Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with techs from Coleman about RV rooftop air conditioners and heat pumps. They had some great suggestions to get the most out of these units.
Supply chain woes
The first thing I learned was, not surprisingly, they have supply chain issues too. They, like everyone else in the RV business, are having lots of problems getting parts and new air conditioner units. Shipping containers are stuck at loading docks, some holding over 30,000 parts.
One good thing though is that they were told by the RVIA to take care of the after-market folks before the manufacturers. Good news for everyone that already has an RV and sweating out these record heat waves. Not so good for those waiting for their new RV…
SoftStartRV is mentioned a lot on RVtravel.com, but for good reason. Here’s why:
- Soft start systems slowly ramp up power to the compressor to allow using two AC units with 30 amp shore power, small generator or even one AC unit from a 20 amp household outlet.
- Manages the start-up power surge so that it doesn’t hit at once, but gradually, avoiding the huge power spike. Eliminates the “thud” when the compressor kicks in.
- After-market soft start systems can void the warranty so check with the manufacturer before installing.
Learn more about the amazing (and highly recommended) SoftStartRV here.
Keep it cool with an air conditioner
- Start early and turn on your AC in the morning.
- Keep windows closed when humid. Opening windows, even when cool in the morning, can add humidity to the RV that the AC needs to remove along with the heat. Humidity infiltrates everything – wood, clothes, furniture, even styrofoam insulation!
- Don’t add heat or more humidity. Cook outside when possible and avoid adding more moisture when cooking inside.
- Point ceiling vents toward the walls. Think of the cool air hitting the walls and circling to the bottom of the room and back up.
- Rotate the vents away from the temp sensors if RV is so equipped. Cool or warm air blowing on the sensor can provide false readings to the thermostat.
- The AC times out for about three minutes if stopped and then restarted.
- Use a high fan setting to avoid AC freeze-up.
- Use portable fans to rotate air through RV.
- Set AC fan to ON when AC is cycling on and off. This keeps the air moving through the RV even when AC is off.
Warm up with a heat pump
Be ready when the chill finally descends again. If your unit has a heat pump, it is a great way to take the chill off without using up propane.
- Heat pumps don’t run when exterior temps are below 40 degrees or above 70 degrees.
- Heat pumps will turn on propane furnace if the thermostat setting is 5 degrees higher than the ambient temperature in the room.
- The condenser in the AC/heat pump becomes an evaporator as the coolant literally circles in the coil in the opposite direction.
These few tips have really helped keep my motorhome cool in the summer’s heat and warm when the temps have dropped up north. Good luck, and stay cool!