If you love travelling in your motorhome, you know how important it is to feel relaxed and happy while on the road. Whether you're camping in the summer heat or driving in a hot climate, a motorhome air conditioner helps keep you and your fellow travellers cool and comfortable.
This complete guide to motorhome air conditioners will help you make the right choice for you and your vehicle. We’ll run through the pros and cons, some important things to consider before making a purchase, the different types of air conditioners on the market and some recommendations for top buys. Let’s get started.
The pros and cons of installing a motorhome air conditioner
- Keeps you cool and comfortable in hot weather
- Improves air quality and ventilation inside the motorhome
- Increases the resale value of your motorhome
- Can be expensive to buy and install
- Adds extra weight to your motorhome
- Requires a source of power to run, either from a generator or campground hook-up
What to consider before buying a campervan air conditioner
As mentioned above, air conditioners can be a significant investment for your camper. Here are some questions to answer before you decide on the right model.
- What is your budget?
- What size and weight of air conditioner is appropriate for your motorhome?
- Do you want a portable or permanent model?
- Where will it be installed; inside or outside?
- How much power will you need to run your campervan air conditioner?
- How often will you use it?
The different types of motorhome air conditioners
With your requirements clear in your mind, we can now look at the different types of air conditioners available for your camper.
1. Roof-mounted campervan air conditioner
This type of air conditioner is installed on the roof of the motorhome and provides powerful cooling. It is a permanent installation so it requires a bit of work to install, but it's a great option for those who plan to use their motorhome frequently in hot climates.
Provides powerful cooling
- Permanent installation
- Requires professional installation
- Adds weight to the motorhome
2. Under-bench air conditioner
This type of air conditioner is installed underneath a bench or cabinet inside the motorhome. It is a great option for those who have limited roof space or who want a more discreet installation.
- Discreet installation
- Generally more affordable than roof-mounted air conditioning
- Less powerful than roof-mounted air conditioning
- May require modifications to the interior of the motorhome
3. Portable air conditioner for campervan
As the name suggests, this type of air conditioner is a standalone unit that can be moved around easily. It is a great option for those who want flexibility in where they place their air conditioner.
Portable and flexible
Easy to store when not in use
- More affordable than permanent installations
- Less powerful than permanent installations
- Requires a window or vent for proper ventilation
- Can be noisier than permanent models
Some of the best motorhome air conditioners
Dometic FreshJet 2200 Air Conditioner
This roof-mounted motorhome air conditioner is one of the most popular options on the market. It offers 2200 watts/7500 Btu of cooling power, 1200 watts of heating and continuous airflow regulation on all vents. The FreshJet 2200 is suitable for motorhomes up to 7 metres in length and retails for around £1600 excluding VAT.
Find out more about the Dometic FreshJet 2200 Air Conditioner.
Truma Aventa Comfort Air Conditioner
Another roof-mounted motorhome air conditioner, the Truma Aventa weighs 33 kilograms and has an impressively high output. It is quiet and efficient and can be set to four operating modes; cooling, heating, automatic and air circulation. It is suitable for motorhomes up to 8 metres in length and retails for around £1600, excluding VAT.
Find out more about the Truma Aventa Comfort Air Conditioner.
Totalcool 3000 Portable Evaporative Air Cooler
This portable air conditioner for your campervan measures just L 260mm x H 210mm x W 240mm and weighs a very modest 2 kilograms. It has 4 different speed settings and tri voltage 12v, 24v & AC mains power. The Totalcool 3000 comes with a built-in battery protection system with automatic cut-off and is easy to set up. This model retails at around £370, runs on just 1.5L of normal tap water and provides up to 30 hours of cooler air. You also get the option to add ice to the unit as well as water.
Find out more about the Totalcool 3000 Portable Evaporative Air Cooler
How to maintain your motorhome air conditioner
Naturally, you will need to take care of your campervan air conditioner. Here are some pointers to ensure it performs well, long into the future.
Clean the filters regularly
The air filters in your motorhome air conditioner are responsible for filtering out dirt, dust, and other debris. Over time these filters can become clogged which impedes airflow and makes your air conditioner work harder than necessary. To prevent this from happening it's important to clean your air filters regularly. This should be done at least once a month, or more frequently if you use it a lot.
Check the refrigerant levels
The refrigerant in your motorhome air conditioner is responsible for cooling the air that circulates through your campervan. If your refrigerant levels are low, your air conditioner won't be able to cool the air properly. Check the levels at least once a year, or more frequently if you notice that your air conditioner isn't cooling your vehicle as well as it should.
Keep the coils clean
The coils in your motorhome air conditioner transfer heat from the air in your vehicle to the outside environment. Over time, these coils can become dirty and clogged with debris, which can stop them from transferring heat efficiently. Keep your coils clean using a soft brush or cloth to gently remove any dirt or debris.
Check regularly for leaks and water intrusion
If your motorhome air conditioner isn't cooling properly, there may be a leak in the system. To check you'll need to perform a visual inspection of the air conditioner's components. Look for telltale signs such as oil stains or wet spots. If you do notice a leak, it's important to have it repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your air conditioner.
Schedule regular maintenance
Finally, it's important to schedule regular maintenance for your motorhome air conditioner. This should be done at least once a year by a certified company or individual.
So, now you are pretty much all set to choose the right air conditioner for your motorhome. If you still aren’t sure, contact a few suppliers to discuss your needs and the best options for your vehicle and budget. That’s what they are there for, after all. You can also ask them about technicians they can recommend for those yearly maintenance checks.
Every addition and enhancement to your motorhome costs money but they all make the travel experience so much better. If you would like to offset some of the cost of your investments why not hire out your motorhome to one of our trusted customers? Find out more today and start saving all those extra holiday funds!
Now you just need a way to keep your drinks cool as well! Check out the best motorhome fridges. And don't forget to invest in motorhome levelling ramps to keep your vehicle stable.