Our stance on the best RV air conditioner
Our experience lead us to believe that one model is above the competition in that field of specialists.
Why? An excellent, lightweight and robust air conditioner for your tiny palace, at a reasonable price for the quality obtained. RV specialists at Dometic know what they are doing in terms of AC.
Our rating :
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What makes the best RV air conditioner?
We know the drill : its summer, you’re driving or resting, couldn’t find a parking space in the shade and then… your RV is hell on earth, a hot and steamy inferno. Well, fear not, traveler, there are excellent options of a great air conditioning within your favorite vehicle at hand.
At the Air Geeks, during our tests, we asked ourselves : what criteria make a great RV AC unit? In our mind, the best air conditioner for an RV has to have the following qualities :
- Easy-to-install : RV parts are tricky enough to function together – we don’t want to add to the compexity, especially when it comes to AC units.
- Light : your RV roof is not a place where you want to add weight. You want to kep it light and compact to avoid increasing your gas consumption
- Very efficient : an RV is a relatively small space, but it is not well insulated. A great RV air conditioner has to have the power to cool down an RV space in a few minutes, while not draw heavily on your resources.
Portable Air Conditioner for RVs: Frequently Asked Questions
Is a portable air conditioner for RV effective?
Yes. When compared to an evaporative cooler or a fan, a PAC is more efficient when cooling your recreational vehicle. An evaporative cooler uses moisture to cool the room and brings the temperature down by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
On the other hand, a portable air conditioner uses a compressor to condition your camper and exhausts the warm air through a hose. The PAC also acts as a dehumidifier which makes it more useful if you compare it to an evaporative cooler or a fan.
What is the difference between a rooftop and a portable air conditioner?
A rooftop air conditioner is a permanent unit that you can fix in your camper. These units are usually installed by skilled technicians. In the case of a portable AC, you can fix it quickly by following the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
The portability of this unit allows you to move it from one position to another with ease. In terms of cost, a rooftop unit is usually more expensive than a portable air conditioner for RV. When you want to trade or sell your recreational vehicle, it takes time to uninstall its rooftop air conditioner.
Is a PAC for Recreational vehicles noisy?
Portable ACs produces sound during the cooling process. Most of them offer different operating modes including low, medium and high. Select medium or high mode to cool the room fast when the temperature is very high.
When the unit conditions the car to a desirable level, you can then switch to the low mode which produces minimum noise. Some models have a night mode that is suitable for quiet spaces such as bedrooms and study rooms.
What do I need to power my portable air conditioner for RV?
A mobile cooling unit requires standard household voltage. You can use an inverter and power it with a battery or a generator that can produce 220 to 240 volts.
If you are lucky enough to be in a place with electricity connection, then you can power the unit directly from the mains.
How much will I incur to maintain my portable air conditioner for RVs?
You can undertake most of the maintenance at home, and you will not incur any cost. It is wise to check whether the unit has any technical problem before hitting the road to avoid inconveniences when travelling.
Some of the parts that you should check regularly include:
- i. The filter. Check if there is dust or debris trapped within the filters as they reduce airflow. Replace damaged filters with new compatible models.
- ii. The evaporator and condenser. Debris, leaves, and dust accumulate on these parts when you use the portable unit for long. You should also straighten crushed fins to ensure efficient air circulation.
- iii. The anchoring system. Some parts of the PACs are prone to wear and tear. Similarly, bolts loosen after using the unit for a long duration of time. You should, therefore, ensure that you tighten all the loose parts and check whether there are any leakages.
- iv. Drainage pipes. The pipe collects condensed water from the coils. If there is dirt or debris on this tube, water flow reduces which makes the unit less efficient in the cooling process.
- v. Thermostat. You should check whether the thermostat gives the right reading when you turn on the portable unit. Also, ensure that you take care of the fuse and replace it when it blows.
- vi. Moving parts. A portable air conditioner for RV has moving parts such as the fan and the motor. You should lubricate them regularly using the lubricant that is recommended by the manufacturer.
How to install my PAC in an RV?
I have noticed frost on the coils, should I be worried?
No. It is normal for ice to accumulate on the coils of a portable AC. Frost tends to accumulate when the temperature within the compressor is very low. This normally happens when you operate the unit at a low fan speed for an extended period of time.
Debris and dust within the compressor hinders air circulation within the PAC, and the trapped moisture condenses on the coils. Due to low air flow, the dirt on the coils causes icing. To lower the icing effect, you should clean the coils and raise the fan operating speed to either medium or high mode.
What should I do to ensure that I get maximum benefits from a portable air conditioner for RVs?
During summer and spring seasons, temperatures can get so high which makes it hard to stay a recreational vehicle.
You should use the following tips to make the cooling process more efficient when you are in a place with very high temperatures;
- i. Park your camper under a shade.
- ii. Use window shades such as curtains and blinds to prevent direct sunlight from penetrating the vehicle.
- iii. Close the windows and doors.
- iv. Reduce the usage of appliances that produce heat when the outdoor temperatures are very high.
What should I check before calling a technician if my PAC malfunctions or fails to work entirely?
The following are some of the things that you can check when you note that the unit is not working as expected.
- i. Check the power source. A portable unit can fail to power on if the power source is defective. Check whether the inverter or the generator is producing the power required by your unit. Also, ensure that your source of power is capable of handling the power requirements of your portable air conditioner for RV. Most portable air conditioning units are powered using the standard household voltage.
- ii. Check the fuse to ensure that it is working. A portable unit can fail to power on if its fuse has blown or if the circuit breaker is off.
You should also clean the filters, compressors, fans and coils. If you are unable to identify the cause of the failure, then you should contact the manufacturer or a skilled technician.