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How to Replace Your RV Air Conditioner

Are you looking to replace your RV air conditioner?

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a newbie to the RV lifestyle, having a functioning air conditioner is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable trip.

Over time, air conditioners can become less efficient or even stop working altogether, leaving you sweltering in the heat.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of replacing your RV air conditioner, step by step.

From choosing the right replacement unit to the installation process, we’ve got you covered.

So let’s dive in and ensure you have a cool and pleasant journey!

Replace RV Air Conditioner: Why and When?

Replacing your RV air conditioner becomes necessary for a variety of reasons.

Over time, air conditioners may lose their cooling capacity, struggle to maintain the desired temperature, or develop mechanical issues.

Additionally, advancements in technology have led to the development of more energy-efficient and powerful air conditioners, making it a smart choice to upgrade your existing unit.

If you’re experiencing any of the following issues with your RV air conditioner, it may be time for a replacement:

  • Inadequate cooling performance
  • Frequent breakdowns or repairs
  • Strange noises or vibrations
  • Leaks or water accumulation
  • Outdated or inefficient unit

Selecting the Right RV Air Conditioner Replacement

When choosing a replacement RV air conditioner, there are several factors to consider.

The right unit will depend on your specific needs, RV size, and budget.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Cooling Capacity and BTU

The cooling capacity of an air conditioner is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU).

It determines how much heat the unit can remove from the air in a given period.

The BTU rating should match the size of your RV to ensure efficient cooling.

Larger RVs will require higher BTU ratings for effective temperature control.

Power Source

RV air conditioners can run on either 110/120V AC power or 12V DC power.

The power source available in your RV will influence the type of air conditioner you can install.

Most RVs come equipped with 110/120V AC power, making it the standard choice for many owners.

Rooftop or Portable Unit

Rooftop air conditioners are the most common type found in RVs.

They are permanently mounted on the roof, saving valuable interior space.

Portable air conditioners, on the other hand, can be moved around and positioned wherever needed.

While portable units offer flexibility, they are generally less efficient than rooftop models.

Energy Efficiency

Opting for an energy-efficient air conditioner can save you money on electricity costs in the long run.

Look for units with an Energy Star certification or a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating.

These units consume less power while providing the same cooling performance.

The Replacement Process: Step by Step

Now that you have selected the right RV air conditioner replacement, let’s walk through the installation process.

Keep in mind that it’s always recommended to consult the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific unit.

Here are the general steps to replace your RV air conditioner:

Step 1: Safety First

Before you start, ensure your RV is parked on a level surface and the electrical power is disconnected.

Safety should always be a priority when working with electrical appliances.

Step 2: Removing the Old Unit

Begin by removing the shroud or cover of the existing air conditioner.

This is usually secured with screws or bolts.

Once the cover is removed, disconnect the electrical connections and the mounting bolts that hold the unit in place.

With the help of a friend or a lifting device, carefully lift the old unit off the roof and set it aside.

Step 3: Preparing for the New Unit

Inspect the roof and clean any debris or residue left by the old air conditioner.

Ensure the roof is free from any damage or leaks. If necessary, make any repairs before proceeding.

Additionally, check if the new unit requires a gasket or sealant for installation.

Step 4: Installing the New Unit

With the help of a friend or a lifting device, carefully place the new air conditioner on the roof.

Align it with the mounting holes and secure it in place using the provided bolts or screws.

Connect the electrical wires according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ensure all connections are secure and well-insulated.

Step 5: Testing and Final Checks

Once the new unit is installed, reconnect the RV’s power source and test the air conditioner.

Check for any air leaks or unusual noises.

Adjust the settings as needed to achieve your desired temperature.

Finally, reinstall the shroud or cover, ensuring it is properly aligned and secured.


Can I replace my RV air conditioner myself?

Yes, you can replace your RV air conditioner yourself if you have the necessary tools and knowledge. However, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it is recommended to seek professional assistance.

How long does it take to replace an RV air conditioner?

The time required to replace an RV air conditioner can vary depending on your experience level and the specific installation requirements. On average, it can take a few hours to complete the replacement process.

Do I need any special tools for replacing an RV air conditioner?

Typically, basic hand tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers are sufficient for replacing an RV air conditioner. However, some specific units may require additional tools, so it’s best to check the manufacturer’s instructions.

What maintenance is required for a new RV air conditioner?

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the optimal performance of your new RV air conditioner. This includes cleaning or replacing filters, inspecting and cleaning coils, and checking for any signs of wear or damage.

Can I use my RV air conditioner while driving?

Most RV air conditioners are designed to operate when the vehicle is parked or stationary. Using the air conditioner while driving can strain the electrical system and is generally not recommended.

How often should I replace my RV air conditioner?

The lifespan of an RV air conditioner can vary depending on usage, maintenance, and environmental factors. On average, RV air conditioners last around 10-15 years. However, if your unit is experiencing frequent issues or has become inefficient, it may be time for a replacement.


Replacing your RV air conditioner can significantly enhance your comfort and enjoyment during your travels.

By selecting the right replacement unit and following the proper installation process, you can ensure a cool and relaxing journey.

Remember to prioritize safety and consult the manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidance.

With this comprehensive guide, you now have the knowledge to tackle the task of replacing your RV air conditioner confidently.

Stay cool and have a fantastic adventure!