RV Tips

Defeat the Heat

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June 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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Is Your Air Conditioner Ready for Summer?

Camp comfortably and beat summer’s heat and humidity with an RV air conditioner that’s in top operating condition. A little preventive care before the really hot days ahead will help ensure that you don’t experience problems with your RV’s cooling system.

Air Conditioner Check-up
Here are some things to check to make sure your air conditioner is ready for the season ahead:

Clean or replace the filter. A clean filter in your air conditioner is one of the most important and easiest ways to ensure efficient cooling and reliable operation. During the summer when your air conditioner is used regularly, check and clean the filter weekly to maintain proper air flow and keep the air conditioner cooling properly. If allergies are a problem, upgrade your air conditioner filter to an electrostatic model that attracts and traps dust and other allergens using static electricity.

Inspect and clean the shroud. Check around the rooftop shroud to be sure it is clear of limbs, leaves, trash or other debris. Inspect inside the shroud for bird, mouse or dirt dauber nests, squirrel food or other matter. If the shroud itself is cracked or broken, replace it so it doesn’t break free and blow off the roof of the RV while you are traveling down the road. If the shroud is still in good shape but loose, carefully tighten the anchor bolts enough to secure the shroud without cracking it at the bolt holes.

Check the gasket. While you are on the roof inspecting the shroud, check to make sure the gasket between the air conditioner and the roof is still good. A deteriorated gasket will allow water to enter the roof between the top surface and the ceiling, causing extensive damage that is difficult and costly to repair. If the gasket is more than 50% compressed, have it replaced.

Listen to the fan motor and the compressor. Be sure they operate with no rattles, vibration or humming noises. Be sure the fan blade on the motor turns freely.

Clean coils annually. Even well-maintained air conditioner filters will allow some dirt to pass, making it necessary to clean the air conditioner’s evaporator and condenser coils yearly. This procedure is best done by a certified technician, who can also straighten any bent cooling fins using a fin comb to carefully realign the sharp-yet-fragile metal fins for optimum cooling efficiency.

Avoid under-powering. Always operate your RV Air conditioner on at least 30-amp power to avoid brown-out damage to the motor. A 15v-amp adapter may not supply sufficient amperage to get the motor up to full speed. A licensed electrician can install a 30-amp or 50-amp outlet at our home so you can plug in your RV and safely use the air conditioner without fear of damage. An adapter that draws power from two 15-amp outlets on separate circuits will also provide sufficient power for air conditioner operation.

Cooling Tips
Help your air conditioner keep your RV interior comfortable by following these tips.

  1. Use awnings to block sun from coming in directly through windows and doors.
  2.  Use curtains, blinds or shades to filter or block sunlight coming in through windows and motorhome windshield.
  3.  Choose a shaded campsite to minimize intense, direct sun exposure.
  4. Cook outside or use the microwave instead of the range to minimize interior heat sources.
  5. Use a quick cool-down ceiling vent in ducted systems to divert more cool air into the main living area to cool it down faster instead of turning down the thermostat and causing the air conditioner to work harder.
  6. Operate your air conditioner on High Fan/Cooling mode for maximum efficiency in high humidity or high ambient temperature conditions.
  7. Start your air conditioner early in the morning to give it a head start on maintaining a comfortable interior temperature when high ambient temperatures are expected later in the day.

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