Saturday, September 30, 2023


Do you need an RV A/C cover?

Don’t look now, but soon the summer travel season will be over. Around the country you may hear that collective sigh as RVers pull off the road and begin the process of winterizing. One question that pops up: Do you really need an RV A/C cover? That cooler up there is a big investment. Will spending thirty or more dollars make it last longer?

What’s an RV A/C cover good for?

What hazards can an RV A/C cover protect you from? The most common mention among RVers is keeping out debris. Wind-blown leaves, tree needles, and dirt were often cited as the cause for purchasing these air conditioner protectors. Others were concerned that where they parked, their A/C unit might be hit by falling icicles. And a few said they were concerned about keeping out insects like mud daubers.

A properly fitted RV A/C cover will indeed keep out dirt, tree cast-offs, and mud daubers. If these are a big problem where you store your RV, then indeed, a cover might help. As to icicles—much would depend on just how big those ice darts are. If your A/C shroud is brittle, getting clobbered with an ice dagger might fracture it. But we’re not entirely convinced that a thin, vinyl cover is going to prove to be a salvation for you. If you have experience in that field, let us know.

Finally, if you RV in winter, a cover on your A/C unit may keep some of the chill down. Wind can blow through the shroud, and cold can transmit down into the coach. A cover may help to mitigate the problem.

RV air conditioner drawbacks

Protection factors aside, here’s the other side of the story. If you buy an RV A/C cover, you’ll need to install it. Yes, that does translate to dragging out a ladder and heading up on the rooftop. Of course, it’s good to inspect your roof. So when you do the winter prep, you can take a good look around and check to ensure your seams are sealed and other rooftop accessories are in good shape. Of course, when spring rolls around, you’ll definitely need to remove the cover before heading down the road. Many RVers reported forgetting to do that, and say they’ve found their cover gone. Some manufacturers void their warranty if you drive with a cover in place.

RV a/c cover
Ball or cord lock for drawstring a desirable feature of your cover. image

Here’s a list of common complaints from folks unhappy with their RV A/C covers. Most of these covers come equipped with a drawstring to tighten up once the cover is pulled over the unit. A large number of cover buyers complained that the drawstrings are flimsy and simply rot away in a matter of months. Some say the instructions dictate the string be “tied.” The problem, they say, is that tying the cord with a knot doesn’t allow the string to be tight enough, and “bye-bye cover,” is common when strong winds visit. A few covers are equipped with a drawstring “ball” or cord lock. This clever (and inexpensive) addition may make things “more better.”

Still want one? Factors to keep in mind when ordering them

When shopping for an A/C cover, some sellers will offer a list of “models this will fit.” Plenty of customers note that, yeah, maybe—but often the covers are a wee bit too small for the indicated unit. Make careful measurements (another trip up to the roof) and shop by size, not necessarily by “make and model.” And when you make your purchase, beware, it seems a two-year lifespan is common before weather and rot set in, leaving you shopping for a new cover.

Do you really need an RV A/C cover? Your circumstances may dictate it to be so. As for our experience, after RVing for several decades, we’ve never used one, and our A/C units haven’t seemed the worse for it.



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C.W. Harrigan
1 month ago

I thought about buying a cover when I discovered the birds in the area where my RV is stored in winter and when I’m not on the road in other seasons like to build nests inside the unit, getting in thru the larger vent holes in the bottom. I zip tied some wire mesh to them, keeping them away from the A/C unit. Project took 30 minutes to do. It would also no doubt prevent leaves from blowing in. 3 bird’s nests forced me to do something. And it cost me next to nothing to finish.

1 month ago

We have a basement AC on our Class A. I made an aluminum cover which fits over the coils/fins and under the outside door. I cover it in the winter because of the severe ND winter xthr with blowing snow and possible freezing rains in fall and spring. Seems to me it would not be good for freeze – thaw cycles on those soft aluminum fins. This unit is excellent in performance and we hope to keep it that way.

Thomas D
1 month ago

Absolutely do NOT forget to remove cover before using it in spring/ summer. The coils need air over them and may damage the AC if cover forgotten and not removed. And don’t fall off the roof.

Tim H
1 month ago

First, If you have cold air blowing into your rv in the wintertime through the ac you better check it out since the evaporator and associated duct is completely separate from the condenser side. If this is happening that means you are also bringing hot air into the unit during its use. Second, I have never covered an ac unit in storage for 30+ years and never had a problem.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim H

I used to cover the a/c when we were ‘newbies’. I quit covering it years ago. No problems here either. It sits out there in NV summers and winters.

1 month ago

Found a bird nest inside the shroud last winter. Also, for some reason, rv manufacturers decided to put black shrouds on the a/c units. Covering the units in white keeps down the heat buildup in the units.

1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

Agree, I’m thinking of practicing my painting skills. There is spray paint designed for plastic. Don’t know how long it will last.

Spit Shaft
1 month ago
Reply to  WilBB

Should last a pretty long time. Most all passenger car bumpers are plastic now and a lot of other exterior automotive parts are painted plastic too.

Bill Byerly
1 month ago
Reply to  WilBB

I think it’s worth giving it a try..

1 month ago

I keep my A/C covered during storage or if not being used for more than two weeks during the summer. Even then, I have found wasps starting to build nests inside the shroud when not covered.. A blast from a water hose normally will destroy a small nest. I never use a commercial spray, since it may compromise the roof material.

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