Wednesday, November 29, 2023


RVing during wildfire season? Clean your RV A/C filters!

We have unfortunately been traveling during the Canadian wildfires and got hit unexpectedly in Minnesota with thick smoke and air quality alerts. It was so bad that we had to stay in our RV—the smoke hurt our throats and gave us headaches. We closed the windows and doors and ran the A/C to keep cool and keep the smoke at bay.

Now, the outside air has cleared a bit, but we’re still under an air quality alert. It is hot and we are running the air conditioner. I just looked up from my seat. Yikes, our filters are dirty, really dirty.

We traveled from the desert up north to where the wildfires are and the filters have been doing their job—filtering out the dust and smoke. We have the kind that snaps into the ceiling in our ducted heat pump/air conditioning system.

Cleaning RV A/C filters

I keep a spare set of RV A/C filters so that I can snap out the grids and replace the filters quickly while the dirty ones soak.

When we had a non-ducted system on our last motorhome I could open the A/C grate on the ceiling, pull out the filter and gently wash it. If minimally dirty, vacuuming was enough. If yours is disposable, just replace it.

cleaning RV A/C filters

A 15-minute soak of the dirty filters in mild soapy water gets the job done. Just soak, rinse dry and voila! I thought I heard my A/C units sigh with relief. They can breathe again too.

If you haven’t cleaned these vents in a while, look up, reach up, and get to work!


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.



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Neal Davis (@guest_244551)
4 months ago

Thank you, Nanci! Stay safe and safe travels. 🙂

DW/ND (@guest_243874)
4 months ago

Hi Nanci: Where did you get the pre-fit filters for your ceiling vents? I bought some fiber material (expensive) and cut them out. We have a basement AC, which is outstanding and in one season the ceiling filters have picked up a lot of dust etc. Not sure where it all comes from – as the intake filter, under the couch, catches a whole lot too! Must recirculate until it hits a filter element! (PS: We’ve had the smoke too in Eastern ND – not as bad or not so much at ground level as Mn. Makes for some deep red sunshine tho!)

CousinEddie (@guest_243888)
4 months ago
Reply to  DW/ND

You might try and see if they have a filter that fits :-).

DW/ND (@guest_244009)
4 months ago
Reply to  CousinEddie

Thank you.

Gary W. (@guest_243866)
4 months ago

A foam type filter is not going to filter out smoke.

wanderer (@guest_243845)
4 months ago

A good reminder, we depend on A/C in these hot boxes, let’s do whatever we can to keep them running right. With a big intake filter, If it’s hard to do the full bath/rinse/drying time, just a vacuuming of a removed filter will help a great deal.

Thomas D (@guest_243829)
4 months ago

The filter shoud stop the dirt before it goes into the evaporator( the get cold part) of your ac. D irt passing thru the evaporator has a tendency to stick to the moist wet coils. And the 1/2″ thick foam pad is next to useless anyway

Bob M (@guest_243799)
4 months ago

Since a RV A/C unit doesn’t pull in fresh air from outside. Why would you have to clean them because of smoke outside other than your normal amount of time. At my home in NEPA we had heavy smoke, but not enough to allow smoke inside.

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