rv air conditioner wont turn on

6 Reasons Your RV Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On

A scorching summer day is one of the worst days to be stuck in your RV. It’s too hot to do anything but sit inside and sweat. If worse comes to worst, your RV AC doesn’t blow cold air or even RV air conditioner won’t turn on! If you are not mechanically skilled, it’s possible that you’d just give up after 10 minutes of trying to figure out what went wrong.

In that case, you can just go through this guide to find out the reasons. We will also provide some troubleshooting solutions for an RV air conditioner not turning on.

rv air conditioner wont turn on
Photo: John Gibbons

The RV Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On: Reasons and Solutions

Here are 6 reasons why your camper AC not working properly. Let’s go over each one to know how they might affect your RV. Also, we’ll help with troubleshooting, so you can get back to relaxing in your RV this summer.

Check the power source

A power outage is one of the main reasons an RV AC won’t kick on. First, make sure that all appliances are plugged into a working outlet or hooked up to solar panels. Make sure you are plugged into an outlet or power pedestal – not a surge protector. The shore power into which the rig is plugged in should be ON.

If you know it’s not an issue with your electrical setup, then there might be another problem at play here.
Examine the fuse box and see if any of the fuses have blown. If they have, then you can replace them with the same amperage as the old ones. Another common issue is that a breaker could have been tripped. To reset it, just flip it back to the “ON” position.

If everything checks out, reboot the AC system. Depending on the model of the air conditioner, rebooting procedures may vary, so refer to the user manual. If the RV AC won’t turn on after the resetting, then it’s time to move on to checking another component.

rv ac won't turn on
There should not be any issue with the power sources. (Photo: WGNTV)

Look for faulty wiring and loose connections

While you are checking the wiring, take a look at it to see if there’s any damage or corrosion. This could be an issue with the AC in camper not working. Replace the damaged parts of the wire using butt connectors and electrical tape.

If necessary, have someone help you out by rewiring the RV air conditioner. Just be sure to follow the wiring diagram closely, so you don’t create any unwarranted trouble.

Also, check all of the connections to make sure they are tight. Loose connections can also make the RV AC stopped working. Simply, tighten them up using a wrench and screwdriver.

Faulty thermostat

A thermostat is responsible for telling the AC system when to turn on and off. If it’s not working properly, the RV air conditioner won’t turn on. First, test the thermostat by checking if it’s set to the right temperature.

For a battery-run thermostat, try changing the batteries to see if it gives the correct temperature reading. For a wall-mounted thermostat, use a multimeter to check its voltage.

If the thermostat comes out faulty, you might need to replace it. Luckily, they are not expensive and can be found at most hardware stores.

A malfunctioning contactor or capacitor

The AC unit will click but won’t turn on when the contactor or capacitor is acting up. You can test the contactor by seeing if there is any power going to it. To do this, you’ll need to remove the cover and use a multimeter.

No power into the contactor or capacitor means that you need to replace them. Contact a professional mechanic for this job because the capacitors store high-voltage power. Checking or replacing them on your own poses a high risk of electrocution.

Faulty compressor or motor

The compressor and motor are major parts of an AC system. The RV air conditioner stopped working had either one not been working properly.

A broken compressor will create noises inside the unit. Sometimes, compressor failure also makes water leak outside the AC unit. If you detect these signs, you may need to replace the compressor or some parts. If the warranty runs out, it’s better to replace the whole unit instead of just the compressor.

rv air conditioner compressor

For checking on the motor, open the outside cover of the AC unit and look inside. Identify the motor beside the fan and look closely to see if something is stuck on it. Things like dirt and debris can prevent it from functioning properly. It could also be damaged because of corrosion or other reasons.

If there are no issues with either the compressor or motor, then it’s time to move on and check out one more reason why the RV air conditioner won’t turn on.

Dirty components

If you’ve checked all of the above problems, then there might be dust or dirt clogging up an AC component. It might be hard to believe but not performing regular cleaning tasks may prevent the AC system from working.

To fix this issue, use a wet/dry vacuum with a brush attachment to clean out the vents. If you don’t have a vac, then grab some canned air and blow it through the vents. This will clear out most of the dust and dirt clogging up your AC.

After blowing out dust and debris, turn on the breaker that supplies power to the RV AC unit. If it turns on, then you’ve fixed the problem.


There are a few reasons why your RV air conditioner won’t turn on. By checking these six common problems, you can hopefully find and fix the issue yourself.

Remember that if none of these solutions work, then there might be a bigger issue with your RV’s AC unit. If this is the case, then you should take it to an AC specialist for further diagnosis and repair.

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