New RV air conditioner that can’t keep up?
I’ve seen this complaint on FRF a number of times in the past few weeks from folks who have just purchased their first new RV. I thought I’d share my experience.
(YMMV) In a nutshell, there wasn’t anything wrong with my air conditioner. But there was plenty wrong with my new trailer.
We took delivery of a Rockwood 5th wheel on the 5th of July. Our first new RV! A really hot day. We were going to camp a few nights near the dealer in Ohio before coming back to Georgia, with two more stops along the way. The first afternoon I was concerned the air conditioner wasn’t cooling the bedroom. Then I opened the wardrobe and thought I had opened an oven. Hot air was coming in through the laundry chute (under the wardrobe) which was open to the cargo bay. I cut up a cardboard box and covered up the laundry chute opening. Bedroom began to cool nicely. Later, I made a permanent mod by covering the laundry chute compartment floor with insulating foam board. Problem solved and I have a great place to store hiking boots.
Still, the air conditioner was working too hard, I thought. Then when trying to figure out how to set up the flat screen TV I felt hot air blowing on my feet. Now it was coming in though the grill for the sub-woofer, which I found also led directly into the cargo hold. I cut a square out of a black trash bag and duct taped it over the grill from behind. Plus I used foam weather seal around the cabinet doors in the entertainment center that led to the cargo hold. Another problem solved.
While I had my head stuck under the entertainment center and while installing the water filter cartridge I found a number of holes and cracks just about open to outside air around every fitting and road light. I bought 2 cans of Great Stuff and filled in every hole, crack and opening in every nook and cranny I could find including the ones in the un-air-conditioned cargo hold. And more foam weather seal went around certain cabinet doors.
Then I discovered “vent cushions” that do a great job of blocking heat from closed overhead vents that will roast your ears off. A noticeable difference as soon as you put them in.
All this in the first month.
Later I found lots of heat coming in through the shower skylight. I took down the inner garnish and covered over the clear window with parchment paper. (It was cheap and I had it laying around) Others have applied various window tint solutions. When my shower skylight bubble cracked and leaked I replaced it with a smoke tinted one. That helped.
Also the frosted window on the entry door, which you can’t see out of anyway, got a tint treatment as well. The heat coming in, testing with the back of my hand, was again greatly reduced. The tint doesn’t have to be boring. I went with a stained glass window effect. There are many solutions for entry door tinting, search FRF.
When it came time to replace vent lids, they too were replaced with the tinted variety. Even with MaxxAir covers it made a difference.
1. Close off all passages between the cabin and the cargo holds. You’d be surprised how many there are.
2. Seal up all the cracks and openings you can find with Great Stuff (or whatever you think works)
3. Get some vent cushions.
4. Tint (or just plain block) skylights, door windows and vent lids.
Now my 13,500 BTU a/c can handle the Georgia summer very well and doesn’t run all the time cooling a 30 ft 5th wheel.