Can an RV Air Conditioner Run on Propane?
Since an RV refrigerator can run off of propane, it’s natural to wonder if the air conditioner can also run on propane. Unfortunately, a standard RV air conditioner will only run on 110VAC electricity from an RV park or the generator.
There are rumored to be natural gas and propane air conditioners for homes, but those are hard to find; a Google search will turn up a lot of articles talking about it, but nothing linked to a site where you can actually buy one. Unfortunately, none of these home units appear to be small enough to fit on an RV.
Finding an alternative to 100VAC air conditioners for both homes and RVs is a market that manufacturers need to explore. While realistic propane and solar air conditioners are impossible to find, there are small AC units that run on DC power and might be adapted to solar; these are designed to cool the cab of a truck and might work on a small travel trailer or a Class B van.
Can the RV AC Run All Day?
The air conditioner on your RV certainly can run all day, but just like a home air conditioner, it will consume a lot of power. If you are spending the day or a week at an RV park, running the air conditioner all day won’t be a problem; however, if you are renting a space on a monthly basis, most RV parks will charge you extra for the electricity you use. Depending on how often you run it will decide how much you owe for the extra electricity it will consume.
Another thing to consider is, RV air conditioners can be noisier than a home air conditioner. Likewise, due to the way an RV is constructed, the air conditioner can cause your motorhome or trailer to vibrate. An RV is not solidly attached to the ground like a house, so the vibration from the air conditioner can have a ripple effect, causing a subtle vibration throughout the RV. After a few hours, this vibration, along with the sound, may become annoying.
If you are camping off-grid, you can also run your air conditioner with your generator. But once again, there will be fuel costs, as well as an issue with noise and vibration. It depends on your motorhome, but running the onboard generator can be noisy and cause vibration throughout the unit. If you have a trailer, it’s likely you have a portable generator, which can be positioned outside, away from your trailer. While this may reduce the noise and eliminate the vibration from the generator, you’ll still have noise and vibration from the AC. Likewise, your generator will use gas or diesel fuel, which will cost you.
The best strategy for keeping cool in the summer is to move to a location with cooler weather, where you will not have to run your AC very much, if at all.