RV Lifestyle & Repair Editors

RV AC Overview: How Cooling Units Work

RV Lifestyle & Repair Editors
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Duration:   4  mins

There’s a fairly common misunderstanding about the capabilities of RV AC units, in the sense that they ought to cool a hot vehicle in no time flat. If I return from a hike on a 95-degree day and my RV has been baking in the sun, when I kick on the AC my interior temperature should be comfortable after just a few minutes running.

That would be pretty great, but it’s an unrealistic fantasy. The fact is, that’s not how air conditioning works. In this lesson, we dispel the myth of the magical RV AC unit, teach you how these appliances actually operate, and give you a few important tips for making your unit run a little more efficiently.

What goes on in your RV AC unit?

To help you better understand how your RV AC unit works, RV maintenance expert Dave Solberg and RVIA Master Technician Steve Albright walk you through a quick overview of the types and functionality of the air conditioning units found on most vehicles. Whether you opt for a roof-mounted, duct-driven unit or a newer model that sits underneath the carriage of your motorhome, it operates in generally the same the way.

There are four major components that make up an RV AC unit, each of which Steve inspects on a demonstration model. The evaporator is the most essential part in the cooling process, responsible for pulling warm air out of the vehicle and slowly recirculating it to drop the temperature by small increments.

Making Your Unit More Efficient

Addressing the belief that AC units should be able to instantly cool a space, Dave and Steve talk about the limited capabilities of all units, regardless of quality, cost and type. There’s simply no way to make the temperature plummet. So what can you do to help your RV AC unit run more efficiently and expedite the cooling process? First and foremost, get your vehicle under shade, stat! And keep it there as much as possible throughout the day. Limit sun exposure and your baseline temperature will remain lower, and you’ll get comfortable much quicker!

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