RV Air Conditioning Tips

The best time to head out in your RV? Summer! The hottest time of the year to head out in your RV? Summer!

Temperatures can climb as fast as the thermometer but, if you’re ready for the heat, keeping your RV cool can be a snap.

We recently had to rebuild/reinstall the site, so we apologize for any glitches you might come across. We’re working hard to spot them if they exist, and fix’em!

Obviously, the first thing you’ll think of is the rooftop RV air conditioner. Typical motorhome, fifth wheel, or camper air conditioners will cool the air going into the unit by 15 to 22 degrees Fahrenheit. Like any machine though, you need to maintain it to keep it running at its peak.


As part of your regular RV rooftop inspections, make sure the vents around your air conditioner are clean and clear. Then, check the vents on the inside and clean them if necessary. The best way to clean them is to start with a vacuum on the intake/RV side of the filter, then a good hosing off on the A/C side of the filter – both are to move the dirt and dust back in the direction they came from. If the filter still doesn’t look clean, try a good soaking in water, then a thorough rinse. This obviously assumes you have a washable filter.


Coming back to your campsite after your RV has been sitting in the heat for hours? Remember that the air conditioner isn’t just cooling the air – it’s trying to cool the carpet, the upholstery, the cabinets and everything else that’s heated up because of the hot air around it. Be patient and give it time.

If your RV air conditioner isn’t ducted throughout the entire unit via the ceiling, and you’re hanging out in the living area, draw the dividing curtain closed between the living area and driving area (in motor homes). Also, close any bedroom or bathroom doors or dividers. This will help the living area cool down much quicker. Once it reaches a comfortable temperature, you can start opening doors and dividing curtains.

If your air conditioner has the option of bringing in air from outside the RV, use that when initially trying to cool down an overheated camper, fifth wheel or motorhome. Crack open some of the ceiling vents so that the incoming cold air pushes out the hot air. The rule of thumb is to draw in outside air if the temperature inside your RV is higher than the temperature outside. That way, your air conditioner is starting with a cooler source of air, meaning cooler air getting into your RV.

To help your air conditioner keep things cool, you can do the same things you would if you didn’t have A/C in your RV.

Cook outside! If it’s hot outside, you wouldn’t run a heater in your RV – and your stove and oven are just specialized heaters. Fire up that barbecue, cook outdoors, then dine in indoor air conditioned comfort.

Park in the shade. The less hot sun hitting your RV on the outside, the less hot air on the inside. If you’re in a motorhome and use it as transportation, look for parking lots with trees, the sides of buildings, or even another motorhome or semi-trailer.

Use your awnings! The sun hitting the side of your RV will heat it up and transfer the heat to the inside. The sun hitting an awning will heat up the awning, but the heat just diffuses into the air. Awnings (and blinds) also keep direct sunlight from going through the window and directly heating objects inside your RV.

If you have a motorhome and it’s going to remain parked for a while, place a reflective window covering inside the windshield.

In cooler temperatures, cracking open the windows and ceiling vents can keep things comfortable – and the sound of birds singing is far more enjoyable than an RV air conditioner humming. That means making sure the vent and window screens are clean for maximum air flow. If you have covers for your RV roof vents to protect against rain, you can leave them open during the day while you’re gone, or during the night when you’re sleeping.