Travelling cross-country in an RV is one of the best ways to enjoy your summer vacation.
But if you do not have a quality air conditioner inside your recreational vehicle, you could be in for a very long and miserable trip. Even if your A/C is working but making a very loud noise, it could ruin some peaceful moments on the road. Not to mention that loud noise could be a sign that your air conditioner is about to malfunction.
Whether it is the slight clicking of the compressor or the loud rattle of loose nuts or bolts, the ongoing racket could be enough to ruin your peaceful family road trip. The noise could be so loud that your RV’s radio will not drown the sound out, or it could be just noisy enough to be annoying.
There are many reasons why your RV’s air conditioner may be making weird noises while it’s on. Here we will discuss the many different causes of a loud air conditioner and how to solve the problem.
Why is My RV’s Air Conditioner Loud?
The air conditioners on RVs are naturally loud machines. The vibrations caused by the A/C can make them sound even louder even if there is no issue.
One of the leading causes of excessive noise from your air conditioner is the buildup of dirt and grime inside the system. It can cause a problem with how the machine functions because it can block airflow.
The best way to prevent issues with noise is to keep up regular maintenance of your air conditioner. However, if your A/C has other issues that are not caused by noise, it may be best to have it repaired or replaced.
Depending on the type of air conditioner you have and how old your RV is, some easy repairs could help decrease the noise. But before you begin the repair process, you need to understand what the cause of the problem is.
When conducting routine maintenance on your RV and its AC unit, paying close attention to all the major areas that could lead to excessive noise is essential. If checking these areas does not help resolve the issue, it may be time to replace your air conditioner instead.
The Fan Motor
After removing the air conditioner unit’s housing, you will find the fan motor attached to the main fan. Issues with fan motors are one of the most common problems for owners of older RVs. The fan motor works all the time, and it is common for them to break, which can lead to excessive noise. If this is the primary cause of your noisy A/C, you will need to replace the fan motor.
Fittings that are Loose or Too Tight
The consistent rattling noise you may be hearing could be a fitting that became loose after hitting too many bumps in the road. If you suspect you have fittings that are too tight or too loose, you should inspect your A/C unit and either tighten or loosen them if needed.
The most common area for this issue is the mounting bolts. These bolts can become too tight, which will often cause your air conditioner to shake and create noise throughout your RV. You should always have these bolts secure but never too tight.
Worn Rubber Cushions
While your air conditioner is making too much noise, it could also be hard at work trying to eliminate the noise as well. The rubber cushions within your air conditioner help absorb the vibration of the unit and its components.
When these cushions start to wear down, you will notice more noise than usual. Replacing worn rubber cushions in your A/C will not only help reduce the amount of noise you hear but will also help to add more protection to your A/C’s components as well.
Air conditioners are designed to keep your RV cool, but if you are using your unit too much, you could be overworking it. Over time, excess wear on your air conditioner will cause it to malfunction, and that will lead to excessive noise.
Be mindful of how much pressure you are putting on your air conditioner. If you are driving through hot climates constantly, you may want to consider replacing your current A/C unit with one that has higher BTUs. It also may be necessary for you to replace your air conditioner’s components.
You can do this on your own if you have some experience with electrical and maintenance work. Otherwise, you will need to take your RV to a professional for assistance.
How to Reduce the Noise of an RV’s A/C
Routine maintenance and regular checkups are the best way to reduce noise with your RV’s air conditioner. When inspecting your A/C, you will need to pay attention to the following components.
- The ducts
- Condenser Coils
- Evaporator Coils
To help eliminate noise, you should make sure the components inside your A/C unit are free of dust, dirt, debris, and other obstructions. You may need to consult with your owner’s manual to gain access to some of these areas if you are not familiar with navigating the inside of your A/C unit.
One tip that may be helpful is to apply oil to your fan motor. The motor is constantly working while your unit is on, and adding the right amount of lubrication to it will prevent wear and help it stop making so much unwanted noise.
Remember, when addressing issues with a noisy air conditioner, it is always best to address the possible issues that are easiest to fix first before you attempt to repair more complicated components.
Start by inspecting the fittings on your units first. Look for any loose nuts or bolts that may be causing the problem. This fix will require the least amount of effort from you. Be sure that you pay close attention to the bolts found on your mounting brackets, which you can find on the air conditioner’s central unit.
After you have addressed the most common issues and have found no problems, it is time to move on to other possible problems. You will need to check and make sure everything is in the right location.
Look at all the rubber cushions and make sure they contact your fan’s motor as well as with the condenser coils. If the cushions do not contact these components, it will cause the A/C unit to shake and rumble. Simply replacing the worn or malfunctioning cushions can help to remedy this issue.
If the cushions are functioning as they should, the problem may be with your fan motor. Replacing this can be a complex DIY project that requires you to know about electrical appliances. If you have any questions, be sure to consult with a professional for assistance.
Can You Purchase a Quieter Air Conditioner?
If you want to replace your old A/C unit entirely, you may be interested in finding one that runs quieter. When it comes to finding the quietest air conditioner unit for your RV, there may be several options out there for you to consider. But keep in mind that a quieter A/C may not perform as well as you expect. For that reason, you should do your own research on various A/C models and find the one that will work best for you.
There are several things to consider when buying a new RV air conditioner, aside from just the noise. You will want to look at features such as:
- Whether the unit is ducted or non-ducted
- Dimensions like Height, Weight, and Shape
- Power Usage
- BTU and Cooling Capacity
You will need to consider all of these things when shopping around for a new A/C unit. And you should also consider the unit’s placement, such as whether it is located on the rooftop, in a window, or under the bench and hidden from view inside your RV. Finding the ideal spot for your A/C unit inside your RV will also help to resolve noise issues.
Can You Soundproof an Air Conditioner?
Depending on the type of air conditioning system you own, you have several options available for soundproofing.
Air conditioner silencers are sound reduction kits that consist of sound dampening materials to muffle a noisy unit. Remember that the type of kit you buy depends on whether you have a ducted or non-ducted unit.
With a ducted unit, you can use a kit that will pad the ducts with soundproofing material. Some are even designed to help improve your unit’s airflow as well. These soundproof kits are typically easy to install and can significantly reduce the noise throughout your RV by as much as 10 decibels.
How Loud Should an A/C in an RV Be?
One of the reasons why air conditioners on RVs are so loud is because of the limits these units have when it comes to space. When designing RVs, the manufacturer’s main goal is to find ways to prevent the A/C unit from taking up too much space. And while that can be useful, this can also contribute to the problem with loud noises.
The average decibel range for an RV air conditioner is around 55 decibels. If your unit is running significantly louder than that, you could have an issue with your unit. To help put decibel ranges into perspective, 50 decibels is the common level for a quiet conversation at home, while 70 decibels is the standard range for a typical vacuum cleaner.
Because your RV air condition has to fit in such a small location, such as the narrow space of a camper roof, their units are often stripped down to the basics. It can take away the insulating layers that protect the unit and help eliminate noise.
RV air conditioners have seen some slight improvements in recent years when it comes to their decibel range. Still, they will always have to work a little harder than your standard window air conditioners designed for residential use due to their compromised design.
How Many Years Will an Air Conditioner Last in an RV?
The number of years your RV’s air conditioner will last is based on several factors. These include the quality of the A/C mode, how often it is used, and the level of maintenance performed on the unit.
As a rule of thumb, you should expect your new A/C unit to last between three to five years if you have a good quality brand that is used often. It may last a little longer if it is well maintained over the years.
There are a few things you can do to help improve the lifespan of your RV’s air conditioner.
Weatherize your A/C
Performing weather protection by adding weatherproof material to your air conditioner unit will prevent it from becoming damaged over the years due to exposure to dirt, rain, and harmful UV rays.
Check for Leaks
By regularly checking for leaks, you will keep a close eye on the seals and gaskets within your unit. Doing this will let you know if they are worn or cracked due to exposure to the elements. Checking for leaks on a routine basis will also help you determine if your A/C has any water damage.
Monitor Cooling Fins
The cooling fins on your RV’s A/C should be in excellent working condition. If they are bent, it can reduce the airflow and decrease the lifespan of your unit. If you notice any issues with your cooling fins, you will want to repair or replace them as soon as possible.
Clean the Filters
It is essential to keep your filters clean and change them often. A dirty filter will cause your air conditioner to work extra hard to produce the cool air you need. Failure to clean your filters will reduce your unit’s lifespan.
A quality air conditioner is essential for your summer road trips in your RV. Therefore, it’s essential to address any concerns you may have with a noisy A/C unit and find out the cause to ensure you are not stuck in the hottest cities in the U.S. without access to cool air.
By understanding more about how your air conditioner works, you can learn how to easily troubleshoot the unit whenever problems such as unnecessary noises begin to occur.