How to Recharge Your RV Air Conditioner for the Summer Heat?

The summer heat is coming, and you don’t want to be stuck in your RV without an air conditioner? So it’s essential to know how to recharge your RV air conditioner for the summer heat before you leave home and head out on your next adventure! Here are some tips on how to recharge your RV air conditioner!

What Are Refrigerant Losses?

Refrigerant losses happen when an RV air conditioner is damaged or improperly installed. This is a problem, especially in older RVs. Refrigerant escapes from faulty seals, disconnected pipes and vents, and holes in aluminum fins. Usually, when you charge an RV air conditioner with refrigerant, it’s not just one can but at least two (or more). Looking at Mr RV Expert for more RV products. 

RV air conditioners use R-134A refrigerant. If your unit uses another type of refrigerant—like R-12—consult a professional before attempting to recharge it on your own. If you have a special AC that needs something other than charging oil, talk to a technician first. It’s better safe than sorry!

What Should I Do if I Have Refrigerant Losses in My RV’s AC Unit?

The first step in getting your air conditioner ready for another season is preparation. You need to clean out your charge tank and make sure it’s rinsed out. This ensures that it doesn’t have any corrosion or excess sediment, which can hurt its performance when you use it again. 

Common Reasons Why Your AC Unit is Losing Refrigerant

Whether you’re trying to stay cool during a heatwave or avoid a repair bill, it’s always important to know-how about your air conditioner works. 

If you experience an issue with your AC unit, one of these is probably causing it: 

Improper Maintenance: You can’t expect any piece of equipment, from an air conditioner unit in an RV (or in your home) to a nuclear power plant, to operate at peak performance if you aren’t doing proper maintenance. 

It’s possible that something as simple as cleaning out debris (leaves and bugs can block vents and ductwork) or adding some refrigerant could get things working properly again quickly. To ensure your AC unit is operating at its best, schedule routine service appointments with a licensed technician who knows what they’re doing. 

Dirty Coils: The coils inside your AC unit have to be clean so they can do their job effectively—if they get clogged up with dirt and dust, they won’t be able to pull heat out of your home and transfer it outside. To clean them yourself, use a coil brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner; otherwise, call in an expert who will know exactly what tools are needed. 

A Clogged Drain Line: Sometimes, there isn’t enough airflow through your drain line because leaves or other debris have blocked it off completely.

Preparing a Charge Tank

Before hooking up your rechargeable air conditioner, you’ll need to get a charge tank. This will let you hook up directly and refill your entire system with water. A full charge tank can keep your system cool while working efficiently. If you don’t have one, you can find them in most major department stores or online at retailers like Amazon. They typically cost around $250 but will pay off quickly as they’ll let you set and forget your air conditioning instead of constantly filling it manually.

The Process of Charging your Unit

Before plugging in your A/C, ensure you’ve turned off all power sources connected to it. Otherwise, they could overload and cause a fire. The general time it takes your unit to recharge (or have enough electricity) is 6-8 hours. Most units will turn on automatically when recharged. If yours doesn’t, you can use a remote or switch from your wall control panel inside of your RV camper (check your owner’s manual for more information). You can also test if you’re unit is fully charged by feeling around for cool air coming out of one of its vents before turning on your power supply again. Make sure not to open any windows when testing!

Preventive Maintenance

The summer heat can be brutal; fortunately, you can beat it by having a recharge your air conditioner. It might not seem like a solution, but read on and see how easy it is to keep cool in an RV. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can RV AC units be recharged?

Yes, it’s a common misconception that the air conditioner in your RV needs replacing every year. All systems will reach a point where their efficiency decreases over time and needs recharging. However, many people believe if you leave it long enough, it won’t turn on again. This isn’t true; as long as refrigerant is in your AC system, you can recharge it yourself! Not only is it cheaper than a new unit, but you don’t have to be without air conditioning while yours is off being serviced or repaired. 

Can you add Freon to an RV rooftop air conditioner?

Yes, but don’t just add it willy-nilly. You should know how much Freon is needed for your air conditioner, whether you need a different kind of refrigerant than what came with your unit and if any valves are leaking before attempting an addition. Always wear safety goggles when working with Freon if it accidentally gets sprayed into your eyes. Though it is non-toxic, you don’t want to be exposed. It also can impair vision and cause eye damage if it gets in your eyes. Once you have everything figured out and are ready to recharge, follow these steps

Can you recharge a Dometic RV air conditioner?

Many people ask us whether or not you can recharge a Dometic air conditioner. The short answer is yes; you can recharge a Dometic. We recommend you do so because it will help keep your unit running longer and operating at maximum efficiency.  


It will be easy to recharge your RV air conditioner if you follow these steps. Keeping your systems running smoothly is essential in ensuring that your vacation goes off without a hitch. And there are ways of ensuring everything stays cool. No matter where you’re going or how long you plan on staying, knowing what parts of an air conditioner are essential and having a few tips can make all the difference in having a good time or getting home early because things aren’t working as they should.