RV AC: Common Problems and Repair

When your RV AC is having problems, it can make life miserable. Your RV can get overly hot, making any road trip or camping excursion extremely unenjoyable. There are a host of different issues that can cause your RV AC to act up, each of which requires a different solution in order to restore your RV to its comfortable self again.

The most common cause of problems with the RV AC is a simple lack of coolant. When this happens, your AC may turn on, but won’t blow cold air from the vents. To fix this, all you need to do is recharge your RV’s coolant. This is best handled by a mechanic, so you’ll want to take your RV in and let someone else handle it for you.

RV AC Troubleshooting

Lack of coolant isn’t the only thing that can cause your RV AC to act up. There are a number of issues that can cause the AC to stop working or to malfunction in your RV. Each requires a solid understanding of the specific source of the problem if you are to properly address it.

RV AC Won’t Turn On 

When the RV AC won’t turn on, there are a few possible issues at hand. 

For starters, your RV’s power system may be having trouble. When this happens, the AC may not get the electrical current it needs to power on. This results in your AC not responding to the controls, leaving you without cold air. 

Fix: Power

If your RV still powers on, you may be wondering how the power could be to blame for this. The answer is that your RV will prioritize the vital functions when operating at partial power. The power supply may redirect its limited resources away from the AC in order to ensure your RV can still turn on and drive.

If this is the cause of your RVs AC not powering on, it is likely a problem with your battery. You should take your battery in to get tested. If the test confirms that your RV battery is dead, you can simply buy a new one and replace it. This should restore power to your AC.

Fix: Electrical wiring

If this doesn’t work, your problem is likely with your electrical wiring. The wires that allow the electricity from your battery to power your AC unit can be damaged over time. When this happens, even a fully charged battery won’t power your AC. 

If this is the case, you’ll need to bring your RV to a mechanic. Not only can the electrical wiring be complicated and easy to mess up, but trying to rewire your RV yourself is also highly dangerous. 

If your mechanic reports back and says the wires to the AC compressor aren’t the problem, you may be experiencing an issue with the motor or compressor. These are integral parts of your AC unit.

If either of these parts gets damaged, your RV AC won’t turn on, even with full power. 

You may be able to diagnose this issue yourself. Look by the fan of your AC unit. Your motor will be next to the fan. If it displays any signs of wear or rust, it’s likely the cause of your AC problems. 

RV AC Not Blowing Air 

If your RV’s AC doesn’t blow air at all, it could be that the problem isn’t your AC at all. Instead, you may be facing an issue with the entire air system.

Your RV’s AC is connected to the same vents that blow heat during the winter. If these vents aren’t blowing anything at all, it doesn’t matter how cold your AC gets, the cool air won’t reach you. This can be caused by a few different problems.

For starters, you may be dealing with dirty components or parts. Over time, dirt can build up throughout the central heating and cooling system of your RV. Just like a home furnace can become blocked by lint, your RV’s air system can wind up clogged, stopping the air from properly reaching the vents. 

If this occurs, the answer is to replace your RV’s air filters. You can easily do this yourself by identifying your RV’s vent cover. From there, remove the old filter and place a new, clean filter in. If this was the problem, your AC should be restored immediately. 

If this doesn’t solve the problem, it could be that your RV’s air motor isn’t working. As stated above, this can result in the air not blowing out of the vents. 

Fix: Motor

Identifying this issue is easy. Look at your RV’s AC fan. Near the fan, you’ll find the motor. If the motor is displaying any rust or looks like it’s damaged, it’s likely causing your RV’s AC problems.

Replacing the motor is much more difficult to do than simply identifying the problem. Unless you are a car mechanic, you’ll want to take your RV into a shop. Having an expert handle your RV’s AC motor replacement will keep you from damaging your RV or injuring yourself.

RV AC Not Cooling 

If the RV’s vents are blowing air but the air isn’t cooling down, the problem is likely with the AC unit itself. 

The AC unit works by using coolant to cool the air. A lack of coolant is one of the most common causes of the AC not working. 

If this is the case, the fix is pretty easy. All you have to do is refill your RV’s coolant. In most cases, the RV will have the coolant tank clearly labeled. You can simply unscrew the lid, pour in fresh coolant, and your AC should be restored.

If this problem recurs, you may have a crack in your coolant tank. This is a much more serious issue. Your coolant will continue to leak, meaning your AC will continue to malfunction. A lack of coolant can also seriously damage your engine, overheating it and causing important components to melt or break.

If you refill your coolant and your AC begins working again, but shortly after the air stops blowing cold again, look for coolant leaks under your RV. If you notice these leaks, take your RV to a mechanic immediately. They can replace the cracked parts of your coolant tank.

Faulty thermostat

Another problem that can cause your RV to blow hot air even when you turn the AC on is a faulty thermostat. The thermostat regulates the temperature of the air, telling the AC how much cold air to contribute. If this component of your RV stops working properly, your air may blow hot even with a fully functioning AC unit. 

Unfortunately, this problem can be caused by a number of other underlying issues. The thermostat may not work because of a problem with your battery or electrical wiring. If there is limited power or the electrical wiring to the thermostat gets corrupted, your air won’t blow cold.

The best way to fix this is to get your battery tested. If the test results show it’s not functioning well, replacing it may restore power to your thermostat, giving you the ability to make the air blow cold again.

Additionally, this problem can be caused by the thermostat itself breaking. If this happens, you’ll need to replace the thermostat before your AC can properly begin to work again. 

There’s no simple way to test if this is the case. Instead, you should test your battery first to eliminate that as a possible cause. If the battery is fine, take your RV to a mechanic. They will be able to tell you if the thermostat is the problem, and if it is, they can easily replace it.

RV Air Conditioner Leaks When it Rains 

If your RV’s AC leaks when it rains, it is likely due to a cracked or broken component. 

Among the most common issues that cause AC leaks is a cracked shroud. The shroud is the covering of your AC unit. It rests on top and keeps things like debris and water from falling through. 

If the shroud cracks, water can leak into your AC, causing it to drip into your RV. 

Identifying this issue is easy. Simply climb onto your RV and examine the AC unit. The shroud is the first thing you should see. If it’s cracked, you’ve found the cause of the problem.

The Fix: Replacing the shroud is simple. All you have to do is buy the right shroud for your RV model, pull the old one off, place the old one on the AC, and you should prevent any future leaks.

Cracked or compressed gasket

If the shroud isn’t the problem, it’s likely that your AC has a cracked or compressed gasket. The gaskets are the rubber pieces that seal your AC. If they become overly compressed or if they age and crack, your AC is almost guaranteed to leak.

Unfortunately, cracked gaskets can only be replaced by removing the entire AC unit. While you can do this yourself, it’s a very labor-intensive process. It may be worth it to simply let a mechanic handle it for you.

RV AC Compressor Not Turning Off

If your AC compressor won’t turn off in your RV, chances are the issue is with your wiring. Just as corrupt wires can cause components of your RV to stop receiving power, they can also result in a component receiving an electrical current when it shouldn’t.

If this is the case, you’ll want to take your RV to a mechanic. The electrical wiring in an RV is complex and trying to fix it yourself can easily result in injury. A trained professional will be able to replace the wiring and solve the problem safely.

Related Questions

How do you resent an RV air conditioner?

To reset an RV air conditioner, access your RV’s circuit breakers. From there, find the circuit breaker that connects to the RV’s AC unit. Flip it off, wait for a few minutes, then flip it back on. 

Can an RV AC unit be recharged?

Yes, an RV AC unit can be recharged. To do so, the unit needs to be refilled with the chemical coolant freon. The easiest way to do this is to take your RV to a mechanic.