During the summer months, an RV air conditioner (AC) is a must-have in order to stay cool while RVing. If the AC in your RV happens to break or stop working properly, a quick RV AC repair is in order right away. While there are some RV AC repairs that will require calling in a professional, some repairs can be completed by anybody with a toolbox and a little bit of know-how.

In this article, we will discuss some of the RV AC repairs and RV AC troubleshooting you can do on your own. Give these tricks a try before you call in the repairman.

RV Air Conditioner Maintenance

In order to avoid big RV AC repair bills, you will want to make sure to stay on top of RV AC maintenance. Fortunately, the maintenance these units require is quite minimal, so keeping your rooftop AC unit up and running smoothly isn’t typically a big deal.

Check the Shroud

A couple of times a year, head up on the roof of your RV to give the AC shroud a good once-over. Make sure there are no holes or cracks forming. If you do find holes or cracks, replace the shroud right away. A broken shroud cannot properly protect the AC unit.

Watch for Leaks

It’s important that you always keep an eye out for leaks in your RV. After all, water intrusion is the quickest way to completely ruin your rig’s walls and floors.

One place leaks tend to happen? The RV air conditioner. Water can come in around the rooftop gasket if the unit is not bolted down tight enough. Additionally, sometimes AC units will drip water, especially if the coils are dirty or freezing over regularly.

If you notice water dripping from your RV, make sure to fix it ASAP!

Straighten Coil Fins

A fin comb is a must-have item for your RV toolbox. This is used to straighten the coil fins found under the rooftop AC shroud. These fins are quite sensitive and will often get bent out of shape over time, causing the unit to stop working properly. Very carefully combing them back into shape is fairly easy and will ensure the AC is working as well as it possibly can.

Clean the Coils

While you’re up there combing the coils, make sure to give them a good cleaning as well. Remove large debris with the comb and then carefully clean dust and dirt from the coils using a Shop-Vac, a spray bottle of water, or a cleaning product such as Awesome.

The key to this job is making sure you are very gentle, as it is extremely easy to bend the fins out of shape or even damage them irreparably.

Change or Wash the Air Filter

Last but not least, it is incredibly important that you stay on top of RV AC filter maintenance. When life gets busy, it can be easy to forget about your AC filter. That said, your air conditioner doesn’t know or care that you’re busy, and you will notice a difference in how the unit runs if the filter becomes too dirty.

During seasons when the AC is often in use, choose a day each month when you can remove and clean the air conditioner filter.

Keep in mind, filters can only be reused so many times. Eventually, you will need to purchase a new filter. Thankfully they are relatively cheap and easy to find at places like Walmart.

RV AC Repair

Even if you stay on top of all maintenance perfectly, you will eventually run into an issue with your RV air conditioner. This especially true for full timers who use their AC units day after day for at least half of the year.

Here’s what you need to know to tackle those problems.

No Power to the Unit

Have zero power to your RV air conditioner? This can be panic inducing, but in reality there is probably a really easy way to fix this particular issue:

  • Plug it in – First, check your RV plug. Make sure it is plugged all the way into the outlet and that there is no damage to the cable going into the RV.
  • Flip the breaker – Plug properly in place and still no power? Check the breaker on the power pole. If it’s flipped, flip it back to the ‘on’ position and make sure you aren’t trying to run too many things in the RV. If the breaker at the pole is fine, make sure you also check the breakers in the RV.

Blowing Warm Air

An RV AC that blows warm air is obviously not very useful. If you’re dealing with this issue, try the quick RV AC repair options below before you call the repairman:

  • Test the capacitors – If a capacitor isn’t working correctly, it can cause an AC to blow warm air. Discharge your capacitors completely using a discharge tool before testing each one with a multimeter. If you find you have a bad capacitor, you can probably replace the part on your own.
  • Test the compressor – A bad compressor will also cause an RV air conditioner to blow warm air. You can test a compressor with a multimeter. However, if yours is bad, it’s generally best to replace the entire AC unit rather than try to replace that particular part.


Weak or No Airflow

Sometimes the air from your air conditioner may be cool but incredibly weak. Other times, the flow of air may stop completely. If you are dealing with weak airflow or no airflow from your RV air conditioner, try these quick RV AC repair options:

  • Check for freezing – Often, the cause of weak airflow is a frozen AC unit. Fortunately, you can fix this quickly by turning the air conditioner to fan-only mode and running the fan on high until the ice in the unit melts. If the air conditioner continues to freeze up, you may need to clean the coils and filter. Otherwise, you might be looking at low refrigerant levels, which means you’ll need to replace the unit.
  • Look for clogs – Even if it doesn’t cause the unit to freeze, clogged coils or a super dirty air filter can cause weak airflow from an air conditioner. Clean both to see if the airflow gets stronger.
  • Cover holes – Ducted AC systems can lose air through cracks and holes in the ductwork. Take a look at your ductwork using a flashlight. If you find a place where air might be escaping, cover it with metal tape or even styrofoam.
  • Check the fan – Obviously, weak airflow could also be caused by a fan that isn’t blowing hard enough. If you determine that your fan isn’t working properly, clean and oil it. Still having issues? You might need to replace the fan + motor.

Cycling On and Off

A compressor that kicks on and off too often leads to an air conditioner that can’t cool properly. There are times when the pros will need to be called in to make this RV AC repair, but it is possible to try a few things of your own first:

  • Check the capacitors – First, check your capacitors, making sure to use a discharge tool to discharge them completely as mentioned above. If you find a weak one, the video above will help you replace it.
  • Look for ice – Is your unit frozen? If so, this might be the cause of your problem. Use the fan mode to melt the ice on your AC coils and see if that solves the issue. If the freezing continues to be a problem, make sure the coils and filter are clean, as mentioned above.
  • Have parts professionally tested – If neither of the fixes above do the trick, you’re likely looking at a bad thermostat or control board. Unless you know a thing or two about air conditioners and electricity, it’s best to call a professional repairman to test and repair these things.

Air Conditioner Dripping Water

We mentioned leaking air conditioners above. If you find that you have a leak coming in from the AC, check out the things listed below to try to track the source of the water down:

  • Check the drain pan – A drain pan that is clogged will hold onto water. Since the water cannot go where it is supposed to go, it often finds its way back into the RV. Cleaning the drain pan will solve this.
  • Clean the coils – If your coils are dirty and causing the unit to freeze, you’ll get melted ice dripping into the RV as the unit defrosts. Clean the coils and replace the air filter to stop the unit from freezing again.
  • Tighten the mounting bolts – There’s a gasket on the roof under the AC unit. If the mounting bolts aren’t tight enough, this gasket will be loose and unable to do its job. Tighten the bolts down to ensure the gasket is snug.

Musty Smell

Have a musty smell coming from your air conditioner? This is usually caused by dirty parts. Clean the coils and filter. This should get rid of the cave-like smell.

Noisy Air Conditioner

If your RV AC unit starts making funny noises, you’ll want to try to track down the issue. Climb up on the roof and do the following:

  • Clean and oil the fan – Check out the AC fan. Is there anything in the way of it? Clean the fan and oil it. If this doesn’t solve your problem, you may need to replace the fan motor to get rid of the noise.
  • Ensure the shroud is tight – A loose AC shroud will lead to vibrations that could cause excessive noise. Make sure your shroud is bolted down tight so it can’t vibrate on the rooftop.
  • Test the compressor and capacitors – Sometimes the compressor or capacitors can cause weird noises. You might want to test both (remembering to discharge the capacitors first!) to see if they are the issue.

All that said, it’s important to note that some RV AC units are noisy from the get-go. There are some aftermarket noise reducers out there that can help with this.

As you can see, there are a number of RV AC repair jobs you can do on your own. For this reason, we highly recommend doing your own RV AC troubleshooting before you call in a professional. Ready to get that AC up and running again? Pull out your toolbox and get to work!