Do RV Air Conditioners Need to be Recharged?

Camping throughout the year is an incredible getaway for you and your family. There are huge differences between tent camping and RV camping. For instance, camping in an RV in the middle of summer, allows you the incredible benefit of having an ice cold air conditioner that keeps you cool. However, in order to keep your AC running efficiently, you need to do some regular routine maintenance. This includes recharging your AC when needed!

Over the years, your RV air conditioner depends on refrigerant to keep your RV cool. If the AC is not taken care of properly it can run out of refrigerant.

After a while, your RV air conditioner may need to be recharged to continue to run efficiently; which means adding more coolant or refrigerant. You can recharge your RV AC yourself or you can hire a professional to get your AC back in working order.

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Do RV Air Conditioners Need to be Recharged

Taking care of your AC will ensure you have a cool camper for your friends and family for years to come.

When Do RV Air Conditioners Need To Be Recharged?

As RV air conditioners lose pressure over time, the refrigeration process will being as effective. One sign this is happening is that your AC becomes less and less cold over time. If you notice that your AC doesn’t blow cold air or air that isn’t as cold as it used to be, there’s a chance that you need to recharge your AC system.

AC systems are designed to be closed-system, meaning that the refrigerant doesn’t leak and you don’t need to add refrigerant. However, as you might have noticed with your car, this pressurized system can lose refrigeration coolant over time.

So, if your AC system needs a recharge, there’s a chance that it needs to be inspected for leaks.

Reasons Your RV AC Is Blowing Hot Air

  • Check your filters. Your filter can be clogged and overloaded from dust and dirt. A common problem with AC units in RVs are dirty filters.
  • Check the AC for cracks or leaks.
  • Check for hot air. An AC unit blowing out hot/warm air can be a sign of an AC leak or of recharging needed.

To clean your filter you can try a couple of different methods:

  • you can put your vacuum on a low setting and vacuum it,
  • or completely submerge your filter in a water and detergent solution.

No matter what you do to your filter, make sure to let your filter completely air dry before you reinstall it.

How Do You Recharge an RV Air Conditioner?

After you have run through of the possible issues your RV air conditioner may have and it is still having issues, you will likely need to recharge your air conditioner. Here are the steps:

  1. Buy refrigerant. (see an example on Amazon) Make sure to find the exact refrigerant for your specific AC before you begin. To uncover what refrigerant you need you can reference the owners manual or reach out to a RV dealer with the name of your air conditioner unit.
  2. Make sure you have a refrigerant gauge and a line tap*.
  3. Next you want to turn off all power that goes to the air conditioner.
  4. Switch off the breaker that supplies power to your AC.
  5. Take off the plastic coating that surrounds your air conditioner. Your AC can be attached to the roof in different ways, reference your owner’s manual for how yours is. Some are attached by screws, while others are held on by clips.
  6. Use your refrigerant gauge to see what your current AC level is. If your gauge registers below 30 degrees, it is time to refill our refrigerant.
  7. Pour the refrigerant inside slowly until it reaches the correct level.
  8. Return the AC covering.
  9. Plug the power back in and turn the breakers back on.
  10. Test your AC by turning it on

*Note: Some RVs have spots where you can check refrigerant levels, but if not you will need to install a tap line yourself. Installing a tap line is a more complicated step, and if done incorrectly will cause more issues. If you do not feel confident doing this, you need to hire a professional to make sure you don’t cause more damage to your unit.

If all of your hard work did not pay off, it may be time to take your RV to a certified mechanic.

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Can Dometic RV Air Conditioners be Recharged

Dometic RV air conditioners can be recharged, but not recommended to DIY. Recharging Dometic RV air conditioners is often costly and may be more worth it to just buy a new unit.

The reason they are so expensive is because you have to tap into your coolant line, which can cause major issues if done incorrectly.

If you decide you want to try and DIY your Dometic air conditioner yourself, you should be smart about what steps you take. Always make sure you know the exact refrigerant you need to refill your AC, because getting a generic one could cause even more issues.

Do RV Air Conditioners Need to be Recharged

How Long Should my RV Air Conditioner Last

Your RV air conditioner can last for over a decade if it is taken care of and maintained. Maintaining your unit means cleaning your filter regularly, and checking your air conditioner for any cracks or leaks.

Having a working AC in your RV will be a game changer when camping throughout the year. If you notice your RV air conditioner is not working properly or beginning to blow warm air, it may be time for your RV AC to be recharged.

The longevity of your system depends on how it is maintained, combined with external factors such as heat and weather.


So, do RV air conditioners need to be recharged? RV AC units need maintenance throughout the year and may even need to be recharged after a lot of use.

Recharging an AC unit means refilling the coolant or refrigerant inside your AC to allow it to cool properly. There are multiple factors to check before you take your AC apart to refill the coolant. Make sure to clean your air filters regularly, as well as check your it for leaks or cracks.

No matter where you travel next, having a working AC unit is an absolute game changer when traveling in an RV. Don’t get stuck in the middle of the summer with no AC, take care of it so it lasts for a long time.


Peter is a software developer who loves to take every opportunity to go outside that he can get. Peter grew up going on long backpacking excursions with his family every Summer and now enjoys staying at the beautiful Texas State Parks and swimming in the amazing Texas Rivers.

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