The RV air conditioner vents and filters inside your motorhome or camper trailer require monthly maintenance. This includes cleaning the ceiling vents and periodic AC filter replacements. By keeping your vents and filters clean and debris-free, your RV’s air conditioner will operate more efficiently even on your hottest days; thus extending the life of the AC. But most of all, regular vent cleaning will aid in your family’s respiratory health.
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RV Air Conditioner Vents and Filters Maintenance
When should you clean your RV AC vents and filters?
First, before cleaning or removing any parts from your air conditioner components, we recommend you read your RV air conditioner manufacturer’s instructions.
After, you’ll want to pick a cooler day because you’ll need to shut it down during the duration of cleaning your RV air conditioner vents and filters. But even if that’s not plausible, this job will take less than thirty minutes. So, maybe do this early in the morning or evening when it’s not so hot outside.
How often should you clean your RV air conditioner vents and filters?
You should inspect and clean your RV air conditioner components at least once a year.
However, if you park your motorhome or camper in warmer climates for longer durations, you’ll want to complete this simple RV maintenance project more often to keep your air conditioner running efficiently. We highly recommend cleaning your air conditioner vents and filters at least monthly.
If you have pets, cook indoors or smoke, we highly recommend conducting air conditioner maintenance and cleaning more often. Also, if you camp or park in regions of high pollen or high dust, you’ll want to do this particular maintenance project more often.
Your RV air conditioner will operate more efficiently and cleanly. Your health will thank you for it. As you can see by the photo in the beginning, that alone should be reason enough to keep after them.
Removing vent covers and filters
Removing your air conditioner vent covers and filters is simple. All you need to do is unscrew and remove the vent covers from the ceiling. Be very careful if using any tool to pry them loose as to not puncture your RV’s padded ceiling or cut into the ceiling board.
Once you’ve remove each vent cover, be careful not to disturb or shake the dust, fibers or hair that’s in the filter. We immediately take them outside away from open doors and windows. Be mindful of our neighbors open windows and doors as well. You may want to position yourself up-wind. And, keep them away from your face. There are allergens that you don’t want to breathe in or blow back into your own RV or your neighbors.
How to clean your RV air conditioner vents and filters
I have a three-step filter cleaning process. I’ll set up two dish pans side by side; one with hot soapy water and the other with hot rinse water. I use regular Dawn dish soap (the original blue stuff) because it cuts any grease that may have adhered to the filters. Stay away from caustic cleaners as they can deteriorate the foam filters. I also set up a clean, dry blotting towel next to the rinse dishpan.
After removing the foam filters from the plastic vent covers, shake as much of the dust and debris out of them. Again, stand up-wind as to not have the dust and debris blow in your face or near those open doors and windows.
Then, toss them into a hot soapy water solution. I typically allow them to soak a few minutes so the detergent can permeate the filters to loosen the dirt and grime.
After the filters are finished soaking, squish them several times to get the soap worked into the cells of each filter. Be very careful not to rip or tear the vent filters.
Once the filters are cleaned thoroughly, rinse each filter thoroughly with clean water. Then squeeze all excess water out of each filter.
If it’s a bright sunny day and not windy, I may set them out on a clean towel on the picnic table so the sun can throw a few UV rays to kill any germs left behind on them.
After washing, I simply dunk them in my rinse pan and set them on my drying mat; allowing them to air dry. Like the filters, I may set them outside on a clean towel also. Of course, you can certainly do this RV maintenance project in your RV kitchen.
How to inspect and clean your RV’s air conditioning ceiling ventilation
While the RV’s air conditioner filters and vent covers are drying, we move onto inspecting the ventilation channels in the ceiling. Take a flashlight and look up inside each ventilation channel. You’ll want to get rid of any debris, cobwebs, insects or spiders. Also, thoroughly inspect to ensure there’s no rodent evidence (mouse turds, nesting material).
You can use a long hose vacuum cleaner to clean the ventilation out. However, it’s imperative that you not puncture the hose channels or anything up inside the ventilation system.
We’ve found by using a long-handled, soft duster wand works great carefully dusting out the vents. You’d be surprised at what you can collect up there. Shake your cleaning wand outside often between sweepings.
Hey, and since you’re already up on your ladder or step stool, it’s a good time to clean the ceiling fan. Give each fan blade a good dusting by wiping it down with a clean, damp cloth. If you use your ceiling fan often, you may want to clean your ceiling fan weekly. Again, you’d be surprised what collect up there.
Getting back to your air conditioner filters, once all of your vent covers and filters are clean and dry, simply reinstall them all into your ceiling. Then you’re good to go to turn your RV’s air conditioner back on.
Ceiling Air Conditioning Component
Most RVs and campers have an overhead ceiling air conditioning component. You’ll want to also remove the cover and clean the filter as well. Again, inspect the electrical wires and look for anything that doesn’t look right.
You’ll also want to use the same cleaning technique I used for the above ceiling vent filters.
Need replacement vent filters?
If you’ve ripped your RV air conditioner circular foam filters or you just want fresh new ones, you can easily replace them. Instead of ordering OEM filters that are pre-cut, I simply buy a foam filter sheet. I simply trace my old filters and cut them out individually.
If you have room in your RV’s storage compartments, it may be wise to keep an extra supply of filters just in case you may be boondocking and can’t afford using water to clean them.
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