Where Are RV Air Conditioners Located? (3 Places to Check)

There is nothing quite like hitting the open road and camping in your home on wheels. One of the benefits of camping in an RV instead of a tent?

Two words: Air Conditioning.

A great way to ensure you and your family stay cool while on your wilderness adventure is to ensure your RV has a top-notch air conditioning system.

If this is a luxury you are interested in, you might ask yourself: where is my RV’s Air Conditioner located?

This can be an even more important question when purchasing an RV because you will want to ensure you find the RV’s Air Conditioning unit and that it is in perfect working condition.

How Does My RV Air Conditioner Work?

Knowing how an RV air conditioner works can help you identify where the ideal location for your air conditioning unit.

These units work similarly to those you might have installed in your home. The unit removes the head by sucking in air and pulling it through an evaporator. From there, it pushes that heated air through a condenser.

Because of this, one of the top choices of air conditioner locations in your RV is on the ceiling.

Heat is known to rise, so the ceiling is the most efficient place for your air conditioner to be.

Types of RV Air Conditioners:

There are a few different types of RV Air Conditioners, and what one you pick can also influence the location of that air conditioner.

The types of RV Air Conditioners are:

Roof-Mounted Air Conditioning Unit

As mentioned, roof-mounted air conditioners are highly efficient at cooling your RV because they are fixed to the top of your RV, where the heat rises.

There is a variation in size when it comes to a roof-mounted RV, and depending on the size of the RV itself, you might require more than one unit.

If you are worried that a roof-mounted air conditioning unit would add too much height to your RV, don’t be! They make “low profile” models that ensure you don’t add any additional height.

If you have this model, you might have either a duct system or a “dump” feature.

A duct system allows the cool air to travel throughout the RV and dispense through the designated ducts. This would be similar to the cooling system you have called “central air.”

The “dump” feature is exactly how it sounds. This is where the air conditioning unit dispenses all the cool air from the unit itself. This would be more comparable to a window unit in your house.

One drawback of a roof-mounted air conditioner is the noise.

A ductless roof-mounted unit can be very loud. Manufacturers try to make the duct units less noisy by strategically placing the air ducts.

Another drawback to a roof-mounted system is that they are not as energy efficient because they are more compact and take longer to operate.

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Basement Air Conditioning Unit

If you are looking for a quieter, more discreet option for your air conditioning unit, then a basement air conditioner might be right for you. This type of air conditioning unit is often associated with more luxury models of RVs.

Another perk of the air conditioner in the “basement” of your RV is that you don’t have to climb on top of the roof if you have to provide upkeep or maintenance.

One drawback to this type of unit is that because the hot air rises, the cool air does already sink to the floor, making it less efficient at full air recirculation.

The biggest con of this type of air conditioning unit is that it can be VERY expensive, which is not for everyone.

A Split Air Conditioning Unit

Another option that has been growing in popularity is a split unit. This means that there are two different pieces to the unit.

One piece handles the air-cooling condensing unit, and the other piece is the air-handling unit.

Because they are separate pieces, they are much more flexible as to where they are placed.

With this type of unit, the cooling piece could be located closer to the roof, and the air handling piece could be located anywhere you want the air to be dispensed.

This can allow flexibility while still cutting down on the sound found in other options.

A Portable Air Conditioning Unit

Another choice you could make is to utilize a portable air conditioner.

This can be a great option if you have an RV that didn’t come with any other pre-installed options, as installing them after the fact can be highly expensive.

There are both free-standing units that you can use to get cooled air anywhere, or you could even find a windowed air conditioning unit for your RV, which would be very similar to what you could rig up in your home.

Locations of RV Air Conditioners:

The location of your air conditioning unit can be very important.

Some places to look for your RV air unit include:

  1. The Roof
  2. The Basement
  3. A Central Wall Location

When deciding where to install your unit, you want to make sure that you place the unit in the center of your RV.

From here, you might want to add additional units or ducts into your RV’s front and back so that the air has a better chance of cooling the entire interior and is not just centralized to one spot.

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How to Help Keep Your RV Cool:

There are many ways to assist your air conditioner in keeping your RV cool.

These include:

Clean Your Filters

One of the most important ways to maintain your air conditioners and keep everything in good working order is to remember to clean your air filters.

This can help you to avoid particulates getting into your condenser.

How often you change your air filter depends on how often you use your air conditioning.

If you use your air conditioning often, you might consider changing them once a month in the warmer months.

Don’t worry about changing them when you are not using the air conditioner.

Keep the Exchanger Clean

One of the main jobs of the air conditioner is to expel the heat outside. To do so, you will want to make sure that the exterior air exchanger is clean so that the air can pass through effortlessly.

These can often get clogged with bugs, debris, dirt, and other contaminants. This could cause your air conditioner to become less efficient, and it could even freeze up.

This should be checked at least once per year.

Keep Windows and Doors Closed

It may seem like a no-brainer, but keeping your windows and doors closed while the air is on can help keep your RV cool.

You could even install curtains that can block the heat from outside to help.

Make the Shade Your Friend

Utilizing the shade can be a great way to keep your RV cool. Often, RV’s warm up as quickly as they do from sitting in the sun for long periods of time.

You can take advantage of the natural shade or even use your RV’s awning to keep the sun away from your windows.

Some people even use reflective material to cover their windows to repel the heat.

Making Sure You Account For the Size

In this case, size does matter!

You might need a larger air conditioning unit or even multiple spaced-out units if you have a large RV.

If you are trying to cool a large area with a small unit, it will just not work, and you will be wasting energy.


There are not many locations where your RV’s air conditioning unit can be, so if you are looking for it, you are in luck!

All you need to do is know what kind of air conditioner you have, make sure you maintain it properly and do your part to help it out.

With proper care and attention, you can use a cooling air conditioner to help make you and your family comfortable when those temperatures begin to climb!

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