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If you are a full-time RVer, chances are that you have a high-powered air conditioner in your rig. What may be less obvious is the effect this has on your RV batteries. Thus, the question of “can I run my RV AC all day?” is very common. Let’s look at how running the RV AC affects the RV batteries.
Can I Run My RV AC All Day?
In general, you can run your RV AC all day, but you should pay attention to how much power it sucks from the batteries.
The average air conditioner draws about 20 amps when running and can draw up to 40 amps if the compressor kicks in. This means that you could drain an 8-hour battery pretty quickly if it isn’t properly charged and maintained.
So, if you run your RV AC all day, how do you properly maintain the batteries?
First, let’s look at the basics of charging batteries for camping use. Most RV electric systems include an onboard charger that is built into or connected to most electric systems.
If you have an AC or a furnace, they likely use a standard 110-volt outlet to power the onboard converter.
Most RVs come with either 2, 4, or 6-volt batteries. While some older RVs may have 12 volts and some newer coaches could have more, 2 (or 6) volt batteries are still the most common on RVs.
Because of this fact, we are going to focus this post on those types of RV systems for discussion purposes. Once the converter is running in your RV, you should be able to use your AC without draining your DC systems. This makes it a good practice to never run the AC when not plugged in because you don’t want to drain your battery.
This is where proper battery maintenance comes in and allows you to continue using your AC with no issue. Proper maintenance also means that when running the AC, you have enough voltage to quickly charge your batteries so you can continue using it or charging it up for future use.
Your RV battery charger differs from other types of battery chargers because they don’t just use a float charge when the battery is fully charged. With an RV system, you have multiple batteries that need to be charged, so you will need to re-set your charger when the batteries are fully charged.
Most probably have a charger that can be set by times or amp levels. Set yours for 15 amps instead of the normal 6 amps if your batteries are more than 50% discharged. Once you have finished charging the batteries, turn off your AC and disconnect from the converter. This will allow the battery charger to reset itself for future use.
Some Common Tips for Using Air Conditioner to Stay Cool
- Use the blinds to keep the cool air inside the RV
- Buy a small window AC unit that can cool a small area of your RV
- Cut off unused outlets to reduce the amount of energy you consume while living in your RV
- Use power strips to cut down on the number of outlets you need to use as well as the amount of energy they consume
While this won’t make up for poor battery maintenance, it will help keep your batteries from draining too quickly and help your AC run longer.