An air-conditioner (AC) is an integral part of a recreational vehicle (RV), especially if you’re camping or traveling in the summer. However, it’s important to understand the mechanics of how an AC works in your RV to ensure its longevity and that it is functioning effectively. One technical question you may have is whether the RV has to be level to run the AC.
The RV must be level if you use a ducted AC, which sits on top of the RV and sends cool air through ceiling ducts. If a ducted AC is running, a level RV will help its efficiency. However, your RV does not need to be level to run a ductless AC.
This article focuses on the difference between a ducted and ductless air-conditioning system and how they run. It also explains other reasons why your RV should be level and includes some strategies to level your RV. If you’re looking for more van life related advice, check my resource page here.
When To Level Your RV Based On Your RV’s AC System
If you have a ducted air conditioning system, your RC should be level. If you have a ductless air-conditioning system, you may be able to run your AC even if your RV is not level. This section has information about ductless and ducted AC systems so you understand the mechanics of how they function.
Ducted Air Conditioning System
A ducted AC system typically sits on top of an RV and sends cool air into the RC through ducts in the system. Ducted ACs are quiet and allow you to cool the entirety of your RV.
However, as ducted ACs sit on top of an RV, the RV needs to be level for them to function most effectively. This is because ducted ACs send air downwards into a variety of different ducts. If they are not sitting level on top of the RV, the airflow may be impacted.
Some of the best-ducted air conditioning models are explored below.
The Coleman-Mach 48204-666 on Amazon.com is a popular Ducted AC brand, valued for various features. Some of the stand-out features include:
- The ability to remove 15,000 BTUs (a measure of heat) per hour, which allows for extreme cooling.
- The ability to adjust temperature settings depending on your needs.
- A weight of 89.8 pounds (40.7 kilos) is a small overall load for your RV.
This ducted AC is available on Amazon.com, so you can order it online and get it delivered right to your door.
RecPro RV Air Conditioner
This AC system on Amazon.com has a range of positive features:
- It can be adjusted to cool, heat, fan, and dehumidify a space.
- It can also be used as a clock, alarm, and temperature display.
- It is fairly quiet, which allows for a minimum disturbance as you sleep.
- It has a remote control which makes it convenient to use.
Ductless Air Conditioning System
As their name suggests, ductless air conditioning systems do not operate using ducts but rather vents. They operate using a compressor, a condenser, and a blower. The compressor and condenser create cool air, while the blower blows the cool air out into your RV through vents in the system.
Ductless ACs can be installed in several areas of your RV, such as on the roof, under a bench, or at a window.
They can be portable, allowing you to plug them into different power sources. However, it’s important to note that ductless ACs do not offer consistent cooling but only cool a localized area.
Some ductless ACs allow you to change the direction of the vent or the pressure of the air.
You can typically operate a ductless AC even if your RV is not level, as the ductless AC does not use the same mechanism as a ducted AC.
Advent RV AC Air Conditioner
The Advent RV AC is an excellent non-ducted AC that is portable and lightweight. It has a sealing kit that prevents leakages and can be installed in different areas through your RV.
You can find out more about the Advent RV AC as well as purchase it on Amazon.com.
Steps to Make Your RV Level
From this analysis, you can see that it is important to level your RV if you are using a ducted air conditioning system. Even if you’re not using a ducted system, it is always beneficial to try to make your RV as level as possible when it’s parked.
You can keep your RV level by selecting and preparing the right area, using an RV leveler to level your RV, and using tire chocks to stabilize your RV.
You should try to keep your RV level because:
- It keeps your RV refrigerator running properly.
- It allows you to rest more comfortably. After all, we’re used to sleeping on a flat level, not a slope!
- It will also help you carry out other functions such as cooking more efficiently and comfortably.
This section explores some of the easiest ways to keep your RV level.
Select and Prepare the Right Area
Find a parking spot that is level when you are prepared to park your RV. Before driving your RV onto the spot, prepare it by removing any rocks in the area and smooth out any mounds of dirt. This preparation will help you level your RV and make it easier to park it.
Use an RV Leveler
RV levelers are pads or blocks that have been designed to help you level your RV, and using them is simple. Once you choose the site, you want to anchor your RV, place the leveler on the site and drive your RV over them.
Depending on the type of leveler, you will then be able to adjust them manually, or they will automatically adjust your RV to level it.
The Camco 44600 Universal Flex Pads on Amazon.com are an excellent and pocket-friendly leveler.
RV Tire Chocks
RV tire chocks can be fastened to your RV’s wheels and stabilize them, preventing the tire and the RV body from shifting when you are moving inside it. Tire chocks are especially useful when you are camping in rugged areas.
One of the most popular tire chocks currently available on the market is the X-Chock Wheel stabilizer on Amazon.com.
While there are several ways to and reasons for making your RV level, you do not need it level to run a ductless AC. On the other hand, if you have a ducted AC, you should try to ensure your RV is as level as possible. Doing so will allow it to run more efficiently and allow a better RV experience in general.