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Does An RV AC Need To Be Level?

For modern rvs, the AC can handle being held at a slight angle. If you are parked on a slope, such as in a driveway, that short period of time will not make or break the AC’s functionality.

While that is fine for short-term parking, does your RV air conditioner need to be level?

As a rule of good practice, your RV should always be as level as physically possible. If you are going to be parked somewhere for quite a long time, you should find somewhere that is not on an extreme, or even mild slope. If you park for a long time at an angle, you will be putting a lot of pressure on your air conditioner.

Does An RV Air Conditioner Need To Be Level? 

Most RV owners know that your refrigerator, especially the models you would usually see in homes, need to be level to work correctly. But, does the same go for your air conditioner?

The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. If you are parking somewhere and you aren’t able to measure the exact level of where you are, but it seems flat enough, you should be fine. However if you are on a noticeable slope, especially a steep one, you should not linger if you are planning to use the air conditioner.

What Happens When An RV AC Isn’t Level 

The air conditioning unit in your RV is a complex series of fans, refrigerants, and tubes to pull everything along. Since the cold air, and refrigerants, need to be pumped a certain direction, changing the orientation of that direction will make it more difficult to pump.

If things aren’t totally level, the fans pull into overdrive. They work much harder, because they need to force air through the system and make your vehicle nice and cool.

There is nothing inherently wrong about your fans working harder. However, as you might know, the harder you work something, the sooner it will run out of steam. Excessive wear and tear will start to show itself on your air conditioning units fans.

Exhausted fans aren’t the only issue of a non-level AC. When things are not able to flow freely through the air conditioning tubes, you are going to be looking at the ever common bump in the road for AC owners: clogs. If debris, bugs, dust, and other detritus wind up clogging up your air conditioning system, it will stop working effectively – or at all. 

Now, not only are you looking at expensive or time consuming repairs, at the very least you can expect a hot afternoon. AC units in RVs that get left on a tilt tend to trap a lot of oil within the system. This is a whale of a cleaning job waiting to happen.

At the end of the day, air conditioning units are designed to be level. That small tilt will also lead to vibration, which will lead to additional troubles. Even a little bit of vibration puts wear and tear on all of the components – it’s something you see with the regular vibration from the road, and why these parts need maintenance so frequently. When you park or drive at a tilt, you are only adding to that.

How To Level Your RV For The AC 

Even if you know all of the ins and outs of your RV AC unit, and why you should keep it level, you still cannot control geography. Sometimes, no matter what, you are going to have to park or drive on an incline. There is no such thing as a perfect surface for parking, but you can always compensate.

There are a few tools you will need in order to level your RV.

  • A spirit level 
  • Blocks for the wheels 
  • Wheel chocks, 
  • Wooden blocks for non-motorized RVs, such as fifth-wheel varieties. . 

Step One: Park The RV

Naturally, the first step to leveling your RV is to park. Do your best to find the flattest area you possibly can.

Of course, you would have just as much luck trying to change the weather as you would trying to change the slope of the area you’re parking in. Some places, especially mountainous areas, we’ll have no possible place for you to park without being on an incline in some direction.

Step Two: Gauge The Level 

If you have a more modern model of rv, there might be a level already built into it. If so, check to see how imbalanced you are at the moment. If you don’t, a basic bubble level is something you can find at most hardware stores. In fact, your cell phone might have an app available that you can use instead.

To take this measurement, place the level lengthwise across the floor inside your rv. Ideally, it will be heading from left to right, but it might be best to try it in a few different directions. Do your best to situate the level as close to the center of the RV as possible. You can look at the floor plan of your rv, if it is available, to get a good idea of where the true center might be.

The bubble of the level should be squarely in the center, usually between a pair of lines. If you are not level, make a note of which direction the bubble is leaning, if it leans more leftward, then that is the side you need to raise, and likewise for the right.

Step Three: Level With Blocks 

When you are ready to level your RV so that your air conditioning unit won’t have to work as hard, the first step is to utilize RV blocks. Some people tend to use wooden blocks for this. However at RV supply stores, you will find blocks specifically made for leveling your rv. 

These are preferable in this situation, since wooden blocks can have variation in their size. RV leveling blocks are completely uniform, meaning you will have a more accurate measurement of how many you’ll need to level the vehicle.

Using the direction that the level indicates is off, place the RV blocks. The more that one side needs raising, you will, of course, need more blocks.

While you are doing this, take some time to pay attention to the wheels that do not have blocks attached to them. This is where you will add your wheel chocks to the front and back of each wheel. This will hold them in place.

For Non-Motorized RVs 

If you have a tow-along or fifth wheel RV, you’ll want to follow a slightly different process to ensure your RV, and the AC attached to it, are level. 

Hoist the RV up onto the wooden blocks, allowing them to level out. When you use your level to measure, you’ll want to gauge it from back to front first, rather than side to side. 

Conclusion 

Even if you are parked on a level, your RV AC will still work. However, in order to continue working for as long as possible at full efficiency, your RV air conditioner needs to be level.

If you are parked somewhere for only a few minutes, or even a few hours, and you will not be using the AC, then you should be fine.

However, if you know you will be parking somewhere for quite a while, and using the air conditioning unit, you should take some steps to ensure that your RV is level.

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