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Can You Run an RV Air Conditioner While Driving?

Can You Run an RV Air Conditioner While Driving?

Can You Run an RV Air Conditioner While Driving? The Ultimate Guide

Summer is in full swing and that means one thing for RVers – road trips! If you’re like most people, you’ll want to keep your RV as cool as possible during the hot summer months. One of the best ways to do this is by using the RV air conditioner. But can you run your air conditioner while driving? In this article, we will answer that question and give you some tips on how to use your AC safely and efficiently.

Using RV Air Conditioning While Driving

The most significant thing to keep in mind when utilizing your RV AC while driving is that you’ll need a generator. The AC unit will put a strain on the battery, so you’ll need to make sure the generator is running to keep everything going. You should also keep an eye on the temperature gauge; if it starts to get too hot, turn off the AC unit until the temperature drops again.

Using RV Air Conditioning While Driving

Another thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need to be careful of low overpasses and bridges. The AC unit is tall, and if you’re not careful, you could end up damaging the unit (or worse).

Dash Air Conditioning

Some RVs come with a dash AC, which can be used while driving. However, these units are not as powerful as the ones that run off of generators, so you may not be able to keep the entire RV cool. Additionally, dash air conditioners can be noisy, so if you’re trying to enjoy the scenery or listen to music while driving, it may not be the best option.

If you have a dash AC and want to use it while driving, make sure to lower all of the windows in the RV first. This will help circulate the cool air and prevent hot spots from forming.

Finally, remember to conserve fuel by driving at a lower speed. It will use more power the faster you’re going, so it’s best to take it easy on the gas pedal.

Rooftop Air Conditioning

If your RV has a rooftop AC, you’ll need to be extra careful while driving. These units are even taller than dash air conditioners, so you’ll need to be aware of low bridges and overpasses. Additionally, the weight of the AC unit can put a strain on the roof of the RV, so make sure to go slowly and avoid bumpy roads.

As with dash air conditioners, you should lower all of the windows in the RV before turning on the rooftop AC unit.

Finally, keep in mind that a rooftop AC unit will use more power than a dash unit; if possible, try to find a campsite with hookups so you can plug into shore power and run the AC unit without draining your battery.

Different Generators Used for Your RV Air Conditioning

There are a few types of generators that you can use to power your RV AC while driving.

An RV generator

An RV generator is the most common type of generator used to power RV air conditioners.

RV generators are usually gas-powered and can be used to power other appliances in your RV as well.

An RV generator

The downside to using an RV generator is that they can be noisy and produce fumes.

If you’re not comfortable using a generator, there are other options available.

Some RVs come with solar panels. Solar panels are a great option if you’re looking for a quiet and environmentally friendly way to power your AC.

Another option is to use a portable battery pack. Battery packs can be plugged into your RV and used to power your device for a limited amount of time.

Medium Inverter Generator

The medium inverter generator is a great option if you’re looking for a generator that’s quiet and environmentally friendly.

Medium inverter generators are powered by batteries, so there’s no need to worry about fumes or noise.

They’re also relatively small and easy to store, making them a great option for RVs.

The downside to using a medium inverter generator is that they’re not as powerful as RV generators.

Make sure to choose the right size generator for your needs.

2 Small Inverter Generators

If you have a small RV and are only running one air conditioner, then a small inverter generator should be plenty of power. These generators are quiet and fuel-efficient, making them perfect for RVs. [1]

The two main brands of small inverter generators are Honda and Yamaha. Both of these brands make great generators that will last for years.

If you have a larger RV or are running multiple air conditioners, then you will need a larger generator. These generators can be quite loud, so if noise is a concern, you may want to look into getting a soundproofing enclosure for your generator.

Why Would I Want to Run the Rooftop A/C While Driving?

There are a few reasons you might want to do this. Maybe you’re trying to get ahead of the heat, so you can have a comfortable evening when you make camp. Maybe your RV doesn’t have a generator, and running the A/C is the only way to keep cool. Or maybe you just really like the idea of having cold air blowing on you while you drive!

Why Would I Want to Run the Rooftop A/C While Driving?

Does the Type of RV Make a Difference?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes! The type of RV you have will definitely make a difference in whether or not you can run it while driving. For instance, if you have a fifth-wheel RV, then you typically cannot run your device while driving because the weight of the RV puts too much strain on the engine. However, if you have a lighter-weight travel trailer or pop up camper, then you should be able to run your device while driving without any problems.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and there are some RVs that are designed to be able to handle the weight of running. If you’re not sure whether or not your RV falls into this category, then it’s always best to check with the manufacturer to be sure.

Do I Have to Run the Generator to Run The Rooftop AC?

The answer to this question is no, you don’t have to run the generator to use your RV AC while driving. We recommend having the generator running while using the AC unit. This is because it will help to keep the battery charging and will also provide a consistent power supply to the AC unit.

RV air conditioners are designed to work off of either 110v or 12v power. Most units will come with a built-in converter that will allow them to operate off of either type of power source. If your RV is equipped with an inverter, then you can run your AC unit off of the 110v power source. If you don’t have an inverter, then you’ll need to use the 12v power source.

Most RVs will have a 30-amp or 50-amp electrical system. The size of your RV’s electrical system will determine how many appliances you can run at one time. If you are connected to shore power, you may run as many appliances as the electrical system in your RV will allow. If you are running off of the generator, then you will want to limit the number of appliances that you are using. This is because the generator can only produce so much power and if you overload it, then it could cause damage to the generator or to the RV.

We recommend that you follow these tips:

  • Ensure that the generator is running and that it is properly maintained.
  • Limit the number of appliances that you are using while the AC unit is running.
  • Keep an eye on the battery level and make sure to stop and recharge it if it gets too low.
  • Ensure to turn off the air conditioner if it gets too cold in the RV and open some windows for ventilation. [2]

Is It Safe To Run The Generator While Driving?

Is It Safe To Run The Generator While Driving?

The answer to this question is a bit more complicated. Here are a few things to bear in mind. First, ensure you’re obeying all the local laws and regulations regarding generators. Some states have laws that prohibit running a generator while driving, so be sure to check before you hit the road. Secondly, be aware of your surroundings and drive defensively. If you’re running the generator, chances are other drivers will be able to hear it. Be courteous and don’t block traffic or cause any accidents. Finally, make sure you’re not overloading the RV’s electrical system. The last thing you want is to cause a fire while on the road.

Is It Fuel Efficient to Run the Rooftop AC while Driving?

The quick answer is no. If you want to conserve fuel, it’s best to turn off it while driving and open the windows instead.

There are some exceptions where it might make sense to run it. For example, if you’re going to be driving in stop-and-go traffic on a hot day, it might be more comfortable (and less sweaty) to keep the AC running.

Another exception is if you have young children or pets in the RV with you. They may not be able to handle the heat as well as adults, so keeping the AC running for their comfort is probably worth the extra fuel consumption.

If you’re comfortable with the heat, then there’s no need to use extra fuel to keep the RV cool. But if you find the heat unbearable, then by all means turn on that AC!

Steps For Running The AC Safely

Assuming that you have a level spot to park on and all the necessary hookups, you’ll want to take the following steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

First, open all the windows and doors in your RV. You want as much airflow as possible circulating throughout the space.

Steps For Running The AC Safely

Next, set up any fans you have inside the RV so they’re blowing outwards. This will assist in the removal of any hot air that may have accumulated near the ceiling.

Then, turn on your AC unit and set it to “Fan” mode. Let it run for a few minutes before setting it to “Cool.” Doing this will help prevent your AC from freezing up.

Now, you can close all the windows and doors in your RV, except for one window or door that’s slightly cracked open for preventing any condensation from building up inside your RV. [3]

Last, keep an eye on the temperature inside your RV and make sure it doesn’t get too cold. If it does, open a window or door to let some of the cool air out.

Tips on Keeping Your RV Cool

Here are a few tips that will help you keep your RV cool while driving.

Use RV floor insulation covers

One way to keep your RV cool is by using floor insulation covers. This will help reflect the heat away from the floor and into the air.

Another tip is to use window shades or curtains. This will help keep the sun from shining in and heating up the RV.

Finally, you can use a fan to circulate the air inside the RV. This will ensure that the cold air is equally distributed throughout the area.

Close window covers

When you are driving, be sure to close all of the window covers.

Turn on the AC before starting your trip

Make sure to turn on the RV AC before you start your trip for cooling down the space before you even start driving.

Turn on the AC before starting your trip

Park in the shade

When you stop for the day, try to park in the shade.

Grill and cook outside

Another way is by cooking and grilling outside. This will help to keep the heat out of the RV and make it more comfortable inside.

Go somewhere cooler

If you are really struggling to keep your RV cool, then you may want to consider going somewhere that is cooler. This can be a higher elevation or a different climate altogether. [4]


How long can you run RV AC on battery?

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the size of your battery, the power of your RV AC unit, and how much electricity your other RV appliances are using. However, in general, you should be able to run a small AC unit for about four hours on a single battery charge. If you have a larger battery and/or a more powerful AC unit, you may be able to run it for longer.

Of course, if you’re driving while using the AC, you’ll be using even more electricity and will need to recharge your batteries more frequently. It’s important to keep this in mind when planning extended trips in your RV.

If you’re not sure how long your particular setup will last, it’s always a good idea to bring along a backup generator just in case.

Does it hurt to run an RV air conditioner?

The answer to this question is a resounding no! In fact, running your AC is actually pretty darn easy on your engine.

Here’s why: most RVs have what’s called an inverter. This nifty little device converts the DC power from your batteries into AC power that can be used to run things like your AC, microwave, and TV. So, when you plug your RV into shore power (or use a generator), the inverter does its thing and voila! You’ve got AC power for all of your goodies. [5]

Now, when you’re driving down the road, the inverter is constantly working to keep those DC batteries charged up. And, since the engine is already running and using fuel, there’s really no extra strain on it to run the air conditioner (or any other AC-powered devices).

Can you turn on the AC while driving?

The answer is yes! First, you’ll want to make sure that your RV has an auxiliary battery that can power the AC unit. Second, you’ll want to run the AC on low or moderate settings to avoid draining your battery too quickly. And finally, if you’re going to be running the AC while driving, it’s always a good idea to have someone else in the RV to keep an eye on things. [6]

With those caveats in mind, let’s take a look at how to actually turn on it while driving. The first thing you’ll need to do is locate the switch for your RV’s auxiliary battery. This switch is usually located near the RV’s main electrical panel. Once you’ve found the switch, flip it to the “On” position.

Next, you’ll need to locate the thermostat. The thermostat is usually located on the wall near the AC unit itself. Once you’ve found the thermostat, set it to your desired temperature.

Finally, you’ll need to start the engine of your RV. Once the engine is running, Flip the switch to the “On” position. And that’s it! You should now have cool air flowing through your RV while you’re driving down the road.

How long can you run RV AC?

The answer to this question is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. If you have a newer RV, then you most likely can run your AC while driving. However, older RVs were not designed to handle the stress of having the AC running while driving down the road. This can cause undue wear and tear on your RV and potentially lead to problems down the road.

How Can I Keep My Trailer Cool When I Drive?

There are a few different ways that you can keep your trailer cool. One way is to use an AC. Another way is to use a fan. And the last way is to use both an AC and a fan together.

RV air conditioners are great because they will cool down the trailer quickly. However, they do use a lot of electricity. So, if you’re going to be driving for a long time, it’s probably not the best idea to run your device the whole time.

Fans are a great way to keep your trailer cool without using as much electricity. You can either put a fan in the window or use a portable fan.

If you use both an RV air conditioner and a fan together, you’ll be able to keep your trailer cool without using as much electricity. And, you’ll also be able to keep the inside of your trailer more comfortable.

Can I run my RV AC all night?

This is a common question, and unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer. It really depends on your RV set-up and how much power you have available. If you’re plugged into shore power, then you can run your AC all night without any issues. However, if you’re running off of battery power, then you’ll need to be more conservative with your usage.

Another factor to consider is the temperature outside. If it’s cool enough outside, then you may not need to run your AC at all! Just open up some windows and enjoy the fresh air.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide how to best use your RV AC. Just be mindful of your power usage and make sure you have a good understanding of your RV set-up. With a little bit of planning, you can enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep no matter where you are.

Can you run an RV AC on the battery?

The answer is yes! However, it will only run for a limited amount of time before the battery needs to be recharged. To get the most out of your battery, we recommend turning off all other electronics and appliances while running the device.

Useful Video: How to Run RV Air Conditioning AC efficiently while driving with kids


Thus, you can run an AC while driving, but there are a few things to bear in mind. First, ensure your generator is properly sized for your AC. Second, be mindful of how much power your device is using and monitor your battery levels. And finally, use a surge protector to help protect the AC from voltage spikes. By following these tips, you can enjoy cool comfort while on the road.


  1. https://camperreport.com/can-you-use-rv-air-conditioning-while-driving/
  2. https://rvblogger.com/blog/can-i-run-the-rv-a-c-while-driving/
  3. https://www.centralhtg.com/blog/starting-your-a/c-for-the-first-time-this-summer
  4. https://koa.com/blog/14-tricks-for-keeping-your-rv-cool-in-the-summer/
  5. https://www.jeffsetter.com/how-long-can-you-run-an-rv-air-conditioner/
  6. https://www.topgear.com.ph/features/tip-sheet/drive-ac-off-a57-20180103