How to find the right air conditioner for your RV

Blue skies and temperatures above 30 degrees: the dream for many campers. But RVs can get extremely hot on days such as these. The interior becomes hot and sticky and sleeping can be a real problem. An air conditioner for your RV is the answer. In this guide you’ll discover which air conditioning system is the right one for you.

Features, area of operation and personal needs are what count

First of all, the choice of air conditioner depends on the size and features of your vehicle:

  • How long is your motor home? Larger vehicles need a more powerful air conditioner or, in some cases, several units that are coordinated with each other.
  • Where can the air conditioner be installed? On the roof or in the storage area of your vehicle
  • Is your RV a dark colour and has large panorama windows? If so, it will heat up faster and therefore requires more cooling than a white vehicle with small windows.
  • How well is your RV insulated? For a new vehicle that is well insulated, it is generally enough to have one low-powered air conditioner.

When you’re buying an RV air conditioner, these personal preferences play an important role:

  • In which regions and at what times of year do you travel?
  • How many people will be travelling with you?
  • Do you cook often in the RV and does steam form?
  • Do you shower regularly in your RV, increasing the humidity?
  • Do you prefer air conditioning in the entire vehicle or only in the sleeping area?
  • To what temperature do you want to cool the vehicle?

Types of air conditioner: Compressor and evaporative air conditioners

Air conditioners for caravans differ in terms of their functions and where they are installed.

Compressor air conditioners work like a refrigerator. A refrigerant circulates in an enclosed system. The pressure from a compressor liquefies the gaseous refrigerant and feeds it to an evaporator. There, it absorbs the thermal energy from the surroundings and the temperature in the room decreases. Moisture is also absorbed from the air. All air conditioners from Truma work according to the compression principle.

Evaporative air conditioners use water as a refrigerant. The air sucked in from outside passes over a surface that is constantly moist. The water evaporates and removes heat from the air. However, evaporative air conditioners cannot dehumidify the air. Therefore, these devices are more suitable for dry regions and moderate temperatures.

The comfort zone

The correct interaction between temperature and humidity has a direct effect on your well-being. As the room temperature increases, humidity should decrease. Rooms with a temperature of 18 to 24 degrees and relative humidity of 40 to 70 per cent are considered comfortable.

Example: Temperature of 27°C and relative humidity of 65%. The comfort zone can be achieved with a compressor air conditioning system (dark blue arrow), but not with an evaporative system (light blue arrow).

Installation location: roof-mounted and storage box air conditioners

Air conditioning systems differ not only by their technology, but also by their installation location. This is already evident from the name.Air conditioning systems differ not only by their technology, but also by their installation location. This is already evident from the name.

Roof-mounted air conditioners are installed quickly on roof of your motor home and save space.

  • Easy to retrofit.
  • Don’t take up storage space.
  • Cool directly via the inside air distributor.
  • Outlets can be adjusted individually.

Truma roof-mounted air conditioning systems are especially quiet, light and powerful. They are available in different sizes and operating levels and can be used in many different types of vehicle, from vans to motor homes.

Aventa comfort is suitable for vehicles up to approx. 6.5 metres long. It quickly cools the vehicle interior to a pleasant temperature. Thanks to the integrated heat pump, the air conditioning system in the caravan can also be used as an additional heater during spring and autumn.

The inside air distributor can be adjusted individually at four outlets. This ensures that the air flow is distributed evenly throughout the vehicle with no draughts. The inside air distributor is so flat that it takes up hardly any valuable space inside the vehicle.

Storage box air conditioners are installed in the storage space of your vehicle. The cool air is directed upward through ducts.

  • Distributes the air flexibly.
  • Cools very quietly.
  • Shifts the vehicle's centre of gravity downward, which has a positive effect on driving properties.
  • Skylight remains.

Truma offers suitable storage box air conditioning systems for all sizes of vehicle. They can be installed so that they require very little space and have many different options to distribute cool air throughout the vehicle interior. This is done with the flexible cold air ducts that distribute the air evenly where it is needed without any draughts.

Saphir comfort RC is the most powerful Truma storage box air conditioning system. It also has a heat pump mode so that it can be used as a heater during spring and autumn.

Important criteria when buying an air conditioner

A good RV air conditioner should:

  • consumes as little power as possible
  • cools quickly
  • is lightweight
  • needs little space
  • runs quietly

Low electricity consumption is a particular important benefit, as campsites have different fuse ratings. Not every air conditioner can be operated at sites with weak fuses. Because of this, in some cases it is not possible to use several electrical devices at once. Power consumption also depends on the ambient conditions, such as the temperature. In this context, always consider the cooling efficiency.

But the efficiency of an RV air conditioner depends not only on the power consumption but also on the time it needs to cool the caravan. The formula for power consumption is:

Energy consumption = power consumption × operating voltage × time

The faster the desired temperature is reached, the less energy is consumed and the lower the electricity costs are.

As well as power consumption, the weight is also an important factor when buying an RV air conditioner. After all, every additional kilogram not only affects the overall weight of the vehicle but also vehicle handling and fuel consumption.

Tip: Check whether the weight details include the installation material and the air distributor. Depending on the device, this can be up to four kilograms.

A low noise level is especially important at night. This is when RV air conditioners should run as quietly as possible so that you and the other people at the campsite can sleep undisturbed. Storage box systems are installed in the vehicle and are therefore very quiet. The sleep function on Truma air conditioners ensures particularly quiet cooling at night.

Useful additional functions

Integrated heat pump

If you use your RV all year round, with a suitable air conditioner you can not only cool your vehicle but also heat it. Thanks to the reversible cooling circulation system, compressor air conditioners can also be used as a heater with heat pump. These devices create a pleasant warmth in the vehicle, especially during inter-seasonal periods.

Smart operation

Also make sure that your air conditioner can be operated conveniently and intuitively. Truma air conditioning systems are controlled either with a remote control or on the digital CP plus control panel.

If you use a Truma Combi heater together with an air conditioning system, you can even choose the "automatic climate control" feature. The Truma appliances then coordinate with each other and you have a constant indoor climate no matter what the weather is like outside.