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RV AC Not Turning On: Causes and Solutions

If you’re an avid traveler or a proud owner of a recreational vehicle (RV), you know how crucial a functioning air conditioning (AC) system is for a comfortable journey.

However, it can be frustrating when your RV AC fails to turn on, especially during hot summer days.

But worry not!

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the common reasons why your RV AC may not be turning on and provide troubleshooting tips and solutions to get it up and running again.

RV AC Not Turning On

Having an RV AC that won’t turn on can quickly put a damper on your travel plans.

Let’s explore some possible causes and solutions for this issue:

Power Supply Issues

One of the first things to check is the power supply to your RV.

Ensure that your RV is properly connected to a reliable power source, such as a generator or shore power.

Additionally, check the circuit breakers and fuses to see if any have tripped or blown.

If you find any issues, reset the breakers or replace the fuses accordingly.

Thermostat Malfunction

A malfunctioning thermostat could be the culprit behind your RV AC not turning on.

Check if the thermostat is set to the correct temperature and mode (cooling or fan).

If the thermostat display is blank, it may indicate a power issue or a faulty thermostat.

Consider replacing the thermostat if necessary.

Capacitor Problems

The capacitor is an essential component that helps start the compressor of the AC unit.

If the capacitor is faulty or worn out, it can prevent the AC from turning on.

Inspect the capacitor for any signs of bulging, leaking, or corrosion.

If you notice any of these issues, replacing the capacitor might solve the problem.

Blower Motor Failure

The blower motor is responsible for circulating the cool air throughout your RV.

If the blower motor fails, it can lead to the AC not turning on or blowing hot air.

Listen for any unusual noises coming from the AC unit and check if the fan is spinning freely.

A malfunctioning blower motor may need to be replaced.

Compressor Issues

The compressor plays a vital role in cooling the air inside your RV.

If the compressor is faulty or damaged, it can prevent the AC from turning on.

Signs of compressor problems include strange noises, leaks, or the AC unit only blowing warm air.

In such cases, it is advisable to consult a professional technician for repair or replacement.

Low Refrigerant Levels

Refrigerant is the substance responsible for cooling the air in your RV AC system.

If the refrigerant levels are low, it can lead to insufficient cooling or a complete failure of the AC unit.

Low refrigerant levels are often caused by leaks, which should be identified and repaired by a qualified technician.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions about RV AC not turning on, along with their answers:

Why is my RV AC not turning on after a power outage?

After a power outage, the RV AC may not turn on immediately due to a time delay built into the system.

This delay allows the pressures within the AC unit to stabilize before it starts.

Wait for a few minutes, and if the AC still doesn’t turn on, check for other potential issues mentioned earlier.

Can I fix the RV AC myself if it’s not turning on?

While some minor issues can be resolved by DIY enthusiasts, it’s generally recommended to seek professional help for RV AC repairs.

AC systems are complex, and improper handling can cause further damage or void warranties.

Hiring a qualified technician ensures a proper diagnosis and efficient resolution of the problem.

How often should I maintain my RV AC to prevent issues?

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your RV AC in good working condition. It is recommended to have your AC unit inspected and serviced at least once a year.

Routine maintenance includes cleaning or replacing air filters, checking electrical connections, and inspecting the overall performance of the system.

Why does my RV AC trip the circuit breaker?

If your RV AC frequently trips the circuit breaker, it indicates an electrical overload. The AC unit may be drawing excessive power due to a faulty component or a wiring issue.

To prevent potential damage or electrical hazards, have a professional inspect the system to identify and resolve the problem.

How can I extend the lifespan of my RV AC?

Proper care and maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your RV AC. Keep the AC unit clean, replace air filters regularly, and ensure proper ventilation around the unit.

Additionally, avoid running the AC at excessively low temperatures or for prolonged periods without giving it a break.

Should I consider upgrading my RV AC unit?

If your RV AC is outdated, inefficient, or frequently experiencing issues, upgrading to a newer model might be worth considering. Newer AC units often come with improved energy efficiency, advanced features, and better cooling capabilities.

Consult with an RV AC specialist to find the best option for your specific needs.


A malfunctioning RV AC can quickly turn a pleasant journey into an uncomfortable one.

By following the troubleshooting tips and solutions outlined in this guide, you can address common issues that may prevent your RV AC from turning on.

Remember to prioritize safety and consult a professional technician when in doubt.

With proper maintenance and timely repairs, you can ensure a cool and comfortable travel experience in your RV.