How To Clean An RV Air Conditioner Filter

RV air conditioning units help convert warm air from outside the RV into cool air inside. Along with the hot air, many particulates and dust can also make their way into your unit. This can start to cover your AC filter with dirt-like substances.

These are a few easy steps to clean your RV’s AC filter:

  1. Prep your AC unit.
  2. Vacuum your filter.
  3. Scrub the filter after washing it.
  4. Use a cleaning spray to kill germs.
  5. Dry your filter and reassemble it.

After performing these steps, your filter will be ready to use.

Step 1 – Prep Your AC Unit

Make sure to disconnect all power sources to your RV’s AC before dissembling anything. This ensures no possibility of electrical harm.

Remove the AC’s cover that protects the filter and then slide the filter out. Never turn on the AC while the filter is off as it can severely damage your unit

Step 2 – Vacuum Your Filter

Efficient vacuuming can help rid of all the tiny particles caught in the filter’s screen. Even if you can see them visibly, vacuuming will loosen them up best. If you find your filter is still very dirty after vacuuming, then prepare to wash it.

Step 3 – Scrub Your Filter After Washing It

The first step of this process is to soak your filter in warm water. Using a soft-level detergent can ensure all the grime is removed efficiently. Keep it submerged in the solution for around 15 minutes.

The best place to do this in the shower in your RV or a dedicated receptacle for cleaning. Using a small brush, begin to scrub the filter and rid it of any lasting debris.

Wash the filter with a water source to get the residual suds off.

Step 4 – Use A Cleaning Spray To Kill Germs

AC Filters are naturally susceptible to bacteria growth because they catch all unwanted pollutants in the air. This means that using an anti-bacterial solution after washing your filter is important. Breathing in bacteria that your AC pumps out can be very harmful.

Here are the steps to using the spray:

  1. Use a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar to fill up a bottle that can spritz.
  2. Wait 15 minutes after spraying each part of the filter.
  3. Wash the filter off and make sure it doesn’t smell strongly of the cleaning solution.

Step 5 – Dry Your Filter And Reassemble It

The drying process for filters without a specific drying machine can take upwards of three hours. The most efficient and safe way to dry it is under direct sunlight. This allows all the potential bacteria buildup to subside.

When you are certain the filter is completely dry, insert it back into your AC unit. Recover the slot, connect the power, and test out your newly clean filter.

What Could Go Wrong?

Cleaning your RV’s AC filter or not cleaning it at all can have very bad effects on your health. It can also decrease the efficiency of your AC’s power.

Health Concerns

Sometimes when an AC filter is dirty enough, it is covered just enough to let air through without filtering what goes in. This allows dirt, pollen, grime, and dust to circulate into the airflow of your RV’s cabin.

Pollution in your air’s enclosed space can have long-term and short-term effects on you and your other passenger’s health. It can also mess up your RV’s internals.

AC Concerns

After an AC filter is clogged completely, the amount of cool air produced is incredibly low. The AC will continue to run but you may find that the air is not as cool as it was at first.

In certain situations, the airflow may be so slow that the moisture in the air might freeze. This can create a bigger headache for you and may even require a technician to fix it. It can also stop your AC from working for hours at times when you need it most.

How Often Should I Clean My RV’s AC Filter?

The cleaning procedures mentioned above to clean your RV’s AC filter should be done once a month. This is if you use your AC frequently. We recommend a dedicated day each month, so you never fall behind. Not cleaning your filter can result in low AC performance and possibly damage in the long term.

Should I Ever Replace My RV’s AC Filter?

Your RV’s AC filter needs to be replaced at least once a year. Even if you clean your filters every month and never let the dirt settle too long, it needs a change. Luckily the procedure is nearly as simple as cleaning it, you will just need to order a replacement. Stocking up on them will help a scramble when you need to change them.

How Much Do RV AC Filters Cost?

RV AC filters are relatively inexpensive, and on most online retailers you can find one for around $5. We recommend buying in bulk to avoid not having one when you need it most. Make sure you purchase washable filters, as some are disposable and cannot be cleaned.

The Bottom Line

RV AC’s can help mitigate heat when travelers need it most. After excessive use, the filter of your AC may be clogged and not work as properly. To clean it up, there are a few steps to safely follow.

Disconnect the power, remove, and vacuum the filter, rinse, sanitize, fully dry, and then replace it. Afterward, your AC filter will work well as new.

This must be done routinely as an excess buildup of the AC filter can cause health problems and may damage units. Without proper airflow, your AC will not produce the right amount of cool air.

Different outside dust particles will also circulate into your cabin and create a health concern.

Change your RV’s AC filter at least once a month. Keep backups to replace just in case, and change them out with new ones annually.