It is now a necessity to have an air conditioner in an RV. This is especially true when the temperature soars. You need to have an efficient AC that is installed in your RV. For those who love to go boondocking or dry camping, you will probably need to have a generator as there will not be a direct electric supply. When this is the case, it is essential to be careful of how many watts to run RV AC.
An AC is an appliance in an RV that requires more power in comparison to other appliances. This is why it is necessary to carefully do the watts calculation so that you use it more efficiently.
This article aims to tell you how many watts an RV air conditioner will draw. You will also be presented with other points that you need to keep in mind when using an AC in a motorhome and travel trailer.
Average power consumption of an RV AC
It is important to know that the power consumption of your AC in your RV will vary depending upon the BTU rating of your AC. BTU is an acronym stating British thermal unit. It basically measures heat or thermal energy.
When it comes to an air conditioner, this will often possess 2-watt ratings. There will be watts needed to pursue the start-up. The other watts will be used by it during running.
The start-up watts needed are higher in comparison to the running watts needed. Therefore the portable inverter generator that you are employing to run your AC must have watts that are more than the start watts needed by the AC.
So, How Many Watts To Run RV AC?
This depends upon BTU. The figures that we give you are average ones and not accurate as they depend upon many factors such as the age of the AC, brand, etc. If you have a more efficient generator, this will employ less wattage. On average the numbers given below will be the approximate watts needed:
- A 15,000 BTU AC on average will require about 3200 to 3500 watts, particularly for the start-up.
- A 13,500 BTU AC on average will require about 2700 to 2900 watts, specifically for the start-up.
- A 10,000 BTU AC on average will require about 1900 to 2050 watts, particularly for the start-up.
- A 7,000 BTU AC on average will require about 1600 to 1800 watts, specifically for the start-up.
- A 5,000 BTU AC on average will require about 1100 to 1300 watts, particularly for the start-up.
The running wattage for various RV AC’s for varying BTU is given below. The watts tend to be even more than half in comparison to that needed for starting up.
- A 15,000 BTU AC on average will require about 1200 to 1700 watts for running.
- A 13,500 BTU AC on average will require about 1000 to 1300 watts for running.
- A 10,000 BTU AC will require about 600 to 750 watts for running.
- A 7,000 BTU AC will require about 500 to 650 watts for running.
- A 5,000 BTU AC will require on average about 300 to 450 watts for the running.
When you consider the wattage needs, you must be able to figure out the amount of power that is being used on the AC which is running in your RV. You can use these figures to find out the capacity of the generator that you will have to purchase.
Size of the generator to run AC in RV
When you start looking for generators that are made particularly for RV or camper employment, you will see that there are many brands selling these. You should not get confused by the options but select the one best fit for your needs.
The generator watt rating in the RV must be more than the particular start-up wattage needed for the AC. If you for instance have an AC which requires 2500 watts for starting, get a generator that is rated above this value.
Keep in mind that the running wattage will be lower than anything that is below 1800. If you employ a smaller BTU RV, it will be less than 700. Generally, RV’s employ AC’s which possess a running wattage that is in between around 400-700 watts.
If you require an AC of 7000 BTU, then get a generator that has a watt rating that is above 2000. If you have a 13,500 BTU AC, this will require a generator that has watts which are above 3000. With a 15000 BTU AC, a generator that is above around 4000 watts is needed.
You may be wondering how you will know which BTU is required for the air conditioner. This concerns the area of cooling. You also have to keep in mind how much area is present in your RV, approximately.
If the RV is 30 feet long and about 10 feet wide, it will be about 300 sq. ft. This may generally need about 7000 BTU if you want good cooling to occur.
You also need to keep in mind the point that the air conditioners will not be the only things employing the generator power. There will be other appliances using them as well. This includes the TV, fridge, lights, microwave, etc.
Therefore the calculation required for figuring out the max watt rating needed for a portable generator for the RV will depend upon all of the units that are running wattage and not just the AC. It will generally be the summation of the total running watts.
It is important to calculate the number of things that can start-up as well as operate at the same time. You will be adding the wattage that is used at a certain time. The summation must not be more than the max rating of your RV generator.
People require a refrigerator when boondocking. On average a refrigerator may consume about 400-1000 watts. A television will require fewer watts. It may be around 100-500 watts. Overall this means that it is the air conditioner that decides which generator watt rating to get. This is because it uses most of the electricity.
Air conditioner in an RV
You may be wondering if all RVs come with an air conditioner. Most have one but it depends on its size. Smaller RV’s may not come with an air conditioner.
These days’ old rigs may also not come with an AC that is pre-built.
Usually, a new build and recent RV will have a rooftop AC. This will be pre-built as well as properly fitted. With these ones, you will be saving space and the AC can remain intact and not disturb you. When shopping for an RV it is better to look for an example like this.
Due to the fact that the air conditioner is fitted above, a window is not needed for this. They are often fitted and designed so that they will not negatively impact the overall height of your RV clearance. A bigger RV that is above 40 feet or 30 feet can have more than one air conditioner. They will be equipped with these.
You can get a portable air conditioner when there is no AC pre-installed in the RV. The disadvantage of this one is that it needs to be put somewhere in your RV. It will take up plenty of space.
However, there are also air conditioners for the RVs which are mounted on the window. These are similar to the traditional ones. A window will need to be sacrificed with this but you will not be disturbed by it much.
Pre-installed rooftop AC’s require more maintenance to work properly. Their advantages are nevertheless amazing. It is typical to have scheduled maintenance of all the stuff in the RV so that it functions properly.
Solar panels to run RV AC
You can use solar panels to precisely run your air conditioner on your RV.
You need to keep some points in mind when determining whether to use solar power for the AC. This is because the AC energy requirements tend to be too much for solar panels to provide. When it comes to the solar panel system, it is the solar panel that first charges your battery. This then gives the dc to different appliances.
The size of your inverter, solar panels as well as the air conditioner will determine if the AC will be able to run on solar energy. The battery that you have mattered as well. Solar panels also have to have solar energy so as to keep working. This may not always be practical. We recommend that you keep all points in mind before choosing to use solar panels.
If you want to employ an RV AC more efficiently, you should use electricity efficiently. You must try and cook outside of your RV. Only use the AC when it is required. Get an AC of BTU which is perfect for your needs. Try and have effective air circulation in the RV prior to starting the AC. It is better to get a good air conditioner that is from a reputable brand.