Recharging RV Air Conditioner

When going for a trip in your RV, it is better to prepare for everything before leaving to save yourself from any problems. If you don’t check, your trip can go downhill even before it starts.

One of the most essential accessories to check is the RV AC unit. These units ensure you don’t have to face the harsh temperature of summer. Even if you spend time outside, you have a pleasant RV home to come into.

What to do if your RV Air Conditioner isn’t cooling properly because it’s out of charge? To help you in this, we’ve prepared this guide that goes through all the aspects of recharging the unit.

How To Recharge Your RV’s Air Conditioner

Recharging RV’s air conditioner is a difficult task. Even if you have experience with air conditioning units at home, RV’s AC units are complicated. But, overall, the RVs aren’t to be fiddled with; the AC units are on the next level.

If you try to open your RV’s AC unit, you can end up damaging it depending on its location and model. That’s why you shouldn’t even try to recharge it on your own.

How To Recharge RV Air Conditioner

What to do when you are in a hurry, and the technician you can rely on isn’t available. Or you don’t want to pay loads of cash to them. Well, we’re here to help you. Just follow these steps; you can recharge the RV Air conditioner without damaging it.

Step 1: Turn Off Your RV AC Unit

You can cut the power by shutting off the breaker that supplies power to your AC unit.

Step 2: Choosing the Correct Refrigerant to Use

Usually, the RV AC units ACP-100 coolant. But your RV’s AC unit might have different requirements for the coolant. Therefore, you can check the owner’s manual to check what type of coolant is suitable for it. If you fail to get a compatible coolant, it can end up damaging your unit.

Step 3: Removing the Lid Off the AC Unit

Then, you have to remove the plastic cover of the unit. It is easy to remove; make sure to lift it straight up. Be careful, so it doesn’t bump with the system coils and damage them. When lifting the cover, stay on alert for any bees or wasps. They tend to make their nests near the units. If there is a nest inside the unit, you need to remove it to don’t harm you.

Step 4: Check the Coolant’s Gauge

Take a coolant gauge, and find the existing level of the refrigerant. Now, this may seem easier than just putting the gauge in the AC model, but it’s more intricate. There won’t be a direct method to check the refrigerant gauge in some of the models. Therefore, you might have to install a line tap mechanism. This will allow you to attach a gauge to the coolant’s line. Once you connect the gauge, it’ll check the refrigerant’s levels. This way, you’ll know if it is low or empty.

Step 5: Coolant’s Level

If the gauge shows under 30 or 40 degrees for the evaporation temperatures, this means the coolant’s level is low. Therefore, you need to recharge it immediately. Whereas, if the coolant’s levels are okay, your RV’s air conditioner might have another issue for its malfunctioning.

Step 6: Recharging the Coolant

For this next step, you’ll have to ask your friend or a family member for help. You’ll have to turn on the AC unit, while your helper would have to stay in the RV. They’ll have to monitor the air temperature while you add the refrigerant to the unit.

To add the coolant, you’ll have to unscrew the coolant’s port with the help of a wrench. Then add the refrigerant in it till it fills up. Before adding the coolant, consult the owner’s manual to check the coolant capacity your unit should hold.

While adding the coolant, monitor the coolant levels. Once you’ve recharged the unit, your helper should notice cooler air coming from the unit. There should be about a 20-degree difference between the air in the RV and the air in the AC unit.

Step 7: Reassembling the AC Unit

Screw the coolant port cap tightly with the help of the wrench. Then put the unit’s plastic cover back onto it.

Step 8: Test the Unit

Turn on the AC unit breaker, and switch on the AC. Then monitor the temperature inside the RV for several hours to confirm if it’s working properly.

Does An RV Air Conditioner Need Freon?

Yes, RV Air Conditioners need freon to function properly. Why it needs the freon: The answer is complicated, but we can explain what it does. There is a compressor inside the AC unit. Freon is compressed in the compressor until it gets hot. This hot freon then passes through the AC. While passing through it, its heat is reduced and turns into a liquid.

At the end, when the freon cools down drastically, it evaporates. The cooled and evaporated freon then passes through a series of coils. Air that goes into the Air conditioner passes through these cold coils, and the coils absorb heat.

RV Air Conditioner Recharge Kit

To DIY repair the RV Air Conditioners, there are many recharge kits available. With these repair kits, you can easily and efficiently recharge the coolant or freon in your AC unit. A reasonable recharge kit costs under a 100$, but they can save a lot by removing the ‘call a technician’ part.

A kit has many different items; they are bought if needed. Whereas the critical things in a kit are:

  • A gauge that helps determine the capacity of coolant available.
  • To remove moisture from the piping, a pump is available in the kit.
  • Hose of different colors to connect the pump with the system.

While a pump might not be available in the cheaper kits, it is useful. So, it’s better to get one with a pump to have it available at the time of need.

How Do I Know If My RV Ac Is Low on Freon?

Usually, the air conditioners seal the freon tightly inside the unit. And there are almost low chances that you’ll need to replace freon for years. But, even then, as the freon heats up and cools down, there’s a chance that it’ll need replacement soon. Apart from that, your system may end up getting leaks that can allow freon to escape from the unit.

You can tell if freon is low through some methods. If the Air conditioner cannot cool the RV as efficiently as it did before. The air released from the air conditioner won’t be cooled. Other than that, you can check the supply pipes if ice is forming on the pipes. Then you’ll have to replace the freon as quickly as possible, as it can damage the unit’s plumbing.

One last method to check if your AC unit is low on freon is ice will form in the pipes. This can be confirmed if the air isn’t coming out efficiently. This will show that the ice is blocking air inside the plumbing.


Can RV Air Conditioners Be Recharged?

The air conditioners in RVs are rechargeable. Therefore, the Freon may leak over time, which can be replaced. However, recharging the unit can be easier or complex, depending on your RV.

Can You Recharge a Dometic RV Air Conditioner?

Yes, you can recharge the RV air conditioners. They often run out of the coolant that cools the air in the unit. So, you can either call a technician or do it yourself with the help of our guide.

How Do I Know If My RV AC Is Low on Freon?

As mentioned in the above guide, you can find out if freon is low by a few methods. Either the RV AC will lose its cooling efficiency. This is because the ice will form on the outside of the AC pipes. Or Ice will form inside the pipes and block the airflow from AC.

What Kind of Freon Does an RV AC Take?

Back in the day, RV units almost always used R-22 Freon. But now, most RV AC units use the R-410A Freon. This Freon is sold by a variety of brands with different names. So, make sure to get the right one for your AC units with the help of the owner’s manual.

How Long Does an RV Air Conditioner Last?

How long an RV air conditioner unit lasts depends upon many things. For example, what is the model of the RV? What materials were used in its constructions? And how often was it used?

A high-quality unit from a well-known brand will usually last more than 5 years. Whereas units from lower brands last around 3 years.


The AC is an important part of the RV experience. But, unfortunately, recharging the AC unit is quite complex. Therefore, you need to prepare for it before it gives up on the road. In addition, their charging often requires the help of a technician. But that can get heavy on the wallet.

With the help of this guide, we hope you can recharge it on your own with ease.