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Can RV Air Conditioner Run Continuously?

Can RV Air Conditioner Run Continuously?

As more people are opting for the RV lifestyle, the question arises whether the air conditioner in their RV can run continuously or not. There are different opinions on this topic, but it is essential to know the answer as it affects the performance of the air conditioner as well as the overall comfort of your RV home. In this blog post, we will address this question and explore the factors that determine whether your RV air conditioner can run continuously or not.

Importance of RV Air Conditioner

When on a road trip, RVs provide the most comfortable and convenient mode of transportation for travelers. RV trips can be the most exhilarating outdoor adventure you can ever have, but the experience could be a disaster if proper precautions are not taken. One of the things that contribute to the comfort of RV trips is the air conditioner.

During outdoor activities that involve RVs, the weather can be tough to predict. The weather could change abruptly, and you could find yourself in extreme temperatures. An RV air conditioner helps regulate the temperature in the RV, ensuring you are kept comfortable irrespective of the weather. Additionally, it helps you adjust to the different time zones and climates you will encounter during your adventures.

It not only keeps you comfortable but also helps to prevent heatstroke and dehydration. Heat illnesses are common in areas with high temperatures, and they can have dire consequences on your health, especially during long and remote road trips. The air conditioner in your RV ensures that you stay healthy and comfortable throughout your journey, minimizing the risk of health complications.

Importance of RV Air Conditioner

This conditioner also helps regulate airflow in the RV. It filters out air pollutants such as dust, mold, and bacteria that could cause respiratory problems. It ensures that you have access to fresh and clean air, reducing the risk of respiratory illnesses during your adventure.

It is a vital component of your RV’s systems. It regulates temperature levels and maintains a comfortable living space for the people you have onboard. A well-maintained air conditioner will ensure that your RV’s other systems, such as electrical and plumbing, function optimally. A poorly maintained air conditioner can result in costly repairs on your journey, and a system malfunction that could cut down your adventurous plans.

An RV adventure is a thrilling experience that requires proper planning and preparation. An RV air conditioner is essential to make your experience comfortable and unforgettable. The benefits of this air conditioner go beyond keeping you comfortable in extreme temperatures. It ensures your health, filtering out air pollutants to maintain fresh air in your RV and increases the lifespan of your RV’s systems. Therefore, if you are planning an RV trip, ensure that your RV air conditioner is in optimal condition. This will help guarantee that you have a safe, comfortable, and unforgettable adventure.

RV Air Conditioner: How It Works

RV life is an incredible experience where you can explore new places without sacrificing the comfort of your own home. While you’re on the road, you want to have an enjoyable and comfortable ride, and that’s where RV air conditioners come in. It can be confusing to understand how air conditioners work, but it’s essential to know how they function if you want to maintain them and keep them running smoothly.

An RV air conditioner is similar in function to the air conditioning systems used in homes. The unit consists of two primary components: the evaporator and the condenser. The evaporator circulates refrigerant through the system and removes heat from the air. It also releases cool air, and the condenser expels the heat outside the RV, helping you maintain a comfortable temperature inside.

The first step in the cooling cycle begins when you turn the air conditioner on. At the start of the cycle, the refrigerant travels to the compressor. Here it is compressed and turned into a high-pressure gas. The gas flows through the condenser, releasing heat into the outside air. As it cools, it is converted back to a liquid state.

The liquid refrigerant flows through the expansion valve before it reaches the evaporator. Here, the pressure is reduced, and the refrigerant turns back into a gas. The process of evaporation cools the surrounding air, which flows through the unit and into the RV’s living space to provide cooled air. [1]

Another essential component of the RV air conditioning unit is the thermostat. The thermostat controls the temperature of the air conditioner, switching it on and off as per your preferences. When the temperature exceeds the desired level, the thermostat sends an electrical signal to the air conditioning unit to begin the cooling cycle. Once the temperature inside the RV reaches the desired temperature, the unit shuts off automatically.

RV Air Conditioner

Types of RV Air Conditioners

Taking an RV trip can be a dream come true for many travelers. However, extreme heat and humidity can make your road trip experience unbearable, especially when it comes to sleeping or preparing meals. This is where the importance of an air conditioner in RV kicks in. But with so many types of RV ACs available today, which one is the best for your needs?

Rooftop Air Conditioners

These are one of the most widespread types of air conditioners installed in RVs. As the name suggests, they sit on top of your RV roof and are connected to the RV ductwork system. There are Rooftop ACs of different cooling capacities and sizes and they can cool individual zones or the entire RV. Their main advantages include ease of installation, affordability, and ability to operate quietly inside the RV. However, they tend to have a higher power consumption rate and can be challenging to repair if damaged. [2]

Portable Air Conditioners

These are becoming increasingly popular among RV owners who value convenience and portability. They can be easily moved around your RV and plugged into any outlet, making them ideal for small RVs or camping in locations where traditional ACs can’t be installed. Portable ACs typically come with a single hose or dual hose design and work by venting out hot air through the window using a hose. One of the disadvantages of portable ACs is that they can be noisy and less efficient in cooling large RVs or hot climates. [2]

Built-In Air Conditioners

The air conditioners of this type are factory-installed in the RV and are integrated into the RV’s cabinet or wall structure. This type of AC is ideal for larger RVs that need more cooling power and more permanent installation. Built-in ACs come in several designs, for example ducted or non-ducted, and their cooling capacity depends on the BTU rating. One of the main benefits of built-in ACs is that they’re more efficient and effective in cooling larger RVs, and their built-in design enhances the overall aesthetics of your RV. However, they require more maintenance and can be costly to install.

Window Air Conditioners

Window ACs may not be the most popular type of RV AC, but they’re still worth considering, especially if you’re on a tight budget. They’re compact in size and can be mounted on a window or a wall. Window ACs come in different cooling capacities, and their installation is similar to a home or office window AC unit. However, they’re more challenging to install in RVs since most windows have a curvy design. Furthermore, window ACs only cool a specific part of your RV, and their constant vibration can be annoying.

Choosing the right air conditioner can be a daunting task, but understanding the different types available in the market. Rooftop ACs are ideal for budget-conscious RVers who crave quiet operation, and portable ACs are perfect for RVers who value portability and convenience. Built-in ACs are the most efficient option for larger RVs, while window ACs are most cost-effective, but only suitable for small trailers. No matter which AC type you choose, ensure it’s the right size and cooling capacity for your RV and research the manufacturer’s reputation before purchasing.

Window Air Conditioners

Pros and Cons of RV Air Conditioner Working All The Time

As an RV owner, it is important to keep your rig at a comfortable temperature. One way to achieve this is by running your air conditioner (AC) all the time. While this may seem like a good idea, it comes with both benefits and drawbacks. Let’s explore the pros and cons of running the air conditioner in your RV non-stop. [3]

Pros of air conditioner running non-stop:

  1. Maintaining a Comfortable Temperature

The primary benefit of this process is maintaining a comfortable temperature. Whether you are living in your RV or traveling, keeping a consistent temperature can make a huge difference in your overall experience. You won’t have to worry about the uncomfortable heat or chilly temperatures while you sleep or relax.

  1. Keeping Humidity Levels Under Control

During hot and humid weather, keeping the air conditioner on continuously will help keep the humidity under control. It helps in reducing the moisture levels inside the RV, which can cause damage to your belongings and fixtures, and can also lead to the growth of mold and mildew.

  1. Eliminating Dust

RV is a small space, and it is easy for dust to accumulate quickly. Running an air conditioner all the time can help to reduce the amount of dust collecting in your RV. As the system of air conditioning pulls air through the filter, it catches airborne particulate matter and can help to keep the air inside your RV clean.

Eliminating Dust

Cons of air conditioner running non-stop:

  1. Overworking the Compressor

Running non-stop can cause stress on its components, especially the compressor. And if not resolved in time, it can lead to a complete breakdown of the air conditioning unit.

  1. Reduced Lifespan

The more you use the air conditioner, the more wear and tear it gets. Running it all the time may shorten the lifespan of the air conditioner. You will need to spend more money on maintenance, repair, or replacements, putting a strain on your finances.

  1. Energy Consumption

Running the air conditioning non-stop means your RV generator or campground may have to burn extra fuel to keep up with the energy demand. This can be costly especially if you are boondocking and have limited energy resources at your disposal.

The Risks of RV Air Conditioner Running Continuously

Recreational Vehicle (RV) living has become increasingly popular over the years, offering an affordable way to travel and live on the open road. One of the vital systems of an RV is air conditioning, which, when not functioning correctly, can cause discomfort and even pose risks to your health and RV’s overall condition. While it’s tempting to keep the air conditioner running continuously, it’s essential to understand the risks involved. Here we have highlighted the risks of RV air conditioners running continuously.


Running the RV air conditioning constantly can lead to overheating of the compressor. When the compressor becomes too hot, it can cause the refrigerant to break down, leading to poor performance, expensive repair bills, or system breakdown. High temperatures can also damage sensitive components in your RV’s air conditioning system, leading to costly repairs.

Electrical Issues

Running the RV air conditioning continuously increases the load on your rig’s electrical system, which can cause electrical problems. Continual running of the system increases the chances of short circuits, power surges, and blown fuses. If the Air Conditioner system draws too much power, it may affect other appliances such as the microwave or television.

High Energy Bills

Running your RV air conditioner continuously increases energy consumption, leading to high energy bills. It’s important to understand that most RV air conditioning units are not designed for continuous operation and can lead to a dramatic increase in energy consumption. For longer stays, consider using other cooling methods such as roof vents, portable air conditioning units or using blocks of ice to cool the RV.

Risk to Health

Running the RV air conditioning continuously without adequate maintenance can lead to mold, bacteria, and fungi growth in the system. Toxic air from dirty filters and ducts can cause allergies, respiratory problems, and even severe illnesses. To keep your RV air conditioning system clean, change filters regularly, and have a qualified technician service it annually.

Reduced Lifespan

Running the RV air conditioning continuously can cause the system to wear out more quickly than usual. When an air conditioning unit operates continuously, it undergoes tremendous stress, leading to premature wear and tear. The constant workload can lead to reduced efficiency and shorter life spans for the air conditioning system, causing more frequent repairs or replacements.

Reduced Lifespan

Taking Care of RV Air Conditioner

With the summer heat scorching outside, the RV air conditioning system must work to the maximum to keep you and your family comfortable every minute. Here, we’ll take you through some steps to make sure that the conditioner is in top shape and ready to cool you down when needed.

Your RV air conditioner comes with a filter that catches all the dirt, dust, and debris that pass through the unit. Over time, the filter gets clogged with dirt, and the air conditioner struggles to produce cool air due to restricted airflow. As such, it’s crucial to clean the filter regularly, at least once every two weeks.To clean the filter, switch off the RV air conditioner, remove the filter from the unit, and wash it with warm water and mild soap. Scrub it gently to remove any dirt buildup, let it dry completely, and re-install it.

The thermostat of your RV AC unit is responsible for regulating the temperature inside your motorhome. It’s crucial to inspect the thermostat occasionally to make sure that it’s working correctly and producing accurate readings.If the thermostat malfunctions, it is possible that the conditioner produce too little or too much cool air, causing it to work harder or use more energy than necessary and leading to higher energy bills. Check that the thermostat is level, adjust it if necessary, and replace it if you notice that the readings are inaccurate.

Another important step of maintaining your RV air conditioner is checking the air ducts and vents for any obstructions. Debris and dirt buildup inside the ducts and vents restrict the airflow, reducing the efficiency of your air conditioner and causing it to work harder than it should. To avoid this, inspect the ducts and vents regularly, and vacuum or clean out any debris buildup. Additionally, make sure that the vents and ducts are open to allow proper airflow in your RV.


Why does my RV AC not turn off?

One of the common complaints you may encounter when it comes to RV AC units is that they refuse to turn off. There are various reasons why this may happen. One of the most common reasons is a faulty thermostat. If the thermostat is malfunctioning, it may not be able to sense the temperature accurately, which causes the AC to run continuously. Another reason may be a dirty air filter that causes the AC to work harder, resulting in the inability to turn off. Additionally, if the AC unit is too small for the RV, it may continuously run but not adequately cool the space.

Is it better to run AC continuously or in intervals?

A crucial aspect of RV AC maintenance is how often you run it. While it’s tempting to let it run continuously, it’s not always the most efficient method. In most cases, running your AC in intervals is more energy-efficient and can save you money. Running your AC in short bursts followed by intervals of rest allows it to adequately cool the air and maintain the desired temperature or humidity level. Moreover, it gives the unit some time to rest, which reduces the strain on its components, leading to a longer lifespan.

How many hours should AC run per day?

The ideal number of hours that your RV AC should run per day depends on numerous factors, such as the size of your RV, outside temperature, and humidity levels. However, as a general rule of thumb, it’s advisable to limit the use of your AC unit to eight hours a day. Running your RV AC for more than eight hours each day can negatively impact both your unit’s lifespan and your pocketbook. Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that running your AC over such extended periods can also place an enormous strain on your generator.

Useful Video: Can I Run my AC continuously in my RV


In conclusion, the answer to whether your RV air conditioner can run continuously is yes. However, there are factors you have to consider before running it consistently. The age, size, and quality of your air conditioner, ambient temperatures, voltage, condensation, and electrical cost all play crucial roles in your air conditioner’s efficiency and overall comfort in your RV. Still, by being mindful and controlling the factors that can affect your air conditioner’s performance, you can enjoy cool air in your RV home without any hassles.

  1. https://www.mortonsonthemove.com/about-rv-air-conditioner/#:~:text=In%20the%20evaporator%2C%20the%20air,into%20your%20RV%20living%20space.
  2. https://interestingengineering.com/reviews/best-rooftop-rv-air-conditioners#:~:text=Type%20of%20air%20conditioner,AC%20units%20for%20an%20RV.
  3. https://familytravelfever.com/can-rv-ac-run-continuously/