Thinking of Adding a Second AC to RV? Here’s a List of Things to Keep in Mind

Taking a family RV trip this summer?  When traveling during hot and humid months, many RV-owners consider adding a second AC unit to their RVs.  Although most RVs come with at least one roof-top unit, sometimes it isn’t sufficient for keeping the entire RV consistently comfortable, particularly for a family of 4-5.

While installing a second AC to RV until is relatively easy, it does require some forethought and considering several important factors.

Here are some key considerations before installing 2nd AC on RV:

  1. Electrical Capacity:

    Check your RV’s electrical system to ensure it can handle the additional load. Adding a second AC unit may require upgrading your electrical system to 50 amps, including the shore power connection and the internal wiring.

  2. Power Source:

    Determine how you plan to power the second AC unit. If you’re connecting to shore power at a campground, ensure that the power supply can handle the combined load of both units. Alternatively, if you’re relying on a generator, make sure it has enough capacity to handle the increased power demand. Even with 50-amp shore service, some campgrounds cap power at 3,600 amps, which might require you to use a generator to power dual ACs.

    Read More: Running RV AC on Solar? Here are few key points to take into consideration

  3. Start-Up Power Demands:

    AC units require huge power draws to get up and running.  They can require as much as 7-8 times higher than the running current to power up. A 30-amp hookup will only be enough to start one of the AC units. That means cooling only half your RV.  Adding a RV Soft Starter is an easy and affordable way to get both AC units running with shore power or off-grid with an inverter system or portable generator. A soft starter allows the AC unit to get started and then feeds additional current to the compressor gradually until it reaches full speed.

  4. Weight and Balance:

    Consider the weight distribution and balance of your RV. The average weight of an air conditioner is roughly 40 to 120 pounds. Adding an extra AC unit can affect the overall weight distribution, potentially impacting stability and handling. Consult your RV’s manufacturer or a professional to ensure it won’t compromise safety.

  5. Roof Space:

    Assess the available space on your RV’s roof for the second AC unit. Ensure that the roof structure can support the additional weight and that there is enough room for installation without interfering with other components like vents, antennas, or solar panels.

  6. Ducting and Airflow:

    Evaluate the existing ducting system and airflow patterns within your RV. Adding a second AC unit may require modifications to the ducting system or the addition of separate ductwork to ensure proper airflow distribution throughout the vehicle.

  7. Thermostat and Controls:

    Consider how you’ll control the second AC unit. Determine if your current thermostat can handle the additional unit or if you’ll need a separate control system. Make sure the controls are easily accessible and user-friendly.

  8. Noise and Vibration:

    Multiple AC units can generate more noise and vibration inside the RV. Research and choose AC units that are known for being quiet and have vibration-reducing features to minimize disruptions and enhance comfort.

  9. Maintenance and Service:

    Understand the maintenance requirements and potential servicing challenges associated with adding a second AC unit. Ensure easy access for regular cleaning, filter replacement, and any required repairs or maintenance.

  10. Cost to install a 2nd AC in RV:

    Adding a second AC unit can be fairly affordable, running between $500-$1,000 depending on the brand, model, and BTUs. Consider the cost of the unit itself, plus installation expenses, any required electrical upgrades, and ongoing operational costs, such as increased power consumption.

There’s no need to go it alone. Consult with an RV professional or service technician to assess your specific RV and determine the feasibility and compatibility of adding a second AC unit.