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Sometimes on those truly sweltering days, just leaving the windows open isn’t enough to cool the RV. That’s where the air conditioner comes in, but often we find ourselves reluctant to use it for too long. After all, the idea of burning out the AC on a super-hot day is a nightmare!
So, can you run your AC all day without causing any problems?
Well, the good news is that your RV’s AC was designed to run for a long time during those really hot days. In fact, as long as your rig has a consistent power source, a 50 or 30 AMP electrical hookup or the generator, then you can safely run the AC all day.
The important thing to keep in mind is not whether the AC can handle it, but rather how efficient it is from an energy perspective. So let’s take a closer look at how you can get the most out of your AC!
Efficiency of Running the Air Conditioner All Day
If you’re running the AC on a 50 AMP electrical hookup, then you don’t need to worry about energy consumption. This is because 50 AMP hookups are designed to handle the energy intake of even the largest rigs. Of course, having the right size generator helps but it probably isn’t required for most folks.
For smaller rigs, 30 AMP hookups will be able to power their AC as they typically only have 1 unit. However, this changes if you are using a larger rig with 2 AC units and only have access to a 30 AMP hookup.
This may not be enough power to support the AC units alongside the rig’s other electrical demands. To combat this, using the generator can be a good supplemental power source as it runs on the RV’s own gas supply rather than a campsite’s electrical power.
Generally, running the AC using the generator alone will not consume too much gas. In fact, just 6 gallons will be enough to power most AC units for at least a full 24 hours. Of course, you could even more out of this if you’re using an especially efficient air conditioner.
Whether or not this is viable for you depends on your rig’s capabilities, the AC unit it has, and how much gas you are willing to set aside for powering it. It also depends on if you will be running anything else on the generator besides the AC, as that will use up gas more quickly.
To avoid using up excessive gas, using a portable inverter generator of about 3500 to 4000 watts is a good way to separate the energy consumption of the AC from the RV itself. It is important to note though, that when hooking up your RV to a portable generator, you will notice many amenities in the RV begin to switch over to the new power supply.
For example, the refrigerator, which is normally powered by propane, will begin consuming the portable generator’s electricity. Using a fridge with solar power can help but it’s only one of many ways that you can get creative.
In doing so, your RV will naturally begin to use up a lot of the generator’s available power making it impossible to start up your AC while hooked up to it.
This is not a problem with your AC unit or the portable generator, rather you simply have to make sure the RV’s amenities are switched back to their normal power supply and not the generator.If you want to avoid using up too much gas but don’t have access to a portable inverter generator it may seem tempting to use the RV’s battery power to run the AC. However, this needs to be avoided as contrary to popular belief, even the best batteries are not nearly strong enough to support the AC.
Why Can’t I Run the AC on My RV’s Battery?
To power most AC units in an RV, 3500 to 4000 watts of electrical power is needed, this is why a portable generator can be useful. To use the power from an RV’s battery an inverter would be needed, but most inverters that convert battery power into electricity can only do so for about 1000 to 2000 watts. Far below the baseline needed to run the AC.
Trying to run the AC on battery power is only possible with a massive investment on your part. It would either require an expensive luxury rig that comes equipped with powerful inverters, or a massive power source supplementation such as solar energy.
These options will cost you thousands of dollars and are not very practical when considering the fact that RV travel is supposed to be fairly easy. Who wants to be bogged down with constant electrical work?
While trying to find the best combination of electrical power versus gas powered generators to efficiently run the AC all day can be enticing; the best way to ensure that your AC unit is ready to operate as it should is to maintain it properly.
How To Maintain the AC Unit?
The best way to increase your AC’s longevity and keep it running well all day is with proper maintenance. This will also help with keeping it efficient. Perhaps the most important maintenance tip is to keep the doors and windows closed while the AC is running.
Ventilation is great for keeping the RV smelling fresh and cool on warm days. But for those brutally hot summer days open windows won’t be enough and running the AC while the windows are open only sabotages the AC. Bringing in constant hot air from outside makes the AC unit work excessively hard to try and keep the rig cool. Over time, this can begin to shorten its lifespan.
Generally, RV AC units have a lifespan of around 6-8 years, with 4 being the very low end. This can be increased with routine maintenance such as having the unit be serviced once a year.
While general maintenance and cleaning can be done on your own, a professional can come in and check all the parts of your AC unit that you may overlook. This is crucial as they can notice if anything small or easy to miss is awry and fix it before it causes irreversible damage. All of these are an important part in increasing the longevity of your AC unit and keeping it running well all day.
As long as your rig has a consistent and viable power source, be it a 50 or 30 AMP hookup, your rig’s built-in gas-powered generator, or a sufficiently powered portable generator; your AC can be comfortably run all day without any problem.
Running it all day and all night is totally fine as well, just be mindful of generator noise as that can be disturbing to neighbors as they sleep. Your AC unit was built to handle those long summer days. If you consistently maintain it and give it the power it needs, you’ll be more than ready to embark on your summer journey!