Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It's HOT! Keep your A/C and generator humming

Back of My Aero Cruiser
It has been REALLY hot and muggy for the last few weeks. Thankfully, I believe all my motorhome's small leaks I had are fixed

Most RVs, including mine, have a rooftop mounted air conditioner. These can be a life-saver on days like these. It's a good idea to make sure everything is in working order before you need it. If you're not parked where there are electrical hookups, checking your generator as well could be critical. No power, no cooling!

Typical A/C Mounted Controls
First, while connected to shore power (Your house, a campground pedestal, etc.) turn on your A/C. Remember, most RV air conditioning units will take a few minutes (or more) to start cooling the air. The fan will turn on, then after a while, you'll here the compressor (the mechanical device that actually is mainly responsible for creating the cool air) kick in. You should feel a difference in the output airflow. Wait a few minutes to make sure it's cooling sufficiently. If you want to get technical, most manufacturers will have a manual that shows what the decrease in temperature should be from the surrounding air. I'm happy with a minimum of 15-20 degrees cooler.

Typical Generator Mounted Control Panel
After you've run the A/C  for a while. (I try not to let it run less than 15 minutes) shut it off. Wait a few seconds and fire up your generator. If you're on shore power, it's a good idea to disconnect. You wouldn't know there is a transfer switch problem and you aren't actually running on generator power. It would be an very unpleasant surprise to get to your campsite and find out you have no power, even though your generator was running! Let the generator warm up for a few minutes and stabilize. Turn on your A/C. Remember, you have to wait a few minutes for the compressor to kick in.

Inside Generator Panel
 While running on the generator, you'll likely hear the generator slow down a bit when the A/C kicks on. Never fear, that's normal. It should stabilize and you should begin to feel cool air shortly. Let it run for a half hour or so to make sure everything stays stable and nothing odd happens. You may hear a difference when the compressor turns on and off, but that is also quite normal. Make sure the A/C unit itself sounds OK. If it's making clicking sounds or vibrating badly, shut it off! Also, use your nose. If you smell something burning or a horrible odor, you may have electrical problems or a critter inside the A/C unit itself.
Removable Filters On Either Side

When I do this, I am not only looking for strange sounds from the A/C but from the generator as well. You could hear the generator begin to "hunt" going up and down in speed and never settling down. I had this happen and it was a simple cleaning to fix it.

Next, look at all your A/C vents. Both on the unit(s) itself and any remote ones you may have. I like to clean these out with a damp towel to make sure I'm not breathing in anything nasty. Also, if your A/C is equipped with removable filters, remove them! Check, clean and replace.

Treat your air conditioner and generator right and you'll be one happy camper! The A/C is one of the few things that aren't easy or practical to run on Solar Power, so having a working generator is a must. Who knows, someday we'll be able to store enough power in a small space to run our air conditioners all night. Until then....keep yours working fine!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

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