Can an RV AC run all day?

If you are plugged into a good source of power, then you can run the AC the whole day, with a colder temperature set inside to allow the compressor to cycle properly. The AC unit will comfortably cool down or heat your RV while you are not in it or throughout the night while you sleep.


Most RVs have their own AC units, with many larger RVs having one in the front of the vehicle and back. Understanding when you should be using your AC is important and will require that you have the right temperatures set to allow for the most comfort.



What should you do to run the AC all day?

You need to ensure that the RV has enough power to run the AC for the whole day; it is extremely risky to run the AC when using battery power. It is always recommended that you run the AC when you are plugged into a power source, like a socket or camping socket.


The AC uses a lot of power, with hotter climates experiencing that the AC is draining power almost three times as fast as any other climate. Heating a full RV is almost easier than keeping it cool when the outside temperatures reach well over 30C, causing your AC to run almost nonstop. Energy usage:

  • 7k btu – 600 watts
  • 10k btu – 750 watts
  • 15k btu – 1500 watts


  • Dometic Brisk II
    • Capacity: 13,500 BTUs
  • Coleman Mach 15
    • Capacity: 15,000 BTUs
  • Atwood Air Command
    • Capacity: 13,500 BTUs or 15,000 BTUs
  • Dometic Penguin II
    • Capacity: 11,000 BTUs or 13,500 BTUs
  • Coleman Mach 3 Plus
    • Capacity: 13,500 BTUs
  • Advent Air Rooftop AC
    • Capacity: 13,500 BTUs or 15,000 BTUs
  • Coleman Mach 8
    • Capacity: 9,200 BTUs or 15,000 BTUs
  • Dometic Harrier Inverter
    • Capacity: 15,500 BTUs
  • Furrion Chill Rooftop AC
    • Capacity: 14,500 BTUs
  • Airxcel Mach 10 NDQ (Non-Ducted Quiet)
    • Capacity: 13,500 BTUs


Further, we always recommend ensuring that the RV will be fully closed when the AC is running, ensuring that no hot or cold air can come in. Many RV owners have the AC running while the windows and doors are open, causing a lot more strain on the system than necessary.




When can you run the AC in an RV all day?

Generally, there are a few locations around the world where you can comfortably run the AC the whole day without having to stress about anything. We always recommend that you ensure you have a constant supply of power when you decide to do this as it can cause issues.


When the AC has caused problems, broken, or failed to work, it is because people are not using the AC of the RV at the right locations. To properly have your AC do the perfect thing to keep you and your family cool, we recommend that you only use it under the right conditions.


At Campsites

Campsites built for RVs will usually have a plug that can handle a lot of amps and watts, allowing you to run the entire RV without worry. When you are at these campsites, you can comfortably run the AC for the full duration, allowing you to enjoy a perfectly climate-controlled RV comfortably.

You may require 50 amp connection, or a standard 30 amp may be enough.


These are usually the locations where people want to have their AC running the whole day, allowing them to camp in extreme luxury. It is vital that you remember this when you plan your trips through your country; having campsites with plugs will mean more luxury.


At Overnight Stations

Overnight stations for trucks and RVs are not all the same; however, most will allow you to plug in your vehicle to charge the batteries if needed. However, these stations can be hard to find and may ask for a payment, but they will be a great spot to rest for a day or two as most have several things to do.


Many people describe a good overnight station as a mall that has been built for truckers to relax when they are going on longer trips. RV owners are part of the group that these establishments focus on, allowing them to enjoy a bit of relaxing and maintenance while driving comfortably.


With Built-in Systems

Newer RVs with the best tech in them will have low-power AC systems built in, relying on battery packs that may include a solar charger to cool the RV. These are not always as effective as a normal AC system but allow you to use them anywhere the sun can shine.


If you know that you will most likely be camping in wilder areas where few other people have ever been, we recommend looking at these types of systems. They will comfortably keep you hot or cold even when you know the nearest power socket is more than 500 miles away from your RV.



Why should you not always run the AC the whole day?

Your AC draws power from the battery of your RV, with most RVs only having two or three extra batteries to run the appliances. If you do not have an external power supply, the AC unit can drain the batteries of your RV within a few hours, leaving you with no way to keep your food cold.


Further, older RVs with a bad design had relied on these batteries to start the engine; with the AC having drained the power, you cannot move your RV. This has left many people stranded in the middle of nowhere as the RV batteries have been drained completely by the running AC. Be sure to have the correct size.


If you know that your AC system is old, it may damage the system to run constantly, with the pumps and compressors eventually failing. The AC units are usually checked when the RV is sent in for inspections, allowing people to rest assured that they won’t end up in the desert without cooling.


Can you run the AC in an RV while driving?

Yes, as your RV is moving and the engine is turning, the vehicle’s alternator will charge up all the batteries inside the RV. If your RV has a solar power system, it will also help keep the batteries fully charged, allowing you to use the AC while moving easily.


Many people prefer to drive during the day with their RVs, laying down thousands of miles before reaching their destinations, with the AC always on while doing so. In these situations, you can rest comfortably as the RV has been specifically built to handle almost everything you can throw at it.


However, we do feel the need to warn that the more power is drawn from the engine and the batteries, the more fuel. This is why many RV owners build solar arrays to power their AC and a few other things, removing the strain placed on the engine.



Should you be running the AC the whole day?

We recommend having the AC running when you are camping in extremely hot or cold locations; however, it is not a must. Many people not using the AC at all when they are in moderate to normal temperature locations, preferring to have the natural air temperature reign.


Most experienced RV owners will only use the AC when driving as this is the longest time they spend inside the vehicle. When the RV is parked, they will be outside the vehicle, experiencing the camp location they have chosen, preferring to use blankets at night for warmth.


However, it is completely subjective, and if you are aware that most of your time will be spent inside the RV, you should ensure that the internal temperatures are always comfortable. If your RV can be more comfortable than your own home, you should enjoy its luxuries.

If you notice the air is not cold you may need a recharge.


When you are driving around the world, you may find that many places are so hot or cold that you can barely think straight.

Your RV will usually be able to easily handle the AC running almost all of the time, giving you the comfort of having the perfect temperatures when you need it. We recommend that you have it plugged into a stable source of power, though, to ensure your batteries don’t run low.



Q: What is an RV AC?

A: An RV AC, or air conditioner, is a system installed in a recreational vehicle (RV) to control the temperature and humidity levels, making your RV travels more comfortable, especially in warm climates. It’s like having your own portable weather control system!

Q: How does an RV AC work?

A: RV ACs operate much like residential units. They use refrigerant to absorb the heat inside your RV and release it outside, thus cooling the air within your RV. Imagine a magic sponge that sucks up all the hot, stuffy air and wrings it out outside your RV, and you’ve got the idea.

Q: What types of RV ACs are there?

A: There are primarily two types of RV ACs: roof-mounted and portable units. Roof-mounted ACs are the most common and are installed on top of your RV. Portable ACs are standalone units that can be moved around inside your RV. It’s like comparing a ceiling fan to a desk fan – one’s fixed, the other’s flexible.

Q: How much power does an RV AC use?

A: The power consumption of an RV AC depends on its size and efficiency. On average, a typical RV AC unit may consume between 1000 to 1500 watts per hour. It’s like running a handful of small kitchen appliances at once.

Q: Can I run my RV AC on battery power?

A: Technically, you can, but it’s generally not efficient or practical due to high power consumption. Running an RV AC on battery power could deplete your battery very quickly. Think of it like trying to power your entire house on a single portable generator – it could do it, but not for long.

Q: What should I do if my RV AC is not cooling properly?

A: If your RV AC isn’t cooling properly, it could be due to several reasons. It could be a problem with the refrigerant, air filters, thermostat, or a mechanical issue. First, check for simple problems like dirty filters, then consult a professional if necessary. It’s like being a detective for your RV’s comfort!

Q: How do I maintain my RV AC?

A: Regularly clean or replace the air filters, check the refrigerant levels, and clean the condenser coils. Make sure debris doesn’t build up on the outside unit. Just like you’d tune up your car or clean your home AC system, your RV AC needs regular TLC to stay in top shape.

Q: How often should I replace the filters on my RV AC?

A: On average, you should clean or replace the filters on your RV AC every 3-4 weeks during periods of heavy use or if you’re camping in a dusty area. Just think of it as your monthly date with your AC unit!

Q: Can I use my RV AC while driving?

A: Yes, but it will require a power source. This is typically the generator in motorhomes. If you’re towing a trailer, you’d likely need to run a generator as well, which might not be practical. It’s like trying to keep your ice cream from melting while strolling through a desert – possible, but a bit of a challenge!

Q: Does the size of my RV affect the type of AC I need?

A: Absolutely! Larger RVs or those with more separate spaces may even need more than one AC unit. Be sure to check the BTU (British Thermal Units) rating of an AC before buying; larger RVs will need an AC with a higher BTU rating. Consider it like dressing for the weather – the more space you have, the more ‘clothing’ (or cooling) you need.

Q: How noisy are RV AC units?

A: RV AC units can be a bit noisy, especially older models. Many newer models are designed to be quieter. If noise is a concern, check the decibel level before purchasing or consider adding sound insulation around the AC. It’s a bit like sleeping next to a refrigerator – some people don’t mind the hum, while others need silence.

Q: My RV AC is leaking water. What should I do?

A: Water leaks can be caused by a number of issues, like a blocked condensation drain, damaged seals, or even high humidity levels. It’s best to have a professional take a look to avoid damaging your AC or RV. Treat it like a mystery novel – you need the right expert to solve the puzzle!