Improving Air Conditioner Efficiency

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Here’s the thing about cooling your RV: it’s not an instant process, and your AC unit is not a magic wand. The air conditioning on your vehicle functions much like the one in your home, which requires time to bring the temperature down and can only cool so quickly. Naturally, the cooling unit’s rate of cooling depends on its efficiency. In this step-by-step video lesson, RV repair expert Dave Solberg teaches you how to improve your RV’s air conditioner efficiency so you get the most bang for your cooling buck.

What to do for better air conditioner efficiency

One of the tasks that should be on your spring RV maintenance checklist is inspecting your air conditioner. Every time before you get back on the road each year, Dave recommends digging into the guts of your AC unit to ensure that your air conditioner efficiency is at its peak. This job is simple but crucial, because it can save you a decent chunk of change and ensure that you reach your target temperature as quickly as possible without wasted energy.

(Pop quiz: When should you inspect your AC? Before it gets too hot!)

Here are a few of the things you should check for when inspecting your RV’s AC for optimal efficiency:

Proper airflow: all AC units (whether ducted or direct) utilize filters that need to be cleaned and/or replaced to prevent them from clogging, plugging, and tearing; they also have vents that can become clogged, and if these are filled with dirt and debris your system will need to cycle longer in order to reach your desired temperature. The same is true of the evaporator at the front of your AC’s warm air intake–take a brush to this plate to free up any dust or other contaminants that might be clinging on.

Tightened gasket: as with other appliances that sit on the roof of your RV, you want to ensure that no moisture can seep into and remain inside of your AC. One way to prevent leakage is to tighten all screws that mount the unit to the inside and outside of your RV, especially the gasket that rests against the roof. Unwanted water is always a problem!

Straightened fins: take a closer look at the surface of your AC unit’s evaporator (intake side) and condenser (output side). Are the fins flattened down anywhere? If so, this will have essentially the same effect on air conditioner efficiency as if they were clogged with dust or debris. You can use a fin comb to straighten the fins and ramp up ventilation for optimal cooling power.

Each of these inspection points is equally essential to the efficiency of your RV’s air conditioning unit. Every spring as you’re getting your rig ready for the road, do yourself a favor and hop up on the roof. Pop the shroud on your mounted AC, and do a thorough run-through on the guts of the cooling unit. Ensuring optimal air conditioning efficiency ahead of time will leave you feeling cooler when those hot summer days get a grip on your RV!