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How Cold Should My RV Air Conditioner Get? – RV Tips

Written by Philip Lopez / Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

how cold should my rv air conditioner get

It always makes me wonder “how cold should my RV air conditioner get?” especially since I’m planning to take a trip in the summer. Then, I found out that the RV air conditioner should offer about a 16 to 22-degree difference from the regular temperature inside.

Here’s a more elaborate answer, along with tips on improving the efficiency of your AC unit.

Table of Contents

It All Depends on the Inside Air Temperature

According to experts, the RV AC unit should be about 20 degrees cooler than the indoor air temperature. Let’s say, the inside of your RV is around 70 degrees; the conditioned air should be at no less than 50 degrees.

The coldest RV air conditioner can even make a difference of 22 degrees, meaning that the temperature can drop from 70 degrees to 48 degrees.

What the air conditioner does is remove the humidity from your RV. The refrigerant absorbs the warmth and moisture from the air inside your RV, then releases the extra condensation out of the unit.

How Cold Should Air Conditioner Blow?


Start by checking it yourself. You’ll need an AC thermometer (digital or analog) and the right 120-volt power supply for your campervan.

  • Set the AC on high cool and open all the AC ducts, leaving RV air conditioning running for at least 15 minutes.
  • Place the AC thermometer close to the AC return and determine the air temperature entering the unit. This will be the temperature of your indoor air.
  • Next, determine the temperature of the air at the nearest AC duct. This will be the temperature of the conditioned air.
  • Subtract the conditioned air temperature from the indoor air temperature. The result should be around 16-22 degrees with the compressor running. When you get these figures, your AC is running at maximum efficiency.

Increasing Air Conditioner Efficiency

The 20-degree difference rule may not be achieved when certain problems may affect the efficiency of your AC. Here’s how you can increase the performance of your AC unit.

  • One way to improve air conditioner efficiency is to consider retrofitting. This means adding new parts or technology to upgrade your current air conditioning system.
  • Your AC might not be efficiently cool because there’s a leak in your RV. Air seal your RV and insulate it properly. Put curtains on your windows to shade the sun and consider using energy-efficient lights.
  • If your RV AC has a thermostat, keep it away from heat-producing appliances like lamps.
  • When your AC is more than ten years old, consider investing in a new RV AC to have more HVAC energy efficiency.

Proper Maintenance and Cleaning Of ACs

To enjoy the optimum performance of your AC, it’s essential that you clean and maintain it regularly. Fortunately, the procedures are easy.

  • Check the filters to check their condition. Clean if the filters are dirty or replace them if they’re worn out.
  • Vacuum to remove any debris and dust from the indoor vents.
  • Open the AC cover and examine the fins on the condenser coils as they greatly affect the efficiency of the unit. Clean the fins with a soft bristle brush to remove any clogged dirt which may impede performance and airflow. Fix any bent fins.


How cold should my RV air conditioner get? The consensus is about 20 degrees difference from the indoor air temperature, but it can go as much as 22 degrees or as less as 16 degrees. The key is to maintain a properly running AC and a favorable environment.

And, don’t forget to share this article if you find it helpful for your fellow RVers. Thank you!

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