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Why Does My RV Air Conditioner Turns On and Off Repeatedly?

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The air conditioning system in the RV can show a flurry of problems but which one could be the most annoying one? Well, many will agree that the trouble of RV air conditioner turns on and off repeatedly wins this competition, by a mile.

How do you feel when the AC cycles on and off every 10 minutes, or even worse – every 2 minutes? The issue is known as short cycling and it can lead to expensive repairs and high energy bills.

The Reasons behind RV Air Conditioner Turns On and Off Repeatedly

It becomes intolerable, especially during the scorching summer days, when the air conditioner shuts off every few minutes. Plenty of different things can trigger this problem. Here are some of the most common causes:

Bad Thermostat

Most RVers set the thermostat to the ‘automatic’ setting. When it does not work properly, it may cause the AC turns on and off again and again. Wrong placement (near the windows or air vents) of the device can also create the same issue.

air conditioner shuts off every few minutes
Regular maintenance is the key.

When cool air from the air vents blows over the thermostat, it turns off the AC thinking that the home is cool enough. Likewise, it may turn on the AC when sunlight comes through the windows and heats up the surrounding area.

Failing Control Board and Freezing Coil

The AC system has a control board and a failing control board can cause the air conditioner to cut on and off in a repeated cycle.

There are evaporator coils inside the air conditioning system. When the RV air conditioner turns on and off repeatedly during nights or humid days, freezing evaporator coils are likely to be the culprit. The coils can also freeze due to refrigerant leak so check for any puncture or crack.

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Dirty Air Filter & Condenser Coils

Like any electronic device and system, the air conditioner needs regular maintenance, cleaning, and repairs for functioning normally. It will keep turning off and on if dirt gets into the air filter and condenser coils.

The grimy or clogged filter restricts airflow to the point of shutting down the system. When the condenser coils get filthy, they cannot dissipate the heat, making the AC to struggle, overheat, and shut down.

rv air conditioner troubleshooting
Cleaning some parts may help.

>> Read more tips about RV appliances here << 

RV Air Conditioner Troubleshooting

If the RV air conditioner turns on and off repeatedly for the problems mentioned above, follow these steps to bring it back into the working order.

  • Clean the air filter. It is likely to be made of washable materials. Wash it with warm water and air dry before putting it back. If the filter is cracked, replace with a new one.
  • Dirty evaporator coils can also behind the trouble. You will find them after removing the air filter. Remove the dust very carefully with a soft bristle vacuum.
  • If freezing coils are the cause of trouble, you have to unfreeze them. The only way to do it to either run the AC ‘fan only’ setting or keep it off until the coils are back in their normal condition.

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