If you’re anything like me, you like to go camping in your RV for one reason – an escape from the city. Whatever it is that you’re escaping, you’re going to want an air conditioner. But if that AC unit starts to act up, it can ruin the whole point of leaving town. This is why your AC may be making a bit too much noise.
There are a few things that can make an AC unit get louder over time. The most obvious cause is simply age – like all things, air conditioners have a lifespan. Beyond that, you could have loose parts – or maybe the rubber dampeners just need replacing.
The best place to start with any type of mechanical issue is to turn off the culprit and open it up. If you see a lot of grime, it’s generally best to give it a quick (and gentle) cleaning before moving onto more difficult tasks.
Okay, you’ve cleaned your air conditioner and it’s still making that god-awful sound. What next? There’s a lot of small things that could have gone wrong, so you’re going to need to observe your unit for a few minutes while it runs. Do you see any loose parts? Or, alternatively, can you hear them? Your AC unit isn’t supposed to make a rattling noise, regardless of the model.
Also, watch where the unit is mounted. If you can clearly see the unit rattling and moving about in place, that’s another problem to be fixed. While you’re observing the inner workings of the machine, watch the fan motor. This is the part that works the most, so it’s also a common culprit of failing AC units.
Make sure to take note of any parts that you’ve found that may be loose or out of place. Inspect them for wear and damage – if they look worn out, it’s time to replace them. If that’s out of your skillset, we’ve got some other solutions to potentially solve the problem later down the line.
Here are the most common causes of a noisy AC unit:
- Fan motor – If you noticed the fan was making a lot of noise, this is a good place to start if you noticed nothing else wrong. Replace the fan and test the unit.
- Fittings – If the parts that hold your AC unit in place are either too tight or loose, this could also cause unnecessary noise. Check the brackets that hold your unit in place – you don’t want your unit shaking around.
- Rubber dampeners – There are small pieces of rubber that are designed to lessen your AC’s natural vibrations. These not only dampen noise, but prevent your AC from shaking loose other parts. If they’re worn or hardened, replace them – they’re cheap and relatively easy to fix.
- Environment – The last thing to think about is how hot your environment is. If your AC seems to struggle to keep up, it may not be rated to work in conditions as hot as you’re in. Check the BTU rating for your unit – you generally need 20 BTUs per square foot of living space.
Moment Of Truth
Let’s be honest here – you likely didn’t buy a brand new air conditioner. It’s okay to admit – they can get expensive, and most of us are working on a budget. But tell the truth here – how old is your AC unit?
If your answer is, “I don’t know,” or, “I’ve had this baby for years and it works fine!” I’ve got a bit of bad news for you. RV air conditioners aren’t designed to work forever. They do a lot of work and can easily be worn out by overly ambitious adventurers. The average lifespan for RV AC units is between 3-5 years, with a bit of wiggle room depending on use and brand.
While it’s okay to wait and see if you need to fix something small – don’t go crazy here. You don’t want to sink time and money into a machine that needs to be replaced. And as always – check your unit’s owner manual to see if it has any advice on parts to replace.
Can I Just Dampen The Sound?
If you genuinely just have a loud AC unit with no noticeable problems, you can buy products to quiet it. There are a few options, but you’ll likely notice something about them. They all price out around $200 (give or take) – in other words, they’re expensive. About half the price of a new (cheaper) AC unit, in fact.
You will get your money’s worth out of this though. They can reduce up to ten decibels of sound, which will greatly improve your RV’s ambiance. The important thing here is that you’re sure your AC doesn’t need the replacement of parts or the whole unit. While the sound reduction is really nice, if your unit is making more sound than usual it could be trying to tell you something.
What About A Quieter Air Conditioner?
These exist, thankfully! There are plenty of AC units you can find on the market that specialize in reducing sound. That’s not to say they won’t make sound, but rather that they will make much less sound.
Coleman-Mach makes a great series called the Whisper Quiet that focuses explicitly on noise reduction. You can also find similar models from Whynter and DeLonghi. Each of these has their own specializations, so figure out what works best for you. And don’t forget to determine if your RV needs a blower or air duct style AC. Most RVs can’t accommodate both, so it’s important to know this before purchase.
Yes. Their job is to prevent vibrations from causing unnecessary strain on your machine and ears. They generally dampen up to ten decibels of sound.
RV air conditioners are designed to last no more than five years, on average. It’s best to keep track of when it was purchased and replace it as needed. Additionally, most AC warranties expire after three years – the beginning of when they start to die.
If your AC is making too much noise, there are a lot of components that could be causing this. Check the mounting, fan, and BTU rating of your AC unit, and be sure to replace old or worn parts. Further, regular cleanings will improve your AC’s performance – and don’t be afraid to replace your unit if it’s getting old.