You might just need a bit more cooling in your RV. Whether you have an in-unit air conditioner in your RV or not, the heat of summer can still get to you. That’s probably why you are considering getting a window AC unit for your RV.
Mounting a window AC unit is a simple task for a do it yourself RV owner. You’ll need some tools and an instruction manual, but we can help you get this done.
Mountain a window AC on your RV involves some decisions including whether or not to make a frame. You may need to make a frame to hold your AC in place. You’ll also need to choose it’s placement based on the availability of power. Frame or not, screws or bolds are the next most important part ofmounting your AC unit to an RV.
Does it measure up – mounting a window AC unit in an RV.
You’ll first need to decide where to mount your window AC unit, then you can decide how to mount it.
Which parts of your RV get the warmest? Does this part of the RV also have a window or a place to open? Your AC unit needs both an outside air supply and electricity, so keep that in mind.
An RV AC unit needs a relatively large amount of electricity, measured in amps, to start up. Most RV AC units will need 16-18 amps to get kick started. This is about the same as a smaller air conditioning unit but less than a large one that can take 30 amps.
Inside of your RV breaker box, check the capacity of the breaker where you want to plug in your AC unit. RV breakers can come in a range from 10amps up to 30. Also, check to see what else is plugged in on the same circuit and how many amps that requires to run at the same time.
If you plug too much into one circuit and the air conditioner turns on, your circuit breaker might turn off the power to those outlets if it gets overwhelmed.
An RV AC unit needs a good frame to be useful – and not potentially fall and hurt somebody.
Your home is not much different from your RV for an air conditioner. The air conditioner needs a window frame to drag outside hot air in and cool it.
In the case of most RVs, you can readily attach an air conditioner to the rear of the RV and have it poke out of a window and add negligible length of your RV. This situation is ideal because it might not require modification.
If your heat problems are on the side of the RV, you might want to consider adding the AC unit there instead. The side can add width to your RV, which isn’t always ideal.
Making a frame
Consider consulting your RV’s manual to see which frames are meant to handle an AC unit. AC units are not light.
You might need to reinforce a frame with wood or plastic and screws to make it sturdy enough to hold an AC unit. This is often done by bracing wood pieces or 2 x 4 or smaller on the inside of a window so that the hole is the right side for an air conditioning unit while also having the weight capacity to not break.
Ideally, you can make the frame and air conditioner removable too. Build a top and bottom frame that keep the air conditioner from falling in by having wood pieces surround the fins on top of the AC unit. The AC unit itself will provide the pressure that keeps the bottom part of the frame in place.
The easiest way to do this is to measure the distance between the top of the window frame and the top fin. Just make sure it’s big enough to cover all gaps in the windows while offering a space to keep the top part of the unit from moving. You might need to make smaller, rounded cuts to the wood for this to work.
Much of the frame can be screwed or glued to the inside of the RV to avoid making big holes on the outside. You can also paint the frame so it looks uniform with the rest of the RV.
The window needs to be larger than the smallest size of the AC unit. Measure both the AC unit you want and the size of the frame and hole you have.
One fundamental issue you might come across is that the window in the area you want to cool is not big enough, or lacks a window at all. One potential solution is to create a hole for the purpose, though it might not be worth making a hole in one specific spot if you aren’t using the air conditioner often.
Will the mounting brackets that came with my AC unit work?
Honestly, probably not. These are moreso made for a home unit and are designed for an already built frame – and to keep from scratching both the home’s paint and the air conditioning unit itself.
Can making a mount effect resale value?
Done right, a well made made for an air conditioner can raise the resale value. The mount can be some work that someone else didn’t have to do, so a buyer might appreciate the presence of an already placed, nice looking mount.
Any safety considerations?
A couple of them.
A window unit air conditioner makes your RV a bit wider. Be careful when pulling into parking spaces – you may hae added some inches, or even a foot to the width of your RV.
A good power inverter and electrical management system can be quite helpful. You did some hard work getting the air conditioning unit installed, so don’t let a power surge or a lack of current wreck the motor in your air conditioner.
If you have any doubts about the safety of your mount, or you notice that it’s weakening – fix or or call a contractor and see if things can be done better. A falling AC unit is quite dangerous as units can be rather heavy.
Mounting an RV AC unit can be simple with the right tools and some measurements. Some RVs are just about designed to accept a rear installed unit while others might require some wood or plastic working to make them safe and reliable.
You’ll also want to check to make sure you are installing your AC unit in a place with an outlet and enough amperage to power the air conditioner unit.
We hope you stay cool this summer!