How to Clean an RV Air Conditioner Filter

How To Clean an RV Air Conditioner Filter

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Last Updated on March 16, 2023 by Jessica Lauren Vine

Learning how to clean an RV air conditioner filter isn’t as hard as you might think it is, and I’m going to walk you through the process in the information below.

For many RVers, the ability to maintain their own equipment, such as furnaces, water heaters, and air conditioners, is essential. Not only is it a hassle to call up a service technician for every little problem, but it’s also expensive and not always possible. Depending on where you are in the world, an RV service technician may not even be available.

Because of these factors, full-time or even part-time RVers must learn to do basic maintenance work themselves. One of these maintenance items essential to know is how to clean an RV air conditioner filter.

The Importance of a Clean Air Filter

The filter on your RV air conditioner works the same way that the filter on a residential system does. Air is drawn in from the outside, cycled through a series of super-cold coils, and blown into the interior of the RV. Because air is brought in from the outside, it is accompanied by lots of tiny particles such as:

  • Dirt
  • Bacteria
  • Pollen
  • Tiny bugs
  • Other small particles

It is the job of the RV air conditioner filter to keep all of these particles from entering the inside of the RV so you can have clean RV air. Without the air filter, you and everyone else inside the RV would be subject to all of these potentially dangerous particles and elements.

Air conditioner filters are extremely vital to your health and also to the performance of your air conditioner. If you have a dirty AC filter in your RV, then air will not flow into your RV as easily. Without cold air coming from your RV air conditioner, your RV experience could quickly become a hot box.

Step-By-Step RV Air Conditioner Filter Cleaning

How to Clean an RV Air Conditioner Filter

Here’s the step-by-step process of how to clean an RV air conditioner filter.

STEP 1 is to locate the RV air filter. The filter will be found on the inside of your RV directly below the outside air conditioner’s rooftop location. You may have to remove an outer cover to access the actual AC filter.

STEP 2 when you’re cleaning RV air filters is to remove the air conditioner filter. Before doing this, make sure that the power is turned off to the air conditioner. You can then take the filter out by removing screws or tabs holding the filter in place.

It may be necessary to consult your RV air conditioner manual to properly remove your filter without damaging it. The air conditioner mustn’t run while the filter is removed.

STEP 3 Using a vacuum cleaner or a shop vac, sweep the outside of the air conditioner filter. You can also do this by using a wet rag and wiping away any large dust particles on the filter.

This might even be a better option in some cases, as a vacuum sweeper could damage the filter with its powerful suction.

STEP 4 With the large particles of dirt removed, sink the air conditioner filter into a lukewarm bowl mixed with a cleaning detergent.

Leave the filter submerged for 20 to 30 minutes and softly scrub occasionally with a soft-wire brush to give it a deep cleaning. Once the filter looks clean, rinse it off with water and dry the filter with a cloth or towel.

STEP 5 If you want to take your air conditioner filter cleaning to the next level, mix equal parts of vinegar and water and make a bacteria-killing solution.

Spray the filter thoroughly and let it sit for 20 minutes before rinsing it off and wiping it dry. This step is optional but may be necessary depending on how long it’s been since your last filter cleaning.

STEP 6 Once your air conditioner filter is cleaned up and dried off, it is ready to be reinstalled. This can be done by following the same steps taken to remove the filter at the beginning of this process.

Congratulations! You have just learned how to clean an RV air conditioner filter.

How to Clean an RV Air Conditioner Filter

Why is my RV AC Not Blowing Cold Air?

There are several reasons why your RV AC is not blowing cold air. Listed below are some of these main reasons.

  • Thermostat problem
  • Burned out fan
  • Low freon levels
  • A dirty compressor
  • A dirty filter
  • A burned-out capacitor

Outside of cleaning your RV AC filter, each of the problems listed above will require the helping hand of a qualified service technician. Attempting to fix the thermostat, fan, freon levels, compressor, or capacitor could result in further damaging your air conditioner or even yourself.

How to Clean an RV Air Conditioner Filter

Frequently Asked Questions About RV Air Conditioning Filters

Here are some great frequently asked questions about RV air conditioning filters.

Are RV AC filters washable? 

RV air conditioner filters are conveniently designed to be maintained easily and quickly, so you don’t have to buy replacement filters like if it had disposable filters. These filters are made of a plastic substance, which is washable and can be submerged or sprayed with water.

Can you clean an RV AC filter yourself?

If you follow the above method step by step, you should have no problem cleaning your RV air conditioner filter. RVs are designed to be easily maintained by their owners. This is done because of the remote places and limited accessibility to RV service technicians.

Do travel trailer ACs have filters? 

All air conditioners operate the same way in that they draw air in from the outside and push it into the inside. Therefore, even travel trailer air conditioners require filters to keep harmful particles from entering the inside of the RV.

How often should you service your RV air conditioner?

You should take the time to clean your air conditioner filter every other month or as much as needed. If you remove the filter and it appears clean and in good shape, then a simple dust off should be enough to keep it running smoothly. A professional technician should perform a complete servicing of your air conditioner and heating system every two years to ensure everything is operating as it should.

How to Clean an RV Air Conditioner Filter – Conclusion

Now you know how to clean an RV air conditioner filter.

Camping and RVing are meant to be an enjoyable and relaxing time either alone or with friends and family. To maximize the joy of your RVing experience, it’s a good idea to learn how to maintain your equipment on your own.

You never know when you’ll find yourself in a pickle without the benefit of immediate technical assistance. Knowing how to clean an RV air conditioner filter could mean the difference between beating the summer heat and a miserably hot night of camping.

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4 thoughts on “How To Clean an RV Air Conditioner Filter”

  1. Thanks to your post I was able to replace it easily. I will continue to monitor your site!

  2. Samantha Nichols

    There are 5 steps to clean the AC filter for your RV. Step 1: remove the AC filter. Step 2: vacuum the AC filter. Step 3: soak and brush the filter. Step 4: rinse and sanitize. Step 5: dry and put it back. Hoping that this way can help you.

  3. Christy Southerland

    Thanks to all of you that post; I live alone and knew nothing bout RVing but with help of people like you I am learning!

    1. Jessica Lauren Vine


      That’s so awesome. We are glad to help! =) I’m excited for you to have all the RV adventures.

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