Traveling on your RV during summertime is a thrilling experience. All you need to beat the summer heat are some sweet tunes and a good AC.
However, if you’re dealing with a broken AC, your adventure might turn into a disaster. Driving through the harsh summer heat with a broken AC is definitely not a fun experience.
Does this mean you’ll have to postpone your summer road trip?
Of course not!
Usually, air conditioners stop working if they run out of refrigerant. There might also be other causes that might prevent your AC from functioning properly.
So, do you need to install a brand new AC unit?
In this post, I’ll help you:
- Figure out why your RV AC isn’t working
- What you can do to fix it
- How to recharge your RV AC
A quick read through this post might save you from spending extra money on a new AC unit for your RV.
Can RV AC Be Recharged? Yes, absolutely. Expect to pay around $300 – $600 for it to be done professionally. I wouldn’t recommend attempting to do it yourself as you need specialist equipment and it can be hazardous.
Why is my RV AC Not Working?
Now, before you grab your toolbox to fix the problem, you need to understand the exact problem.
You can’t really fix your RV air conditioner if you don’t know its cause.
So, let’s look at some of the main reasons why RV ACs break down.
This might come off as a surprise, but something as simple as a dirty filter can prevent your AC from working properly.
While on the road, if you notice your AC isn’t cooling the RV like it usually does, you might want to look at the filter.
As your RV travels through various locations, dirt and debris accumulate on the AC filter. Not only will this impact the performance of your AC, but it is also harmful to your health as harmful germs spread through the air.
Moreover, a dirty air filter can block airflow and cause freezing up (more on this below).
The solution to this problem is really simple. All you need to do is clean your AC filter regularly. I’d recommend you should make a cleaning routine to avoid running into unnecessary AC troubles.
One would assume that an AC freezing up is normal. I mean, ACs are expected to produce cold air, right?
Nope, if your AC is freezing up, it’s a sign that something is wrong.
To understand what ‘Freezing up’ is, you’ll need to know a little about how an AC works.
For your air conditioner to produce cool air, it needs a coil full of cold refrigerant. Your AC requires warm air to blow across the coils to keep them warm. As the refrigerant is extremely cold, without this warm air the coils freeze up.
Blockage in airflow and pressure are the main reasons why the inside of your AC might resemble an ice box.
Regular maintenance can help you deal with this problem.
Another common issue that prevents ACs from functioning is air leakage. If your AC’s airflow is weak, there’s a high chance air might be leaking from the ducts or the vents.
I suggest, you keep some aluminum foil tape in your dashboard if such a situation arises, and cover up any leaks or holes. Also, make a habit of regularly inspecting your air ducts to avoid such issues.
If it’s not any of the issues mentioned above, I suggest looking at the wiring of your RV’s AC unit.
Here are a few things that might damage the wiring of your AC:
- Exposure to water
- Wear and tear over time
- Animals chewing on them
Again, regular inspection and maintenance can really help to deal with such issues. The longer you leave these problems unresolved, the more damaging it is for your AC unit.
Can RV AC Be Charged?
Just like regular air conditioners, your RV AC also needs to be recharged to operate effectively.
Remember the refrigerant in the coils that I mentioned earlier? This refrigerant is responsible for cooling the air.
If you’re running low on it, you can fill it up to the required level. On the other hand, if you’ve completely run out of refrigerant, you will need to recharge your RV AC unit.
How Can I Charge my RV AC?
No need to scratch your head in confusion if you don’t know how to recharge your RV AC. I have all the details you need. I’ll be walking you through the whole process step by step, so don’t fret.
Ready? Let’s begin!
Step One: Getting the Right Refrigerant
The first thing to do before you start recharging your RV AC is to figure out which type of refrigerant your AC uses. Depending on the specifications of your AC unit, different kinds of refrigerants may be used.
I’d recommend checking the owner’s manual or your AC unit’s side to find out which type of refrigerant you require.
Step Two: Turning off the Power
Safety should always be your priority. Before beginning the recharging process, you need to ensure the power supply has been switched off.
You don’t want to want an electric shock to hit you while recharging your AC unit.
To turn off the power supply, locate the breaker panel, and turn off the breakers that provide your AC unit power.
Step Three: Removing the Casing
Once you’ve successfully disconnected the power supply, you can now start opening your AC unit.
The way your unit opens varies depending on the model. You can find instructions on how to open it in the user manual.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a user manual, you should inspect the unit carefully – look for any clasps or screws that hold the casing together.
Take caution while trying to open your unit; you don’t want to damage the casing.
Also, be careful in case any wasps of bees have made a home inside your AC unit. Yes, you’ve read that right.
It might seem odd, but you’ll be surprised to know that it’s actually not that uncommon for nests or hives to be formed inside AC units.
If you see any insects flying near your unit, take the necessary precautions.
Step Four: Inspecting the Refrigerant Levels
After you’ve removed the casing, the next step is to check the refrigerant levels in your AC unit. You can use a refrigerant gauge to determine the level of refrigerant.
However, this might be a bit difficult to do, depending on your model. Some RV AC units do not provide a place for you to check the level of refrigerant. In such situations, you can install a line tap.
A line tap allows you to access the refrigerant line through a gauge. You need to be very careful when installing a line tap as the process requires you to create a hole in the refrigerant line. If not done correctly, it can damage your unit.
If your refrigerant level is below 30 or 40 degrees, you’re running low and need a refill.
As you recharge, keep an eye on the levels. Also, it is crucial to check beforehand the refrigerant capacity of your AC unit.
Step Five: Testing Your AC Unit
Once you’ve recharged your RV’s AC, it’s time to test the unit!
Turn on the AC for a while and then wait. I usually grab a drink or enjoy a movie while waiting to see if the unit is working correctly.
If your AC is still not functioning the way it should, try inspecting it again. If you can’t figure out the issue, you might need to pay an RV mechanic visit.
On the other hand, if your AC’s performance improves, you resume packing for that summer road trip you had planned.
In conclusion, many things can prevent your RV AC from functioning efficiently. However, regular inspection and maintenance can save you from a lot of unnecessary trouble.
After reading through this post, you’ll have no trouble recharging your RV’s AC unit. Once your AC is recharged and performing efficiently, nothing is preventing you from having a blast during that summer road trip!