Your recreational vehicle certainly serves a lot of purposes; long road trips, camping adventures, as a shelter on transit and even for a family getaway. An RV is a multipurpose vehicle that every family should have.
But we all know how hot it can get inside your RV, especially during the summer, and having an air conditioner is a necessity. But installing an RV air conditioner is not a ride in the park. The rooftop AC can be quite pricey, and so is the installation.
There are two main types, the stand-alone unit and the rooftop unit (which is the most common).
Despite all of these, your typical RV air conditioner may not last as long as the vehicle itself before a replacement is required.
But what exactly does a replacement entail? How much will it cost you? This post provides answers to these questions and more. Let’s get right into it!
How long does an RV air conditioner last?
On average, RV Air conditioners last for about 5 years.
However, the lifespan of RV Air conditioner depends on the quality of the unit and maintenance. Due to its location and its exposure to all sorts of weather, elements and rocking vehicular movement, it is very unlikely that an RV air conditioner unit lasts more than 5 years.
The model of the unit, the materials used in its design and how you use it will all determine if you’ll actually enjoy it for up to 5 years or longer, or whether it will pack up in just about 3 years.
Basically, some models last longer than others. How frequently you travel in your RV is also a major factor. Less travel equals extended life expectancy.
Furthermore, some people go for used RVs. If you bought a used one, you shouldn’t expect the AC to give you as much as 5 years. This situation is even worse because there are no guarantees at all.
You may buy it today and it may only last a week or a month before a replacement is required. A brand new RV is certainly better than a used one.
In your case, it could probably be an electrical part like the thermostat or a filter that gets damaged. That can easily be replaced and you can continue to enjoy your RV air conditioner.
How much does it cost to replace an RV air conditioner?
Replacing your RV air conditioner can be a really tough process. It begins by ascertaining that the unit is due for replacement. Perhaps, the compressor is damaged or the unit has just outlived its lifespan.
Once an HVAC professional confirms that it needs to be replaced, it would have to be dismounted. Again, the expert should be able to take care of it.
The next step is shopping for a new unit. A typical RV air conditioner unit will cost you between $700 and $1,400, depending on the model and capacity. That is just for purchase.
There are also costs of installation and purchase of installation materials which should gulp between $400 and $700 in some cases.
Overall, it would cost around $1100 – $2100 to replace an RV Air Conditioner.
This cost also depends on several factors including the type of RV air conditioner unit to be installed, whether or not the unit is ducted, and how much effort is required.
To replace your RV AC unit, consider the following:
- The brand reputation
- Heat pump availability to help during the winter
- Power should exceed 13,500 BTU if you’ll be embarking on longer trips in the summer.
In summary, the cost to replace an RV air conditioner:
|Cost Head||Average Cost|
|RV Air Conditioner Cost||$700 – $1400|
|Installation Material Cost||$200 – $300|
|Labor Cost||$200 – $400|
|Total Cost to Replace RV AC Unit||$1100 – $2100|
Can RV air conditioner run continuously?
If you mean running your RV air conditioner all day, then the answer is Yes. You certainly can. However, there are a few things to consider if you intend to use your RV air conditioner for long periods.
5 Points to Consider to run RV Air Conditioner for Long Period:
1. Lower the temperature
First of all, the thermostat needs to be set lower than usual, so that your compressor is able to cycle on and off and maintain its efficiency. This helps to reduce the workload and power demand of the AC, increase its lifespan and increase its efficiency.
2. Consider your source of power
Check to be sure your source of power will be able to handle the unit for as long as you want to run it. A rooftop RV air conditioner can only run on the RV’s battery, and this could mean leaving your RV running as well to keep the battery charged.
If you use a stand-alone unit in your RV, you can power it with a direct source of electricity.
Sometimes, you could camp in places with no electricity. Here, a generator will come in really handy, as long as there is sufficient gas to take you all day.
3. Shut all openings
You must also ensure all windows and doors are shut to prevent cool air from escaping out of the RV. This will help prevent undue pressure on the air conditioner and enhance its efficiency.
Also, you’ll lose much of the coolness you need, especially in the summer season if you leave openings. It’s the same way you’ll shut the windows of your home or car when the AC is turned on.
4. Consider alternation
There are usually two conditioning units on an RV. To preserve energy and avoid tiring one down, you should alternate the units; maybe the one in front first, then the one at the rear of the vehicle afterward.
5. Find a shade
Leaving the RV out in the open sun and running the AC is somewhat counterproductive. The sun continues to heat up the roof of the RV (where the AC is probably situated), causing the inside of the vehicle to heat up.
With increasing heat, it will take longer for cooling to happen. And sometimes, you won’t get the desired results. It is best to park under a shade to protect the vehicle against the sun.
Just so you know, an RV air conditioner is not as efficient as other air conditioners. They are also not as durable, so running the unit all night will certainly have its toll and add to the wear of the unit over time.
Important Tips to make RV air conditioner work better
Getting the best cooling result during the hottest of summers can be a hard nut to crack. But we’ll show you how to achieve optimum performance on your RV air conditioner with these simple tips;
- Monitor the output temperature using a thermometer. You can do this by measuring the temperature of the external air that goes into your unit against the air that comes out of it.
- Turn on the AC and the generator before you get to your destination to cool the interior way before you park.
- Position the RV in an easterly direction to prevent direct sunlight heating the surface or glass of the vehicle.
- Open roof vents if AC is turned off. This will help to expel hot air out of the RV to reduce the pressure when the AC is eventually turned On.
- Clean the filters appropriately and regularly. Most filters are washable and can be cleaned up in a matter of minutes.
- Get a voltage monitor to always check the readings and know when to leave the unit running or turned off.
Generally, maintenance is key to ensuring your RV air conditioner works better and a lack of it would lead to reduced efficiency and a reduced lifespan.
Top 3 Most Durable RV Air Conditioners
1. Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner [Value for Money]
At 15,000 BTU and 115 Volts, this RV air conditioner unit stands tall on the market as a truly durable product with incredible stamina.
Its durability is further demonstrated in the manufacturer’s 2-year protection warranty.
The makers boast of a massive 15% increased airflow, giving you more value for your investment. The design is extremely durable, with a high-performance fan and motor. There is also increased airflow as a result of advanced materials used in manufacturing.
Another major high point of this product is the ease of installation. It can be ducted or non-ducted, with no extra hassles. Despite all of these improvements, the unit is lighter and quieter than most of the competition.
2. Coleman 48204C866 Mach 15+ A/C Unit [Best Price]
This unit has a cooling and heating capacity of 15,000 BTU respectively, with an optional heater assembly that can offer 5,600 BTU.
This unit gives you the cooling power that you desire, and would certainly give other brands a run for their money.
With 115V and 1/3 HP motor, this unit is able to cool at least 420 cubic feet per minute helping to ensure you are comfortable all the way.
You would need to get a separate thermostat for the product to enjoy the kind of control and flexibility you desire.
What’s more, this product is very easy to install and can serve as a good replacement option for your RV air conditioner. Just get an extra hand to help you muscle the old one off and get this one in place. With this unit, the input air can be cooled by as much as 20 degrees.
3. Furrion CHILL Rooftop Air Conditioner [Best Features]
This Furrion rooftop air conditioner is a white piece of beautiful technology to behold.
It ranks really high as a replacement RV air conditioner and fits perfectly into the standard 14″ x 14″ opening on regular RV roofs.
The sleek exterior design is intentional, helping to reduce the drag that outside winds can cause, especially when on the move.
It is a powerful 14,500 BTU unit that offers quick chill air distribution within your RV or camper and can be installed on both ducted and ductless mechanisms.
This product easily passes as one of the most durable RV AC units on the market. The UV-resistant cover offers protection against harsh sunlight, debris and rain.
There is also overheat protection offered by the unique thermal insulation. The device is ultra-quiet, has manual control, and is extremely easy to install. All it takes is a simple bolt-on. There is also an instruction manual to help with the setup.
As summer approaches, you don’t have to put yourself and your loved ones through unnecessary discomfort with a bad RV air conditioner. It will cost you an average of $1,500 to get a replacement and have it installed.
This is a small price to pay for comfort as you embark on that family summer camping experience. You can make a choice from the best sellers reviewed above or ask your HVAC professional for advice.