks will help keep your A/C blowing cold air.
  • Inspect the condenser and evaporator coils. Dirty condenser and evaporator coils are another common culprit of A/Cs not blowing cold air as they should. They can also lead to your high-pressure switch circuit tripping. Check out this video on how to clean your RV air conditioner coils.
  • Check the refrigerant levels. Low refrigerant levels in the compressor are another common cause for your A/C not blowing cold air, though in our experience it’s rarely the culprit. How you check the refrigerant level will depend on the model you have (if you are even able to). And while you might be able to check the levels and even recharge the air conditioner yourself, we recommend you leave this to a qualified technician. They will be able to identify why your refrigerant levels are low and will be sure to discard the old freon responsibly (hopefully).
  • Is your A/C unit old? Let’s face it, nothing lasts forever. The older your A/C gets, the more of a chance that it won’t be able to keep up with the high demand of keeping your RV cool. So, it may be time to invest in a new unit for your RV. We can’t recommend the Dometic brisk II enough! Coleman also has several high-quality models.
Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner

Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner

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FAQs

How Much Does It Cost To Replace an RV Air Conditioner?

It can cost between $500 to $1100 on average for a new RV air conditioner, plus an additional $400 to $700 (or more) to have it installed.

Keep in mind running costs will change, as well, depending on the size of the new air conditioner. Luckily, newer models tend to be a little more energy efficient.

Can RV Air Conditioners Be Recharged?

While you can recharge some RV air conditioners, most models do not allow you to without some customization by a qualified service technician.

Why Does My RV Air Conditioner Leak When It Rains?

If your RV air conditioner only leaks when it rains, it’s likely due to a bad seal or rubber gasket where the unit meets the roof of the RV. Read RV Air Conditioner Leaks When it Rains? Do This! for more information on how to identify the cause and fix it.

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