How to Replace RV Air Conditioning Units

How to Replace RV Air Conditioning Units
There are any number of reasons why you might need to replace an RV air conditioning unit. It sits in an exposed position on the roof, and can be easily damaged by falling tree limbs and other debris. Many people buy used RVs in an effort to save money, only to discover that parts like the air conditioner are worn out and require replacement. Swapping an old unit for a new one is a fairly simple procedure and the skills involved are similar to installing a new light fixture in your house.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Removing the Old Unit

Things You’ll Need:
  • Screwdriver
  • Crescent wrench
  • Ladder
  • Putty knife
  • Caulk gun
  • Wire nuts
Step 1
Turn off the RV's electrical power.
Step 2
Take the control panel off the air conditioner unit. These usually just pop off or slide off, or in the case of more complicated installments, can be undone by removing some screws. Take the air conditioner's faceplate off as well, if that should be separate from the control panel.
Step 3
Loosen the bolts that are securing the air conditioner to the roof, using a crescent wrench. You will finish the job on the roof, but you should start it inside the RV, from where you have direct access to the nuts.
Step 4
Disconnect the wiring, which should have been exposed when you removed the faceplate. The neutral, live and ground wires should be joined by wire nuts, which can be removed simply by twisting them off.
Step 5
Set up a ladder and climb up on top of the RV's roof.
Step 6
Strip away any caulking around the seam between the air conditioner and its mounting space in the RV's roof, using a putty knife. Take the nuts that are holding the air conditioner in place off of their bolts, either by hand or using a crescent wrench.
Step 7
Pull the air conditioner out of the roof. Make sure you have a firm grip, since many of these units are quite heavy.
Step 8
Hand the air conditioning unit down from the roof to a friend who is standing on the ground. Carrying it down from the roof on the ladder is unsafe and should not be attempted.

Installing the Replacement

Step 1
Climb up onto the roof and take the replacement air conditioning unit from a friend standing on the ground. Do not attempt to carry it up to the roof on a ladder, as this is unsafe.
Step 2
Set the air conditioner into the mounting hole in the roof. Close the seam between the air conditioner and the roof with a caulk gun. Thread the bolts to hold the unit in place through the bolt holes.
Step 3
Climb down from the RV roof and go inside the vehicle to continue working.
Step 4
Splice the RV wiring to the wiring of the air conditioner by matching up the colors. The neutral wiring will be white, the live wires red or black, and the ground wire bare. Splice the bare wire ends by twisting them together, and then screw a wire nut on top of the splicing.
Step 5
Put the control panel and faceplate on. These could pop on, slide on or be screwed on. They might also be consolidated into one piece.
Step 6
Switch the RV's power on and activate the air conditioner to test it.

Tips & Warnings

Whenever you are replacing an RV air conditioner, do your utmost to get a replacement unit that is the same size as the unit to be replaced. This will save you the considerable trouble of having to widen the hole by cutting into the roof of your RV.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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