RV Maintenance Tip #2 – Air Conditioner Vents and Filters

Always On Liberty_ RV Air Conditioner Vents & Filters

Your RV or camper air conditioner vents and filters require monthly maintenance and cleaning to keep the system operating efficiently. No matter how big or small, whether you have a motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer, this must-do chore will help keep you from calling an RV tech or shorten the life of your air conditioner. So, we’ve put together a great cleaning and maintenance how-to tutorial.


Before cleaning or removing parts from your air conditioner components, we recommend you read all component manufacturer’s instructions.

Always On Libert_ How-To's RV Vents

Removing the Air Conditioner Vent Filters

You’ll want to pick a day when you don’t need to use your air conditioner because for this RV maintenance project, you’ll need to shut it down during the duration.  This job will take less than thirty minutes or so.

We simply unscrew and remove the vent covers and filters from the ceiling without shaking the dust out.

As you can see by the air conditioner vent filters below, this is precisely the reason we recommend doing monthly maintenance. And, if you use your air conditioner on a daily basis or heavier usage, we suggest cleaning more often. 

AC Vent Filters Dirty

Shake out your RV’s air conditioner filters

Carefully disassemble the vent covers by removing the black circular foam filters outside.  Do not shake them out right outside your door, open windows or even your neighbor’s doors and open windows. Also, 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.

Wash your RV’s air conditioner filters

After you’ve shaken as much dust out of RV air conditioner filters outside, it’s time to wash them. Toss them into a hot soapy water solution allowing them to soak a few minutes.  You can use regular dish soap or mild detergent. Stay away from caustic cleaners as they can deteriorate the foam filters.
After soaking, squish them a few times to get the soap worked in. Once you’re satisfied with the cleaning process, rinse each filter thoroughly. Then squeeze the water out of each filter as much as you can. Be very careful not to tear or stretch the filters while cleaning or rinsing. Spread them on a dry towel and carefully blot them dry with another clean dry towel.  Set aside to dry completely.

AC Vent Filters Soaking Water

AC Vents Filters Dry

While the foam filters are drying, toss the plastic vent covers in the same water allowing them to soak a minute or two. Use a soft brush to clean between the louvers.

AC Vent Covers Soaking

Then remove the vent covers, rinse and blot dry.  We set all the clean components aside to dry thoroughly.

AC Vents Filters Drying

While the filters and vent covers are drying, we move onto inspecting the vents and cleaning them out if needed. We’ve found by using a long handled soft duster wand works great carefully dusting out the vents.

After, while you’re on the ladder or step stool, it’s a good time to clean the ceiling fan.  After a good dusting, wipe it down with a clean, damp cloth.  If you use your ceiling fan on a daily schedule, you may want to clean your ceiling fan weekly.

Always On Liberty Ceiling Fan

Once everything is clean and dry, simply reinstall all vent filters and covers. Then you’re good to go to turn your RV’s air conditioner back on.  And, voila!

Maintenance Tip: If you have pets, cook indoors often or smoke, we highly recommend conducting maintenance and cleaning more often.  Your RV air conditioner will operate more efficiently and your health will thank you for it.

Don’t forget to read…

RV Roof Inspection and Maintenance

RV Air Conditioner Inspection and Maintenance


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15 Replies to “RV Maintenance Tip #2 – Air Conditioner Vents and Filters”

    1. Thank you for reading our blog, Susan. Depending on location, you may have to clean your vents more often than others. I know we do. Travel safe out there!

    1. Karen, you should have filters as they keep your ventilation system clean. You can find sheets of the black sponge filters at Walmart or Lowes. You can cut them to your desired size. Once you get them replaced, we suggest scheduling a cleaning as part of your RV maintenance check once a month. HTH’s

    2. Worthy topic. Karen, be aware of which ducts are supply and which are returns. To my knowledge only return vents will have filters. One does not want to restrict the output of the system with filters.

  1. Are there any other filters with this type of ac unit? On the roof?
    Love the post, just finished doing ours.

  2. It’s good that you mentioned how you should get all of the dust out of your filters before soaking them in hot soapy water. I am trying to ventilate my RV, and I want to make sure that I have all of the parts necessary to get the job done properly. It might be a good idea for me to look for some spare parts in case of an emergency.

    1. Its important to take care of your RV components because if you don’t, they will fail or not be as efficient. Going that extra step in keeping them clean(er) has never steered us wrong. Thanks for your input. -Dan & Lisa

  3. The air-conditioner is working and we can feel the cool air but they will not open the vents throughout the fifth wheel what is causing the vents not open. Also we have no filters on any of the vents except on the air conditioning itself, should all the vents have filters ?

    1. Rosemary, thanks for taking the time to read. Filters should only be inserted on the AC intake vents. Hope that helps! Safe travels!

  4. The information is very useful. It helped me know how to clean Rv air conditioner properly. Thanks very much!

    1. Natalie, we’re glad our information was helpful. Just keep a good regular maintenance schedule and your components will last much longer. Safe travels!

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